Ashley Hinton, 38, was born in Calgary, Alta., at the Holy Cross Hospital and upon entering the world her father had a very interesting experience.
“The morning I was born, my dad was at the hospital with my mom and he ran to get her clothes for change over and he was coming up 17th Ave. which is a really busy area in Calgary and this guy in cowboy boots ran across the street and my dad accidentally ran him over,” Hinton said.
“The police of course then pulled my Dad over and were going to arrest him for driving without due care.”
“The guy who got hit ended up in the same hospital that I was in, he was okay just a couple of broken ribs.”
Luckily for her father, there was a witness who saw everything. Her Dad was let go and the pedestrian got a ticket for jaywalking. Hinton did not stay in Alberta for long as the family decided to head to Nanaimo, which is where her mother was from.
“Nanaimo was really nice, it was such a small town at the time, the population was only 60,000, when you grow up you think ‘oh I’m gonna get off the island and explore somewhere else,’” Hinton said.
Growing up on the island she found herself immersed in sports doing everything from baseball, basketball, volleyball and shot put. She attended the John Barsby Secondary School which was in a part of town called Harewood — commonly referred to as “Scarewood” as it was known as a rougher part of town. She met a good group of friends and became immersed in the arts. She spent some time working odd jobs while she was in high school.
“I did summer camp with kids, so I would plan the summer and go on adventures all the time. That was a really fun job, but my first job would have been McDonald’s,” said Hinton.
“And I’ll tell you, they teach you some good customer service. I was there for about a year and I remember when I got my first paycheque, it was $266 and I thought to myself ‘what am I gonna spend this on,’ this is an obscene amount of money.”
While in high school Hinton found herself immersed in drama and she played Betty Rizzo in the 2001 production and Grease. From there she decided to go to Malaspina University where she took and completed a theatre program.
Realizing it was not quite what she wanted she decided to reevaluate what she wanted in a career.
“I made a list of what I wanted in a career, I liked the performing and fun elements of theatre,” said Hinton.
With this in mind, the decision was made and she headed off to broadcasting school. Hinton attended the Columbia Academy in Vancouver. Following her completion of the 10-month course, she landed herself a very interesting job at a radio station called The Edge which was in Ucluelet.
“Our slogan was “Playing What We Got”, essentially what it was, was all the radio DJs on the station, there were three of us, we brought in our CD collections to supplement it,” said Hinton.
She stayed in this position for about a year before taking a job in Prince George where she remained for six years. Staying in radio, Hinton worked at The Wolf doing afternoons and weekends before heading over to The River for the morning show where she stayed for three years.
After her time spent in Prince George, Hinton landed her dream job back in Calgary where she helped launch an indie rock station called The Peak. She did the morning show there and eventually got shuffled into the afternoon time slot which was a better fit for her. Hinton was enjoying her time being back in the big city.
“It was nice to be back, I have a lot of family out there, I was living the dream, living downtown, going to concerts all the time and the Calgary Stampede on a radio station was a lot of fun,” Hinton said.
After 12 years and as many do in the radio industry, she began to realize that maybe this was not for her.
“I just started to not be happy, I decided I wanted to try something new.”
The rock station that she started at had also changed formats to a pop-country station and Hinton says she wasn’t loving the music that was being played. She needed to take a break and reassess taking five months off. She did some travelling to Indonesia and Belize at that time. Bali, Gili Air and Java were highlights for her.
“I climbed this blue fire volcano which was unreal, the hardest physical activity I’ve ever done,” said Hinton.
“We got about halfway up and the guide hands me a gas mask and he says we’re hitting the sulphur part now, I was sweating and trying to breathe at a normal human rate.”
Despite how physically demanding it was she did get to see the peak and the blue fire. Hinton has an appreciation for travelling as it allows her to learn more about different cultures.
“I enjoy the different cultures and learning about them, it makes you understand people better no matter where you are and I enjoy that, I also enjoy trying new foods,” said Hinton.
Following her five-month break, she landed herself a position at Civeo as the Recreation and Community Outreach Manager. She flew in and out for about a year as she had a dog to attend to in Calgary.
In a surprise twist, she ended up meeting her partner while working at Civeo.
“I didn’t really want to date when I got here, I just wanted to focus on my new career and then he walked through the door one day and I said ‘oh no,’” said Hinton.
She met Craig and it took a couple of months before the pair started dating as Hinton didn’t realize he was flirting with her. He eventually invited her to his birthday and they’ve been together ever since.
Hinton moved to Kitimat bringing along her dog and she enjoyed the natural beauty the city had to offer.
“I enjoy the outdoors we really love camping and we’ve met some really good friends, the people are great, its the most interesting place I’ve ever lived.”
The couple purchased a home, which they have been working to renovate.
“There isn’t a spot in our house that hasn’t been touched, we kind of bought the wart on the street and have been fixing it up,” said Hinton.
Kitimat is a tiny town where residents all know their neighbours and it was something Hinton hadn’t seen in quite some time.
“People just come to your door, that was something I haven’t seen since the 90s. Since we moved into the neighbourhood people just knock on the door and pop by for a visit. It’s nice.” said Hinton.
She has also been part of the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce for the past two years. Hinton joined shortly after she began her new job in Kitimat with Civeo as it helped her connect with the community.
“I really leaned on the chamber for information when I first started as I was new to the community, they were always so helpful,” said Hinton.
She also discovered that Laurel D’Andrea, the Executive director of the chamber was a valuable resource, Hinton describes her as the “Yellow Pages of Kitimat.”
First, with the chamber, she became a director and eventually took on the role of vice-president. Hinton is excited for when people can start gathering again and anticipates eagerly when they can hold their business excellence awards again.
Hinton says she laid some roots in Kitimat and plans to stay in the town and continue to enjoy the outdoors and what the town has to offer.