She came, she saw, she went somewhere else and saw some more, and in the end, she conquered not just a personal quest but a provincial contest.
Bronwen Strembiski won the 2010 Alberta Community Icon Passport, a contest held in partnership with Travel Alberta. It was designed to encourage people to get out and explore their own province in a way, stamping destinations in the passport along the way.
St. Albert’s fearless explorer famously trekked across Alberta last summer on the hunt for quirky tourist attractions like the world’s largest statue of a pyrogy (located in Glendon, 214-kilometres northeast of this city). With her two sons in tow, Strembiski set off on an adventure that saw her catalogue more than 100 stops in places like Vauxhall to see a pair of big potatoes named Sammy and Samantha.
She first learned about the passport contest when she stopped into the Westlock Tourist Information Centre near the beginning of summer 2010, however the passports weren’t available yet. When she did get one in the mail she was able to stamp the first of 24 locations she planned to visit.
“I thought, well, great! Now I have one stamp. I’ve got to get all the stamps!”
In the end, Strembiski suggests that everybody take up the contest for fun. It’s a worthwhile way to see our province and spend time with the ones you love, she said.
“Pack your camping gear, grab a good map and drive until you can’t drive any more.”
For her efforts, Strembiski was awarded a $500 prepaid credit card, a prize she says would be shared with her kids and her husband. She plans on visiting Alberta’s ghost towns this summer.
The Icon Passport project was led by Woodlands County Mayor Jim Rennie. He was pleased with the results from the inaugural contest and is anxious to get the second edition on the road.
“We brought many visitors to the World’s Largest Wagon Wheel and Pick Axe in Fort Assiniboine and can’t wait to make the program bigger and better for 2011,” he said.
Alberta travellers will get their chance at a new adventure this year. The new Alberta Community Icon Passports will be available at tourist information centres across the province before the May long weekend.
To learn more about the contest, call passport co-ordinator Brigette Jobin at 1-888-870-6315 or visit www.albertaicons.com.