Page 1

The Calgary


April 2014 FREE

Reporting on the people, issues and events that shape our city

Below Grade Our secondary

suite investigation pages 6-17

One-on-one with Nenshi on secondary suites

6 simple steps to make sushi at home

Martial arts prodigy dominates the sport of Wushu




THIS ISSUE April 2014

Special investigation issue

Editor-in-Chief LISA TAYLOR

Pages 6-17

Design Editor April Lamb Photo Editors Larissa Pinhal Justin Wilson Front of Book Editor Jodi Egan Copy Editor Danny Luong City Editors Roxanne Blackwell Paulina Liwski

The faces of Calgary’s secondary suites Pages 10-17

Opinion Editor Olivia Grecu

What makes a fishing rod cost thousands of dollars?

Arts & Entertainment EditorS Lydia Dedora Donella Swan Justin Wilson Profile Editor Joel Dryden

Page 26

Top illustration by Jodi Egan/CJ. Left bottom photo by Hannah Kost/CJ. Right bottom photo provided by Ugo Crecco.

City Page 5 | Struggling Calgarians

line up

CAlgary secondary suite investigation Page 6 | Inside secondary suites Page 7 | Politics of secondary

suites: ‘unfair, immoral, unethical’ Mayor Nenshi says Page 8 | Secondary suites? There’s an appeal for that!

“We didn’t really have a choice... even places you wouldn’t blink twice at were asking for perfect credit and outrageous deposits because they could.” Page 13 Page 10 | It’s a living. The faces of

Calgary’s secondary suites


THE LENS Page 18 | Nature Unleashed

connects global disasters to Calgary

OPINION Page 20 | Animal activists are

‘weeds’ to rodeo lifestyle

Local rodeo participant says activists threaten her lifestyle Page 20

FOOD Page 24 | DIY Sushi

Learn to make sushi at home! Page 24


Living, Trends & Food EditorS Deja Leonard Erica Pollock Sports EditorS Geoff Crane QuintOn Amundson Supervising Editors Janice Paskey PH: (403) 440-8744 jpaskey@mtroyal.ca Sally Haney PH: (403) 462-9086 shaney@mtroyal.ca Production & Advertising Brad Simm ph: (403) 440-6946

Page 26 | Retired accountant

crafts art in the form of bamboo fly fishing rods Page 28 | Paco Huang: World champion in the making

The Calgary Journal reports on the people, issues and events that shape our city. It is produced by journalism students at Mount Royal University.

A&E Page 22 | No ‘Intermission’ for

FOLLOW US ONLINE: @calgaryjournal facebook.com/CalgaryJournal calgaryjournal.ca

Daniel Libman

Page 23 | Listings & events

Cover design by April Lamb Cover photo by Calgary Journal

CONTACT THE JOURNAL: eic@cjournal.ca

CALGARY IN BRIEF Q&A: Mike’s bloggity blog

Streeters “How should the city combat the low vacancy rate?”


Mike Morrison

Photo courtesy of Nick Blakeney

CJ: What gave you the idea to start a blog? MM: When I started eight years ago, I always loved writing and the blog was an evolution of my writing. I have lots of family back home in New Brunswick, so I was keeping them up to date with (my) life because there was no Facebook or anything like that. CJ: What’s your fascination with Canadian entertainment? MM: I started writing about it because I thought nobody else was, at least not in a positive way. Plus, Canadian talent needs as much support as it can get. CJ: What do you love about Calgary? MM: I honestly think everyone gets a fair shot here. It’s not so much who you know, it’s how hard you work. When I first started out I just kept asking people to meet for coffee and almost everyone said yes. I don’t think that would have happened in other cities!

“If the city focuses on better transit and bike paths for the edge of the city, people could live further away.” Elaine lam

“As a property owner, I like low vacancy rates but I like the idea of allowing more basement suites.” Byron Robb

Read more: p. 6

“(The city) needs to invest a lot more in lowincome housing in the downtown core.” Judy rodseth

“I’m new here, but I think (the city) should provide more low-income housing units.” Mark Canonigo All photos by Jodi Egan/Calgary Journal

Food of the month: sushi rolls Edo Japan

Yume Sushi

Joey Restaurants

I don’t have much to say about the California rolls that Edo Japan offers, other than they are out of this world — and by out of this world, I mean that they are not fit for consumption from life forms on planet Earth because they are so awful. Cold rice, and next to no flavour, these rolls are not cheap, nor good. There’s literally nothing more you need to read from me about these California rolls.




Yume roll, $8.50. Review by Jodi Egan. Photo by Jodi egan/calgary journal

California roll, $4.29. Review by Danny Luong. Photo by Danny luong/calgary journal 3

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Almost every sushi restaurant has their own, unique roll to differentiate themselves from the competition. The Yume roll from Yume Sushi is a sweet and fresh take on the traditional California roll. Not only does it have the traditional salmon roe, rice, crab and avocado, this roll also sports a slab of salmon, mango and sweet mayo. It doesn’t have an intense taste — instead, the fresh and fruity accents softens that fishy flavour squeamish patrons don’t appreciate.

Joey’s rainbow roll sushi quite literally melts in your mouth, and it’s not a good thing. The presentation is quite stunning, and it looks to be a delicious roll, but after popping a piece of the sushi in your mouth you will be sorely disappointed. It’s not that it tastes bad, nor would I say it’s good. It’s more of a texture issue. Somehow the roll tastes wet, and as soon as you put it in your mouth, it seems to dissolve. This roll would be good if your jaw hurts or if you’re not particularly skilled at chewing. Grade:


Rainbow roll, $14.25. Review by April Lamb. Photo by Jodi egan/calgary journal

NEWS IN BRIEF City council meetings April 1 April 2 April 3 April 7 April 8 April 9 April 10 April 11 April 14 April 15 April 16 April 17 April 22 April 23 April 24 April 25 April 28 April 30

9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:30 am 9:30 a.m.

redford resigns

Priorities & Finance Committee Standing Policy Committee on Community & Protective Services Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Regular Meeting of Council Priorities & Finance Committee Standing Policy Committee on Planning & Urban Development Gas, Power & Telecommunications Committee Calgary Heritage Authority Combined Public Hearing & Regular Meeting on Council Access Calgary Eligibility Appeal Board Standing Policy Committee on Transportation & Transit Audit Committee Priorities & Finance Committee Standing Policy Committee on Utilities & Corporate Services Land & Asset Strategy Committee Calgary Housing Company Regular Meeting of Council Emergency Management Committee

Crime: communities with the most home break-ins Reported incidents in 2013

Martindale: 59 Falconridge: 77

CJ Reporter Scott Kingsmith: You and I have talked about women in politics and how they can be viewed as shrill and bossy, where men are seen as passionate and assertive. How do you think that played into this situation? Lori Williams: “Some elements of this coup … are at least partly about gender. Len Webber, for whatever reason or collection of reasons, may have left the party feeling disgruntled that he was not included in her cabinet, not feeling like he had the kind of influence or kind of input that he wanted to have, made a comment about her being a bully — having a bad temper and not being a nice lady. Now let’s change the language from lady to man and that’s not the type of comment you would expect. We see lots of leaders historically who have not been calm, they have been quite passionate and certainly some might have even described them as bullies.” Read more at www.calgaryjournal.ca

Calgary journal online

Whitehorn: 74

Editor’s picks Redford resigns: Calgary Journal covers reactions and implications of our former premier’s departure

Rundle: 57

Illustration by Jodi Egan/calgary journal

Photo courtesy of Alison Redford

nenshi tweets

Huntington Hills: 63

Forest Lawn: 66

Q&A with political analyst Lori Williams

Penbrooke Meadows: 64

Source: Calgary Police Service

Secondary suites: Investigating the rules and people behind the controversy Fur protesters take to streets [video]: Canada Goose jackets under fire for coyote trim Medical marijuana users and growers upset with Ottawa’s new pot policy [video]: Changes will see grow-op licenses revoked, prices more than double calgaryjournal.ca

APR 2014



Struggling Calgarians line up Applying for Alberta Works government social assistance means a cold wait outside as no appointments are taken and people may be turned away

Photo by jessica BRADY/Calgary journal

A man with three young children waits outside of One Executive Place on Feb. 12 in the cold to apply for social assistance. Jessica Brady jbrady@cjournal.ca


t’s too cold and I have cancer!” A man hollers from the front of a 20-person line up outside One Executive Place — a building on Crowchild Trail where the Alberta government rents space. Every day, struggling Calgarians line up to apply for a government income support program called Alberta Works, where they sometimes have to wait outside in sub-zero temperatures. People are frustrated with standing outside before the building opens. Government employees review each application, says Brenda Wadey, spokesperson for Alberta Human Services. Recipients have to line up to be given an appointment time for the day, which is handed out on a first-come, firstserve basis. At that appointment, they meet to discuss their financial needs. According to Alberta Works, qualified applicants may receive $635 per month for a single person. Single parents can expect about $880 per month under two conditions; they have no main income source and qualify for income support. One potential recipient was a man who loudly complained about the -12 C degree weather

during the early morning of Jan. 6. He refused to give his name, but says he has been waiting in the cold since 6:30 a.m. He reminded The Calgary Journal and fellow applicants: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” If applicants don’t get there early, they might not get seen by the administration, and would have to come back again. The government declined to comment on how many people they see in one day.

“Sometimes it’s a matter of managing the volumes” Brenda Wadey, Spokesperson for Alberta Human Services

Calgary has had severe winter weather in 2014. January saw an average low of -9 C, while February had an average low of -17 C and in March it was -14 C. Applicants are not necessarily allowed to wait indoors before the building opens. Therefore, it is up to the building security at One Executive Place. On the morning of Jan. 28 it was -11 C at 6

a.m. When The Calgary Journal arrived around 8 a.m., the security guard had already allowed some people and children to come inside the building. The front foyer was filled. The guard, who cannot be named for security reasons, says, “It’s a little colder, so I’m going to do that. If it weren’t for the fact that there is a considerable amount of wind, I wouldn’t do that. They have to wait till 8:15 a.m.” At 8:15 a.m., a security guard tells applicants they can start entering the elevator to head up to Level 3 to make their appointments for that day. Before everyone goes up, a man is turned away because there are already too many people ahead of him. He yells that he has been turned away three days in a row and leaves angrily. Wadey would not confirm whether applicants were turned away after waiting in line because of a limited number of spaces. Cassandra Kellar also waited outside on cold mornings to make her appointments. Kellar says, “I have fibromyalgia and I broke my back four years ago in a car accident.” She adds, “I wish we could go inside and sit down on cold days, It’s ridiculous.” She says she’s had to reapply at least 10 times due to her situation and every time she had to stand in line outside just to get an appointment. Over three days in January, The Calgary Journal handed out an anonymous survey to people waiting in line and the line ranged from 15 to 20 people. A total of 26 people took the survey and 23 agreed with the following: “I wish there was a warmer place to wait” and “I wish there was somewhere to sit while waiting for an appointment.” Wadey says she couldn’t comment about the line up outside of One Executive Place, saying, “Sometimes it’s a matter of managing the volumes.” Wadey says the government doesn’t do prebooked appointments: “We work on a first-come first-serve system for the initial meeting.” She adds that the building is owned by Great-West Life. “So you should contact Great-West Life.” In an email, Libbie Jennings, a spokesperson for Great-West Life stated, “While we understand the situation and empathize with those affected, the building is not in a position to safely accommodate both large groups and the needs of visitors and tenants before the building opens. We appreciate that this has been a particularly cold winter. We applaud the Commissionaire’s compassion and support him continuing to use his judgement on an exception basis.” calgaryjournal.ca

APR 2014


Calgary Secondary suite investigation

illustration by jodi egan/ Calgary Journal

Our 12-page investigation exposes affordable housing challenges Alyssa Quirico aquirico@cjournal.ca


he City of Calgary defines a secondary suite as “a self-contained living space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen located within or on the same property as a single family home.” They’re often referred to as basement suites or mother-in-law suites. Secondary suites can act as supplemented income for homeowners to help pay a mortgage or can provide a living space for a family member, for example. But according to the Calgary Homeless Foundation, those who rent secondary suites do so because they’re affordable. According to the Foundation, 84 per cent of Calgarians support the development of new secondary suites and 85 per cent support the legalization of existing ones. Currently, in order to develop a legal secondary suite, the neighbourhood must be zoned to allow for them. If not, the homeowner must apply to the City of Calgary Development Authority for a new zoning permit and ensure that the building and property meet very specific requirements, such as a maximum width, separate furnaces, entrances, etc. 6

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However, worries around lack of parking, renters’ behaviours and privacy for homeowners have led to a “not in my backyard” attitude for many — particularly in older, established neighbourhoods. Neighbours can appeal the development of a secondary suite to the City of Calgary Subdivision and Appeal Board if they don’t want one in their neighbourhood or feel it should be changed somehow. If a homeowner’s application for development of a suite is denied by the Development Authority, they can also file an appeal to the board. Since he was first elected in 2010, Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been trying to calm Calgarians’ fears around allowing legal secondary suites across the city to open up the tight rental market to more affordable housing. The goal to allow secondary suites in all Calgary neighbourhoods has been at the top of the mayor’s list of 12 better ideas for Calgary since his first campaign. Mayor Nenshi argues this will provide more affordable housing for all Calgarians, helping to open the rental market, reduce Calgary’s high cost of living, decrease the number of homeless and help the economy grow. The mayor believes Calgary has 30,000 to 50,000 illegal suites. He says that legalizing suites across

the city would make them safer for residents, as they would be more closely regulated. Currently, the City says it only investigates illegal secondary suites when a complaint is filed. Even though the mayor has been unsuccessful so far in winning over the majority vote in council to change the Land Use Bylaw to allow secondary suites across the city, he has made some strides on the issue. All new communities, such as Auburn Bay in S.E. Calgary, are now zoned for secondary suites. The approval time for development of a secondary suite in neighbourhoods already zoned for them has been brought down to 20 days from 100, according to the mayor’s website. However, getting approval is still difficult, especially since the majority of Calgary neighbourhoods aren’t zoned for secondary suites. Building codes and land use laws also add to the difficulties. Some argue; however, that there needs to be conditions in place regarding where and how secondary suites are built. Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu, for example, says he supports them only if the homeowner gets approval from neighbours and the suites meet safety codes. Another common argument is that that they should only be legalized in high density neighbourhoods, like those nearby LRT stations and post-secondary institutions.

Find more at calgaryJournal.ca

Politics of secondary suites: ‘unfair, immoral, unethical’ Mayor Nenshi says

Despite a punishing 1.3 per cent vacancy rate in Calgary, the city’s mayor can’t convince city council to get on board with secondary suites Alyssa Quirico aquirico@cjournal.ca


he Calgary Journal caught up with Mayor Naheed Nenshi on Feb. 24 at City Hall to talk about where the secondary suite issue is headed.

CJ: What’s happening now? NN: We’ve got a new report coming out either this summer or early this fall, which is going to look at the issue of affordable housing more broadly. And I’m hopeful that there will be some recommendations in there around secondary suites that council will have to face. CJ: What does affordable housing mean to you? NN: Well quite bluntly, everyone in the city should have a safe and a decent place to live. And the problem we have right now is that the supply of rental housing and entry-level housing has not kept pace with the demand. As a result, a lot of folks find that they can’t afford to live in rental accommodation because there’s not enough of it. Because of that, you get more and more people seeking subsidized housing and there’s a ripple effect throughout the whole system. People who are homeless can’t get into affordable housing; people who are in affordable housing can’t graduate to market-level (rental) housing; people who should be in market-level housing are looking for government subsidized housing. The whole thing needs to be cleared up with that basic principle that everyone deserves a safe, decent place to live. CJ: Why has there been such a standstill in council on the issue of secondary suites? NN: Pure politics. The system we have right now is broken — it’s unfair, it’s immoral and it’s unethical. But a lot of folks, a lot of politicians and people on council, have a lot of trouble seeing beyond the idea that somehow allowing secondary suites — which exist anyway — to be regulated, will somehow change the nature of existing communities. Council really has to get over the politics and really has to think hard about making solutions here because the situation we have right now is ridiculous. CJ: What do you say to some people who say secondary suites don’t fit the culture of their community? NN: They’re in every single community today. We know they’re in every single community today. Many of the arguments against secondary suites are in fact arguments against renters. But here’s the thing, I could rent my house tomorrow to the university fraternity and that’s totally legal. So why is it illegal for me to rent out a room that has its own kitchen? It’s completely illogical. We have to make sure that every neighbourhood is welcoming to everyone.

photo courtesy of calgarymayor.ca


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e inquired into the on-going battle over secondary suites at the appeals board and found conflict between neighbours and suite owners. A secondary suite is an apartment in a home or above a home’s garage. For a secondary suite to go ahead, it needs to meet a host of regulations governing size and parking to get a city development permit. A homeowner can appeal if denied a suite, and neighbours can also appeal if a suite is approved. The Subdivision and Development Appeal Board heard 20 secondary-suite appeals over four years. Here’s how things were decided at the ground level.

Finding 1: Neighbours are most likely to appeal


Neighbours initiated 11 of 20 appeals to overturn a secondary-suite approval. Homeowners initiated 9 of 20 appeals to reverse the denial of a decision.


Finding 3: Neighbour appeals are most likely to be successful


10 of 11 neighbour appeals were successful. They resulted in either overturning the suite’s original approval (4/11) or obtaining conditions more favourable to neighbours (6/11). Only one neighbour appeal failed to prevent the suite from going ahead as is.

Finding 2: Parking and privacy topped the reasons for neighbours’ appeals Neighbours don’t want to compete for street parking and they don’t want to be peered at from the suites.

Finding 4: Homeowners were rarely successful in appealing denied suites Only 1 of 8 homeowners were able to get their secondary suite approved once it had been denied.

Finding 5: Community associations seem to have influence on the appeal process Of the four appeals involving community associations, three managed to get their way and deny a secondary suite or have conditions attached to it. The Crescent Heights Community Association (N.W.) argued it didn’t support any relaxations, or rule bending for a secondary suite leading to a denial. The Bowness Community Association (N.W.) wanted a denied suite to stay denied. It did. The


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Parkdale Community Association (N.W.) obtained conditions for a garage suite — the first in the neighbourhood. Only the Abbeydale Community Association (N.E.) backed a homeowner who was still denied the right to a suite. Beyond parking and privacy, two community associations mentioned threat to neighbourhood aesthetics as a concern.

Find more at calgaryJournal.ca

Finding 6: Lawyers and representatives weren’t necessarily helpful during the appeal process Of the 20 appeals, five cases — 3 homeowners and 2 neighbours ­— had a lawyer or representative present for the proceedings. These included Geoffrey Horne, Peter Schryvers, Doug Badke and Mike Macdonald. Only consultant Doug Badke had a successful appeal for his neighbour clients (Scotiabank tried to talk at one appeal but was dismissed as not relevant).

Finding 8: Where the suite is, matters

Finding 7: Garage suites were more likely to be approved upon appeal than in-house suites


We found 4 of 6 garage suites were approved (0 approved; 2 denied; 4 approved with conditions).

4 of 14 in-home suites were approved (1 approved; 10 denied; 3 approved with conditions).

9 Appeals 44% Denied 4 Appeals 50% Denied

The N.W. is more likely to appeal and to get suites denied. Suites in Calgary’s N.W. quadrant drew most of the city’s secondarysuite appeals (9 in total). Of these, 5 appeals saw the suites go ahead, and 4 saw them denied. The S.W. (4 in total) had 2 approvals and 2 denials. The N.E. (4 in total) had 2 approvals and 2 denials. The S.E. (3 in total) had 1 approval and 2 denials.

4 Appeals 50% Denied

3 Appeals 60% Denied

Finding 9: The number of secondary suite appeals rose over the four years examined

Finding 10: Appeals were spread across 18 neighbourhoods

2013 had the most appeals (7) of all years studied (2010 to 2013) — 2 were approved while 5 suites were denied.

Of the 20 appeals analyzed, 18 were from separate neighbourhoods. The communities of Chaparral and Renfrew had 2 appeals each.

OUR METHODOLOGY We contacted the City of Calgary and asked for all Subdivision and Development Appeal Board decisions with the words “secondary suite” in the subject line for the years Mayor Nenshi was elected (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). 20 appeals were provided. We wanted to know: who appeals the suites and what factors result in denial and approval of them?


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It’s a Living

Though these secondary suite dwellers deal with narrow spaces, steep stairs, low ceilings, mould and views few desire, owners and renters are grateful for affordable housing in an extremely tough and expensive Calgary housing market


“(There is) a lot of random furniture thrown into a small space with very low ceilings, so it’s nearly impossible to make it look uncluttered and open,” says Isabelle Jackson in her living room.


sabelle Jackson pays $750 a month for a one-bedroom secondary suite in West Hillhurst. “It’s the most affordable option for me,” Jackson says. “I can live in the inner city, which means an easier commute since I work at one end of Calgary and go to school in the other.” Jackson says that while she likes her living space, a basement suite isn’t without its drawbacks. “I get so little sunlight that I’m extremely vitamin D deficient.” Story and Photos by Hannah kost/Calgary Journal

Jackson makes her way down the steep stairs leading into her secondary suite. Jackson pays $750 a month for a onebedroom secondary suite in West Hillhurst. 10

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Jackson reaches for coffee among the clutter of her small kitchen; every surface and shelf is occupied.

Find more at calgaryJournal.ca


amantha Fraser is a student at The University of Calgary. She rents this attic suite inside a Mission house for $1,000 per month, which includes her utilities. It is one of four separate units in the house, where a total of eight people live. Her space also includes a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area. It’s about 500 sq feet and she found it listed on kijiji. “It’s definitely a unique space and it goes to show you really can make any space your own,” she says, adding that she enjoys the intimacy of her small living area. She says that there is a strong sense of camaraderie in the house. “Things like yard work and snow removal become communal,” Fraser says. “It’s nice to know that things are taken care of.”

Story and Photos by Olivia Grecu/Calgary Journal

ATTIC FANATIC These stairs lead down to the door which separates Sam Fraser’s attic space from the rest of the house, which contains three other separate suites.

Fraser demonstrates the tiny size of the shower of her Mission secondary suite.

A unique nook off of the kitchen area in Fraser’s attic apartment makes for a cozy place where she can read and drink coffee. calgaryjournal.ca

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downstairs dweller Daniel Desjarlais says his kitchen space is limited even though he only shares his suite with one other person. Because the space is so limited, things pile up quickly and lead to messes being created daily.


aniel Desjarlais currently resides in a non-conforming basement suite that he found through the website Reddit using the Calgary subforum. He pays $450 a month for rent and has access to a kitchen that is also located in the basement.

Story and Photos by Danny Luong/Calgary Journal

Junk and debris fill a room inside of a basement suite located in Capitol Hill. A bed frame and various other pieces of destroyed furniture can be seen as part of the damage caused by a flooded basement. Desjarlais surveys the debris leftover from when his basement suite was flooded due to a pipe bursting. 12

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Find more at calgaryJournal.ca


akeup artist Alannah Hutchings, 23, has been renting this small basement suite for $1,195 per month in North Glenmore with her brother since September 2013. After leaving a roomy townhouse she shared with a friend just before the summer of 2013, she stayed with her parents for a few months until she and her brother were able to find this secondary suite. Unfortunately, they were searching for rental properties right after the June floods when availability was tight and prices skyrocketed. Hutchings says, “We didn’t really have a choice... even places you wouldn’t blink twice at were asking for perfect credit and outrageous deposits because they could—because everyone was looking for a place to live.” She says landlords at that time seemed to have the upper hand in picking renters. “We would have stayed anywhere at that point,” Hutchings says.

THE MAKEUP ARTIST Makeup artist Alannah Hutchings touches up her mascara in the small bathroom she shares with her brother in their basement suite. She says after living there for about seven months, the lack of space is getting to her. She plans to move in May to the suburbs of Silverado in S.W. Calgary, located just past Spruce Meadows. The location is less convenient, but she will have the luxury of sharing a whole home with only one other person.

Hutchings watches TV on her laptop in the living room of her North Glenmore basement suite she shares with her brother. A small window above the dining room lets in just a bit of light. She says lack of open air makes the suite stuffy, so she tries to open the few windows there are to air the space out every now and then. They pay $1,195 per month for this twobedroom, one-bathroom suite.

She’s unsure if the suite is fully legal. She adds that although the location and access to amenities is nice, the suite’s small size of roughly 475 sq. feet and chilly environment is getting to her. Her brother plans to stay in the suite and get another roommate when Hutchings moves in May to Silverado in the far S.W. corner to live with a friend who just purchased a home there.

Story and Photos by Alyssa Quirico/Calgary Journal

In Hutchings’ basement suite, the kitchen and dining area is relatively spacious in comparison to the whole suite, taking up about half the living space. However, Hutchings moved here from a townhouse where she said she had ample space. She says downsizing and adjusting to not having certain amenities like a dishwasher has been tough. Even with only two people, in a small space the dishes pile up quickly, she says.


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enae and her boyfriend Mike share a suite in Bowness. It may be crowded, but it has in-suite laundry, a fully equipped kitchen, and a spare bedroom. With Mike recently completing his master’s degree and Denae graduating from U of C this spring, the couple have purchased a home recently in the neighbourhood. Denae uses this space to do most of her painting, which she picked up this year after taking a class in the neighbourhood. (They requested their last names not be used). Story and phoTos by alexandra rAbbitte


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Find more at calgaryJournal.ca THE NOMAD

Story and photo by Michael Chan/Calgary Journal


il rig worker David Luc lives in the southwest community of Braeside and rents a basement suite for $450 a month (not including utilities). Luc, who asked not to be photographed, rents a room and shares the basement with another roommate but because of limited space stores his bike in his room during winter. Luc’s room is bare with nothing to really make it feel like home because he only considers this place a pit stop for a few months.

Inspection looms

Warning notice from city prompts worry Reporter roxanne blackwell rblackwell@cjournal.ca After being notified suddenly that we needed to leave our basement suite as the entire house was being demolished, my boyfriend and I began hunting for rental properties in August 2012. We attended showings where sometimes up to 50 people would cram into the tiny suites to take a look and fill out an application. In the midst of our month-long search, we were lucky to know a couple who were moving out of their place. It was the basement of a four plex, only a few blocks away from our old place, the landlord was great, neighbours in the building were friendly, and most importantly it was the right price. Since it was pet friendly, we adopted a puppy, which grew into an 80-lb dog. We knew finding a rental property that allows big dogs can be a nightmare, but we intended to stay in our current rental unit we were ready to purchase a home of our own. That was until we came home last month (March 2014) to a “warning notice” in our mailbox. The notice from the City of Calgary informed us that a complaint had been received “suggesting that the number of dwelling unit on your property exceeds the number allowed under the City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw. ” What it means is that on April 9, an inspector will come take a look at our place, and if they decide that the rules have been broken, we will be “required to remove all of the cooking facilities” — the stove, microwave, even the slow cooker and toaster — rendering our home unlivable. So while our fate rests in the hands of the inspector, we sit anxiously waiting as once again find ourselves in an unexpected circumstance scouring the expensive and unwelcoming Calgary rental market, this time with an 80-lb mutt in tow. photo by justin wilson/Calgary Journal


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Shane Lacusta stands in the kitchen of the basement suite below his house. He put in brand new appliances so they wouldn’t have to worry about maintenance right away, and so that tenants (perhaps one day his children) would have a nice kitchen.

THE LANDLORD Story and photos by April Lamb/Calgary Journal


hane Lacusta, along with his wife Pam, have a basement suite in their house in the community of Walden. They decided to build a secondary suite in case any of their three children need to move home one day. They took part in the city’s program that subsidized the cost of building a secondary suite, in their neighbourhood. They say that every house on their block has a secondary suite, but only their house and another has a two-bedroom suite. Because the cost of the property was subsidized by the city they are required to rent the suite at 90 per cent of the market price to a maximum of $1,102 before utilities.

The secondary suite has an outside entrance next to the kitchen, but the main house also has an entrance to the suite down a staircase that leads to a fire door that separates the house from the suite.


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Shane Lacusta explains that the suite comes furnished with beds and basic -living furniture. Currently two Mormon missionaries live in the suite, but at the time of shooting, they had packed up most of their things and were out of town.

Find more at calgaryJournal.ca


Edmontonian Jaime Calderon, who travels to Calgary weekly for work, currently rents a onebedroom room in Calgary’s N.W.

The kitchenette is comprised of a fridge, microwave, toaster oven, sink and hot plate. The stove/oven was removed last year due to regulations complained by a previous tenant. The regulation, according to Calderon was that every floor must have no more then one high-power electrical outlet, which in this case included the dryer and stove/oven appliance. Story and photos by Brittany Fong/Calgary Journal


aime Calderon currently rents a one-bedroom room within a bungalow in Calgary’s Dalhousie neighbourhood in the northwest. The 57 year old doesn’t see the room as the best accommodation, but has no time to search for another since he spends his work week in Calgary and weekends back home in Edmonton with his wife and two children. Calderon currently pays $550 per month, which includes his utilities. Although a low price for Calgary’s market, he believes the rent is not reasonable because of how “decrepit” the room is. The owner of the home that Calderon rents from has arranged the home so that three single male renters live in the basement and three single female renters live on the top floor of the home. Within the basement there are three bedrooms, all of which share one full bathroom, a washer and dryer and a kitchenette. In addition, there is a separate door to access the basement. According to Calderon, there are a total of six people that are able to rent bedrooms within the home. According to Calderon, within the threebedroom basement, two bedrooms are legal and one is illegal. The third bedroom poses as a safety hazard as it does not have a window for an emergency exit. “So in reality, the basement should only be able to rent to two people,” Calderon says.

The separate backdoor used for access to the basement for the male renters. The female renters who live on the main floor use the front door entrance to enter their suite.


APR 2014 17


Nature Unleashed connects global disasters to Calgary New exhibit showcases damage done by natural disasters

Part of what makes Nature Unleashed so engaging for visitors are the displays featuring photography of a disaster scene coupled with items pulled directly from the rubble. PHOTO BY JUSTIN WILSON/CALGARY JOURNAL

Larissa Pinhal | lpinhal@cjournal.ca Justin Wilson | jwilson@cjournal.ca


hroughout April, the Telus Spark science centre is home to a travelling exhibition that all Calgarians can relate to — to some extent. Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters is a collection of artifacts, information and interactive activities that show the devastation of natural disasters around the world and how science fits into these life-changing events. “The exhibit talks to those geological, ecological and social questions about natural disasters,” says Cassondra Dickin, communications specialist at Telus Spark. “But, it also has a human side to it.” Visitors of Nature Unleashed have the chance to build their own volcano and enter a simulator demonstrating what it would be like to sit in the centre of a tornado. Dickin says the interactive additions to the exhibit, as well as scientific information are capturing the attention of all ages and says that young people have been getting a lot out of the experience as well. Much of the collection is from The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The displays focus on several recent global disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. The exhibit shows how scientists are working to better 18

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predict these events as well as deal with their devastating effects. To show the human element, Nature Unleashed takes a look at how these catastrophes reshaped the lives of survivors. The connection to the 2013 Alberta floods, Dickin says, has been an important take-away for Calgarians visiting the exhibit. “People are saying ‘We’re not alone in this and it happens all over the world.’ We can learn how other people are dealing and coping with it,” Dickin says. Kristie Mason was able to walk through the exhibit as a parent volunteer for Captain Nichola Goddard School. While the flood did not affect her home she says her family, and daughter Kaylie took part in volunteer recovery, and that the exhibit connected them both back to 2013. “They’ve seen first hand what a natural disaster causes,” Mason says. “And I think they can learn (from the exhibit) that these events hurt a lot of people.” Telus Spark also displays artifacts from the Alberta flood that shows similar connections to the exhibit. Dickin says the exhibit is a great way to understand and connect disasters on an international, global and local perspective, all while providing some scientific explanation. “Telus Spark is about inspiring inquiry and inspiring curiosity, and as you come through here, you may not have all the answers,” she says. “But walking through the exhibit, you may start to ask a lot of questions and find an explanation.”

This electrical pole was snapped during Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Hugo tore through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico before landing in South Carolina. PHOTO BY JUSTIN WILSON/CALGARY JOURNAL


One element the exhibit strives to put forward is how these disasters affect people. Sound bites from victims of Hurricane Katrina can be heard as visitors explore the exhibit and view images of the devastation left in its wake. PHOTO BY LARISSA PINHAL/CALGARY JOURNAL

This probe, designed to capture footage from the centre of a tornado, was designed and used by storm chaser Tim Samaras. Samaras and his son Paul were killed in 2013 by a tornado in El Reno, Okla. PHOTO BY JUSTIN WILSON/CALGARY JOURNAL

Interactivity at the exhibit includes a buildyour-own volcano station. Artifacts from disasters include jewellery hardened in lava from Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D. PHOTO BY LARISSA PINHAL/CALGARY JOURNAL

A clarinet recovered from a home devastated by Hurricane Katrina sits on display. The exhibit gives visitors a chance to explore the damage done to New Orleans by the August 2005 hurricane. PHOTO BY JUSTIN WILSON/CALGARY JOURNAL

As visitors enter Nature Unleashed, they are met with an X-Ray of our planet and a reminder that “on a planet fueled by heat, these events are simply signs that the engine is running.” PHOTO BY JUSTIN WILSON/CALGARY JOURNAL calgaryjournal.ca

APR 2014 19


Animal activists are ‘weeds’ to rodeo lifestyle Local rodeo participant speaks out against the activists who threaten her lifestyle

ALL Photos Courtesy of Kelsey Simpson

Buster was my trusty steed when I won Coronation Pro Rodeo Princess in 2009.


Kelsey Simpson ksimpson@cjournal.ca

s spring blossoms over Alberta, it brings feelings of hope and excitement for most people. For me, spring brings the rodeo season. Unfortunately, with that blooms something most rodeo enthusiasts have grown to detest. Sprouting in the spring and maturing to full size by July just in time for Calgary Stampede week, the naïve rodeo protesters grow in numbers. Like most pesky and annoying weeds in the prairies, they are a species I would like to stomp out completely. The common rodeo protester is often misguided and has a constant need for attention. These weeds can mostly be ignored, but there are some that prove to be unwavering and troublesome. As far back as I can remember, I was on the back of a horse. My mom has even told me that she went on trail rides when she was pregnant with me. She grew up going to rodeos and eventually married her own cowboy, a bareback rider who competed on the North American and Australian circuits. Even with rodeo in my blood, my love for animals (my horses in particular) is no mere family trait. I spent every waking hour of summer jumping onto the back of my horse. All day riding treks with my sister, and our juice-box filled saddlebags, were my favourites. 20

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As I got older, that love continued to grow and led me into rodeo. I started when I was nine in 4-H, then competed in junior-high rodeo (in the town of Consort, Alta.), then high-school rodeo and eventually college rodeo where I still compete today. I have competed in barrel racing mainly, but also pole bending, keyhole, goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping, and even steer riding. Every rodeo weekend is full of fun and laughter with other cowboys and cowgirls that share the same passion for competition and an undying love of animals. It is like a big family that gets together every single rodeo weekend. Rodeo in Canada started over 100 years ago and developed from the real skills cowboys needed on the ranch. These skills were later transferred into competitions and tests of strength and horsemanship. Today, rodeos can be found all over the world and with them, protestors. These protestors and anti-rodeo activists are more often than not working off of myths and misunderstanding. They target the myths of brutality and mistreatment and the rodeo lifestyle as a whole. PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is a front-runner organization for the activists claiming, “In reality, rodeos are nothing more than manipulative displays of human domination

over animals, thinly disguised as entertainment. What began in the 1800s as a contest of skill among cowboys has become a show motivated by greed and big profits.” One thing that is often misconstrued by activists is the death of rodeo animals. Rodeo families and people in the industry are often painted as heartless and unemotional when an animal passes. I can tell you that that is completely wrong. No one has a greater tie to their animals than their friend and owner. When an animal is hurt it affects them more than anyone. They remember the first time they got the animal, the first time they competed, and other achievements they earned together. Rodeo kids grow up learning about death and life all at the same time. Take a trip to any rodeo home and somewhere there will be a wall, a photo album, or a scrapbook commemorating their beloved animals and the memories they shared. The loss of an animal is felt with mourning much like the loss of a family member. I bawled for days when my first horse Winnie passed away and I often visited his grave to talk and tell him how much I missed him. Any person involved in rodeo can tell you that the livestock of rodeo are often treated far better than any normal human. They eat regular, premium feed, and in some cases even bottled water. By keeping them comfortable, fit, and hydrated it helps to preserve the animal and their ability to perform. In the cases of rough stock, commonly known as bucking horses and bulls, a high level of care is standard. Many of these animals are prized by their owners and honoured by their cowboy competitors. When it comes time to retire, most are kicked out to the pasture to spend the rest of their days — a luxury that was never given to the hamburger patties in the freezer. From the Friends of Rodeo website, the average bucking horse or bull works for less than five minutes per year in the rodeo arena. And for most, rodeo is so undemanding that they stay healthy and perform well for many long years. Veterinarians even attribute the good care they receive to their long lives. It is not uncommon for award-winning animals to still be kicking up at the ripe age of 25, an age in which many “pet” horses don’t reach. Respect is a big word in rodeo vocabulary, usually used in terms of the animals. Everyone in rodeo followed one golden rule when they were growing up: your animal always got fed before you did, no exceptions. After your event, no matter how sore, dirty or tired you were, your animal had to be taken care of. While most of my friends from school slept in on weekends or played video games until midnight, I was up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning feeding my horse even if we had only pulled into the rodeo grounds just a few midnight hours before. Another mistake that activists fail to realize all together is that without rodeo, there would be a flood of livestock going straight to the butcher, including horses. The rodeo industry is constantly buying new stock from ranchers and the sad alternative for many of the animals is certain death. Rodeo also takes in a lot of rescued animals, and in chuck wagon racing some of the horses used were


I took out a bank loan to buy Buster and spent years training him before we won our first buckle in 2009. rescued from bad homes or saved from the glue factory. Bull riding even originated from an overflow of male offspring. The cows are used for their milk and breeding, but bulls are either castrated and put on a dinner plate or selected for their genes to breed other herds. Ranchers decided to use these other strong and muscular bulls to test their courage against other ranch hands in the area. On many anti-rodeo rants, a common word used is flank strap. According to the rants this “evil” and harsh strap is filled with burs that bloody and cause pain to the animals’ genitalia. Due to the pain they experience, the animal bucks. Au contraire, activists. The flank strap is actually fleece lined and is made to sit in the flank area, or waist area of a human. The average skin of a human rodeo activist or enthusiast is 1mm to 2mm thick. A horse’s skin can be five times as much — 5mm and for a bull even larger, 7mm. In no way is the strap covered in burs, intended to hurt the genitalia or inflict pain on the animal. Anyone that spends some time around the bucking chutes knows that bucking animals do not buck in response to pain. When an animal is in pain or feeling under the weather it does the exact opposite. It sits there, lays down, or is unresponsive. If the flank strap were to be too tight or too painful, the animal would absolutely refuse to move, let alone come out of the chute with its legs 10 feet in the air. It may be of some shock to the activists out there but rodeos are in actuality one of the most regulated and closely watched sports on the planet. The first rules for the humane care and treatment of rodeo animals were established by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1947, seven years prior to the founding of the Humane Society of the United States. Ever since then, every association has picked up rules and punishments should violation of those

rules occur. From amateur high-school rodeos, to the professionals, all abide by a code of conduct constructed by the association. In Canada, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association has a 24-page document detailing general, equipment, facility and livestock rules that are enforced at every one of the 61 rodeos that happen across the country. Even the Canadian Senior Pro Rodeo Association has a Rules Committee that oversees all events and proposes new rules and amends older ones in an effort to ensure animal welfare. At the college level of rodeo that I compete in today, you can be fined hundreds of dollars if you even look like you are abusing an animal, and strict rules are enforced by directors and other rodeo competitors. Well-known animal rights activist Temple Grandin has even stepped up to the plate in support of the Calgary Stampede, which is regularly under vicious attack from protesters. Grandin says the problem with chuck wagon racing isn’t the event itself, nor is it the fault of the Calgary Stampede. Grandin says that the abundance of horse deaths is actually the fault of the thoroughbred breeding community. Bad breeding and bad genetics have made the chuck racing horses’ bones thinner and weaker and no matter how well the track is constructed and groomed, it cannot help bad anatomy. “I have no problem racing horses…but they have to be sound,” Grandin says. Many deem rodeo barbaric and evil and unfortunately that is a growing opinion in today’s world. People aren’t afraid to voice their opinions in comment posts on forums, or blogs and with technology, their opinions don’t even have to be well founded or backed up. You will find no one that cares more about animals on the planet than rodeo enthusiasts and contestants. Their entire being relies on their animals and the health and care of them; without them, there would be no rodeo. Of course there are some bad apples in rodeo and accidents do happen, just like in any and every other sport. It is sad and unfortunate when a rodeo animal is harmed or dies, but people work very hard to ensure that never happens. As for the weedlike activists that crop up when the biggest outdoor show on earth comes to Calgary with

their woes and accusations, maybe they should do their homework on what they are protesting. I encourage them to spend a day with a rancher, cowboy, contractor, or official. Maybe then they could see what isn’t shown on TV: The love and affection that people have for the animals and competitors of rodeo. Rodeo is more than just a sport; it’s a lifestyle. By meddling in something they don’t entirely understand activists are affecting people’s lives. Free speech has always been treasured in our country and opinions of all sorts and shapes are welcomed. There is no reason why cowboys and cowgirls should be hanging their heads because of their profession. They are the some of the bravest and most courageous people, all without getting the million-dollar paychecks of hockey players or basketball stars. This spring I’ll compete in some rodeos and watch some of the bigger ones. I know that the pesky weeds of rodeo won’t be thinned out any time soon. Hell, they have been around since the inception of rodeo, but maybe the noxious weeds will give it a rest and let the rest of us get back to living. I don’t want to threaten anyone’s way of life or say they should stop what they have been doing for hundreds of years. I am just suggesting anti-rodeo activists turn it down a bit so that my kids and their kids after can enjoy the rodeo lifestyle — a resilient and caring way of life that teaches love for all things, including the weeds.


APR 2014 21

Arts & Entertainment

No ‘Intermission’ for Daniel Libman Calgarian playwright’s latest play will debut in New York City this May

Andrew Szekeres aszekeres@cjournal.ca


or over 30 years, Daniel Libman has been a contributing factor in Calgary’s theatre and acting community. Not only does he have many on screen acting roles, Libman is also a playwright with over 50 titles to his credit. Now Libman’s latest play, “Intermission,” is preparing to open this May in New York City. “I’m excited to see my play debut off-Broadway,” Libman said. “I think I might be the first writer based in Calgary to have a play debut there.” The play is directed by Voyage Theatre Company founder, Wayne Maugans. “His plays have a lot of heart,” Maugans said. “He understands theatre at every level.” The play features four people in the lobby of a theatre, who discover that the play they went to see has more to do with their lives then they could ever imagine. “The play has some really great art,” Maugans said. “It starts out as a comedy, then it lands somewhere in the genre of tragedy and turns again to become something hopeful. It wouldn’t be a Dan Libman play if there weren’t any hope or optimism,” Maugans added. Quebec Beginnings Born in Montreal, Libman received his first professional acting role in the early ’70s at the age of 15. He then trained at Dawson College, University of Alberta and the Young Company under-Englishborn actor and director, Michael Langham. Libman migrated towards Calgary in 1982, after his wife landed a job here. Two years later, Libman’s first play, “Closing Time,” was produced. The play was based on one of his experiences as a teen in Montreal while working at a printing press. “I put on a workshop reading of the play at the 22

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Local talent Aside from playwriting, Libman has also immersed himself in mentoring and teaching younger actors. For Libman, who comes from a family with acting experience, this was a passion that began in 1978. Cu r re n t l y, he manages and teaches at the Calgary Acting Studio. His students range from young aspiring thespians, to skilled actors looking to hone in on their skills, to the former high-school theatre actors looking to revive their performing heritage. Chris Heatherington, a current student of

Libman, has been impressed with what Libman can do and produce. “He’s a multi-talented guy,” Heatherington said. “It’s interesting to see how many people he teaches go on to receive auditions and roles.” Over the years, Libman has not only taught in Canada, but also in Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and New York City. Jenny Saarinen, another one of Libman’s pupils, has been with the acting studio since 2012, going from the introductory classes all the way to the advanced acting classes. “He makes you push the envelope,” Saarinen, a mother of two, said of Libman. “I’m interested in seeing all the shy and timid people walk into his class. Yet in the end, all these people show up and project themselves.” Libman has also appeared in 30 on-screen acting roles. He’s appeared alongside Jon Voight in “September Dawn,” and has had guest appearances on CBC’s Heartland and Tom Stone. “Intermission” will premiere in New York City on May 3, 2014 at the Clurman Theatre.


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Daniel Libman is one of Calgary’s most prolific playwrights.

Stratford Festival,” Libman said. After receiving a Tyrone Guthrie Award, designed to help further writer and thespian recognition, Libman returned to Calgary to write a new draft. This draft was submitted to the Alberta Culture Playwriting Competition and it won. Libman and Maugans met each other in 2000, after Libman translated a play that Maugans would be in. In 2006, Libman debuted his most successful play to date in “Cecil and Cleopaytra.” It is a story of a former acting coach, trying to rekindle interest in his life, who sees his nurse as his next protégé. The production would be showcased off-Broadway in New York City. Three years ago Wayne Maugans opened the Voyage Theatre Company in New York City, the two wound up working on bringing Libman’s play, “Intermission” to reality. First they prepared a reading on November 2012 in New York to test audiences before it went into production. “They really liked the play when it was read,” Libman said. “That’s when the green lights started flickering.” After seeing the reading as well, Maugans knew it would be good enough for production. “People were laughing and some were crying by the end of it, just for a reading,” Maugans said.. “That’s when we knew we were on to something.”

1.866.949.6736 | truopen.ca

listings COMEDY


Kenny vs. Spenny

Deerfoot Inn and Casino April 2

Joan Rivers

Deerfoot Inn and Casino April 26

TELEVISION Painted On: Modern Gender Stories

CTV2 April 6 How does gender define who we are, and the lives we live? What is life like for those who live outside of traditional conceptions of gender? These are the questions explored in Painted On, a documentary chronicling the lives of a few Calgarians who are redefining our understanding of gender. The Calgary Journal looks at what it means to be transgendered, cisgendered and gender queer in our city. Produced by Alyssa Quirico, Kian Sickwitit, Krystal Northey and Scott Kingsmith.

All Consuming

CTV2 April 6 Exploring the issue of eating disorders in young children. A family from Medicine Hat, Alberta shares the struggle they had trying to get their youngest daughter to eat during her early years. Produced by Danielle Semrau, Donella Swan and Hannah Kost.

MUSIC Kings of Leon

Fiddler on the Roof. Photo courtesy of stagewestcalgary.com

Saddledome April 1

The Mountaintop

Theatre Calgary March 25 - April 20


Stampede Corral April 5

II Divo - A Musical Affair

Canadian jazz supergroup PJ Perry Quartet River Park Church April 13

Joan Rivers . Photo Courtesy of Facebook

Florida Georgia Line

DANCE Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

Black Sabbath

The Cube

Ellie Goudling

Dance @ Night

Saddledome April 16

Saddledome April 20

Mac Hall April 26

Theatre Junction Grand April 2 - 3

Jubilee Auditorium April 13

The Nightingale

Loose Moose Theatre April 12 - May 4

Mamma Mia

Pumphouse Theatre April 3

Jubilee Auditorium April 16 - 20

Fiddler on the Roof

University Theatre, U of C April 10 - 11

Stage West Calgary April 17 - June 22

What good is a strong economy without a strong society? Alberta’s Liberal Opposition believes... Workers’ rights and pensions Access to health care Affordable education Respect for seniors Environmental protection

You deserve both!

Learn more and let us know what you think! @AlbertaLiberals | www.LiberalOpposition.com

ALBERTA LIBERAL OPPOSITION Strong Economy. Strong Society. calgaryjournal.ca

APR 2014 23


DIY Sushi Homemade sushi offers fun, cheap alternative DEJA LEONARD | dleonard@cjournal.ca Erica Pollock | epollock@cjournal.ca


ast month’s Calgary Journal dating survey determined that the hottest date right now is going out for sushi. But do you know what’s even better than treating that special someone to a night on the town? Working together to create your dinner. Of course, homemade sushi is for more than just eligible bachelors, it is also a great idea for families and friends who want to come together and try to make something new and tasty. Josey Vogels, author of several books on sex and relationships, says do-it-yourself projects can help keep things fresh in a relationship. “If approached with a sense of adventure and fun, they can be playful and get you

laughing and interacting in a way that you might not if you went out to a restaurant and sat side by side in a dark movie theatre,” Vogels wrote in an email. Not only are these projects good for couples, they are also good for improving relationships with friends and family as well, Vogels wrote. “They take you out of your comfort zone, introduce new learning, new experiences and new adventures that help keep things fresh. They allow you to continue to learn about one another.” We chose to take on this challenge, and it took us about an hour to create our own rolls. We chose to make vegetarian sushi, but you can replace the cucumber we used with any type of vegetable, raw fish or seafood of your choosing.

Step 1. Measure out your rice according to your rice cooker’s directions, or try what we did and just follow the instructions on the bag of sushi rice. To make sushi for two people, we used one cup of sushi rice and one-third of a cup of water. We let the rice soak in the water for 25 minutes before putting it on the stove. This is done so that the water can reach the innermost part of the grains.

Prices for Sushi Ingredients T & T Supermarket – Harvest Hills Shirakiku Rice: $8.57 (2.3kg) Kikkoman Soy Sauce: $2.33 Mitsukan Sushi Vinegar: $2.99 Angel Yaki Nori Seaweed Sheets: $2.67 Sadomain Sushi Mat: $1.43 Cucumber: $0.99 Superstore – Country Hills Rooster Sweet Rice: $4.99 (2kg) Kikkoman Soy Sauce: $2.29 (148mL) Kikkoman Rice Wine Vinegar: $2.99 (296mL) T & T Roasted Seaweed Sheets: $1.79 for 10 sheets Sushi Rolling Mat: N/A Cucumber: $1.78 Co-op – Crowfoot Crossing Sunrise Sushi Rice: $5.79 (750g) Kikkoman Soy Sauce: $3.29 (148mL) Kikkoman Rice Wine Vinegar: $2.99 (296mL) Seaweed Sheets: $2.29 for 10 sheets Sushi Rolling Mat: N/A Cucumber: $1.49

Step 2. While your rice is soaking, prepare the ingredients you plan to put inside your sushi roll. We only needed half a cucumber so we cut our whole one in half and then peeled the skin off. We then scooped out the seeds with a small spoon and cut it into long pieces, being sure it was about the size of our seaweed paper. Should you wish to put fish or seafood in your sushi, there are several steps that need to be done to ensure the raw fish can be eaten safely. For raw fish, such as salmon and mackerel, foodandwine.com says the fish should be frozen for at least one day to kill any parasites, and to


APR 2014


get the best flavour, the fillets rubbed with fine sea salt. Let it stand for 30 minutes, rinse the fish, and sprinkle with rice vinegar. Slice the fillets across the grain into strips about four inches long and 1/4 inch thick. For meat such as crab, the best types to use are Dungeness, blue or king crab and to prepare you simply have to pick the meat for bits of shell, and cut into small pieces.


Step 3. Put the rice on the stove with the lid on and let it cook according to the directions on your rice cooker, or bag of sushi rice. Our bag of rice said it would take 25 minutes, but it was closer to 15. You know it’s done when all the water is absorbed. Add the rice wine vinegar to the warm rice. We added about one tablespoon to our cup of cooked rice. Mix it up and let it cool.

Step 4. Place your seaweed paper shiny-side down and spread the rice on the paper with a spoon. Leave about a inch border with no rice. Place your filling one third of the way down your seaweed paper. Begin to roll the sushi away from you, starting from the end closest to your filling.

Step 5.

Calgary Sushi Classes Kinjo Sushi and Grill Macleod Location 7101 Macleod Trail S.W. 403-255-8998 www.kinjosushiandgrill.com Dalhousie Location 415-5005 Dalhousie Drive N.W. 403-452-8389 $55/3 hour class

Use a sharp knife to cut your sushi into the desired size. Be sure to wet the knife with cold water in between each cut to ensure the rice does not stick to the knife.

SAIT Culinary Campus 226, 230 - 8 Ave. S.W. 403-284-8535 $90/ 3 hour class www.culinarycampus.ca/

Step 6.

ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen 909 - 11th Avenue S.W. 403-245-7630 $70/ 2 hour class www.atcoblueflamekitchen.com/


Top 3 Sushi-Making Tips from Chef Katsuhito Mori, instructor at SAIT 1. Use a rice cooker to get the perfect temperature for cooking your rice precisely. 2. Timing for seasoning: Even with the same recipe, if you season the rice during different times, you will get a different end product. 3. Find a happy balance between rice and filling: When you roll, if you put too much rice, or too much filling, your roll will be a “Harakiri roll,” which means the roll won’t close and will open at the belly part.


APR 2014 25


Retired accountant crafts art in the form of bamboo fly fishing rods Unique, artistic, one-of-a-kind rods ready for spring season Evan Manconi emanconi@cjournal.ca


go Crecco is in his kitchen. With fishing season fast approaching, many individuals around the province will soon be heading out to the numerous lakes and rivers in Alberta to fish. Crecco is working on something interesting. A wrapping machine — used to make both the wraps that hold the guides in place as well as construct intricate weaves — sits on his kitchen table. He made it himself. He’s holding a half-finished bamboo fly rod. The taper — the decreasing width of the rod from handle to tip — consists of six triangular strips of bamboo, carefully glued to form the body of the rod. Towards the tip, the six sides are so thin and the glue lines are nearly invisible that it appears to be a solid piece. Crecco says the dimensions have to be precise to 1/1000ths of an inch. While it takes a tremendous amount of effort to craft a bamboo fly rod, the benefits are felt in the integral function of a rod — the casting. Crecco says he loves bamboo fly fishing because of the casting ability and smoothness of the rod. “Bamboo fly fishing is like a different sport from graphite (fishing), and I said, ‘Wow this is something I really enjoy,’” Crecco says. For a sport that relies on replicating the natural movement of a fly, a smooth cast is invaluable. “The rods force you to slow down and enjoy things, which is exactly what fly fishing should be all about,” says David Blair, owner of Fish Tales Fly Shop in Calgary. He says Crecco is one of the best craftsmen of bamboo fly rods in this part of the world. Crecco is a retired accountant and uses his mathematical ability to craft these artistic fly rods. Since he was a kid, he loved fly fishing. It has always been an important part of his life outside of work. As an accountant, he spent his whole life using the right side of his brain, but his passion for fly fishing caused him to tap into his creative side. Crecco was born in Rome, and it was in Italy 26

APR 2014


where he discovered fishing. He went fishing with his father and brothers when he was 10 years old. They were casting along the steep banks of a murky, chocolate-brown river. Crecco was Photo courtesy ugo crecco playing with the fish they had already Crecco creates functional bamboo fly fishing rods in his basement. The process caught. to complete a rod takes around 120 hours. He doesn’t remember how it happened, but he ended up fallThe love of fly fishing never abandoned him, ing into the river. He feared that he would have but flourished when he came to Canada in 1970. drowned if he hadn’t looked through the dark At only 17 years old, he arrived in Montreal as an water and saw a hand reaching for him. exchange student right after the ’67 Expo. He found Montreal a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a lot of culture. It was a great place to live and he decided to stay. After finishing his schooling at McGill University — where he took finance and started his certified general accounting program — he travelled to Vancouver. In 1984, he graduated as a certified general accountant. At 20, he went to work for Canadian Pacific RailUgo Crecco, way Ltd. Crecco worked for CP for nearly 40 years Fly fisherman where he held several financial and accounting positions. But Crecco’s love for fishing stayed with him He grabbed hold and his father pulled him to throughout his career. It was 35 years ago that safety. Although it was a frightening experience, he decided wanted a bamboo fly rod, which he he learned a lot and bonded with his father. describes as the ultimate rod. His passion for fishing has grown ever since. “I went and tried to buy one, but of course I Crecco says that fly fishing is a way for him to get couldn’t afford it at the time. So I said: how difficult away from regular life and enjoy nature. can it be to make one? Well, about 15 years later, “Spending time on your own, reflecting on a lot I was still learning,” he says. of things while you fly fish is a switch off more than He is completely self-taught, and for the last 15 anything else,” Crecco says. years, he has been very involved in the craft.

“Spending time on your own, reflecting on a lot of things while you fly fish is a switch off more than anything else.”

SPORTS complex calculations required to engineer the perfect rod. With the book and a journal he made lots of notes to learn from his mistakes. Crecco says it took about 10 or 15 years to get really good. “After about 10,000 hours on it you get better at it,” he says. Crecco describes it as a great fulfillment to fish with a rod that he hand made.

“My payment is when whoever receives the rod says, ‘Wow, this is great, I really enjoy it.’ That is my payment — when that person is completely satisfied.” ugo crecco, Fly fisherman

photo courtesy by ugo crecco

Ugo Crecco fell in love with the sport of fly fishing when he was growing up in Italy with his father and brothers. He describes the learning process as a journey. The reason he stuck with it was because of the immense challenge. It took a lot of trial and error. The only teaching came from Everett Garrison’s book A Master’s Guide To Building a Bamboo Fly Rod. The book has pages of

Crecco is a sort of enigma. In his work life, he adhered to a very analytical process necessary for his mathematical work. While being exceptional with numbers, he says he has also been described as a renaissance man. Although most people are either mathematical and logical or creative and imaginative, Crecco is both. He is a natural craftsman — be it wine or sausage making, painting, cooking or rod crafting. The difference is that he fuses the two distinct mental disciplines. It is most greatly evident with his bamboo fly rods. It takes about 120 hours to create a single bamboo rod and they range in price from $2,000 for the signature

series, to $4,700 for the master series. Because of the time required to craft a rod, Ugo produces no more than five rods per year. Crecco says that cutting the bamboo is the most difficult part; there is hardly any margin for error. To build a rod there is a specific formula to follow that ensures the rod has the right dimensions for the desired weight. “It’s extremely challenging and that was the fun part actually, doing all the math.” For Crecco, it isn’t about profiting. With the time and material cost factored in, it is very much a labour of love. His reward comes from creating something that a person can cherish. Mario Baggio owns one of Crecco’s rods and he describes it as a functional piece of art. “It just glows when you’re fishing with it, he made it absolutely beautiful,” Baggio says. Not only does the rod look good, Baggio says it is great to fish with as well. He says he was surprised when he took it out to the first time to fish on the Castle River in Southern Alberta. Even under windy conditions, he was able to get some beautiful casts with the rod. For Crecco, that is what he wants from rod making. “My payment is when whoever receives the rod says, ‘Wow, this is great, I really enjoy it.’ That is my payment — when that person is completely satisfied.” Now 60, Crecco knows that crafting the bamboo rods will always be an important part of his life. Even retired, he won’t sit still.



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photo courtesy by ugo crecco

Before Crecco could make the bamboo fly rods, he had to build all his own tools. Here in his basement workshop sits the weaving machine used to make the decorative and functional weaves that hold the guides in place along the length of the rod.

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APR 2014 27


Paco Huang: World champion in the making Young Wushu competitor has been gaining a wealth of confidence along with many medals tiffany ritz tritz@cjournal.ca

Photo by Justin Wilson/Calgary Journal


APR 2014




t first glance, Paco Huang, 11, comes off as a shy and ­­reserved boy, but get him to demonstrate Wushu and you see just the opposite — a boy who is very strong, precise and confident. I certainly saw this in action when I met with Paco for a photo shoot for this article. When he walked into the studio, he was hiding behind his father, Henry, afraid to make any eye contact with the photographers or myself. He only spoke in one or two word sentences when engaged in conversation. But something happened when Paco got in front of the camera. Suddenly I saw a boy being able to confidently display his barehanded Wushu routines with determination and poise. A joyful expression came upon his face when he was asked to demonstrate his various poses. So what is Wushu? It’s a form of martial arts that was established in China in 1949, and at the competitive level consists of both combat and individual routines. Competitive Wushu is composed of two disciplines: “taolu” meaning forms, and “sanda," which is sparring against an opponent. Paco currently is only learning “taolu.” He won’t learn sanda until he is 13. Many people may not be familiar with the term Wushu, or the sport itself; however, it is the main fighting style utilized in many Kung Fu genre

movies. Paco says seeing these movies when he was younger actually inspired him to get into the sport. “The DVDs I saw made it (Wushu) look really cool,” Paco says. “Especially the Jet Li and Jackie Chan ones.” WUSHU BUILDS CONFIDENCE With seven years of Wushu training under his belt, and a total of 11 medals earned to date (six gold, four silver and one bronze), Huang now possesses a certain degree of confidence and poise you might see from a veteran of the sport. Paco’s father Henry Huang says his son hasn’t always been this confident. He says he has seen a great deal of personal growth in his son since he took up the sport at the age of four. “I think it is very good for Paco to do Wushu because it builds his confidence,” Henry Huang says. “Before he started Wushu, he was very shy. But now he feels more confidence in himself.” Paco’s longtime trainer Master Geng Zhang Cai of the Calgary Tai Chi and Martial Arts College affirms the belief that confidence building is essential to achieve success in Wushu. “We are concentrated on building your inside,” Cai says. “We want to be able to build our athletes confidence so they can be able to move with speed, power and to channel their emotions to be one with the routines and weapons.” Paco has not only demonstrated confidence and discipline in Wushu, but these traits funnel towards his education at Colonel Irvine School as well, as his physical education teacher Kjersten Mein states belief in that Paco’s Wushu abilities have positively translated into his education. “He brings the discipline he has in Wushu to the classroom,” Mein says. “He always has a great attitude, always works hard in school, and gets good grades.” Paco’s classmates at Colonel Irvine recognized his abilities by nominating him for a virtue award, recognizing confidence, back in February.

“Before he started Wushu, he was very shy. But now he feels more confidence in himself. ” HENry huang, Paco’s Father

Photo by Tiffany Ritz/Calgary Journal

Paco is seen here with the dao, which is one of the traditional weapons of Wushu. He performed this routine at The Calgary Tai Chi & Martial Arts College on March 8.

PACO’S FUTURE Paco is currently in the C group for the sport, which is for competitors age eight to 12, and is looking forward to advancing into the B group. He would eventually like to see himself at the optional level, which is for competitors 18 and above. “It is one of my goals to make it to the optional level and be a world champion,” Paco says. He says he will continue as far as he can go with this form of martial arts, and would like to qualify for

Photo by Justin Wilson/Calgary Journal

Wushu brings Paco out of his shell, and allows him to have an outlet to build not only his outer strength, but to consequently build his confidence. the Olympics one day. Wushu, as a sport, has not yet been registered as an official sport in any Summer Olympic Games up to this point. However, there was an independant Wushu tournament that took place during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mein says some of the skills that Paco learns in Wushu could help him qualify for the Olympics in other sports. Cai says that Paco does have the potential to be a world champion and he will work towards helping Paco become a professional in this sport. He has already achieved success in 2014 by earning three medals (one gold, one silver and one bronze medal) at the 2014 Junior National Wushu Championships at Hamilton back in February. Paco will aim for more medals at the West Coast Can-Am Championships on May 15, in Vancouver. This will be his fifth appearance at this tournament. He has picked up a gold medal in each of his previous four appearances. Paco admits he has long way to go before he makes it to his ultimate goal in Wushu, but he insists that he would like to keep doing training well into his college years. calgaryjournal.ca

APR 2014 29


Easter STATS History Peeps The company that manufactures Peeps, the marshmallow chicks and bunnies we see so often this time of year, estimates it makes upwards of 1.2 billion Peeps year round.

Zombie Jesus, giant egg-dispersing bunny rabbits, and Cadbury Mini Eggs aren’t the only things associated with this holiday. In reality, Easter is an amalgamation of many different religions and their associations with spring, new beginnings and of course, sex and babies. The name Easter is derived from the name of the Greek goddess of spring, Eostre, who was celebrated for bringing on spring with a pagan festival. Like most things pagan, the Christian church changed the holiday from a celebration of spring to a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, a.k.a. zombie Jesus. Some people believe Easter is related to the Hebrew Passover.

Eggs Canada produced 641.4 million dozen eggs in 2011, that’s around 7.7 billion individual eggs in total. If split between the population of Canada, that’s 221 eggs per person.

Source: History of Easter Online

Chocolate The total revenue of manufacturers of chocolate and confectioneries from cacao beans in Canada in 2009 was $1.5 billion.

Photo Courtesy of MD Gov/Flickr

Events The Calgary Zoo’s Easter Eggstravaganza - April 18 – 19 Enjoy cookie decorating, sweet treats, live entertainment, cooking demonstrations and fun crafts for the kids.

Rabbits 2,700 farms in Canada raised 206,175 rabbits in 2006. Sheep As of July 2012, there are 21.1 million sheep on Canada’s farms. Source: Statistics Canada Photo Courtesy of Donar Reiskoffer/ flickr

Calaway Park’s Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs & their Families - April 18 Join the National Service Dog Team and Calaway Park to raise money for our hard-working service dogs. It’s $25 to sign up with a $50 minimum pledge, but there are grand prizes for the Top 5 fundraising teams. This is an interesting take on an old idea, Easter Egg Hunts, with a cute and furry twist. See more at www.nsd.on.ca

board game of the month

Obscure holidays

Star wars x-wing April 4: Hug a Journalist Day Journalists need love too. April 7: No Housework Day So, basically just the same as every other day for most of us. April 14: Ex-Spouse Day A day to either celebrate personal freedom or crippling emotional despair.

X-Wing sells for $43 at most major retailers.


Have you ever wanted to pilot an X-Wing or a TIE fighter? Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing Miniatures Game puts you in command of your own fleet of classic vehicles from the Star Wars universe. The game comes with two TIE fighters and an X-Wing out of the box. Other vehicles such as A-Wings, TIE Interceptors and even the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca and Solo not included, come as expansion packs to the game and are easy to just

drop in and play. The game is quick to pick up, with players assigning orders to each of their ships and executing them in accordance to the “pilot’s skill.” For example, someone like Luke Skywalker will generally always go first in the chain of command over a regular TIE fighter pilot, giving Luke a slight advantage. Even if you’re not a fan of the Star Wars universe, which is unlikely, there’s still fun to be had in a game that is easy to learn, expand and love.

April 17: National High Five Day Just make sure you have your hand sanitizer handy. April 19: National Garlic Day Or national breath mint day, they should be more or less interchangeable. April 26: Hug an Australian Day Can’t find one? Just go to Banff, the Aussies have invaded the ski hill.


APR 2014


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