“People are so friendly here, that’s what I like the most”

In Our Valley: Katrina Kindrat

Photo of Katrina Kindrat and boyfriend Daniel Boudreau at one of the paint nights (Photo submitted/Katrina Kindrat)

Photo of Katrina Kindrat and boyfriend Daniel Boudreau at one of the paint nights (Photo submitted/Katrina Kindrat)

Katrina Kindrat, 29 was born in Winnipeg, Man., but only spent a brief period of her life in Manitoba’s capital.

Her family moved to Calgary when she was three years old and living there gave Kindrat an opportunity to experience various activities and sports.

“I had lots of opportunities to try different activities and sports,” she said.

She made her way out to the Rockies where she enjoyed hiking, she also enjoyed winter activities such as snowboarding and skiing.

There was another passion that overshadowed sports for her and that was art. Since Kindrat could pick up a paintbrush she has found herself engrossed in the world of art.

“I’ve always been into arts and into artistic stuff so I kept pretty busy with after-school programs and activities,” said Kindrat.

She even began a before-school event with her brother where they would do crafts together.

“Usually in the mornings before school would even start I would have a little craft in the kitchen,” said Kindrat. “My brother and I would wake up around 6 a.m. and I would just teach him a little craft or do something fun before school would start.”

She kept busy with various art activities and school programs while attending Notre Dame high school on the north side of Calgary.

Once finished high school it was time to decide what her next steps are and Kindrat took a year off before heading to a post-secondary school.

She workied at a movie theatre and took a four-month trip with her dad to China. After her dad left, she stayed and then travelled to other countries.

“It was kind of like living on another planet, very busy with lots going on, though I could not speak Mandarin,” said Kindrat.

Kindrat also visited Thailand, Macau, New Zealand and Australia. She compared New Zealand to Kitimat, considering the two very similar.

Her post-secondary journey began when she started the new media production program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

“It was a crash course of the Adobe suites, with a little bit of audio and business on the side,” said Kindrat. “You would learn Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere and Flash.”

She also learned how to build a website in Dreamweaver as well as learning graphic design on the way to completing a two-year diploma.

“I started working as a contractor for doing flash animation for a company in Calgary, within two months of me being hired the company filed for bankruptcy and shut down,” said Kindrat of her first job.

She then began work at Adoption by Choice in Calgary as an executive assistant where she did graphic design along with event planning and other tasks.

“You would see both sides of the stories, of the birth mothers giving up their babies for adoption which was heartbreaking, but also the other side of the adoptive family,” said Kindrat.

She spent over five years with the agency before moving on.

“I wanted to get out because I wanted to pursue my passion,” said Kindrat. “I travelled a little bit after that for another four months to Europe right before COVID hit,” said Kindrat

Throughout her travel, she did a lot of couch surfing as she was one of the couch surfing ambassadors for Calgary. Couch surfing is a worldwide community network where you can either be a host or a surfer. Hosts can have surfers from all over the world come and stay on a couch or a bedroom.

Kindrat stayed with 20 hosts in 12 different countries over four months in the United Kingdom including Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ukraine.

She returned to Calgary and began her own business called Calgary Experiences.

“I wanted to bring people together because we’ve been so separated with COVID, and everyone started to lose friendships and just were depressed and anxious from working from home for a year and a half,” said Kindrat.

She hosted several events a week that ranged from hiking, camping, laser tag, going out to restaurants or even doing wine tasting.

Through her business, she also met her boyfriend, Daniel Boudreau. They first connected on Facebook, however, it was still sometime before the two met in person.

Boudreau attended one of the events put on by Kindrat that had them hiking Ha Ling Mountain.

“I usually invite out everyone for drinks and appetizers after a hike and a few people said ‘yes’ and it turned out that when we went to the actual place, it was just Dan and I so that was kind of like our first date,” said Kindrat.

They remained friends for some time after and eventually it naturally progressed into a relationship. Boudreau got a job in Kitimat and Kindrat came out for a visit and fell in love with the small northern B.C. city. She appreciated how welcoming the town was.

“People are so friendly here I think that’s what I really like about Kitimat the most,” said Kindrat.

Kitimat was also where she was able to launch her business “Artsy Fartsy”.

“I started to do events at the Legion once a week on Thursday and then just branched out from there,” said Kindrat. “It was a huge hit; people absolutely loved it.”

What began as a once-a-week painting event turned into much more as she saw not only her class sizes grow to upwards of 20 people but also her days of the week grow. Kindrat began hosting painting nights far more frequently branching out from just once a week on Thursdays to multiple times a week.

People that are interested in learning how to paint purchase tickets to attend a specific night. The events take place around town not just at the Legion, including Kuldo Restaurant and Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club.

Kindrat teaches the class how to paint using three different sizes of brushes and acrylic paints, black, white and the three primary colours. The class then paints a scene of an animal and at the end of the class, a group photo is taken.

Kindrat says she is very happy with Kitimat and plans to stay.

“Home is wherever you make it,” she says. Her plan is to purchase a home and adopt a dog as she continues to enjoy Kitimat and the natural beauty it has to offer.