[Early Years] [High School] [University] [Adulthood]

Hi there, this page contains a brief biography of myself: who I am, where I'm from and all of that good stuff. If you want details on my working life, check out my resume. This page contains mostly personal information.

Early Years

Andrew Baxter family photo likely taken early in 1980
I was born on June 8, 1976 in Middleton, Nova Scotia to my parents, Ron and Sharon Baxter. My older brother, Peter, was already 2 when I was born. Before I was old enough to remember, we moved to Chipman, New Brunswick. My little sister, Susan, was born shortly after we moved. We lived in Chipman until I was 10 years old.

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood were from our annual family summer vacations. Most years we would visit Scot's Bay in Nova Scotia. My aunt and uncle have a cottage there, as do my grandparents. At Scot's Bay we always got to visit with family from all over, and it was a beautiful setting for gatherings. We also took a number of trips to Ontario to visit family on dad's side. These trips seemed more special because it was often years since I had seen my "Ontario" cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. In 1988 we took six weeks and drove clear across Canada, visiting and sightseeing along the way.

In Chipman, we lived right beside the church where my father was the minister. Each winter we would flood a portion of the church parking lot to make a small skating rink. We would skate and play hockey with our friends and others from the neighborhood all winter. Dad would frequently put in extra hours to make sure the ice was in good shape for us. As a kid, it was a treat to have the rink so close at hand.

The summer after grade 4, my family moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I now consider Wolfville my "home town", having spent 13 years there. I started grade 5 at Wolfville School, where I stayed until finishing grade 9. In those years, and through high school I delivered newspapers up Westwood Avenue, where our house was, and on the Acadia University campus. When I started the route, I had about 30 papers to deliver each morning. At the height of my "career" I was delivering about 150 papers daily, and I felt like quite a tycoon. My parents were always there to help me if I was sick, or if I had overslept, and once when the newspapers were so thick and heavy that I could not move them all on my own. When I think back on those days, I have no idea how I was able to get up so early each day. These days I am far from a morning person.

For a number of years, much of our free time was spent playing street hockey. Some days Peter and I would play on Westwood Avenue, right in front of our house. Other days, when there was more of a crowd, we would lug our sticks and nets over to the Wolfville School playground to play there. We tried to play on the Acadia Campus, but kept being kicked off by security worried about the damage an errant hockey ball might do. On a recent trip home, I tried my hand at street hockey once again, but found I am not the star athlete I once was. Next time, I will be sure there is an oxygen tank behind the net.

Another obsession at the time, like a lot of kids my age, was collecting baseball and hockey cards. I remember the anticipation of opening up a pack of cards hoping to find a star, and the excitement when you discovered that you had! I kept ledgers detailing the value of my most valuable cards, updating them each month when the new price guide came out, hoping that one day I could retire on the gains made on sports card speculation. Over time I grew tired of my collection, and it now sits in boxes at the back of a closet in my parents house. Some day I will dig it out and see how my investments are doing.

High School

After grade 9, I went to then Horton District High School. Two years earlier, dad had bought us our first PC, and in high school it became my primary pass time. I had gotten a modem for it with money from my paper route, and spent hours dialing into local BBSes. At the time I had only the vaguest idea of what the Internet was, and had never heard the term "e-mail". I mostly played games, downloaded the shareware that was available and left messages on the discussion boards. Many of the people I met on the BBSes I would never meet in real life.

Andrew Baxter working on a computer
Near the end of grade 11, I had saved enough through delivering papers to buy my own computer. I got my Uncle Dan to buy it in Ontario (because they were cheaper there) and send it down with my Aunt Susan and cousin Cathy when they came for a visit on March Break. It was a 33 MHz 486 with a VGA monitor, a 40 meg hard drive and 1 meg of RAM. It was awesome. It saw me through university and beyond. Ten years after I first got it, I finally gave it away to some young kids who needed it a lot more than I did.

It was on this computer that I built the foundation on which stands everything I know about computers. It wasn't long before I was opening it up and discovering how the hardware worked. By the time I was through university, the only original parts left in the computer were the case and the floppy disk drive. It also saw me through DOS, Windows 95 and Windows NT, as well as my first installation of Linux. I used the modem I installed in it to dial in to the internet for the first time, and later on I installed my first ethernet card in this computer, connecting it to the network at Acadia University through a small hole I had discreetly drilled through a wall at the BAC.

In high school, despite "wasting" much of my free time on the computer, I did well academically. I was on the honour roll, and placed highly in a number of mathematics competitions. In grade 12, I was on the winning team for the Kings County Team Mathematics Competition. In grade 11 I made an unsuccessful bid for the student council presidency. I also didn't make the cut for the rugby team 2 years running. Since politics and athletics didn't seem to be my calling, I had to concentrate my efforts on establishing myself as a geek.


Andrew Baxter grad photo 1998 BBA
After high school, I went on to Acadia University. I enrolled in the recently established Business with Computer Science program, which seemed to be a perfect match for me. I found the business courses quite easy, and later on would shift to primarily computer science and math courses to keep my mind from withering away to nothing. About halfway through my degree, I realized that I had accumulated enough extra credits that I could easily earn another degree, in Economics, with only 1 extra year of university. Since I had no idea what I wanted to do after school, I acted on this option and in 5 years at Acadia I had earned two degrees covering three majors.

I quit my paper route three days before classes started in my first year. I started working at the campus meal hall the same day I quit my paper route. I worked there for the better part of two years, and I really enjoyed it. If they had paid more than minimum wage, I might still be there. Alas, they did not. I started working in the computer labs in my third year, teaching and supporting users. I also did various TA jobs and did a lot of work for the Acadia Advantage when it was getting started up.

During university, I established myself as a "regular" at The Coffee Merchant. It was here that people would seek me out because it was the most likely place to find me. It was here that my life-long love of coffee was born and nurtured. It was here I would do most of my work and studying. I still go back to visit every time I go home, and recently I was happy to discover that they have added a charming local pub on the second floor.


In April 1999, when I had finished my Economics degree, I left Wolfville and set my sights on the wild west town of Calgary. When I first arrived I did some technical schooling, and after that got my first "real job" with EDS Canada as a desktop support technician. More recently I have become the IT Manager for a small financial company here in Calgary, which has provided me many exciting challenges.

I have been in Calgary for several years now and have come to enjoy many aspects of living in the city. In the summer I enjoy taking trips to the many nearby national and provincial parks for hiking and camping. I also enjoy the variety of cultural events that are available here. I have taken up golf in the past few years, and the city has some very affordable courses to play on. Of course, life in Calgary would not be the same without the Calgary Stampede!

The hardest part about living here is being so far away from my family back in Nova Scotia. I try to get back each year for a visit, and I cherish the time that I get to spend with my family while I am there. I have made many friends here in Calgary, but I don't think it will ever be "home".

A few years ago, while half asleep in front of the TV, I saw an ad for a wine making shop that was having a sale on "everything you needed to make wine". Perhaps in my semi-conscious state I was more vulnerable to the power of suggestion, so I went out that weekend and bought the kit. Since then I have come to enjoy the art of wine and beer making, frequently having a batch blurping and fizzing away. I have had a few great successes, and a few miserable failures, but it is always an interesting process.

Andrew Baxter took this photo of a cyclamen
I have also taken up photography as a hobby recently. I started with a digital camera, which was nice because I could take hundreds of pictures and not worry about the cost of development. After awhile, in a move that shocked the world, I spurned digital and switched to a film-based camera. I took an introductory photography course, and have been snapping away off and on ever since. It is an enjoyable hobby, and one that is easily integrated into other activities that I enjoy. In 2004, I submitted a photo to the Acadia Art Gallery's "Student, Alumni, and Faculty" art show. It was a picture of a cyclamen flower that I had taken while testing a new macro lens. It was the first time that I showed one of my pictures in public. It now hangs on my parent's living room wall.

This is all I have to say about myself for now. I hope you enjoyed reading about my life. If you would like more information on anything, or to get to know me better, please write to the e-mail address below.

E-mail comments to andrew@gobaxter.com