I have a unique name, and everyone always pronounces it incorrectly: my name is “Teesh.”  I have deep roots in the city, going all the way back to 1892. I was born and raised in the city’s southwest, and re-located to the central North-East part of Edmonton when I married my wife and started a family. We have a few small businesses that depend on good interaction with community networks and residents. We take older buildings with great character and value, fix them up, and rejuvenate areas with quality-managed properties that attract new business into the central communities of our city. I am very much hands-on in the rejuvenation of mature communities, and like working with my neighbours to make neglected areas of our city, or historically-significant spaces, more desirable and integral into the city’s greater growth strategy.

My love of historical spaces and understanding of different groups of people comes from my studies: I was an archaeologist and supervisor who worked with UNESCO World Heritage Projects in Turkey and Central Asia. Some of them are quite famous: Catalhoyuk, Ancient Merv, Otrar. My work focused on understanding urban landscapes, urban development and systems integration, as well as preservation of historical places in the context of modern development. This gives me a truly unique perspective in our city. It also means that I had to help solve the problems of many different groups of people all wanting different things from the same space. Working abroad gave the opportunity to also learn languages: I speak fluent French and Russian, and have a reasonable working ability with Arabic, Turkish, and German.

I recently was president of Eastwood Community League and helped increase the membership, which has led to a healthier, more stable community. Other societies, who had never considered Edmonton core communities an option for meetings and functions, now use the community regularly. Many recent migrants from abroad, as well as indigenous groups, feel more welcome with this renewed community spirit. I volunteered in London’s inner-city schools, and I bring solutions and perceptions to social problems that we face here to the issues of homelessness and community renewal. Despite business connections and volunteer activities, I really enjoy spending time with friends and family at various places around town, in our spectacular river valley, or just at home in my community with a glass of red wine.