For Caroline Barclay, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park recently became a whole lot more significant.
Over the last few months, Barclay has been at the head of a translation project which would see members of her Filipino-Canadian community in Cochrane and Calgary invited to a one-day free golf cart tour through the ranch presented in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines.
“It was special because first of all, I didn’t know about Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park before. I mean, I heard about it but I hadn’t been there,” Barclay said. “Because I was the one giving the tour, I had to learn as much as possible so I could accurately inform them.”
Barclay was also instrumental in translating the brochure for the tour into Tagalog, which happened last weekend.
“It (was) really hard because some of the words don’t exist like ‘tipi’ – we don’t have tipis in the Philippines,” she said. “I had to get myself acquainted with the place.”
In the Philippines there are more than 100 dialects but Tagalog is the national language. For Barclay, it’s her second language.
She’s been living in Cochrane with her family since September 2016 but has been living in Canada since 2003. Barclay had also lived and worked in Hong Kong for a short time.
“This is definitely home for me,” Barclay said. “Of course a lot of Filipinos actually speak English. (But) sometimes we have our own way of talking to our own people.”
“My friends from Calgary are the ones who came and we had fun. We learned about some animals that I don’t normally know – we don’t have badgers and squirrels in the Philippines.
Barclay, who was a teacher in the Philippines, said she had been working on translating the tour since April.
“It was really important to me to have a perfect translation,” Barclay said.
Within those months, she also learned about Treaty 7 and the history of the First Nations people in the area.
“I believe it’s one of a kind because I was in Montreal (before) and I didn’t see any brochures that was translated in our language or any other language, it’s all French in Montreal,” Barclay said.
“I am personally thankful to the foundation that they gave this opportunity to the immigrants,” she added.
“And that they recognized the Filipino community here and that we’re growing.
Sarah Parker, executive director of Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation, said the tour allowed for participation from those who might not otherwise have the opportunity since the tour usually has an admission fee.
“For a lot of new Canadians there can be financial struggles,” Parker said. “As they get settled spending money on a golf cart tour wasn’t a possibility because, for one, some (might) still be learning English. Also, if they’re getting their kids the proper clothes and their finding jobs and getting set up in their home then spending money on a tour just isn’t really in your scope.”
“There was one man who was visiting from the Philippines so he got to have a tour he would never have been able to have here.”
Parker said while there aren’t more dates for a Tagalog tour at the moment, it is a possibility.
“Everyone was so enthusiastic and found the history fascinating, asked questions, it was really fun,” Parker said. “They had this huge picnic afterwards, which they had cooked corn on the cob, adobo and all these stews and rices and homemade banana bread. It was a great day.”
Parker said the information learned on the guided tour in any language helps people feel more connected to the land.
“You can look out onto the landscape and think ‘it’s pretty,’ but if you know the history and if you know the importance of, let’s say our fescues (flowering plants) here at Glenbow Ranch, and if you understand the ecology of the park and know what makes one species reliant on the other then you’re more likely to feel connected to it and want to protect it,” Parker said.
“That’s ultimately our goal, to educate people to become stewards of this land.”
The tour was one of five set for the summer, the first was Spanish. The next will be July 21 in French, Aug. 11 in Punjabi and Aug. 18 in Arabic. Tours are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and space is limited.
For more information or to register, call (403) 851-9053 or email ExperienceGlenbow@grpf.ca.