ProCura Real Estate Services
Photography by Constantine Tanasiuk
WHY SHE'S A TOP 40: She has a big influence on developments that are changing Edmonton's landscape. She's also a powerhouse of fresh ideas for community leagues.
KEY TO HER SUCCESS: "A lot of years of hard work. There's no quick way, there's no shortcut. You have to roll up the sleeves and get to it. I think that's one of the key things I learned while growing up on the farm."
When Tegan Martin-Drysdale describes the numerous development projects Edmontonians should look forward to — restructuring the Rossdale area, the possibility of Expo 2017, plans for the municipal airport lands, the LRT expansion — her passion for envisioning a bright, sustainable and smart landscape is infectious.
That urban spirit came partly from travelling in Ireland, France and Italy. "In Europe, they have cafes and grocery stores that are so accessible and within walking distance of each other. That creates a sense of community," she says. "It creates a place where people can spend their time and get to know their neighbours. They're not just passing each other at the ends of their driveways."
The experience made her want to take charge and get involved with the growth of a major Canadian city. Soon after returning from Europe in 2008, she left her job in Calgary as a structural project engineer with Read Jones Christoffersen and started with Edmonton's ProCura, a real estate company spearheading some major developments in the city, such as the Mayfair Village apartments on Jasper and 109th Street.
Not only is Martin-Drysdale overseeing plans for some of the city's newest structures, she is also influencing other residential and commercial projects through her volunteer post as co-chair of the Special Projects Working Group at Next Gen, the City's think-tank of people under 40.
"This is a very exciting time to be in Edmonton," she says. She points to revitalization plans for the Quarters area and asks: "How many other cites in North America have an area that's at the doorstep of the downtown core that isn't already developed?"
With all her enthusiasm for the future, she also wears a big grin when she talks about existing structures like her century-old brick house in Riverdale, with all the original mouldings and a great view of the river valley. And although her industry is often seen to promote big changes through new development, Martin-Drysdale works with community leagues to promote more sustainable mature neighbourhoods.
She is sustainability director for her own community league in Riverdale and heads up Next Gen's Edmonton Community Challenge, a friendly competition where neighbourhoods gain points for participating in local events that highlight ecological efforts, such as bike repair drives and sidewalk cleanups, and raise funds for local charities such as the Youth Emergency Shelter Society.
"I appreciate the need for towers and I agree with densified communities. But I also think that at the streetscape, where you have the interaction between the pedestrians and the buildings, it's so important to keep the character, the history and the sense of community that's already existing there."