After twelve years volunteering at Fort Edmonton Park, interpreting still hasn’t lost its spark for Evert Poor. He originally got involved as a means to connect with his children and together give back to the community. Although they were too busy to join him, Evert none-the-less took up the cause and began volunteering in Visitor Services. He loved the opportunity to connect with visitors from the world over, to hear their stories and learn from them and to be an ambassador for the park. Over time, these interactions began to deepen the connection to his own history; Evert is proud to be Métis of the Saulteaux, Ojibway, and traces his heritage back to fur traders at the Red River Settlement.
These days as a costumed interpreter, he finds the history of the HBC in western Canada connects more and more to his own family history. He is passionate about discovering and sharing the stories of people who lived in Fort Edmonton, and making them real for the visitor. This allows us to expand our city’s knowledge of aboriginal experience; “By telling the fur trade story, we begin to build a bridge or provide insight into the existence of a pre-European history”. This story also has given him insight into where he comes from, and how First Nations and Métis people exist today as a result of historical, social, and political impacts.
Evert is a keen researcher and is excited by opportunities to develop new skills and ideas: “My goal is always to learn something” he laughs. He is also a capable teacher, proud to share with visitors and staff alike; he is a clear mentor to other interpreters with his easily smile and natural ability to talk with people. This, he feels, is the result of a “positive environment where guests get to experience enjoyable events and are pleased to be here. Having the opportunity to share my learning, meet and learn from others makes this place special”. I think we can all agree that people like Evert make Fort Edmonton Park special.
There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available at Fort Edmonton Park. Looking to get involved? Be sure to check out our current volunteer positions.