Long-time cross-country ski volunteer earns Firth Award 0
Linda Dunbar (second from right) receives the Firth Award from Sharon and Shirley Firth, left. Mayor John Borrowman was also present at the surprise ceremony on Sunday, July 8. Justin Parsons/ Canmore Leader
The Canmore cross-country skiing community recognized one of its own at a surprise ceremony for long-time volunteer Linda Dunbar on Sunday, July 8.
Dunbar received the Firth Award from cross-country fixtures Shirley and Sharon Firth in recognition of her devotion to the sport of cross-country skiing over the past 40-plus years.
"This award means a lot to me," said Dunbar, overwhelmed by the surprise appearance of more than 50 friends and relatives at what she thought was a World Cup planning meeting.
The Firth sisters, who together hold 48 Canadian Championships and four Olympic appearances, were honoured with the first Firth award in 1985. The award has since been given to women who have made longstanding volunteer contributions to the cross-country skiing community in Canada.
Dunbar started skiing in 1969 in Inuvik, NWT and quickly became involved in race organization, the running of a ski club and many other aspects of the sport from fundraising to organizing social events to youth programming and assisting in races.
Her volunteer history stretches back nearly to her introduction to the sport 43 years ago. She inaugurated the Yellowknife Ski Marathon in 1978, and became the Yellowknife Ski Club's first female president in 1984 for three years. She has since been involved with six Alberta World Cup events, and has dedicated her volunteer time to instructing at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
"Skiing has become part of our lives. It has enriched our lives," said Dunbar.
"The people who we've met, and the people who have become our friends, its all pretty special."