Family loses home in Fort McMurray fire, goes road tripping
'We're trying to make it an adventure for the kids,' says Shauna Clark-Canadien
A family that fled the Fort McMurray wildfire, and has ties to the North, is making the best of living in limbo by hitting the highway.
The home Shauna Clark-Canadien shared with her husband and two young daughters — Gabriella, 7, and Alessandra, 8 — burned to the ground last month in their Beacon Hill neighbourhood.
The family escaped the flames with just a box of mementos. Now it's working on making new memories by clocking about 5,000 kilometres on the road.
"The girls used to be horrible with road trips," laughs Clark-Canadien. "We're trying to make it an adventure for the kids, going on road trips to see family and friends. Forget about the fire for a while."
Herds of cows and oil wells
Since losing everything, the family has driven north to Fort Providence to stay with family and regroup. They've also made several smaller day trips in Alberta.
Clark-Canadien decided to not enroll her kids back in school for the rest of the school year.
Her youngest daughter, still shaken by the evacuation, "is reluctant to leave her side."
The family recently made a stop in Vilna, Alta., home of the world's largest mushrooms, as well as trip to Smoky Lake, the pumpkin capital of Alberta, and Edmonton's Fort Edmonton theme park.
"Just to keep their minds on the positive."
Time to rebuild
Clark-Canadien says support — emotional and financial — from family in Fort Providence N.W.T. has helped them deal with their loss and life in limbo. The community raised more than $4,000 through a GoFundMe campaign and smaller fundraisers at the local school.
"It was what we needed, definitely."
"It's such a close-knit community. I know we can bring it back through everyone just helping each other."
Clark-Canadien says while they are slowing rebuilding their lives, she's still hoping for one last look at where her home once stood.
"At this point I don't know if we'll even be able to go back and look through the ashes or if they are just going to clean it out.
"I'm hoping we can still go back because it's closure… sift through to see if there's anything left."