Gerry Stephenson - Former Assistant General Manager

I was born in the U.K. near London but my family is from Lancashire. I can trace my family back seven generations in the Lancashire coal mining business.

When I decided to go to university in Nottingham, I received a mining scholarship.That set me on the coal-mining path. I graduated in 1952 and spent the next three years working at the coalface, doing just about every job. I even worked in a coal seam that was only 20 inches thick.

I became a fireboss and later a pitboss. I got my first job as an underground manager at a difficult mine four miles under the Irish Sea. After four years at the Haig Pit, we went to India for five years.We came back to England where I joined a consulting company. Consulting was slow so I decided to come to Canada. The best offer came from Canmore Mines to be Chief Engineer.

After meeting with Walter Riva who was the general manager at Canmore, I told him I would go back to England and talk with my wife. Providing she was happy with the move, we would be back in a month to take the job.Walter knew I was a fly fisherman. He said, Let's go look at a piece of land you can buy for $500 with 170 feet of Bow River frontage.We drove out and I walked through the bushes to the river. It was the middle of July and there were brown trout rising to a hatch of mayflies. I looked at this and came back to the jeep and said to Walter, I'm sure my wife is going to be very happy here.

We came out in August 1968. At first, I was chief engineer and later I became assistant general manager. One of my first jobs in Canmore was to start a reclamation program; it culminated in the creation of Quarry Lake. Canmore actually set the highest standards in western Canada for mine reclamation in the early '70s.

We left Canmore over three years ago and discovered we miss it very much, so we're moving back to build a house here. Canmore is a great place to live and very beautiful, considering it was a former mining town.