There are many great stories of families and individuals who live and work in the Robson Valley. The "Live Work" section of our website highlights industry professionals who could easily live and work in other communities, but choose to be in the Robson Valley for various reasons. We have captured a few of their stories to give you a taste on what life in the Robson Valley is all about.
Falling Star Ranch
Together with my husband Marc Lavigne, two horses and two dogs relocated from Alberta to the Robson Valley 12 years ago, in March 2001.
Birgit has always been passionate about horses and riding and started taking lessons at a riding stable in Zurich, Switzerland, when she was twelve years old. I bought my first horse, a young Arabian gelding named Machlon, in her early twenties. When she moved to Canada in 1998, Machlon and Birgit flew across the ocean to Montreal together in a cargo plane, and eventually made our move out west, where she later met Marc.
Marc used to ride horses when he was a young boy in exchange for barn work, and his love for horses got rekindled when he met me.We now own 12 horses, two dogs and six cats.
After 30 years of working with horses in various capacities, as a trail guide, barn help, ranch manager, and assistant trainer, I decided it was time to strike out on my own and started my own equine business in 2006.
Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship offers riding lessons/coaching, horse training, colt starting, horsemanship clinics, intensive horsemanship courses, mentorships, working student programs, equine behaviour workshops, horse whispering demonstrations, as well as workshops, short courses and demos on various topics.
"I am an Irwin Insights Level 4 Master Certified Trainer, and was the first Irwin Insights trainer in Canada to receive this level of certification."
The Robson Valley, surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains and the Cariboo Mountains, is also the perfect place for our mentorships programs - which they have been successfully running since 2010 - allowing students to completely immerse themselves into horsemanship in a beautiful, tranquil setting on a real working ranch.
In her limited downtime Birgit likes to take part in the local events, Dunster Ice cream Social is one of her favourites. Cattle drives, books, and early morning coffee on her porch overlooking her horses confirms why this where they were meant to be.
Location: 5551 Fraser Road, Dunster, BC
The Rusty Iron
Meet Vicky Tyler, owner of The Rusty Iron in McBride BC.
Vicki and her family have been coming to the area vacationing for years. When the opportunity presented itself for Vicki to open The Rusty Iron the family of 3 eagerly re-located to the Region.
Vicki has been a hair and color stylist for 16 years and she welcomed the chance to relocate from Alberta to McBride .
"I love the openness of the Valley, business opportunity and of course the friendly people made it a simple choice to move here. Our daughter has adjusted well to the move and we love the high school."
Vicki says the business potential in this Valley is amazing, she looks forward to expanding her shop and offering residents and visitors a new place to stop in.
When Vicki isn’t busy in her shop you can find her gardening, quading, sledding, and camping. Pop in and see what The Rusty Iron has for you.
Location: 411 Main street, McBride, BC
The Itty Bitty Bath Company
Meet Fran Chiupka. Born and raised in the Robson Valley, McBride to be more specific. She's been married to a "home grown fella" for 17 years.
Together with her husband, Kevin there are raising their daughter and says they are very lucky to have the calibre of teachers that they do. "The teachers care about the kids, and it shows. Unfortunately with fewer kids every year, it means fewer learning opportunities."
Before starting the Itty Bitty Bath Company Fran worked at the local financial institution, in 2016 due to down sizing Fran found herself no longer employed. Living up to her “frantastic” entrepreneurial spirit IBBC was revived. Along with a wide selection of earth, and animal friendly products Fran also has a line a very clever greeting cards for just about every occasion. You can find Itty Bitty Bath Company on Face Book and order online. When asked about what direction she would like to see her hometown take she says” I would like see businesses that would offer opportunities for employment that would encourage people to work and stay in the Valley”
When Fran needs a break from creating her IBBC products you can find her camera in hand capturing beautiful images of what this area has to offer.
Location: McBride, BC
Align Massage Therapy
Meet Kathryn Smith. Raised in the Robson Valley Region she like many, went away and discovered that her heart belongs to this Valley. Kathryn and her husband Jarrod also from the Valley love the quiet pace, natural beauty and easy access to the great outdoor recreation.
"After moving back I recognized the unique opportunities available in a small town. I wanted to create a viable job for myself in order to stay in the Valley." In 2015 Kathryn received her RMT diploma and shortly thereafter opened Align Massage Therapy.
"Living in a rural area has its unique set of challenges. (access to services, extreme weather, and isolation) and I find it interesting how people have adapted and thrived here despite those challenges."
"The entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit is alive and well in the Valley and is inspiring to see. Growth is happening in the region and our concept of tourism and recreation is changing. We want to offer more reasons for people to visit and move to the area, but with an understanding that development needs to be accomplished with care and minimal impact on our natural environment."
When Kathryn isn’t busy with work, she can be found hiking, paddle boarding, skiing, and on rainy days making artisan soap.
Location: 1070 Main Street, Valemount, BC
Welcome Home Gifts and Eatery
An open invitation awaits you to explore McBride and this great business'
A native of Kingston Ontario, Brenda Molendyk has called the Robson Valley Region home for 35 years and counting.After coming west to visit friends the mountains had worked their magic and shesoon planted roots in the Robson Valley.Brenda married, made a life here and raised her kids in the rural settling amongst horses, cats,dogs, and chickens.
Throughout the years Brenda and her husband Dutch have owned and operated many different businesses in the Robson Valley including a logging business, cattle and grocery store. With the kids now grown Brenda has more time to dedicate to her successful gifts and eatery business in McBride “Welcome Home”. Welcome Home is a beautiful addition to McBride's downtownarea and offers unique gifts, home decor, local wares all while enjoying a great beverage and a delicious lunch.Stop by for a cup of locally roasted coffee and support one of McBride’s locally owned and operated businesses.
Location: 284 Main Street, McBride BC
Robson Valley Pet Hostel
Ann Schwartz has been boarding and grooming pets in the Robson Valley Region for 32 years. A registered Vet tech and native of Prince Albert, Sasketchewan she took her love and passion for animals and opened the Robson Valley Pet Hostel on the outskirts of McBride.
Her property hosts 10 outdoor runs with snug dog houses, 8 indoor/outdoor runs, and 2 large exercise yards. Animals are treated like family, it’s not unusual to find a "boarder" in her house or snuggled in for the night. It’s not just dogs, you can find cats, guinea pigs, not to mention the odd turtle and bird.
"I love everything about life in the Robson Valley Region" says Ann. "Great friends, opportunities to grow healthy food, a vibrant arts community. Neighbors helping neighbors."
Our Valley is growing and I hope it continues to do so. It is a great place to raise kids, and also a great place to retire. Life here is top notch!
Check out Ann's blog for stories and adventures about running a pet hostel in the Valley.
Location: 3236 McBride Hwy 16 E, McBride, BC
The mountains of the Robson Valley Region provide not only recreational opportunities for mountain bike enthusiasts, but also business opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.
Mike Lewis - 3 Ranges Brewing Co.
Location: 1160 5th Avenue Valemount, BC
Daryl is a software developer, originally from Prince George, he decided to look at moving to a more relaxed environment. His job allows him to live and work anywhere, and he loves the outdoor, mountain, lifestyle. After looking throughout many of the mountain communities Daryl chose the Robson Valley. This is Daryl's story...
Kiba Dempsey, and his wife, Alex, have been supporting the Robson Valley Regions home and business IT needs since they moved here, from England, in 2005. They say they moved to the Robson Valley in the hope of finding a better quality of life for their family - especially their two sons; Sean and Ben. After spending 12 years in this area of stunning natural beauty and incredibly welcoming and friendly people, they firmly believe that they succeeded in that goal!
Kiba is degree-qualified in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, but chose to switch from research and development to IT when he moved to the Robson Valley and took on the role of Technical Analyst for the Robson Valley’s schools. He now has over a decade of experience supporting large company computer networks, small computer networks, public WIFI systems, email systems and digital camera security systems. Alex takes care of home computer needs. The Robson Valley Region had a need for IT support and we can’t think of a place we would rather be.
In their spare time the Dempsey family like to take advantage of the great hiking and biking opportunities that this region has to offer, or head out to the lake with a couple of kayaks. Kiba has also been a youth soccer coach for grades 5-7 for the last few years. In the winter they enjoy skiing and always love walking their dogs in any season.
Location: 1345 3rd Ave. PO Box 1024, Valemount, BC