N 1 9 8 2 , S E D U C E D B Y T H E M O U N T A I N S A N D O N A W H I M , B e r n a r d C a l l e b a u t m o v e d t o C a l g a r y f r o m B e l g i u m w i t h a d r e a m o f p r o d u c i n g s o m e o f t h e w o r l d ’ s b e s t c h o c o l a t e . H e d i d n ’ t r e a l i z e A l b e r t a ’ s e c o n o m y w a s I about to tank.
On March 23, 1983, just as oil prices were bottom- ing out, the well-heeled were pulling out and banks were beginning a sweep of foreclosures, Callebaut cut the ribbon at his high-end shop on 17th Avenue SW. “I was convinced by more of a gut feeling than anything else that if people were exposed to gourmet chocolate,
Curious customers wandered in wondering how a gourmet retailer could open when other businesses were getting out of Dodge.
they would enjoy it,” says Callebaut, whose eponymous company today has 35 locations in Canada, the United States and Japan. “Coffee went through the same thing
30 years before. It was hot brown water worth 25 cents until people discovered they could pay a little more to
A L T E R T W I N N W A S A C O N - t r o v e r s i a l f i g u r e . S u c c e e d - i n g h i s f a t h e r a s c h i e f o f t h e S a w r i d g e C r e e n e a r S l a v e L a k e W two years after oil was discovered on the reserve, he led a number of profitable ventures that trans- formed the northern band into a $100-million conglomerate: a hotel, shopping mall and truck stop in Slave Lake; hotels in Jasper
and Fort McMurray; a bottled water business and stakes in oilfield serv- ices companies. But Twinn, a boxer turned fight promoter, was also criticized for fighting legislation that allowed women who married non-natives to restore their Indian status, and for being Canada’s most absentee Senator in 1993 after Brian Mulroney named him to the upper house (a decision that was deemed “a clever move to appoint one of their people from among our people,” by George Erasmus, then head of the Assembly of First Nations). The following comments were made by Senator Gerry St. Germain in November 1997, a month after Twinn died of a heart attack.
“He lived in the world of corporate jets, but he never forgot the world from which he came.”
Senator Twinn bridged the gap between h s aboriginal roots and what was best described at the service yesterday as the domi- nant society that has encircled our aboriginal people. Walter Twinn transcended all racial, business and political barriers. The best example I can give of what the man really accompl shed in some ways s what happened when I decided to attend the serv- ices yesterday. For me, transportation was a problem. Howeve ,
it did not stay a problem, because h s family decided that I should
use their family aircraft, be picked up in Edmonton and flown to Slave Lake in order to participate in the service.
The contrast is that while I was picked up in one of Walter s private corporate aircraft, when h s casket was taken to the small Roman Catholic church in Slave Lake, it was placed on a simple
wagon, which had been used for that purpose by Cree Indians for
generations in this country. The wagon was drawn by a team of horses and driven by an elde , with an honour guard of aborigi-
na s riding on horseback. That best epitom zes the world in which Chief Walter Twinn lived. He lived in the world of corporate jets, but he never forgot the world from which he came.