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The most valuable trees up for auction at the 2019 Festival of Trees – And you can buy them online!


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The 2019 Festival of Trees begins Thursday evening with the Preview Dinner.   Hundreds of Central Albertans will see the beautiful tree room and enjoy an evening celebrating together.   Part of the fun is being among the first to see and bid on the incredible decorated trees.

This year the festival is moving online as well, so you can check out all the trees (and much more) and actually make your bids on your phone or computer!

ReadySetAuction, our online bidding system which allows you to bid via computer, tablet or smartphone. To view our exciting auction line-up boasting 150 items, easily filtered by category, click the link below.

The silent auction opens for bidding on Thursday, November 21st @ 4:00pm and closes on Sunday, November 24 @ 2:00pm.

*Please note that your name may show up on media, including various television screens, at the event if you are the highest bidder on an item. If you would prefer not to have your name be displayed, please select “Yes” under the Anonymous Bidding section during account creation.

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Now here’s a sneak peak at the 8 most expensive (in value) trees going into the live auction.   Enjoy and click here if you want to bid (after Thursday at 4 pm).

Wintergreen – Value $2,000.00

Catalog #: 5318
Value: $2,000.00
Starting Bid: $600.00
Donated By: JMAA Architecture Ltd.

9′ tall Christmas tree to fill your home with beauty over the Christmas season.

Pick up items under tree and/or tree top Mon 9-4.

Golden Glow – Value $2,000.00

Catalog #: 1304
Value: $2,000.00
Starting Bid: $600.00
Donated By: Garnet and Crystal Horne

9′ willow pine decorated tree with oversized ornaments and beautiful ribbon.

Pick up items under tree and/or tree top Mon 9-4.  Give delivery info to cashier at time of purchase.


A Shimmering Copper Christmas – Value $2,000.00

Catalog #: 3406
Value: $2,000.00
Starting Bid: $600.00
Donated By: Fairland Cattle Co.
Opens In: 4 hours 31 minutes

8′ pine with 2′ topper with copper highlights and matching items under tree. This tree will be delivered.


Rose Gold Blush – Value $2,000.00

Catalog #: 6317
Value: $2,000.00
Starting Bid: $600.00
Donated By: Drs Lawrence and Alayne Farries

7′ Christmas tree with stunning rosegold ornaments set on a cloud of white feathers – soft and billowy. Includes elegant 20″ matching wreath decorated with white stag hanger.

This tree will be delivered.  Please pick up items Mon 9-5.  Give delivery info to cashier at time of purchase.


Christmas in the Forest – Value $2,500.00

Catalog #: 2418
Value: $2,500.00
Starting Bid: $750.00
Donated By: Barry and Cheryl Simpson
Opens In: 4 hours 29 minutes

7′ Christmas tree decorated with stuffed moose, 3 suitcase accent tables with luxurious red throw and stuffed moose.

Pick up items under tree and/or tree top Mon 9-4.


Here Comes Santa Paws – Value $2,500.00

Catalog #: 1403
Value: $2,500.00
Starting Bid: $750.00
Donated By: Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital

Wooden doghouse with cedar shingles (33″Hx30″Wx34″L). Decorative animal themed Christmas tree on top measures 55″H.

Includes various cat & dog treats, chew toys, blanket, stuffies and two $250 Visa gift cards. Pick up all items Monday 9-5.


Escape to the Mountains – Value $2,500.00

Catalog #: 5407
Value: $2,500.00
Starting Bid: $750.00
Donated By: Johnston Ming Manning LLP

Your escape to the mountains includes a stunning 7′ Christmas tree, Sunbeam fire table, $300 Banff Lodging certificate and a $250 Banff Adventures certificate.

Top this getaway off with Prosecco and glasses and hot cocoa and mugs.  There is a toboggan for the kids with mitts and hats and 2 adorable stuffed polar bears.

Pick up items under tree and/or tree top Mon 9-4. Give delivery info to cashier at time of purchase.


The Nightmare Before Christmas – Value $3,000.00

Catalog #: 1408
Value: $3,000.00
Starting Bid: $900.00
Donated By: Katz Meow Hair Salon

7.5′ tree with decorations based on “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

Pick up items under tree and/or tree top Mon 9-4.

Give delivery info to cashier at time of purchase.


After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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SPARC Red Deer – Caring Adult Nominations open now!

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Red Deer community let’s give a round of applause to the incredible adults shaping the future of our kids. Whether they’re a coach, neighbour, teacher, mentor, instructor, or someone special, we want to know about them!

Tell us the inspiring story of how your nominee is helping kids grow up great. We will honour the first 100 local nominees for their outstanding contributions to youth development. It’s time to highlight those who consistently go above and beyond!

To nominate, visit Events (

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‘Harm Reduction’ is killing B.C.’s addicts. There’s got to be a better way

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Susan Martinuk 

B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy

Since 2016, more than 40,000 Canadians have died from opioid drug overdoses — almost as many as died during the Second World War.
Governments, health care professionals and addiction experts all acknowledge that widespread use of opioids has created a public health crisis in Canada. Yet they agree on virtually nothing else about this crisis, including its causes, possible remedies and whether addicts should be regarded as passive victims or accountable moral agents.

Fuelled by the deadly manufactured opioid fentanyl, Canada’s national drug overdose rate stood at 19.3 people per 100,000 in 2022, a shockingly high number when compared to the European Union’s rate of just 1.8. But national statistics hide considerable geographic variation. British Columbia and Alberta together account for only a quarter of Canada’s population yet nearly half of all opioid deaths. B.C.’s 2022 death rate of 45.2/100,000 is more than double the national average, with Alberta close behind at 33.3/100,00.

In response to the drug crisis, Canada’s two western-most provinces have taken markedly divergent approaches, and in doing so have created a natural experiment with national implications.

B.C. has emphasized harm reduction, which seeks to eliminate the damaging effects of illicit drugs without actually removing them from the equation. The strategy focuses on creating access to clean drugs and includes such measures as “safe” injection sites, needle exchange programs, crack-pipe giveaways and even drug-dispensing vending machines. The approach goes so far as to distribute drugs like heroin and cocaine free of charge in the hope addicts will no longer be tempted by potentially tainted street drugs and may eventually seek help.

But safe-supply policies create many unexpected consequences. A National Post investigation found, for example, that government-supplied hydromorphone pills handed out to addicts in Vancouver are often re-sold on the street to other addicts. The sellers then use the money to purchase a street drug that provides a better high — namely, fentanyl.

Doubling down on safe supply, B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy — though for now that effort has been stymied by the courts.

According to Vancouver city councillor Brian Montague, “The stats tell us that harm reduction isn’t working.” In an interview, he calls decriminalization “a disaster” and proposes a policy shift that recognizes the connection between mental illness and addiction. The province, he says, needs “massive numbers of beds in treatment facilities that deal with both addictions and long-term mental health problems (plus) access to free counselling and housing.”

In fact, Montague’s wish is coming true — one province east, in Alberta. Since the United Conservative Party was elected in 2019, Alberta has been transforming its drug addiction policy away from harm reduction and towards publicly-funded treatment and recovery efforts.

Instead of offering safe-injection sites and free drugs, Alberta is building a network of 10 therapeutic communities across the province where patients can stay for up to a year, receiving therapy and medical treatment and developing skills that will enable them to build a life outside the drug culture. All for free. The province’s first two new recovery centres opened last year in Lethbridge and Red Deer. There are currently over 29,000 addiction treatment spaces in the province.

This treatment-based strategy is in large part the work of Marshall Smith, current chief of staff to Alberta’s premier and a former addict himself, whose life story is a testament to the importance of treatment and recovery.

The sharply contrasting policies of B.C. and Alberta allow a comparison of what works and what doesn’t. A first, tentative report card on this natural experiment was produced last year in a study from Stanford University’s network on addiction policy (SNAP). Noting “a lack of policy innovation in B.C.,” where harm reduction has become the dominant policy approach, the report argues that in fact “Alberta is currently experiencing a reduction in key addiction-related harms.” But it concludes that “Canada overall, and B.C. in particular, is not yet showing the progress that the public and those impacted by drug addiction deserve.”

The report is admittedly an early analysis of these two contrasting approaches. Most of Alberta’s recovery homes are still under construction, and B.C.’s decriminalization policy is only a year old. And since the report was published, opioid death rates have inched higher in both provinces.

Still, the early returns do seem to favour Alberta’s approach. That should be regarded as good news. Society certainly has an obligation to try to help drug users. But that duty must involve more than offering addicts free drugs. Addicted people need treatment so they can kick their potentially deadly habit and go on to live healthy, meaningful lives. Dignity comes from a life of purpose and self-control, not a government-funded fix.

Susan Martinuk is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and author of the 2021 book Patients at Risk: Exposing Canada’s Health Care Crisis. A longer version of this article recently appeared at

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