Off the page and into the world

Bill and Margo McPhail shared a childhood love of reading, which led them to share a lifetime of adventures. Now they are making sure others can pursue their own adventures.

Sydney Tancowny - 14 May 2019

After years of adventure, Margo and Bill McPhail moved to Camrose, Alta., near the U of A's Augustana Campus.


It's Bill who has the wanderlust. Margo swears it. Take the time he quit his teaching job near Edmonton, sold everything and moved the family to a farm east of Stettler, Alta. A decade later, the kids off on their own, Bill McPhail, '90 BEd, uprooted the pair again and moved them to Nanaimo, B.C. "I want to go see what the island is like," he'd told his wife.

At least, that's how Margo McPhail recalls it.

"Itchy feet, that's Bill," she laughs. But it's clear she looks back at those years with fondness. As Bill helps himself to another triple-chocolate cookie at their dining room table, he offers dryly, "Would have been much wiser, financially, if I had stayed teaching." Margo responds quickly: "Pfft …. No. All the things we would have missed!"

Thirty years of marriage. Thirty years of adventures. And an unwavering commitment to support each other's passion for curiosity and learning, no matter where it took them. Today, settled in what they hope to be their forever home in Camrose, Alta., their grandkids nearby, Bill and Margo have decided to help more young people feel that same spark of curiosity.

The pair have lived by the principle that you can learn to do just about anything. For both, the genesis of this philosophy came from the same place - the library.

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