Alberni’s Lord of the tree rings

Alberni resident Sandy McRuer is originally from Nova Scotia but will always call the Valley home.

Port Alberni resident Sandy McRuer: from bird dogging school to Rainbird Excursions (and Facebooking during the civic election)

He was born in Nova Scotia and grew up in Ottawa, but Sandy McRuer considers Port Alberni home.

McRuer was born in paradise in 1952, he says. “Paradise, Nova Scotia, it’s actually a place.”

One of three siblings, McRuer’s father was in the Canadian Navy so the family moved around. They next lived in Longdon, England then to Halifax before finally settling in Ottawa.

“I remember the people who lived on our street, playing road hockey and and I even remember our old phone number,” McRuer said.

A young McRuer attended Manner Park public school then was a day student at Ashbury College School for three years before attending Rideau High School, where he graduated in 1970.

McRuer counts former Ottawa Roughriders quarterback Russ Jackson and New York Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin as high school alumnus, he says.

McRuer never looked up to heroes or role models growing up but he did take note of those who were into the counter culture and new ideas. “They were mostly obscure local people so I don’t think you’d know them,” he said.

McRuer was a bit of a lost soul after graduating from high school. “I had no idea what I wanted to do and it took me a long time to figure that part of life out,” he said.

He tried environmental studies in university but it didn’t hold his interest so he dropped out, went back to Ottawa and took a year off to regroup and work.

McRuer liked the environment so he went back to school, this time in New Brunswick, where he studied forestry, a program he graduated from in 1980.

He left university broke and drowning in student loans. He went back to Ottawa and worked for a year before heading west, where McRuer heard there was opportunity.

He ended up in Vancouver, where he lived in a rooming house and bused tables before taking a job opportunity in Campbell River, where he lived for three years.

Another job opportunity came up in Port Alberni with the ministry of forests and McRuer jumped at the offer. “At first I thought it was dingy here, but I liked the proximity to Nanaimo, the Pacific Rim and to the mountains,” he said.

He’s been here ever since and will likely live out his life here, he said. “The community grew on me and I don’t think I’ll ever move — this is my home.”

McRuer operates his own business — Rainbird Excursions — is an avid birder and is active in the community. He created a 300-member Facebook group that was regarded as having some influence on the recent civic election. “I’m glad I did it and I think there’s room for more of it,” he said.

McRuer isn’t much of a movie goer, he says, but he appreciates movies with intrigue and drama, and liked Source Code starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

McRuer is reading Landing Page Optimizing For Dummies, and his favourite book is Lord Of The Rings, which he read a long time ago, he says.

If he could have dinner with a historical figure it would be Alfred The Great, who as an English Saxon king.

“The Lord of The Rings (books) are based on legends from that period of time,” McRuer said. “I think it would be fascinating to talk to someone from that period of time.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Emergency notifications coming to the Alberni Valley

ACRD will expand the ‘Connect Rocket’ community alert system

Organizations helping Alberni’s marginalized feel the pinch

Operational demands, wage hike put hole in Bread of Life budget

Port Alberni votes to change way council pay is increased

New way will focus on Consumer Price Index, future councils

Port Alberni’s Salvation Army kettle campaign needs help

Dec. 15 is matching day at Walmart kettle

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

GoFundMe helps Vancouver Island teen battle a rare cancer

Nanaimo’s Michelle Reilly, 16, battling spinal cord cancer, seeking possible treatment in U.S.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read