Steppin’ Out 2023

Time to Come Together Again


Thursday April 27/ Friday April 28, 2023
Riviera Plaza and Conference Centre
(formerly Ramada Plaza Airport and Conference Centre)
3515 – 26 St. N.E., Calgary, AB
T1Y 7E3

Thursday April 27, 2023

5:30 PM-No Host Bar
6:30 PM-Dinner
8:00 PM-Presentation

A Banquet and Evening to enjoy good company, and Chuck Rose's musical tribute to that great Canadian Folk Singer, Stan Rogers.

Calgary Retired Teachers Association is pleased to welcome Chuck Rose to the banquet stage. Chuck is an author, singer, song writer, storyteller, and comedian. When Chuck was 3, he told his mother that he wanted to be a singer when he grew up. Chuck is still working on the “growing up” piece of that statement, but he’s been singing and entertaining professionally since he was 18. One of his most popular shows is A Tribute to Stan Rogers, usually performed as a fundraiser for community charities. Tonight’s performance will support the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Charitable Foundation. Stan Rogers, a Canadian folksinger and song writer, died tragically in 1983. His music continues to be an influence and enjoyed worldwide. His songs were frequently inspired by history and the daily lives of working people, especially those from the fishing villages of the Maritime provinces and later, the farms of the Canadian prairies and Great Lakes. Come enjoy the stories and the music of this Canadian musical gem.

MENU: Organic mixed greens, 6 oz steak, smashed potatoes, asparagus, deconstructed cannoli, coffee or tea. Table wine courtesy of TW Insurance.

Call Gordon Cumming 403-288-5731 or Linda Manwarren 403-200-0472 with dietary questions or concerns.

Friday April 28, 2023

8:30-9:15 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:15-9:30 Opening Remarks
9:40-10:35 Session One
10:35-11:00 Beverage and Bathroom Break
11:00-11:55 Session Two
11:55-12:10 Return to whole group session for general remarks and initial Raffle Draws
12:10-1:10 Lunch
1:20-2:15 Session Three
2:20-3:20 Wind Down and Final Raffle Draws


The following sessions provide opportunities to explore the many dimensions of wellness. These sessions and presenters have been confirmed.  Please identify the THREE topics that interest you most on the INTEREST SURVEY, accompanying this registration. This will help us minimize conflicts between participant preferences and help us allocate appropriately sized rooms as we schedule the three time slots of the day.

Christina will take you along on a whirlwind photographic journey through Calgary, similar to the one she took with a colleague that led to publishing a travel guide called 111 Things You Must Not Miss in Calgary.

Christina Ryan is an award-winning newspaper multimedia journalist with over 20 years of experience. Watching a person’s eyes light up with understanding as they learn to master their camera and learn to chase the light is why Christina teaches in the Journalism Program at SAIT. When not occupied with freelancing and teaching, she can be found guiding people in Alberta’s pristine backcountry, paddleboarding and silversmithing.

Calgary’s first radio stations hit the airwaves in 1922. These early broadcasts were primitive by today’s standards, but they set the stage for great things to come. In this presentation, historian Bob Pearson will use rare archival recordings and a wealth of colourful stories to bring the history of Calgary broadcasting to life. You’ll come to understand just how radio evolved from its beginnings as a novelty and a toy for enthusiasts, to its status as a necessity and an integral part of our everyday lives.

Bob is the Manager of Community Engagement at Heritage Park Historical Village. He has worked at museums and historic sites in the field of interpretation for more than forty years. His career has taken him all over the province, from Lac La Biche to Lethbridge. Bob has developed and delivered programs covering historical topics from knights in shining armor through to the RMS Titanic.

Gary Sawatzky has worked in the area of Group Benefits for twenty years and has been a most welcome presenter at the “Steppin’ Out” Conferences since 2013. He has been the Chief Operating Officer of ARTA since 2017. No one understands the Retiree Benefits, and in particular the Alberta Retired Teachers (ARTA) Benefits plan better than Gary does. He has been a major architect of the unique aspects that make ARTA Benefits the plan of choice for eligible retirees. He will be presenting an update on the ARTA Benefit Plans, including plan performance, changes over the past year, emerging directions, as well as updates on ARTA and ARTARx options for members.

Surrounding the historic mansion built by the Lougheed family in the early 1900’s, this two-acre site is a hidden jewel of inner-city green space. Treasured by local residents, the gardens tell the story of classic Victorian garden design, change and upheaval, and the realities of gardening in the 21st century. Well worth a visit to the gardens, why not start by joining Head Gardener Jane Rexton at this session. You will learn more about this stunning garden’s past, what can be seen in the gardens today, and the vision for the future.

Jane Rexton has a BA from the University of Victoria and a Diploma in Horticulture from Olds College. She worked in residential landscape maintenance before joining the Calgary Zoo and Botanical Gardens Education Department. For eight years, Jane was Manager, Botanic Gardens and Greenhouses in Olds, and then returned to Calgary. Jane enjoys sharing her love of learning about, and enthusiasm for, horticulture.

Explore Calgary on foot and by bike, becoming a tourist in your own city. This presentation packs a visual punch as Lori highlights urban walks and bike rides for all ages and for all types of cyclists. Lori features routes from her books as she leads the audience along river pathways and neighbourhood side streets, through parks, to viewpoints, and to destinations like farmers’ markets, craft breweries, and ice cream shops. Get ready to be surprised with the diversity of beautiful, quirky, unexpected, and inspiring things to see and do when exploring Calgary on foot and by bike.
Lori is the owner of Fit Frog and the author of the best-selling guidebooks, Calgary’s Best Walks and Calgary’s Best Bike Rides. She is a frequent contributor to CBC Radio and CTV. She is passionate about helping people connect to each other and their surroundings through guided treks in the Calgary area. Lori’s books will be available for purchase during her session.

Join David Peyto for a presentation about the coulees, ravines and gullies located in Calgary. Some of these coulees are used as roads. One is a transportation route for cyclists and pedestrians. In some communities, roads divide the coulees into smaller sections. Paths and/or trails have been added to some coulees. Some coulees have limited accessibility. You will receive a handout detailing where many of these coulees, ravines and gullies are located. Then you can go exploring!
David is a frequent presenter for “Steppin’ Out”. As an elementary physical education teacher, he organized walking clubs and walks for the students. He is the author of five Calgary walking guidebooks and will have some available for sale during his session.

Money is a taboo subject that can cause people to look away uncomfortably and change the subject. Worse yet, those financial discussions become even harder to have when combined with ideas around illness and death. By starting the conversation participants will learn about the basics of taxes, insurance and estate planning which will enable them to get their financial household in order.

Mark is a financial educator for the non-profit service, Credit Counselling Society (CCS).

Mark admits that he is a personal finance nerd! His interest grew while working at a bank call center where he read the David Chilton book, The Wealthy Barber. He now enjoys working with people to solve their financial challenges.

Come participate in this session to learn some important tips and exercises that will help you find better balance and confidence in your daily living practices. Good balance is an integral component for better physical mobility, self-confidence and fall prevention. We will use a chair as a tool while learning standing balance techniques and strengthening strategies. We do all this in a safe, fun, and supportive environment, moving at your own pace. You will be asked to sign a standard disclaimer as you enter the room. Limited to 30 participants.

Beth Brookwell has been teaching fitness and yoga to older adults for more than a dozen years. She loves to encourage and empower people through movement activities that they enjoy. Recently she earned Health and Wellness Coaching certificates. She has presented online and in person for CRTA.

Increasingly Albertans are looking to master the techniques for successfully growing microgreens, sprouts, herbs, and greens indoors, using simple methods and equipment. This session will help bring out your green thumbs! Topics include:
• Environmental factors for growing indoors
• Germination and breaking dormancy of seeds
• Choosing your indoor growing style; including equipment, growing mediums, lights, and watering systems
• Different techniques and growing systems
• Potential problems
• What to grow – from microgreens to tomatoes

Janet Melrose is known as Calgary’s Cottage Gardener. She is a garden consultant, coach, educator, and horticultural therapist whose motto is Grow, Nurture, and Bloom. With Sheryl Normandeau, she is co-author for a book series, Guides for Prairie Gardeners. These guides will be available for purchase.

Join Ann Purdy in this mini-workshop as she demonstrates the versatility of lettering with a graphite pencil. You will fall in love with this simple tool! She will provide instruction on basic strokes that participants will be able to apply to various types of monoline lettering. Handouts with exemplars will be given. No experience is required! Just a desire to have some fun and be creative! Supplies will be provided.

Ann likes to balance her work life and home life with some creativity. Ann took her first calligraphy class 18 years ago and fell in love! Her passion for calligraphy led her to explore other art mediums. Not only does Ann do graphite and color pencil drawings focusing on hyper-realism, but she does oil paintings as well. She finds it exciting to share her knowledge and see her students succeed in their creative journey.

Join this session and learn how busy this small town really was! It was a small town, likely smaller than your high school, populated with ordinary people making new lives and new homes with dirt streets, log cabins and false fronts. It was also a town with drama. You will learn about:
• A strike that ends at gunpoint.
• Corporate interests that force the town to move.
• A bribed postmaster who later skips town.
• East Enders vs. West Enders.
• Racism.
• A Mounted Police Superintendent beaten senseless.
• Political chaos: two mayors and two town councils at the same time.
• Panic at the threat of an imminent massacre.
• The Great Fire.

A native Calgarian, Doug graduated from William Aberhart High School and U of C. He learned customer service working for Woodward’s Department Store, taught Social Studies to Woodman Junior High for 33 years, then retired to become a Senior Interpreter at Heritage Park. During his nine years there, he enjoyed sharing Western Canadian history with visitors from all over the world. He retired again, to enjoy his hobbies of model railroading, pop music history and giving presentations on Calgary history.

We work all our lives and save money so that one day we can stop working. But what does that mean and how much will it cost? What do others do to ensure they will have enough? Depending on expressed interest of the participants, Mark will explore ways to increase income, reduce expenses and live on a retirement income without having to rely on credit.
Mark is a Financial Educator for the non-profit service, Credit Counselling Society (CCS).
Mark admits that he is a personal finance nerd! His interest grew when working at a
bank call center where he read the David Chilton book, The Wealthy Barber. He now enjoys working with people to solve their financial challenges.

Put on your travel hat and enjoy Italy from the safety of your chair. This talk will focus on the Dolomites, the Lake District, the Cinque Terre, and Tuscany, including Siena and Florence. Rosemary and Selim will share photos and experiences of their many visits to this area. Travelling independently by car provided an opportunity to see more of the smaller towns and out-of-the-way places of beauty, cultural and historic interest. They will share photos of these special locations and include interesting background information based on knowledge and research.

Rosemary and Selim have done previous presentations for the CRTA, the PEGG Women’s Club, CALL and several seniors’ residences. They love this area and are eager to share that love with you.

Calgary has a robust history of protest. From the smallpox riot of 1892 to the relief riots in the 1930’s, Calgarians have a long record of taking to the streets to demonstrate their displeasure with government, police, and with social change. This presentation will take you through a riotous history of mobs and political protest in Calgary. Learn what sparked the protest, what the police did about it, and what happened as a result.

Scott received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Calgary, with a major in history and a minor in museum studies. His work experience at Heritage Park and volunteering with many organizations in the city led him to YouthLink: The Police Interpretive Centre. In this session he will share the knowledge and experience gathered from his role as Visitor Engagement Specialist.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, Rosebud Theatre and School of the Arts is an odd duck on Alberta’s cultural landscape. This session will provide you some of its back story. Located in a village of less than 100 residents, the school and theatre have impacted hundreds of thousands of lives through theatre, music, and education. Tracing its history from summer camps for Calgary’s inner-city youth to its success as a professional theatre, this is the inspiring story of a place and a community that continues to grow, believing the creative spirit draws everyone to becoming the place, and the person, they are intended to be.

Paul Muir came to the role of Executive Director through 20 years of working in education leadership. He views Rosebud as a meeting place where different strands of our culture gather to share story and community. Paul has performed and directed across Canada.

As well as planning our own affairs, we have significant roles in those of friends or family. This session will focus on issues facing individuals who have ‘inherited’ the responsibility for ensuring the final resolution of an estate. We are pleased to welcome Torri Woods from McLeod Law. Torri advises clients on a range of wills and estate matters and works closely with them to protect their interests and manage their risks.

This presentation will cover several aspects of the research on nutrition and mental health, including why our brains are not getting sufficient nutrients, and how this deficiency results in mental health challenges. Causes of inadequate nutrient consumption, proof of relevance for mental health and treatment trials will all be reviewed. A critical aspect of this presentation will be to empower the listener to make changes for their own brain health.

Bonnie J Kaplan, PhD, is Professor Emeritus in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She has published widely on the contribution of nutrition to mental health. In 2017 she was selected as one of 150 Canadian ‘Difference Makers’ in Mental Health in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary. In 2019 she received the Dr. Rogers Prize for excellence in complementary and alternative health, and in 2021 was named one of the top “7 Over 70” in Calgary. Her book, The Better Brain, was written with Professor Julia Rucklidge and published in 2021. Her goal is to influence the way mental health treatment is delivered.

This session is for everyone who is interested in learning about building strength and flexibility with resistance bands. Recent research and her personal wellness journey have led Kathy to call this the route to the fountain of youth. Strength is built through resistance and resistance bands are a great way for beginners to learn basic strength moves. You will learn about, and practise, some moves for your shoulders, hips, and knees. You will receive a loop band and a handout containing pictures and exercise details as well as information regarding strength and the benefits for older people as they strive to remain independent.

Kathy Dodd has been teaching yoga and strength for 20 years and is passionate about aging with grace and resilience. She incorporates resistance and strength training into all her Yoga classes and teaches Kettlebells and Beginner Strength Training classes. Kathy has a senior teacher certification through the Yoga Association of Alberta, as well as certifications in Kettlebell Training and Resistance and Strength Training.

Are you curious about insurance? Join Laurie Bauer, a seasoned insurance vet, while she peers inside her crystal ball to glean the insights and trends shaping the world of insurance and how those changes will affect ARTA members. We’ll reveal insurers actions on climate change, discuss advances in autonomous vehicles, prepare to fend off cyber risks and discuss other mystical concepts regarding insurance (and finally get the answer to the age-old question – are RED cars more expensive to insure?

When Laurie isn’t studying her insurance crystal ball, she loves to spend her time with her family and her puppy, Diego. She also loves reading, golfing, crocheting, Candy Crush, and gardening, in no particular order.

The New Perennial Movement is a gardening style that takes its cues from nature. It uses perennial plants and grasses planted to invoke a naturalistic look. During this session Marcia will show examples of this style and then talk about some great plants that work in the Calgary area to fulfill that design style.

‘Marcia MacLellan is a landscape designer with The Arborist Expert Tree Service, and a garden speaker through her company Westbluff Gardens. She began her ecological design career with Eco-Yards in Calgary and deepened her appreciation for native plants and the important role they play in habitat creation while at Bow Point Nursery in Springbank. She is a Springbank resident and specializes in creating sustainable garden designs for her clients, which are low maintenance and drought resistant, while providing year-round visual interest and habitat for wildlife.

Archaeological discoveries, historical sources, genealogical research, and oral histories reveal surprising stories of remarkable females from Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park’s past. Former inhabitants include trailblazers in aviation and nursing. Other girls from this remote rural locale achieved social success among the political elite of Canada and Britain. Even working-class children played vital roles in creating history, and in revealing the past to us.

Shari Peyerl is an archaeologist, oral historian, librarian, archivist, and author, who holds BSc and MA degrees in archaeology from the University of Calgary. She has volunteered at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park since 2009 and gives tours and presentations about its history and archaeology. Her new book, Alberta’s Cornerstone: Archaeological Adventures in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, explores the vanished settlement in the park within the framework of an archaeologist’s memoir. Her book will be available for purchase during her session.


Watching the news about stranded tourists, lost luggage, incessant lineups in airports can reinforce your reluctance to travel. This session will help you see, that although there are pitfalls, with methodical planning, travel can become part of your life and retirement again. Ron will share his expertise to ensure you reach your travel goals and explore some of the best types of travel in this new world. A question-and-answer period will be a key component of this session. It is hoped that you will feel ready to pack your bags and get back on the road, in the near future.

Ron has had extensive experience in travel, leading groups of all ages as an educator during his 32 years as a high school teacher. After retiring he spent 16 years in the travel industry as a business development manager specializing in educational travel. Prior to the pandemic, Ron had travelled to 49 countries. He is eager to continue adding to that number.


Libraries have changed and continue to change. With online resources, in-person programs and services, volunteer led initiatives, partnerships and more, everyone can find something to fit their needs. During this session you will learn about the wonderful things the Calgary Public Library has to offer including e-books, online streaming of movies and music, finding your way through the website to the services, how to find your ancestors, where to find your local branch, and more.
Christine is a Library Experience Facilitator at the Central Library. Her focus is the Calgary’s Story and Genealogy collection. She began her career at the old Central Library nearly 40 years ago as a summer student and fell in love with the place. She is eager to open the door to the many services you can access through the library.

The Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council (AEAAC) is a provincial organization dedicated to increasing awareness of elder abuse and supporting a community response to addressing this family violence issue. In this session you will discuss what is elder abuse, what are the types of elder abuse, what are the indicators of abuse and neglect, who commits elder abuse, what puts some at risk and why older adults don’t report. Karen will review available resources in the province.

Karen Whiteman is currently the Regional Director, Southern Alberta at the Kerby Centre. She is a skilled facilitator and presenter. She teaches non-profit management and diversity in the workplace at the university level. When Karen started working at Kerby Centre she became passionate about elder abuse awareness and prevention.

Urban sketching is practiced around the world. Urban sketchers share their love for the places where they live and travel, one drawing at a time. Join Dave as he talks about the phenomenon of Urban Sketching and presents some sketches on slides and others through his own collection of sketchbooks.

Dave is an artist and educator trained in London, England. He worked for the Calgary Board of Education as an art teacher, department head and fine arts consultant. In 2022 he was the recipient of an award at an international watercolour exhibition.

Discover the power of your songs and how creating a purposeful playlist can help you manage stress, be more resilient, and create a more productive and harmonious way of life. You will:
• Understand the benefits of your favourite songs and music.
• Tune in to the memories and moments that matter most to you – and learn the best tips to explore music for a positive mindset.
• Learn key tips for using music and producing a playlist personalized to your own self-care.
• Explore practical exercises to help manage mood shifts throughout the day.

Shannon Robinson, a Certified Music Therapist for more than 22 years, has witnessed the power of music and music therapy. She loves working with children….and adults…and seniors… really everyone…and believes that music cultivates this connection and can then be a catalyst for wellness and growth. As Head of Operations for JB Music Therapy in Calgary, Alberta, her focus is to enhance client engagement by ensuring strong client-therapist relationships. Jennifer Buchanan’s book, Wellness Well played, the Power of a Playlist, will be available for purchase.

SOCIAL HOUR 2:20-3:20 PM

Wind down the day by joining in Happy Hour (no host bar) with your fellow participants. Take the time to visit old and new friends and talk about the day’s highlights. A light snack will be distributed. While you enjoy this social time, the Final Raffle Draws will occur.


Bring one of your puzzles to the exchange table and take a new one home. You may also pay $5.00 to buy one of the puzzles. Proceeds from this table will be donated to RESET Society of Calgary.


Drop your used eyeglasses (readers, prescriptions, sunglasses) into the boxes supplied by Lions Club Canada.


This is our 15th Annual “Steppin’ Out” Conference, and it would not be possible without the Generosity of the following partners who have supported us for years.

More than 50% of the cost of this year’s conference has been funded by the generosity of the CRTA and these other SPONSORS. Special Thanks to:

The Calgary Retired Teachers’ Association recognizes Mohkínsstsisi [mohk-KIN-stiss] and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksiká [six-ih-GAH], the Káínai [GUY-nah], and the Piikáni [bee-GAH-nee] First Nations; the Tsúūt’ínà [soot-IN-uh] First Nations; and the Stoney Nakoda [nuh-KOH-duh] including the Chiniki [CHIN-ih-kee], Bearspaws [BEARS paw], and Wesley [WESS-lee] First Nations. We acknowledge that this territory is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland.


Apr 27 - 28 2023


Riviera Plaza and Conference Centre (formerly Ramada Plaza Airport and Conference Centre)
3515 – 26 St. N.E., Calgary, AB


Gordon Cumming

Other Organizers

Linda Manwarren