Avenue Calgary April 2022

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04.22 / $6.50

27 YEARS OF CITY / LIFE / STYLE / CALGARY

IMAGINE THAT

NEW WAYS OF LOOKING AT CALGARY’S DOWNTOWN

FILM INDUSTRY FOCUS

FORAGING AND FEASTING

THE CASE FOR COLD

Why southern Alberta is in the spotlight

The culinary movement inspired by an age-old practice

Would you take a dip in an icy mountain lake?


Escape the Everyday in Riverstone

Townhomes from the mid $200Ks Estate Homes from the mid $900Ks

Runners, walkers, cyclists and cross-country skiers will love Riverstone’s extensive year-round pathways – winding throughout the community, into the Bow River valley, and on to the expansive Fish Creek Park environmental reserve. And the 22,000 sq. ft. Century Hall and seven acre park offers amazing amenities for residents of all ages – everything from an outdoor rink, toboggan hill, splash park, basketball and tennis courts, plus a range of programming that offers something to suit everyone’s interests.

Escape to Nature ExperienceRiverstone.com

Homes by: Avalon Master Builder Baywest Homes Brookfield Residential Calbridge Homes Cedarglen Homes Cedarglen Living


SAY

“I

DO”

AT THE ZOO! The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo provides the perfect mix of elegance and fun for you and your wedding guests. Enjoy an unforgettable event with our one-of-a-kind venues and delicious locally sourced cuisine. For more information, visit: calgaryzoo.com/events/weddings


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on the cover Illustration by Mateusz Napieralski Read more on page 17

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contents 6 Editor’s Note 50 Work of Art

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D E PA R T M E N T S 11 Detours Scenes from a scene: an exhibtion of photos at the National Music Centre will either look familiar or totally foreign, depending on how old you were in the 1990s. Plus, the push for a more sustainable floral industry, an itinerary for a night at the opera, a new regular feature on local podcasts worth a listen, and our monthly round-up of products and retailers that we’re crushing on this month. 34 Dining Foraging for wild ingredients is an ancient practice that has caught the interest of more than a few modern chefs. By Sky England

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FE AT UR ES 40 Mountains Would you take the plunge into an icecold mountain lake? The health benefits of cold-water immersion suggest it’s not as crazy as it sounds, so long as you keep safety front of mind. By Chris Landry 44 Decor Having an organized home isn’t all about aesthetics. Why clearing away clutter and finding a place for everything is as much about mental health as it is about beautiful spaces. By Valerie Fortney

17 Re-envisioning Calgary Our annual look at building the Calgary of tomorrow, today, features a conversation with Mayor Jyoti Gondek, a progressive take on parking structures and a glimpse at a reimagined Glenbow. By Tsering Asha, Karen Burshtein and Ruth Richert

28 And We’re Rollin’ The last couple of years have been some of the best on record for the local film industry. Why many major productions are turning their focus on southern Alberta. By Kendall Bistretzan 32 If You Build It... A profile of high-schoolers Ian Wang and Jonathan Zhou, who created a thriving competitive robotics community in their home city. By Marcello Di Cintio

april 2022

WA N G A N D Z H O U P H OTO BY J A R E D SYC H ; F I L M C R E W P H OTO CO U RT E SY O F C A LG A RY E CO N O M I C D E V E LO P M E N T ; G L E N B O W I M A G E CO U RT E SY O F D I A LO G A R C H I T E C T U R A L R E N D E R I N G

04.22


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T

he longer you live in a city, the more it changes. There’s a reason why elderly people, who have spent decades in a certain place, want to talk at length about what things used to look like, what businesses and landmarks used to be where. Once you stop and really think about it, the idea of how much a city changes over the course of five, 10, 20, 50 years can be a source of endless fascination. Calgary is a city where it seems like things are constantly changing: the desire to rip things down and start again is perhaps an ingrained feature of a boom-andbust economy. This desire for a do-over is integral to the current discussion of how to create vibrancy in the city’s core. In this issue, we check in with a key player in that discussion — our new Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who sat down for a (virtual) conversation with Avenue’s assistant editor Tsering Asha. With a passion for progressing the city and some serious academic chops in the area of urban sociology, Gondek provides some perspective on what city-building means to her. Along with our talk with Mayor Gondek, we have a couple of other takes on how the city is changing — right down to how and where we park. As a car-reliant city, perhaps it’s not so surprising that the movement to create parkades that are more than just holding pens for vehicles has found footing in Calgary, and our story looks at three examples of how this

SHELLEY ARNUSCH EDITOR IN CHIEF s a r n u s c h @ re d p o i n t m e d i a . c a

In With the New

utilitarian structure can be part of a vibrant social fabric. We also examine the plans to reinvigorate one of the city’s key cultural institutions, Glenbow, which is currently undergoing not just an aesthetic change, but a spiritual one as well, evolving from a sealed-up vault for artifacts to a gathering space for people. With the advent of springtime, there’s a natural desire for renewal and we tap into that desire in this issue from the perspective of food, shelter and wellness, starting with a story about the foraging movement. As more and more trained chefs embrace the ages-old practice, find out how local proponents — including Rouge chef and co-owner Paul Rogalski, who has extended his foraging practice to a TV series — are inspired by ingredients from the wild. We also look at the wellness trend of cold-water swimming, an activity that is tailor-made for the clear, ice-cold waters of our regional mountain lakes. Of course, there are many things to consider before taking the plunge into Lake Minnewanka, or one of the other scenic bodies of water in Banff National Park or K-Country, so make sure to read up on how to stage a safe cold-water swim before diving in. Finally, as many feel the itch to spring clean, we look at how the instinct to declutter our homes and simplify our possessions isn’t just about making pretty spaces, but actually has roots in neuroscience. As we move forward into a new season, we hope that you’re also feeling a sense of renewal, in your home and in your city.

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31 BEST THINGS TO EAT Our annual list of the tastiest treats and beverages to try in the city, one for each day in the month of May.

HOME FRESH Why everyone is gaga for house plants right now. Plus, new trends in outdoor-living furniture and accessories.

WHAT’S NEW IN GOLDEN, B.C. New places to stay and play this summer in this super-fun mountain town.

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ADVERTISING FEATURE ADVERTISING FEATURE

Mainstreet offers the very best in quality, affordable, modern inner-city living

Bob Dhillon and Mainstreet Equity Corp. (Mainstreet) have had a love affair with Calgary for 25 years. The company, which owns and operates its buildings and traded on the TSX (MEQ), has almost 16,000 units across Western Canada including a large position in British Columbia. Mainstreet offers the very best in inner-city living to those looking for quality, affordable rentals near cultural and outdoor amenities. With 73 rental buildings in inner-city Calgary (3,467 units across Calgary and growing), Bob Dhillon, Mainstreet Founder, President and CEO, doesn’t mince words when it comes to his feelings about Calgary. “Calgary has an incredible inner-city without the high crime, congestion or commute times of other major cities,” he says. “We believe in inner-city Calgary all the way.” The ‘allure of inner-city living’ drives Mainstreet’s acquisitions, including the historic brick buildings comprising Mainstreet’s Heritage Collection. “The millennial and Gen Z cohorts represent a significant portion of Calgary’s population,” says Dhillon. “With 45 per cent of Calgarians aged 25-54, we’re one of the youngest, most educated populations in Canada. Mainstreet is well-positioned to continue offering tech workforce housing.” Mainstreet banks on this. Many young people flock to inner-city neighbourhoods to capitalize on the close proximity to amenities, such as transit, bike paths, dining and entertainment located around Mainstreet buildings. And with trademark white buildings and illuminated signs, Mainstreet’s clean, modern buildings are easy to spot. Mainstreet’s mantra is affordability. “What’s driving Alberta today is affordability,” says Dhillon. “Young people are coming back in droves to Calgary and Edmonton because of affordability, opportunity, and quality of life.”

Comparing Calgary and Edmonton’s rental prices to other large Canadian markets (Toronto, Vancouver), Dhillon says it’s clear why more young professionals, students and immigrants are choosing Alberta. “A recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation report indicated you have to work 198 hours per month in Vancouver to get exactly the same place that requires 137 hours in Calgary. The only question is how will you choose to enjoy those extra 61 hours a month living in Calgary?” Mainstreet has long been focused on providing quality, affordable rentals, which are also environmentally sustainable. When Mainstreet acquires a building, they bring it up to the ‘Mainstreet spec,’ transforming the building into a new sustainable rental using energy-efficient lighting, dual-flush toilets

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y B A R K S _ J A PA N , C O U R T E S Y i S T O C K

THE NEW WAVE OF URBAN LIVING

and triple-pane windows. The company has also started branching out into SmartHome technologies like smart locks and smart thermostats. Mainstreet’s ultimate goal is carbon neutrality. “We have created a spec that was nonexistent in this price range,” says Dhillon. “We want to continue offering the best quality, affordable, inner-city living in Western Canada. Quality, affordable living will be the backbone of Canada’s economic growth; we provide that affordability.” Dhillon is also proud of his company’s inclusivity and diversity, something he believes helps drive Mainstreet’s success. “Diversity is our strength. We have been one of the world’s most diverse teams since day one, even before its importance was understood. With 40 per cent visible minority leadership on our board and 50 per cent of our executives being female, half of whom are women of colour, our diversity becomes more evident the deeper into our team you look. We have more languages and nationalities than the UN.” Dhillon concludes: “There’s no place like home, especially when home is Calgary.” For the best in modern, inner-city living, visit mainst.biz to find your new urban home.


Detours [A

NOTEBOOK OF THE CITY

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CAN YOU NAME THESE BANDS?

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P H OTO G R A P H BY T K T K T K P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y Z O LTA N V A R A D I

urrently up at the National Music Centre, Reflections: 10 Years Capturing Calgary’s Alt Music Scene is an exhibition of 30 images from the archives of Zoltan Varadi. A graduate of the photojournalism program at SAIT, Varadi worked as a music photographer in Calgary throughout the ’90s, capturing images of indie rock bands and their audiences for local publications. The exhibition

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serves as a snapshot of an era, taking viewers inside the city’s music venues and nightclubs between 1992 and 2001, and serving up heaps of nostalgia for those who frequented those venues at that time. The photos will be on display until the fall of this year. —Lysandra Nothing 850 4 St. S.E., 403-543-5115, studiobell.ca For answers, turn to page 12

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FLOWERS FOR MOTHER NATURE HOW CALGARY FLORIST BECKY FEASBY ADVOCATES FOR SUSTAINABILIT Y IN HER INDUSTRY

of that, from British Columbia— only using in-season blooms and trying her best to avoid greenhouse-grown botanicals. “Moving away from greenhouse-grown flowers helps to create even more environmental sustainability,” says Feasby. “In terms of what is truly sustainable in Alberta in the winter? Locally grown, dried blooms.” As the Canadian ambassador for the Sustainable Floristry Network, an organization dedicated to sustainable design practices through advocacy, education and certification, Feasby has a few recommendations for florists and consumers to help bring about a more environmentally friendly industry. “It starts with being mindful of your choices: never use floral foam, don’t purchase plastics, only use locally grown flowers that are seasonal so the work is kept relevant to nature, and choose field-grown flowers over greenhouse-grown flowers,” she says. She also suggests reusing vases, composting arrangements that are no longer display-worthy and educating family and friends. “It takes bravery on the part of florists to explain to customers why they are doing things a certain way and to offer sustainable options,” says Feasby. “Most of the time, the consumer will be shocked to know why it matters where the flowers come from, and when, and most customers ultimately then want to make better choices.” —Conchita Galvez

Answers (clockwise from top left): Neko Case when she was the drummer for Maow, Leslie Feist singing with Placebo, The Von Zippers, The Smugglers. 12

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beautifully arranged bouquet shouldn’t hurt Mother Nature, right? According to Becky Feasby, owner of Prairie Girl Flowers, many products and practices used in the floral industry are far from harmless. “The current way the floral industry is being run is a complete disconnect from what is natural and what is seasonal,” Feasby says, “which feels like the opposite message that … we are trying to convey.” Feasby, who trained in gardening and landscape design and is now studying for her master’s in sustainability from Harvard University, says traditional flower shops create mass waste using excess packaging, plastic props or toxic products like floral foam, which is made from synthetic, non-recyclable materials (although the foam crumbles, it never fully dissolves in water or degrades in landfills) and heighten carbonemission levels by flying in exotic blooms from all over the world. Her response was to start her own floral shop in 2018, Prairie Girl Flowers, using sustainable practices that would give her customers natural alternatives to bleached botanicals. While bleaching creates picture-perfect bouquets, the process requires a large volume of chemicals for even the smallest arrangements. Feasby sources her flowers locally whenever possible — and, outside


Detours local podcast

HOW TO DO

THE OPERA From the outside looking in, the opera can seem like an exclusive cocktail party for the bourgeoisie, but, with a flexible dress code and a welcoming atmosphere, a night with Calgary Opera is anything but. With La Traviata on stage at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium this month, here’s your opera-night itinerary. —Chris Landry

Spotlight

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Snack Stop at Pablo Cheese Tart

Browse the Shelves at nanao kimono

Pablo Cheese Tart is a popular Japanese chain that recently arrived in Calgary, known for its classic tarts with creamy cheese filling, topped with things like apricot jelly, chocolate or matcha. Pair with one of Pablo’s bubble teas for a perfect pre-opera snack. 602B 16 Ave. N.W.

Located in Kensington, nanao kimono is a cute gift shop specializing in Japanese kitchenware, tea sets, stationery and more. You can find items of all kinds ranging from premium bamboo chopsticks and ceramic ramen bowls, to miniature bento boxes modelled after Japanese wooden dolls 215 10 St. N.W.

LEARN FROM US This personal-finance podcast, hosted by local writer Alyssa Davies and her partner, Nicholas Davies, is a judgment-free and relatable show on the ups and downs of managing your money

O P E R A P H O T O B Y T I M M AT H E S O N ; PA B L O P H O T O B Y C H R I S L A N D R Y ; N A N A O K I M O N O I M A G E C O U R T E S Y O F N A N A O K I M O N O ; C O T T O P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F C O T T O I TA L I A N C O M F O R T F O O D ; W I N E P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F W I N E B A R K E N S I N G T O N

and a companion to Alyssa’s award-winning blog. The Davies interview people from all walks of life on common money matters like starting a business, admitting you don’t have a foundation of financial literacy, addressing

3 Dinner at Cotto Italian Comfort Food

4 Showtime Set in 1920s Paris, La Traviata is a story of forbidden love between a Parisian courtesan and a man whose family disapproves of their relationship. No need to speak Italian to enjoy this production — La Traviata features some of the most recognizable opera songs, with English-casted surtitles for reference. Arrive at least 45 minutes early so you have time to grab a drink before settling into your seat. calgaryopera.com

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5 Après-opera Drinks at Winebar Kensington True to its name, Winebar Kensington has an extensive wine menu to pair with its specialty charcuterie. Inspired by the French themes of La Traviata, try the country terrine made from pork and rabbit, or one of the many French cheeses. 1131 Kensington Rd. N.W.

The best overture to an Italian opera is a fine, Italian meal, the kind you’ll find at Cotto. Located across the street from nanao kimono, Cotto serves up a range of classic comfort foods, from arancini and Roman-style flatbreads, to must-try lamb meatballs and a range of pasta offerings. For drinks, there are a few takes on the negroni and, of course, great Italian wines. 314 10 St. N.W.

your budget, paying off student loans and more. The beauty of this podcast is that it isn’t a “how-to” manual, but rather a breadth of conversations to help you get comfortable with talking about money.—Tsering Asha You can listen to Learn From Us on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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Detours

NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Created with Park Distillery, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise’s signature whisky is 100-per cent Canadian rye diluted with glacier water. Flavour notes are described as, “leather and tobacco leaf” with “strong, lasting chokecherrymulled wine.” The whisky is available exclusively at the hotel, giving you a perfect excuse for a mountain getaway. —Michaela Ream 111 Lake Louise Dr., Lake Louise, 403-522-3511, chateau-lake-louise.com

new store

rick rack textiles

KOR I TE COL L E C T IO N Korite is Canada’s premier ammolite producer, transforming the ethically mined rare gem, into stunning pieces of artisan jewelry. New collections Starlight ($495 to $795), Origins ($295 to $1,745) and Radiant ($795 to $1,095) include necklaces, rings and earrings. Each cut of the ammolite’s natural rainbow colouring is unique, so no two pieces will be the same. —M.R. Available at korite.com and 10 locations in the Calgary area 14

Aura ïha N atural ly Lum ino us Skin C are Calgary-based beauty brand Auraïha makes products to moisturize, exfoliate and protect your skin. The Glass Face brightening serum ($23) with natural fruit acids, aloe, green tea and cucumber, and the Naturally Luminous mist and spray set ($20) with papaya, witch hazel and fruit extracts, refresh your face and lock in moisture. Auraïha also uses sustainable packaging. —M.R. Available at auraiha.com

FAR I HAR A The founders behind menswear brand Fari Hara believe that their clientele should feel empowered by their clothing. It’s why they aim to create a personal experience when it comes to suit-making. Choose between three looks (prices vary) for work, play or a celebration. Or, order a custom-tailored suit to compliment any occasion. —M.R. Bankers Hall, 587-707-5773, farihara.com

If you love making clothing, or have always wanted to start, a visit to the new Rick Rack Textiles is a must. Located off Blackfoot Trail in the Manchester area, the sister store to Stash Lounge (the yarn store in Inglewood) has an impressive range of style-forward garment fabrics, notions and accessories and a great selection of indie patterns, books and magazines. Rick Rack also offers scissor-sharpening, sewing machine-servicing and sewing classes, plus pattern printing on a large-scale printer, so, if you find a cool pattern online, you can have it printed out. —M.R. 4704 Manhattan Rd. S.E., 403-263-8088, rickracktextiles.com april 2022

R I C K R A C K P H O T O B Y L O G E E P H O T O G R A P H Y ; W H I S K Y P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F F A I R M O N T C H AT E A U L A K E L O U I S E , J E W E L L E R Y P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F K O R I T E ; S K I N CA R E P H OTO CO U RT ESY O F A U R A Ï H A ; M E N S W E A R P H OTO CO U RT ESY O F FA R I H A R A

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise’s Untamed Signature Whisky


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M OUNTA I NS

RE-ENVISIONING CALGARY LOOKING AT OUR CITY IN A NEW LIGHT

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P H OTO G R A P H BY J A R E D SYC H

city is not a static entity; rather, it’s an organism that is constantly blooming and wilting, exceeding and diminishing. Sometimes, the change is mild and generally goes unnoticed, while, in other instances, it is big and bold and unmissable — for better or for worse. The big-and-bold type of change often starts with a shift in perspective: What if Calgary’s downtown was not a business district, but a mixed-use neighbourhood? What if parking lots were designed not as holding pens for vehicles, but as community spaces for drivers and pedestrians? What if one of Calgary’s key cultural institutions was not a windowless vault for artifacts, but a light-filled space for people to engage with those artifacts? The following stories address these shifts in perspective and how they are contributing to the evolution of this city, as it continues to expand, contract and change.

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“We’re looking back and saying: Did we get this right?”


BY TSERING ASHA PHOTOGRAPHY BY JARED SYCH

O

IN CONVERSATION WITH

Mayor Jyoti Gondek ON CREATING COMMUNITY IN THE CORE

n April 26, 2021, Calgary city council under then-mayor Naheed Nenshi approved a $200-million investment into Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan: Roadmap to Reinvention. While the plan doesn’t replace existing documents like local area development plans, it attempts to form an overarching vision for decision-makers and citizens on creating inclusive and accessible office spaces, affordable homes, and event centres or community gathering spots in Downtown Core, Downtown West, Eau Claire, Chinatown, East Village and the Beltline. In other words, the goal is to transform downtown into, as the plan says, “a more balanced mix of residential, office, retail, entertainment, tourism, and culture.” That seems as vitally important as ever, as office vacancy rates continue to increase. Less than one year on, new Mayor Jyoti Gondek is now shepherding an almost entirely new council along this road map to reinvention, armed with an impressive background in the field of urban sociology. Avenue’s assistant editor, Tsering Asha, sat down with Gondek via Google Meet to find out how she plans to apply her training to the revitalization of downtown, moving it away from being a nine-to-five business island to an interconnected part of the city. This interview took place in January 2022, prior to the cancellation of the arena deal. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. A longer version of Tsering Asha’s conversation with Mayor Gondek can be read online at AvenueCalgary.com.

Q

I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y S T E V E C O L L I N S , S H U T T E R S T O C K

Could you explain what urban sociology is and how that’s different from urban planning? GONDEK In urban sociology, you’re looking at the intersection of people and the places that you’re creating for them. Sociology focuses on building environments for people, whereas planning tends to focus on the environments themselves.

Q

Are there any specific challenges for building a sense of community in downtown Calgary? GONDEK We talk a lot about quadrants in Calgary, but they tend to be places where people live, for the most part. There’s not an industry or a sector that’s really the core to that particular quadrant avenuecalgary.com

or that node. Whereas, if you imagine that each of those quadrants was its own municipality, it might have a very different hub that attracts people there. I don’t think that Calgary did a very good job of creating nodes or sectors where people can live, work and play effectively. We sort of concentrated everything in the downtown district as being the central business district. We expected people to drive because our city was built at a time when the personal vehicle was popular. Now that the world has changed, and now that the economy is more diverse and not everybody is located downtown, we’re looking back and saying: Did we get this right? And that’s where the big question comes in. Now we’re trying to play catch up and create a proper mixed-use downtown. And I think that’s going to be the corridor’s success because, again to your point, if downtown has to become its own community, you need to have people living there. The people who live there need to have access to amenities. You need to be able to live your full life within that area.

Q

Making mixed-use areas makes a lot of sense to me, but [Calgary] has this reputation where, if something is old, it’s gone and we replace it with something new, whether it’s a building or a walkway or space or road — and I mean many roads. That can make it difficult for your community to have an identity. So, when we’re talking about mixed-use then, will historical preservation still be a priority? GONDEK You have a very interesting point there of what happens when you start taking down the pieces of the community that people actually call home. When you think about downtown, we don’t give people that same opportunity to talk about what it is that they feel they’re missing. We understand that people are going through angst because of the change from all single-detached to mixed-housing formats. But I don’t think a lot of people consider what you just said, your community looks a particular way. And we just assume that it’s okay to bring down a building and put up something different for the economic value. But what have we done to your perception of community? We’re not thinking about that. Downtown becomes an economic play instead of a social play, where we understand how people want their community to look, and that’s the shift that this council is trying to make. 19


Q

You declared a climate emergency in Calgary — why was it important to do so right away, and what impact will that have on the new downtown? GONDEK I think it’s interesting that the city has had a resilience policy and a commitment to resilience for many years. We actually had a chief resilience officer for a very long time. We were one of the 100 leading cities globally, in terms of creating a resilience plan, and that plan is very clearly founded on the principles of economic, social and environmental resilience and how those three things work together. The economy is most successful when its people are successful. And people are successful when the environment they live in is sustainable. I think this council has set a very strong mandate to look at decision-making, no matter what it is, through a triple lens of resilience focusing on the environment, society, as well as the economy. If you don’t have balance in your decision-making and you’re not taking care of your people and the environment, the economy can’t be strong. And, if you don’t take care of the economy, you will not have the ability to create a strong society that can take care of its environment. So, they all go together.

Q

Lots has been written about how you’re the first female mayor of Calgary, which is amazing, and I also noticed that the council that we have has some of the youngest elected officials, some of the most highly educated elected officials that we’ve had in Calgary. What perspective do you think this particular council 20

“The economy is most successful when its people are successful.” can offer when it comes to planning for a diverse downtown community? GONDEK I think it’s significant that the diversity around the council horseshoe is here at this particular point in time, because you have got much different perspectives being shared than we’ve had in the past. You’ve got people that have young kids, you’ve got people with grown children, you’ve got people that have been in professions outside of politics, you’ve got people that are just 31 years old, who gave up a career to come and do this good public service work because they care about making this city an amazing place to be for everyone. This is a council that’s very interested in setting strategic direction and making decisions that allow for success in one part to translate into success for another part. When it comes to our greater downtown plan, this is a council that wants to make sure that, if we’re building an entertainment and culture district, that it’s not just hinging on one project, that we are looking at all of the things that are needed to make that district successful. And they’re very interested in making sure that it is an equitable

city for people. Because sometimes what happens when you go about the process of city building, particularly when you go into revitalization, you end up displacing vulnerable populations. So, along with the built form that goes into making a strong cultural district, we have to pay attention to the folks who are struggling with being unhoused. All of that is seen as being hand in hand with the physical parts of building a great city. That’s what I’m excited about with this council.

Q

Was there anything else you would like to add? GONDEK There’s been a lot of talk about this exodus of talent from our city, but there’s not really the data to back it up. The best way to keep talent here and to draw talent here is to ensure that you’re giving people meaningful opportunities for work, because that tends to be one of the main drivers when people decide where they’re going to live. Young professionals, in particular, are very interested in a meaningful profession, one that makes them feel they’re doing something that’s going to make a difference. And we’re seeing [that] with a lot of tech and innovation companies, particularly ones that are looking at energy transformation, they are attracting top talent from around the city and from around the world, because those young professionals are coming together and understanding the change they can make in the world. Meaningful work, coupled with great places to call your home, are going to be the keys to success. april 2022


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21


BY KAREN BURSHTEIN

FOR THE PEOPLE

IN CAR-CENTRIC CALGARY, A NEW APPROACH TO PARKADES OPENS UP THE POSSIBILITIES FOR DRIVERS AND PEDESTRIANS TO BETTER CO-EXIST

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surface parking lot could be,” says Park Park’s lead landscape architect, Liz Wreford, of Winnipegbased Public City Architecture. Her firm’s answer was a parking lot that offers layers of experiences. Of the 30 parking stalls in the lot, five were given up for the park design, with 25 revenue-generating parking stalls remaining. The two uses are not strictly delineated, however. As such, Park Park really flips the narrative where cars are dominant and people take second place. “Here, cars are the guests in this pedestrian space,” Wreford says. Park Park’s pavement is an explosion of colour and graphic elements. The lot is framed by decoraapril 2022

P H OTO G R A P H BY ST E V E CO L L I N S

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ars or people? The social critic Lewis Mumford posed this question in the mid-20th century. Mumford was on the side of people. “The motor car shapes and forms — mutilates and deforms might be better words — our cities,” he said. “Indeed it seems to be the chief architect of our cities.” Parking lots, what he referred to as “these asphalt blights,” have long been a necessary byproduct of car dominance, he went on. “The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is the right to destroy the city.” Our current views on parking lots are less fatalistic, however, as evidenced by the creative strategies that allow people use and car use to overlap in parking lots. And car-centric Calgary is at the forefront of these reimagined parkades. The Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) — the City’s arm in charge of public parking lots — along with developers and architecture firms, are behind several interesting and engaging new projects that incorporate leisure activities into parking spaces. When was the last time you thought of hosting a birthday or office party in a parking lot? In the past couple years, the CPA has projected lower parking revenues, and, in pandemic lockdown-impacted 2020, it reported that gross revenue was down $33 million compared to 2019. So, the time seemed right to think of new ways of generating revenue in these lands, while underlining the value they can have to communities, says Reachel Knight, business strategy co-ordinator at CPA. Park Park, the new iteration of Parking Lot 43 in Inglewood, is a two-year pilot project that started as a competition by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and the CPA. “The idea was to spark a conversation, expanding the definition of what a


“The idea was to spark a conversation, expanding the definition of what a surface parking lot could be.” Liz Wreford, Public City Architecture

tive building-scale scaffolding frames with signage to welcome visitors. “We created a gateway to the park and gave it a presence,” Wreford says. The landscape architects also drew inspiration from national park maps that feature easily recognizable icons for things like picnic tables and washrooms. “We took the idea of those icons and translated them into an urban context: What would be useful for us there?” Wreford says. These life-size icons, punched out of wood, framed in steel, suggest the space could be used for street hockey, or skateboarding. Space carved out for bikes is indicated by icons for bike pumps. A picnic table icon folds out into an actual picnic table. There’s a avenuecalgary.com

phone-charging station, a little library and a bonfire icon that comes with a motion-activated hand warmer. Peer through it and you’ll see a parked car. “All of what we did slows cars down,” Wreford says. During off-peak hours, Park Park also serves as an event space. Public City Architecture won the competition for Park Park pre-COVID, but the narrative of their design factors in the kind of changes in urban living that we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic, specifically a reduction in car usage due to people working from home. Similarly, Platform, a strikingly beautiful new parkade on a once-desolate part of 9th Avenue

S.E., across from Studio Bell and the new Central Library, is not just a place where you go and park your car; it’s also a community space and innovation centre. The project was a collaboration between Calgary architecture firm Kasian and Winnipeg firm 5468796 Architecture. Kasian’s Katherine Robinson, who was principal in charge of Platform’s construction alongside Sasa Radulovic, 5468796’s design principal, says the seven-storey parkade “invites people to come and explore the environment,” which also comprises a 50,000-square-foot hub for startups. The design brief was a 500-stall parkade that would also provide activity for and engagement 23


M OUNTA I N S

“It’s not design for design’s sake. There’s no waste of material or space.” with 9th Avenue and support redevelopment efforts in the adjacent East Village. “The idea was that a parking lot would be more valuable as a building in the community when it has multi-purpose use,” Robinson says. The main level includes basketball courts and EV charging stations, as well as a huge bike-parking space, and pedestrian entrances to draw people in. (When asked what safeguards are in place to protect pedestrians, Knight says: “In general, pedestrians and vehicles have always mingled in a parking lot. There’s always been an awareness,” but adds that, at Platform, a secure fence was put around the basketball court, and, at Park Park, the basketball net only comes down when cars are parked.) The Platform brief was also to create a “parkade of the future.” Like other next-generation parking lot designs, this one imagines a time when more sustainable living will mean using more public transportation, but it also imagines a scenario in which cars themselves have changed: “Our team was quite excited about a future when self-driving vehicles would be the norm, when there would be no need for cars to be parked in one space all day,” Robinson says. But Kasian and 5468796’s design goes beyond that, as Platform was designed to be phased out of its primary function. Incorporated into the design is the potential to convert the park24

ing lot into residential or office space. A suspended ramp creates a central atrium area for natural light to penetrate the building, and ceilings are oneand-a-half times higher than traditional parkades — a design decision to allow the parkade to be converted into residences. The height also allows for residential ductwork and wiring to be installed. The Platform project is provocative, even theoretical in its potential to transform its purpose, but, because the architecture is beautiful and thoughtful it gives back, even as a parking lot. “It’s not design for design’s sake,” says Robinson. “There’s no waste of material or space. It’s very purposeful. All the groundwork is laid in preparation for what it could become. But, even if it never happens, it’s a beautiful, thoughtful space.” At $80 million, Platform was a big-budget project, but a cheap and cheerful parkade redesign has also popped up in the Beltline. Public City Architecture also worked on High Park, transforming an underused parking structure to respond to the lack of open space in the inner-city community. The Beltline Neighbourhoods Association approached the landscape architects in early 2020 about turning the top level of a huge parkade at 10th Avenue and 4th Street S.W. into an urban park. (The level was underused and had low demand.) “A lot of young people are moving into

condos in the neighbourhood, and the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association wanted to respond to the fact that there were few green spaces and these were always jam-packed,” Wreford says. As with the Park Park project, Public City prefabbed everything and brought it to Calgary. Here, too, supergraphics are key elements in the design, with a long, colourful strip delineating a linear “boardwalk.” Off to the sides are little “parklets,” each the size of a parking stall, with some covered in AstroTurf or simply painted over. There are picnic tables, see-saws, tetherballs, swinging benches, a small stage, shade structures and graphic signs with feel-good sayings (“we really missed you,” “I love you”) in this rooftop park with great views of the city. “The heart of the city should be served chiefly by rapid transit, buses, taxis and above all the human foot,” Mumford said in an anguished effort to save our cities. But, in a car-centric city like Calgary, saying people should just buy fewer cars and favour public transportation is not so simple. (Not until public transit systems are more efficient, in any case.) Transforming our parkades into spaces where people and cars interface is one very positive approach to making a city’s core more livable and is very much a made-in-Calgary solution. april 2022

P H OTO G R A P H Y BY J A R E D SYC H

Katherine Robinson, Kasian


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Letting the Light In

HOW A KEY CULTURAL INSTITUTION AIMS TO

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lenbow is a grim bunker of a building, constructed in the 1970s with the brutalist aesthetic characteristic of that era. It was designed to house the collections Eric Harvie donated to the people of Alberta, and, as a vault for art, it’s brilliant: the absence of windows and a loading capacity more than twice that of a typical office building make it uniquely secure. But, as a destination for visitors, it falls short. There is no grand exterior entrance, just a bland and dim hallway that opens onto a sterile foyer, and an afterthought entryway that weaves through the gift shop. The disorienting rabbit’s warren of a floor plan continues throughout the exhibition halls and spaces. When architect Robert Claiborne came to visit the city, the building’s shortcomings were obvious to him. But he was entranced by the sheer possibility of the space. He had just driven across the country and happened to end up at Glenbow in June 2013. As the rest of the city focused on the wreckage left by the floods, Claiborne was fixated on

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“We have an obligation to reimagine the role that this community asset can play in supporting the future.” Nicholas R. Bell, Glenbow President and CEO

what could be built out of the museum. “I spent three hours in Glenbow, and I left there with my sketchbook and just said, I’ve got a million ideas on how this building can be changed, revitalized, reimagined,” he says. Serendipitously, the exterior walls were nearing the end of their natural lifespan, and the museum’s board was considering a minor redesign. But Claiborne and his team at the architectural firm DIALOG didn’t have a small renovation in mind. Rather, they proposed a reincarnation that would flood the impenetrable fortress with light. Their compelling vision convinced the board, and Glenbow closed in the fall of 2021 for the $120-million project, with hopes to reopen in 2024. The transformation centres on natural light: the careful removal of floor plates will create a soaring central gallery and additional double-height gallery spaces. Transparent storage will allow visitors to see even collections that aren’t out on display. A rooftop terrace will open to the Alberta sky while a new “skin” — a unique concrete material that appears to float over the existing building — will be installed to protect the

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TRANSFORM ITSELF FROM THE OUTSIDE IN


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structure. Perhaps the most evocative elements of the design are the two prominent street-level entrances — Glenbow has never before had an entrance door that led right into the museum. In addition to serving as a “welcome mat” for visitors to the museum, the doors will provide sightlines through the gallery and allow light to flow in. “We not only have an opportunity to do something momentous here, but we have an obligation to reimagine the role that this community asset can play in supporting the future,” says Nicholas R. Bell, president and CEO of Glenbow. “Museums have a long, complex and pretty fraught history with the people that they serve and don’t serve.” To that end, community engagement with diverse stakeholders across the country and Indigenous advisors has been an essential part of the reimagination of the museum.” Shifting the narrative of museums is a monumental task, but Bell is hopeful that real change is possible. “[Museums] can be community centres where we celebrate the panoply of human experience,” he says. “There’s an opportunity here for Glenbow to be people’s third place.” This past February, the museum announced permanent free admission upon its reopening thanks to a $25 million endowment fund created by the Shaw Family Foundation, another step toward creating a more open and communityminded institution. It’s not yet clear what the pandemic will leave in its wake, but there’s reason for hope, says Claiborne: “This is a perfect time for all of our institutions to really reimagine themselves toward being more inclusive, more representative of who we are as a people in Calgary and Alberta, in Canada, and in the world.”

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A SCENE FROM THE ALBERTACLOCKWISE FROM TOP:

CREW SETS UP IN CALGARY’S SHOT SERIES JOE PICKETT. A

BEHIND THE SCENES DURING DOWNTOWN CORE.

THE FILMING OF NETFLIX’S

BLACK SUMMER.

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J O E P I C K E T T P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F © PA R A M O U N T T E L E V I S I O N S T U D I O S 2 0 2 1 ; B L A C K S U M M E R B E H I N D T H E S C E N E S P H O T O B Y M I C H E L L E F AY E / N E T F L I X ; C R E W I M A G E C O U R T E S Y O F C A L G A R Y E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T

And, We’re Rollin’

april 2022


BY KENDALL BISTRETZAN

T H E L O C A L F I L M I N D U S T RY I S H A V I N G S O M E O F I T S B E S T Y E A R S O N R E CO R D. W H Y B I G -T I M E P RO D U C T I O N S A R E T U R N I N G T H E I R F O C U S O N S O U T H E R N A L B E RTA .

he Alberta film and television industry has had its star-making moments over the years, with awardwinning and critically acclaimed projects such as Brokeback Mountain and The Revenant shining a spotlight on the province and its natural beauty. But the past two years have seen the provincial film sector as a whole make great strides. In 2019, the film and television industry in Alberta brought in approximately $250 million of work, with many of the marquee projects of that year filmed in the southern part of the province. Locals might recall Ghostbusters: Afterlife shooting in Fort Macleod and other surrounding areas, and Jumanji: The Next Level taking up residence in the Rockies. In 2021, that number rose to an estimated $482 million. The increase was not mere happenstance. As in other sectors, the advent of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 had a devastating effect on film and television production. But Alberta became one of the first jurisdictions to re-engage the industry with quick implementation of COVID safety precautions. The unions and guild increased training initiatives exponentially during this time and many productions that wanted to start filming right away felt they could do so safely in Alberta with quality crews. This quick response got the local industry back on its feet through 2020, and things continued ramping up from there through the summer of 2021, the busiest months on record. The Calgary

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Film Centre, an 80,000-square-foot production studio and warehouse space, had been booked at 100-per cent occupancy in July 2019, and remains fully booked into 2022. “We’re building a bit of a pipeline that’s quite robust right now, of people who are interested,” says Erin O’Connor, Calgary Film Centre’s business development and programming manager. “We’ve got global attention. People are looking at Calgary.” The momentum can also be attributed to an about-face from the Province on tax credits. In March 2021, the Alberta government removed the cap that limited film and television productions to a maximum $10 million tax-credit claim and increased the funds available for the industry by $19.5 million, bringing the total budget to $50 million. The cap was implemented by the UCP government in 2019 after it cancelled the two-year-old ScreenBased Production Grant implemented by the preceding NDP government. Prior to being removed entirely in 2021, the cap had seen incremental increases that were intended to make Alberta a more competitive jurisdiction amongst the world’s largest studios and streaming companies and contribute to diversifying the economy. “With the removal of the cap, what it did was tell the world — and specifically major studios — that Alberta was open for business,” says Luke Azevedo, vice-president of Creative Industries, Operations and Film Commissioner for Calgary Economic Development. For Calgarians involved in the production side of the industry, the surge has meant steady work. “There’s such a need for content in the world,” says Phaedra Godchild, a costume designer for film and TV productions. Among the shows Godchild worked on in the past two years is the Netflix original series Black Summer, a prequel to the zombieapocalypse show, Z Nation, which filmed its second season in the Calgary area in early 2020 under protocols that included daily COVID tests, PPE robes for the crew and daily wardrobe sanitization. Black Summer’s choice to film here was due in large part to the efforts of local director and

joe pickett PRODUCTION NOTES Filmed in Cochrane and at other sites in the Calgary area. WHERE TO SEE IT Premiered December 2021, slated to stream on Paramount+ at a later date.

Under the Banner of Heaven PRODUCTION NOTES Adaptation of the 2003 non-fiction book by Jon Krakauer. Locations include Calgary and Carstairs. WHERE TO SEE IT FX on Hulu, Disney+ as a Starz Original, premiere date TBA.

outer range PRODUCTION NOTES Produced by Amazon Studios with an estimated budget of $6 million per episode. Locations include Calgary, Los Angeles, Albuquerque and Las Vegas. WHERE TO SEE IT Amazon Prime Video, premiere date TBA.

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THIS PAGE (LEFT): A SCENE FROM BLACK SUMMER; (RIGHT) BEHIND THE SCENES DURING THE FILMING OF CANADIAN MOVIE MARLENE. OPPOSITE PAGE:

producer Jason Wan Lim, who successfully convinced the Los Angeles-based show to film its second season in Alberta, beating out three competing locales. He was subsequently hired on as a producer. When Netflix committed to Season 2 of Black Summer in early 2020, there was no guarantee that the show would receive a tax credit from the government, but the team was so taken with Alberta that they decided to shoot here regardless. Black Summer became Netflix’s first self-managed production to shoot in Alberta. Ultimately, the credit did come through, and, though it wasn’t a dealbreaker for the production deciding to stay or go, it was seen as a reassuring sign, Wan Lim says. Black Summer’s growth ultimately fuelled Wan Lim’s decision to pursue other opportunities. “It became a bigger machine, and, as a result, there was a lot more bureaucracy and hoops to jump through,”

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he explains. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘the money’s good.’ But I don’t think I’ve gotten into filmmaking just for the money.” He decided to pivot his film career toward directing instead and is now set to work on an upcoming holiday-season film written by previous collaborator Steve Goldsworthy. Along with Black Summer, Godchild has worked on a number of major big-budget projects in recent years (including Ghostbusters: Afterlife), some of which have agreements to do 60 to 80 per cent of their spending in Alberta. This means that not only are crews sourced locally, but so are clothes, props, transportation, food and catering. The larger budget a project has, the more money goes back into the local economy. The largest-ever production to film in Alberta is the highly anticipated HBO series The Last of Us, which has been shooting at locations around Calgary over the past year. Other major titles shot here

recently include FX’s Under the Banner of Heaven, a crime-drama based on the non-fiction book by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air, Into the Wild) and written by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black; Amazon’s Outer Range starring Josh Brolin; Paramount’s Joe Pickett; and Apple TV+’s Fraggle Rock reboot. While the removal of the cap doesn’t necessarily benefit small-budget independent filmmakers, it does give local electricians, set-builders, painters, hair and makeup artists, stylists, and other filmindustry contractors the chance to gain experience working on high-calibre productions. Calgary-based Liz Nandee first became interested in set-decoration while interning on the original Jumanji movie in Vancouver. She went on to do set-decorating work for a variety of independent movies, TV shows, advertising shoots and for touring presentations by A-list celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama. In November 2021, Nandee became a permittee for Alberta’s film and television union IATSE 212, and immediately got a job as a set buyer for the historical unit on Under the Banner of Heaven. Though it was quick-paced, vigorous work, Nandee says she was thrilled to use her expertise on a large-scale production, filmed here in the city she calls home. “There are so many different ways to explore everybody’s creative talent here in Calgary,” she says. “Being able to have that opportunity, that you wouldn’t have thought how many years ago that you’d be able to do in Calgary — it’s so amazing.” While Calgary isn’t likely to become the next Vancouver overnight, Azevedo anticipates that, with government support through incentives, film and television could become a billion-dollar industry in Alberta in three-to-five years. “Development and growth of an industry between 20 and 30 per cent is not unheard of,” he says.

april 2022

B L A C K S U M M E R I M A G E B Y M I C H E L L E F AY E / N E T F L I X © 2 0 2 1 ; M A R L E N E I M A G E B Y P H A E D R A G O D C H I L D ; F R A G G L E R O C K I M A G E ( O P P O S I T E PA G E ) C O U R T E S Y O F A P P L E T V +

FRAGGLE ROCK: BACK TO THE ROCK.


black summer PRODUCTION NOTES Filmed in Rocky View County, Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Morley and High River; budget estimated at just under $700,000 per episode, with increase in post-production. WHERE TO SEE IT Seasons 1 and 2 are screening on Netflix.

the last of us

“With the removal of the cap, what it did was tell the world — and specifically major studios — that Alberta was open for business.” LUK E A Z E V EDO Film Commissioner for Calgary Economic Development

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For that to happen, Azevedo aims to keep Calgary at the forefront of showrunners’ minds. “We have the ability to create that film-friendly environment for them, to not only be attracted to the region, but to experience what it is to film and produce in Alberta, which is award-winning, and with some of the best crews and talent in the world,” he says. And, unlike in Vancouver, Wan Lim notes that locals aren’t yet jaded to the experience of being a backdrop for storytelling. “For the most part, people are very willing to open their homes and businesses, and then abandon the streets so that we can do our crazy film projects,” he says. Wan Lim, Godchild and Nandee say they are all booked up for the rest of the year, and, while they must remain tight-lipped about the details about those productions, one thing is clear: the film industry in Alberta is looking brighter than ever.

PRODUCTION NOTES Filming began in July 2021, and is expected to wrap June 2022. Locations include Mount Royal University, Victoria Park, SAIT and Northland Mall in Calgary, as well as Fort Macleod, High River, downtown Edmonton, the Alberta Legislature and Okotoks. Budget is said to exceed $10 million per episode. WHERE TO SEE IT HBOMax, premiering in 2023.

fraggle rock: Back to the Rock PRODUCTION NOTES Produced by The Jim Henson Company and New Regency at the Calgary Film Centre. WHERE TO SEE IT Debuted Janaury 2022, currently streaming on AppleTV+

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M OUNTA I N S

IF YOU BUILD IT… F O R T W O T E E NA G E D R O B O T I C S C H A M P S, B E I N G AT T H E TO P O F T H E I R G A M E WA S N ’ T E N O U G H , S O T H E Y S T E P P E D U P T O T R A I N A N D M E N T O R T H E I R C O M P E T I TO R S

JONATHAN ZHOU (LEFT) AND IAN WANG.


BY MARCELLO DI CINTIO

I

PHOTOGRAPH BY JARED SYCH

t’s a Saturday in December and four robots — each a milk crate-sized jumble of wheels, gears, claws and perforated steel — are facing off across a 12-foot-square arena at Airdrie’s W.H. Croxford High School. Their teenaged designers stand above them, COVIDmasked and safety-goggled. For the last six hours, 85 of these young engineers from across Alberta have battled their ’bots in this ring. Now, only four teams remain. A bell sounds and the robots scream into motion, each trying to scoop up plastic pieces and place them atop teeter-totters while preventing the other team from doing the same. The clock ticks down, a siren sounds. After the points are added up, teams 210Y and 2088Z are named the Chinook Cup tournament champions. Team 210Y’s Ian Wang and Jonathan Zhou walk over to hug their rivals — two of whom endured an eight-hour bus ride from Fort McMurray. Wang and Zhou, both Western Canada High School seniors, have always been makers and tinkerers. LEGO bricks were a gateway to robotics. In Wang’s case, so was origami. “First, it was paper cranes,” he says. “Then it got more and more complicated. Then I started making crazy things.” He remembers building a wooden axe out of scrap wood. The boys got to be good friends in Grade 7 at Master’s Academy when they joined the school’s robotics club. The club was associated with VEX, an international organization that supplies tools students can use to program and create robots. VEX also runs the world’s largest robotics competition involving more than a million students from 60 countries. In Grade 9, Wang and Zhou qualified for the World Championships in Louisville, Ky. More than 500 teams from around the world filled the Kentucky Exposition Center. “Seeing all of those competitors was huge for us,” Zhou says. He was struck by the sense of camaraderie, even among rivals. Teams shared strategies and design avenuecalgary.com

elements, and, when Wang and Zhou’s batteries were confiscated at the airport — they’d accidentally packed them in their checked bags, which is not allowed — another team lent them some spares. The following September, Wang and Zhou started Grade 10 at Western, and their first day was marred by a disappointing realization. “There was no robotics,” Zhou says. The boys wouldn’t be deterred. They started a VEX team outside of school called 210Y, purchasing the necessary materials themselves and setting up a workshop and arena in Zhou’s basement. Team 210Y enjoyed immediate success in provincial tournaments. “We were pretty much destroying a lot of teams in Alberta,” Wang says. Then again, there weren’t many teams to destroy. Less than a dozen schools in Alberta host VEX robotics clubs. The boys knew if they wanted to be world-class, they needed more competition. So, in December 2019, Wang

Several of Western Mech’s summer campers wanted to continue with robotics and compete in VEX events. So Wang and Zhou set up a Western Mech headquarters in a downtown office space they rented from Zhou’s father. The boys cleared out the cubicles and built some workshop tables, but the pandemic killed any chance for in-person tournaments. The entire VEX season shifted online with web-cammed skills competitions and the World Championships held remotely. Three of Wang and Zhou’s protégé Western Mech teams qualified for World’s — an astonishing feat for any first-year squad. Team 210Y qualified for World’s again, too, and entered the competition ranked third in the world. “We were kind of favoured to win,” Zhou says. “At least in my eyes.” While Team 210Y did take home a prestigious Innovate award for their robot’s design, they ended up losing to lower-ranked teams in the tournament. The boys feel the time spent helping out their Western Mech mentees impacted their performance. They were disappointed, to be sure, but still see the value of their young charges’ experience. “It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to help out the teams,” Zhou says. “They have all the years ahead of them to maybe become

“We were kind of favoured to win. At least in my eyes.” JONAT H AN ZHOU, VEX Robotics Team 210Y

and Zhou started a non-profit robotics organization called Western Mechatronics. They hosted an info session at Mount Royal University and set about designing summer camps and lesson plans. Then COVID happened. Like everyone else, Western Mechatronics shifted online. Wang and Zhou started offering free robotics instruction on Zoom, and participants logged on from as far away as the U.K. The virtual classes, though, were hardly ideal. Wang puts it bluntly: “Learning from a screen sucks,” he says. “We teach how to program a robot to move, but then there’s no robot to move.” For the summer of 2020, Wang and Zhou devised a hybrid camp model — campers would log on to virtual lessons as they did in the spring, but also rented basic “Clawbot Kits” that Western Mech purchased from VEX. Campers were able to use what they learned online to design, build and operate robots at home.

the next world champion. So, I’m quite happy with how it ended up, even though we didn’t win.” By the summer of 2021, Western Mech was able to host an in-person camp. Forty participants signed up — far too many for Zhou’s dad’s rejigged office — so Western Mech rented space next to a downtown animal clinic. “We had a bunch of kids screaming at each other. It was a lot of fun,” Wang says. The cats and dogs next door were less enthused. The 2021-2022 school year kicked off on a positive note, however. Their school and the community had raised $16,000 to start a VEX robotics club at Western Canada High. This means Zhou and Wang are extra-busy these days. They help out the new club after school, then walk downtown to work with their Western Mech teams. In March, 210Y qualified for the 2022 World Championships, which are to be held next month in Dallas, Texas. If all goes as planned, it will be Wang and Zhou’s first in-person World’s since they were junior-high kids and, as Grade 12 students, their last shot at robotics glory. Regardless of whether or not Wang and Zhou crown their VEX career with a world title, they’ve already created a robotics legacy in their home city. 33


foraging&

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FE A ST ING

P H O T O S ( T H I S PA G E A N D O P P O S I T E PA G E ) C O U R T E S Y O F PA U L R O G A L S K I

Chef and Rouge Restaurant co-owner Paul Rogalski.

april 2022


DI NI NG BY SKY ENGLAND ILLUSTRATIONS BY ADONIS HIYAS

Chef Rogalski's nettle and dandelion salad.

H E R E I N C A L G A R Y, A N D ALL OVER THE WORLD, LEADING CHEFS ARE ADOPTING THE ANCIENT PRACTICE OF FORAGING FOR WILD INGREDIENTS IN ORDER TO T E L L A C U L I N A RY STO RY B A S E D O N CONNECTION TO

I

THE LAND.

n June 2019, Rouge Restaurant coowner and chef Paul Rogalski and Les Stroud, a.k.a. TV’s “Survivorman,” set out in search of wild edible plants in a spruce bog near Sundre, Alta., and in nearby Burnstick Lake, a place Rogalski had been going to since he was a teen. It was the first day filming their new cooking/adventure show, Wild Harvest. Stroud picked horsetails, dandelions, cattails and spruce tips. Rogalski battered and fried the horsetails over a fire and served them with a dandelion dipping sauce. He then served up a dandelion greens cake topped with aioli and spruce tips, followed by cattail fritters seasoned with roasted dandelion root. Over the course of his culinary career, Rogalski has sought to understand and practice local food movements such as farm-to-table and garden-totable. This journey with Stroud found him deep in the next phase of his culinary education: wildto-table. “[Foraging] is about connectivity,” says Rogalski, “connecting with people around the table, avenuecalgary.com

When practiced sustainably, there’s an environmental argument for foraging.

connecting with the source of your food, and with soil, sunlight and the rain.” Sitting by Burnstick Lake that day, Rogalski says he was overwhelmed with “so much gratitude.” The modern foraging movement is often credited to René Redzepi, head chef at the famed threeMichelin-star restaurant Noma in Denmark. To call foraging “modern” is essentially incorrect, however, as Indigenous peoples traditionally depended on wild plants to survive. As Robin Wall Kimmerer

writes in her book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, “to our people, [the land] was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors, the home to our nonhuman kinfolk, our pharmacy, our library, the source of all that sustained us.” But, over the past decade, this traditional practice has been adopted by leading chefs around the world. In 2015, Italian chef and former Redzepi cohort, Alessandro Porcelli, brought together 14 leading Alberta chefs (Rogalski included) for his show, Cook it Raw. The goal was to explore hyper-local ingredients and collaborate on creating an identity for Alberta Cuisine — an experience that sparked curiosity about gathering native plants among many of the participants. When practised sustainably, there’s an environmental argument for foraging, as ingredients gathered in the wild don’t need to be transported on planes or trucks. Discussions of climate change, population growth and supply-chain disruptions all lead to the question of food security and suggest 35


Left: River Café chef Scott Mackenzie’s morels and peas with a nettle velouté, creme fraîche and sorrel.

Top: Chef Paul Rogalski preparing a dish with foraged ingredients during the filming of the TV program, Wild Harvest. Bottom: Julie Walker of Full Circle Adventures.

A foraged ingredient represents a connection to the landscape, a singular moment in time it was picked. we should know what edible plants thrive right here where we live. But there’s also a spiritual side to foraging that involves forming connections with the land and what it provides. Julie Walker is a Calgary-based trail guide who leads edible plant walks through her tourism company, Full Circle Adventures. She believes foraging is about the “spiritual engagement with our food, with our landscape and with Mother Earth.” Full Circle’s edible plant walks caught the attention of SAIT culinary instructor and chef Andrew Hewson, who now includes them in his training for up-and-coming chefs. Hewson says that, for chefs, finding a plant in its natural habitat changes their relationship to that ingredient and brings energy and inspiration to their work. The ingredient now has meaning, and a story. “You’re going to pay more attention when you’re cooking it, or when you’re presenting it,” Hewson says. 36

Rogalski says that, by being served wild plants, diners can also experience those stories. A foraged ingredient represents a connection to the landscape, a singular moment in time it was picked. “My desire is to provide the time-and-place experience,” Rogalski says. On any given month at Rouge, you might find pine, cedar, catkin, elderflower, cattails, sumac or any array of local mushrooms on the menu. While the names might sound exotic, the flavours are often more familiar. Roasted dandelion root, for example, is “nutty and bitter, like coffee,” Rogalski says, while sweet clover hints of vanilla. For both Rogalski and Hewson, the foray into foraging has also been an education in the culinary purpose of trees. On one foraging outing near Pincher Creek, Hewson and his companions clipped young spruce bark, then baked it in an oven and ground it into flour to make cookies. “It was mind-blowing,” says Hewson. “A taste of pine and earthiness.” River Café chef Scott Mackenzie says he once made a velouté with stinging nettles and topped it with wood-fire-grilled morel mushrooms, French sorrel and tangerine marigold. The resulting dish, Mackenzie says, tasted “like the wild.” april 2022

V E L O U T É P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F S C O T T M A C K E N Z I E ; R O G A L S K I P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F PA U L R O G A L S K I ; J U L I E W A L E K R P H O T O B Y A N D R E W H E W S O N

D IN IN G


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HOW TO START FOR AGING Walker says learning about and cooking with edible native species is a journey of discovery. When you start looking for edible plants in nature, you’ll become more attuned to the ecosystem around you, the seasons, to your movement from montane forest, to subalpine, to alpine environments. She suggests starting with what you know — easily identifiable plants such as dandelion or wild rose. Pick young dandelion in the spring (from a spot where no herbicides or other chemicals have been sprayed) and toss them in vinegar and lemon for a simple salad. “It’s like a spring cleaning for your liver and kidneys,” Walker says. Look for public lands where you can find raspberries, strawberries and saskatoons. Be aware that foraging in protected city, provincial and national parks is unlawful, as it 38

disrupts the local ecosystems those plants support. Walker stresses that understanding how to forage sustainably is key. Every plant plays a vital part in its environment, and part of being a steward of the land is understanding how to pick and eat wild plants, without devastating local ecosystems. Take fireweed, for example. “In April and May, fireweed stalks are at their most sweet,” says Walker, noting that bears eat them to fatten up. When fireweed blooms later in the summer, bees, butterflies and hummingbirds feast on the pollen. The plant blankets landscapes devastated by fires or logging. It’s considered a “healer,” Walker says, as its lateral roots return stability to the soil and regenerate it with potassium and phosphorus. Walker recommends taking no more than five per cent of what’s there when foraging for any wild plant.

Another approach, says Walker, is to plant a wild garden that you can then harvest and cook to your heart’s delight. (Full Circle Adventures also offers Wild Food Garden Design consultation.) You’ll also be providing much needed nutrition for local insects, which are, in turn, a vital food supply for migrating birds. “In re-wilding our gardens, we are contributing to an integrated food chain,” she says. Whether we find them or grow them ourselves, Walker believes these wild foods can “help us build back to a healthy relationship to nature.”

Season 1 of Wild Harvest aired in 2021 on PBS and can currently be seen on YouTube. Filming on Season 2 is complete and is set to air this spring. For more information, visit wildharvestfilms.com april 2022


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M OUNTA I N S

CHILLING I N T H E M OU N TAI N S

WI T H A L B ERTA’S NOTORIOUS LY LONG WIN TE RS , THE N UM BE R OF DAYS TO GO S WIMMIN G O U TS I D E A R E AT A P REMIUM. UNLESS , THAT IS , YOU ARE WIL L IN G TO PUSH YO U R S EL F O U T OF YO UR COMF ORT Z ONE AN D TAKE THE PL UN GE IN TO ICE - COL D WAT ER

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April 2022


M OUNTA I NS

BY CHRIS LANDRY

CHILL SPOT

1

P H O T O G R A P H B Y H A L E Y R O B I N S O N ; O P P O S I T E PA G E P H O T O G R A P H B Y C H R I S L A N D R Y

LAKE MINNEWANK A Banff National Park One of the most well-known lakes in Banff National Park, Minnewanka is an easily accessible and beautiful spot to take your first cold-water dip. It is also a popular scuba diving spot, on account of its underwater ghost town. Its popularity within the dive community extends to the gently sloping launch point into the water and a small flat beach for before- and after-dip activities. TIP Park at the plaque site before the causeway bridge and follow the signs for scuba diving down the stairs to the water’s edge. Remember that you will have to walk back up, so shoes (and maybe even crampons) are a must here since the stairs can get icy.

A

quick dunk in cold water can be refreshing, awakening, invigorating and revitalizing. But, in recent years, science has begun to reveal the positive physiological effects immersing in cold water can have on your body, thanks, in part, to a Dutchman named Wim Hof. Hof is famous for performing incredible feats of cold-resistance, like climbing Mount Everest in only shorts, or sitting in an ice bath for hours. In order to achieve these feats, he created a regimen that involves breathing, cold-water immersion and discipline. The Wim Hof Method, as it’s known, is believed to awaken the immune system, increasing energy levels, decreasing stress levels and enhancing general well-being. To get science-y, the combination of breathing techniques and cold-water immersion increases the release of epinephrine, which helps with the body’s anti-inflammatory response. This means that a cold-water dip not only helps with healing inflamed joints and muscles, but it seems to have avenuecalgary.com

CHILL SPOT

some effect on inflammatory autoimmune diseases as well. To be less science-y, the focus required to maintain breathing and calmness while freezing is a good way to practice mindfulness and awareness of your body. Calgary-based cold-water diver and free diver Sabrina Figliomeni regularly swims and dives in the icy waters of the Alberta Rockies. While she notes there are a few businesses around Calgary, such as Redox Wellness, that offer cold-water therapy in a controlled setting, and a few natural spots within the Calgary city limits to jump in the water, nothing really compares to the experience of being in the quiet of the mountains, surrounded by nature.

2

FORGETMENOT POND Kananaskis Country This crystal-clear pond south of Elbow Falls on Highway 66 is a man-made offshoot of the Elbow River. The highway is closed from December until May, but the pond stays consistently cold year-round thanks to mild water movement from the adjacent river, so you can still cold-water swim during warm-weather months. The bottom is a squishy silt that sticks to your feet, so entrance into the water is relatively pain-free. Benches and picnic tables surrounding the pond make for great pre-plunge-prep spots, and the pathway in makes it easy for your spotter to follow you if there are any issues.

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CHILL SPOT

3

TWO JACK LAKE Banff National Park Two Jack Lake has another excellent launch area for novice cold-water swimmers. The parking lot for the launch point is easy to find, just past Two Jack Lakeside Campground on the way to Lake Minnewanka. (There are also good launch points within the campground.) Two Jack Lake’s access can also be icy, so good shoes are a must here, as well.

Preparing for the Plunge According to Figliomeni, there are a few things you should do to make your cold-water dip the best and safest experience possible. No. 1? Breathe. “Breathe beforehand, and as you get into the water,” says Figliomeni. Doing deepbreathing exercises — long, deep breaths, in and out — before entering the water allows oxygen to enter the bloodstream. This prevents 42

your limbs from getting too cold too quickly, since your body will begin to cut off blood flow to your hands and feet and send it to your vital organs. Maintaining calm breathing will also help you relax in the water. “The initial cold shock may make you gasp,” Figliomeni says. “But don’t hyperventilate. It may send you into a panic and make the whole thing seem harder than it needs to be.”

Figliomeni also stresses the importance of proper footwear for getting in and out of the water, as any adverse sensations will distract you from staying calm and focused on breathing. The bottoms of mountain lakes can be rocky and painful on bare feet and the cold will only exacerbate that feeling. Water shoes, Crocs, or even a thick pair of socks will help you maintain the necessary focus for a safe cold-water experience. Another important thing is to always have a spotter. Things can always go wrong, so it’s best to stay close to the shore with a buddy watching you. “Make sure you and your buddy know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and the first-aid procedures for it,” Figliomeni says. (Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness.) Aside from the safety aspect, sharing the experience of jumping into freezing water with a friend is always more fun, she adds. Safety is always the top priority, though, so her advice is, if you are feeling uncomfortable, then step back. “Don’t be a hero. If this is your first time, proceed with caution,” Figliomeni says. “Or, even better, try your first [dip] somewhere controlled, like Redox Wellness, so you have a safe environment.” If you do decide to take a natural cold-water plunge, it’s a good idea to bring a safety line. “Your first plunges will be short — with practice, you’ll be able to extend them,” she says. “The body is exceptional at protecting itself when it comes to the cold, so enjoy the sensations.” When coming out of the water, as much as your instinct might be to hop into your car and blast the heat, instead, have a few towels ready — one to stand on, and one to dry off with — and change into dry clothes as soon as you get out (Figliomeni likes to use a dry robe, like Red Paddle Co.’s changing robes, or something similar, that can be easily and quickly slipped on and off). The rush of cold blood from your extremities to your body core has the potential to send your body and organs into shock, so you’ll want to allow your body to come back to temperature slowly and naturally. Figliomeni’s suggestion? “Go for a walk and marvel at the fact that you just did what you did.” April 2022

P H OTO G R A P H BY J E N N I F E R FA ST @ J E N N E X P LO R E S

M OUNTA I N S


C L A S S O F 2 0 2 2

NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN Top40Under40.com


D EC OR

BY VALERIE FORTNEY

the science of simplifying THE AESTHETICS OF AN ORGANIZED AND C LU T T E R- F R E E H O M E A R E U N D E N I A B L E , B U T T H E R E A R E A L S O U N S E E N B E N E F I T S T H AT E X T E N D T O O U R M E N TA L H E A LT H A N D W E L L - B E I N G

LEFT Professional home organizer Megan Golightly uses clear containers to create order in a drawer.

OPPOSI T E A clutter-free workspace in a home designed by Nyla Free.

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s a kid growing up in a busy blended-family household, Megan Golightly didn’t give much thought to whether her bedroom was tidy and organized. “My mom said that, as a teenager, I was a disaster,” Golightly says with a chuckle. Even so, Golightly had an affinity for labelling things back then, perhaps an indication that she wasn’t completely devoid of organizational skills. Plus, she says, “I’ve always loved a challenge.” These days, the Calgary entrepreneur and founder of Simplified puts her passion for labelling — as well as categorizing and finding a place for everything — to good use. Her business, which focuses on helping clients get their homes organized, packed and unpacked, is now in its 12th year. “I help people get out from under the clutter and simplify things,” says Golightly, who recently helped lifestyle-brand entrepreneur Jillian Harris of Love It or List It Vancouver fame get her home decluttered. “Then, they can just live.” While the world of home organization has always been of interest to some, it has exploded into one of the biggest lifestyle trends of the past few years, with its own household-name celebrities. Marie Kondo, the wildly popular host of her own Netflix show and merchandising empire, brought the question, “Does it spark joy?” to so many people looking to get out from under the weight of all that household stuff; while the California duo behind The Home Edit have also parlayed their passion for tidiness into a Netflix series, books and even a line of home-organization products for Walmart. While the field has certainly gotten more crowded, Golightly, with the help of her team, has managed to bring her unique vision to the world of home organization. april 2022


P H O T O B Y P H I L C R O Z I E R ; O P P O S I T E PA G E P H O T O B Y S T E P H A N I E L U C I L E P H O T O G R A P H Y

“I HELP PEOPLE GET OUT FROM UNDER THE CLUTTER AND SIMPLIFY THINGS. THEN, THEY CAN JUST LIVE.” MEGAN GOLIGHTLY, SIMPLIFIED

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D EC OR

“IF YOU HAVE CLUTTER ALL OVER, YOUR BRAIN IS ALWAYS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO SOLVE IT.”

TO P Rockwood Custom Homes’ dog-washing station with a place for everything. LEFT Rockwood’s “sneaky office” keeps work-related items tucked away. 46

AB OVE Golightly curating a shelf display.

Armed with a degree in psychology, years working in the mental health field and a passion for keeping on top of the latest neuroscience research, she blends practical tips and strategies with knowledge of how our brains deal with everything from the negative effects of ignoring the problem of household clutter, to how to prepare to tackle it. “If you have clutter all over, your brain is always trying to figure how to solve it, where it’s going to go,” she says. Golightly is able to pass on to clients her knowledge about the important connections between their physical and mental environments, and that an organized home isn’t just pretty, but also vital to their well-being. Over the past several years, the field of neuroscience — the scientific study of the nervous system, with a focus on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions — has provided a growing body of evidence confirming the relationship between clutter and feelings of stress. A 2011 study from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found (paraphrased in non-neuroscience jargon) that, when your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology also found a correlation between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in women who had a high density of household objects. Deborah Dobson, a psychologist and adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary, says this connection is now treated as common wisdom in disciplines such as hers. “For most people, clutter has a negative impact,” says Dobson, whose work has also focused on the problem of hoarding — which she says is the extreme end of the clutter continuum. Dobson says that the clutter-stress issue is becoming more and more common april 2022

TO P A N D B OT TO M L E F T P H OTO S CO U RT E SY O F R O C K W O O D C U STO M H O M E S ; B OT TO M R I G H T P H OTO BY ST E P H A N I E L U C I L E P H OTO G R A P H Y

MEGAN GOLIGHTLY


AA829 GRAND ESTATE | 11059 SOMERTON CASTLE

CDL South (403) 255-1811 7265-11 Street SE Calgary, AB T2H 2S1 CDL North (403) 275-3304 11752 Sarcee Trail NW Calgary, AB T3R 0A1 CDL Invermere (250) 342-1592 4B 492 Arrow Road Invermere, BC V0A 1K2

CARPET • RUGS • HARDWOOD • andersontuftex.com

@cdlcarpetandflooring www.cdlflooring.ca

It’s time to celebrate life’s special days together again. Join Venue 308, The Brownstone and Avenue to experience this celebration of celebrations. T I C K E T S A N D I N F O R M AT I O N AT

AvenueCalgary.com/Celebrate

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Reconnect WITH YOURCity SUB SCRIBE TO T H E

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TO CREATE AMAZING PLACES, WE BUILD AMAZING SPACES. For CMLC, city-building starts with seeing the big picture…and all the little ones, too. City-building begins with a bold and ambitious vision, precisely like the one CMLC is realizing in Calgary’s vibrant East Village and emerging Culture + Entertainment District. Integral to that vision are landmark facilities and amenities—Arts Commons and the BMO Centre expansion, for example, which CMLC is modernizing and expanding; and the recently completed, future-focused Platform Innovation Centre & Parkade. Just as important, though, are the in-between spaces, crafted with care and activated with purpose to attract the human energy that brings it all to life. To explore more of the amazing spaces CMLC has been creating, visit calgarymlc.ca

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april 2022


P H OTO BY P H I L C R O Z I E R

DE COR in these current times. “The pandemic has seen a lot of us doing more online shopping to feel better, which has contributed to the accumulation of more stuff,” she says. “It’s a problem of decision-making: when we don’t have strategies for organizing and categorizing things, we just keep it. And, if there’s too much around, it can have a negative impact on our well-being.” After recently renovating her own home, interior designer Nyla Free, whose studio is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, experienced first-hand the benefits of a clutter-free life. “Having well-organized spaces makes a world of difference to the feeling you have in your home,” Free says. Like Golightly, Free is well-acquainted with the neuroscience at work when proposing design solutions for her clients. “When there is a place for everything and everything in its place, it relieves clutter both visually and mentally,” Free says, noting that she makes sure she understands every aspect of her clients’ lives and habits when considering what is best for them in design, aesthetics and functionality. Indeed, many see the benefits of creating an organized home environment even before they move in. “We’ve seen big changes over the past decade in terms of how people approach their home-planning around organization,” says Allison Grafton, founder and president of Calgary’s Rockwood Custom Homes, an award-winning, boutique custom home construction and renovation company she started in 2009. “They come to us with ideas of what they want in terms of storage and organization, and we work with them to curate the home that best suits their needs. Most things exist in the homes we build with a cause and a purpose.” These days, Grafton and her clients engage in what she calls “honest discussions about their stuff,” whether they have children and need lots of storage or are child-free and seeking a minimalist vibe. “We teach people they can live in a different way, which is also what people like Megan Golightly do. [Simplifying your life] is so difficult to take on without a professional to guide you.” When Golightly and her team first meet with a new client, she finds out as much as she can about them and their needs before introducing her system. Throughout the avenuecalgary.com

“HAVING WELL-ORGANIZED SPACES MAKES A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE TO THE FEELING YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME.” NYLA FREE INTERIOR DESIGNER

RIGHT A Nyla Free-designed mudroom with solutions to keep outerwear and entrance-area clutter at bay.

process, she explains concepts such as duration path outcome, which experts define as your brain focusing on three things: what am I doing, where am I going and what’s the point? “When someone looks at their disorganized home, their prefrontal cortex shuts down,” says Golightly. (That’s the part of the brain that, among many other roles, aids us with planning and organizing.) “There’s too much cortisol, adrenaline flowing, and they can’t get that distance to deal with it.” Along with offering helpful tips on organization and other insights on her popular Instagram account, Golightly also

sells downloadable how-to guides on her website. “I want to eliminate that cycle in your head so you can just get on with life,” she says, adding that she recommends enlisting the help of a friend — even she recruits her team members to help tackle clutter in her own home — and that she usually recommends DIY-types to start by taking on the least-complicated room in the house, the bathroom. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, sometimes all of us feel overwhelmed by our own house,” Golightly says. “I help people see their lives, instead of all the clutter.” 49


W OR K O F A RT

CURATED BY KATHERINE YLITALO

TITLE

P

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D AT E 1967

A RT I S T Jack Shadbolt (1909 - 1998)

MEDIA Oil, Lucite on canvas

SIZE 200 cm by 120 cm

L O C AT I O N Eighth Avenue Place (West Tower), 525 8 Ave. S.W.

NOTES Collection of Eighth Avenue Place owners: Matco Investments Ltd., AIMCo and Ivanhoé Cambridge. Another Shadbolt, Wild Grass Suite – Quintet (1979), is in the East Tower. The Estate of Jack Shadbolt is managed by Equinox Gallery, Vancouver.

Northern Emblem (No. 1 mural study) of the bush terrain as one flew over in a fast plane. These were the beginnings of an attempt to visualize the country from the pilot’s point of view,” suggesting that this particular “mural study” might be a carryover from the airport mural. Northern Emblem (No. 1 mural study) is one of several abstract paintings displayed in the West Tower of downtown’s Eighth Avenue Place. During an early tour of the

building site, Ron Mathison, president, founder and CEO of Matco Investments, and his colleague, Michael Tims (then-chair of the board of trustees of the National Gallery of Canada), decided to complement the grandeur of the architecture with paintings by major 20th century Canadian artists on permanent display — a generous gesture that adds to the culture of the building and contributes to the life of the city.

P H O T O G R A P H BY J A R E D S Y C H

atchwork forms pulse in an azure field. Notice the crisp edges, blurred sections, slight disruptions in overlapping layers, the dynamics of one colour next to another, the spatial suggestion that a cut edge casts a curving shadow. Follow the implied arc that links the two dominant forms: the edges of thick slabs, brushstrokes and random bumps are textural clues to this painting’s history, now evenly covered with blue. See how the underpainted colours give life to the ones above. Consider how the artist, Jack Shadbolt, delights in the painted surface and handles the push and pull of line and form with verve. When he painted Northern Emblem (No. 1 mural study) in 1967, Shadbolt was already a highly regarded artist and teacher, recently retired from the Vancouver School of Art. Born in England, Shadbolt studied art in Victoria, Vancouver, New York, England and France. He enlisted in the army during the Second World War and was sent by the Canadian Army War Artists Administration to document bombed sites of London. His experiences are reflected in his work. The title of this particular piece is something of a puzzle, as there doesn’t seem to be any record of a mural called Northern Emblem. Shadbolt had, however, painted an earlier mural, Bush Pilot in Northern Sky (1963), for the Edmonton airport and donated a trove of preparatory drawings and sketches to the Art Gallery of Alberta, indicating the influence of aerial photography. One particular sketch echoes the rectangular forms, triangles and some textures seen in Northern Emblem (No. 1 mural study). A typewritten label states: “Several studies were made of the somewhat blurred effect

Northern Emblem (No. 1 mural study)

APRIL 2022


CALGARY:

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