Lighting the Way

McKee Homes, a long-time partner of Genesis Land, gives back to the community in a variety of inspiring ways.

At Genesis Land, we’re proud to partner with homebuilders who are deeply committed to giving back to the places they build in. Among these partners is Airdrie-based McKee Homes.

For more than 35 years, McKee has played an instrumental role in helping the City of Airdrie grow and thrive — not just by creating exceptional homes, but through charitable donations, unique programs and philanthropic initiatives that serve to strengthen, support and enhance the greater community.

“It’s one thing my grandpa really believed in,” says Ryan Doel, the sales and marketing manager at McKee Homes and grandson to the late Martin McKee, who founded the company in 1987. “My grandpa used to say that it would be a poor show if we couldn’t help [the community] a little. So it’s something we always try to focus on.”

From monthly donations to the Airdrie Food Bank, to ongoing support for Community Links, to company initiatives like the Martin McKee Memorial Golf Tournament, the team at McKee Homes is passionate about building a better quality of life for the people of Airdrie all year round. And, during this particular time of year, the company takes a lot of joy in sponsoring one of the city’s most beloved annual events: the Airdrie Festival of Lights.

Launched in 1996 and located in Airdrie’s Nose Creek Park, the Airdrie Festival of Lights is the largest outdoor walk-through light display in Western Canada. More than 70,000 visitors take in the glittering lights and festive exhibits each year.

“It’s really awesome,” says Doel. “There are mini trains that can take you around [from display to display], there’s hot chocolate, campfires, skating, and then all the lights. The festival is such a good way to get families out for some fun in the winter.”

This year, McKee Homes is sponsoring the festival’s Twelve Days of Christmas display, but that’s not all — just as it has done in past years, the company is also lending hands-on support to the festival via its Building Futures program. McKee initiated this program in 2013 in partnership with the Rocky View School Division as a way to help youth in the community learn how to build a new home from the ground up.

“Grade 10 students in our Building Futures program do their entire curriculum on our job sites while also learning about construction, learning about mortgages and financing, and working directly with our trades to physically build a new home that McKee will eventually sell once it’s completed,” explains Doel of the immersive, one-year program that helps teens learn practical skills while giving back to their community.

In addition to building a home, students in the Building Futures program also help with the setup of the Festival of Lights, including restringing lights, painting displays and, when necessary, making use of their burgeoning construction talents.

“Often the students have to put their newfound tool skills and planning skills to the test when repairing or rebuilding some of the displays,” says Doel, who adds that staff members at McKee Homes have also been keen to volunteer their time in helping with the setup over the years, and that many of his colleagues make it a priority to visit the festival each year with their family and friends.

“Most of our staff live right here in Airdrie,” says Doel. “We all understand that this festival is a big, important community event, and we like to get out there and participate. It’s a great initiative to be a part of.”

The Airdrie Festival of Lights runs from December 1 to 31 and is open from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. For more information, visit the festival’s website.