Anyone who has passed through Stettler or has lived in the town will know of Bloke’s Bakery, started by Floris Blokland, a much-loved baker and community member.
This past Monday, June 12, marked his first death anniversary and earlier in the month, his daughter, Winnie Bissett, also the executive director of Heartland Youth Centre, and one of his sons, Emile Blokland, presented the $25,000-cheque to town councillor, Darcy Bachman.
Moving to Stettler in 1966, Floris Blokland and wife Mary made it their home, along with three kids – Rocky, Emile and Winnie.
That same year, they bought over Reg’s Bake Shop and changed the name to Bloke’s Bakery Bakes Better, from which the legendary cream johns, long johns and Dutch pastries became well known.
In 1982, Emile purchased the bakery and ran it with family recipes till 1992.
Floris’s other son, Rocky owns Rocky’s Bakery in Strathmore and while growing up all three kids have worked at the bakery.
“Dad’s reason for leaving the donation to the Town was in recognition of his appreciation for the community’s support of his business over the years,” said Winnie Bissett. “He felt strongly for the town and believed that Stettler was a beautiful and vibrant community to live in.”
Bissett said that after their mother passed away, Floris gave some money to the Town to make a small park area by the skateboard park.
“The park needs some care so I have asked dad’s neighbour Karin Phibbs to lead a work bee to spruce the park up,” Bissett added. “Dad and Karin and Gerry Phibbs shared a love for gardening and yard work and just liked to visit!”
Speaking of Floris Blokland, Karin Phibbs said, “Floris was an amazing gardener, he kept his yard beautiful. From gardening to helping out with his fish pond to making shortbread cookies at Christmas, especially making cookies, it was a very special time, and we have wonderful memories.”
Bissett added that when Floris retired, he spent his time fishing and gardening.
“Years ago there was a trophy sponsored by the Stettler Independent for the Yard of the Year and Dad won that a few times,” Bissett recalled. “He was very proud and passionate about his gardening and yard work. We have many funny stories about dad’s passion for his yard – including sinking his fishing boat in Buffalo Lake because he loaded it up with too many big rocks for the yard!”
Kelsey Bissett, Floris’s granddaughter has inherited her Opa’s love of fishing, according to Bissett.
“I am slowly learning about gardening, although at a much slower pace and small er scale,” Bissett added.