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27 YEARS OF CITY / LIFE / STYLE / CALGARY
FLIP OVER FOR AVENUE WEDDINGS
WE LOVE Olympian Mark Tewksbury and nine others who make us smile
HOW TO SPA
MOUNTAINS AFTER DARK
Where to get momos, gyoza, soup dumplings and more
A newbie’s guide to day spa treatments and etiquette
Fun things to do in the Rockies after sunset
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on the cover MARK TEWKSBURY Olympic champion, author, speaker, humanitarian and Calgarian We Love. Read more on page 14. Photograph by Jared Sych Hair and Makeup by Jessica Luther
contents 5 Editor’s Note
P H O T O G R A P H S B Y J A R E D S Y C H , J E F F L E W I S / J A S P E R T O U R I S M , B R I T TA N Y E S T H E R
D E PA R T M E N T S 7 Detours This month, we’re challenging readers to “look out below” and see if they can name six iconic floors at businesses throughout the city. Plus, with more and more craft breweries now making soda (and in the spirit of Dry January), we check in with four local brewers who have pops in the game. A canine-massage therapist explains why sometimes pets need more than just pets. And, in its new spot in the magazine, the New & Noteworthy column is back, featuring four great products available in the city, plus a peek at the private shopping showroom of local womenswear brand SophieGrace.
26 Dining Asian dumplings are the ultimate comfort food. In this guide to all things dumpling, writer (and dumpling-lover) Carmen Cheng identifies the most popular styles across Asian cuisines and lists some of her go-to spots in the city to find them. 36 Mountains The sun goes down really early in the middle of winter, but these amazing after-dark activites will help you get the most out of your day in the mountains.
FE AT UR ES
13 Calgarians We Love Our annual feature about local folks who make this city a kinder, friendlier, more interesting and more fun place, including bar owner Chris Hewitt (pictured), and our cover person Mark Tewksbury, the Olympic gold medallist, motivator, author and humanitarian, who is known as much for his winning smile as he is for his impressive achievements. By Tsering Asha, Jazmine Canfield, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Valerie Fortney Christina Frangou and Nathan Kunz
Flip over this magazine to read the results of our second annual Best Wedding Services online ballot, in which readers got the chance to show some love for the local businesses that go above and beyond when it comes to making your special day extra-special. Plus, real wedding stories of three Calgary couples who married in 2021.
FLIP OVER for Avenue Weddings
32 Day Spas 101 A guide to spa treatments and etiquette so you can relax and enjoy yourself. By Jennifer Hamilton
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The Pastry Pros We shine the spotlight on the pastry chefs behind some of the best-loved and most unique restaurant desserts in the city.
Bold Decor Four local designers and one visual artist give their advice on how to indulge your boldest ideas and create a home that’s truly you.
Youth Mental Health Young Calgarians are strugging through an age of pandemic-induced anxiety. But new initiatives in mental health care indicate hope on the horizon.
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P H O T O G R A P H B Y H E AT H E R S A I T Z ; C L O T H I N G S T Y L I N G B Y G R A V I T Y P O P E
have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, but, as the calendar year rolls over, I do find my thoughts turn to the people in my life, and who I’d like to connect with more in the months to come. A renewed focus on friendships and human connections can be just the thing to sustain you through those dark days of winter that start the morning after the clock strikes midnight. This sense of seeking connection is a key inspiration behind Calgarians We Love — our annual feature that shines a spotlight on the folks who make the city feel like a friendlier place to live. Among them is local hero Mark Tewksbury. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting “Tewks,” then we don’t have to tell you how lovable he is. From his roots as a closeted teen who found a safe space in the pool, to the golden-boy Olympic champion of the 1992 Barcelona Games, to an acclaimed public speaker and author who has built his personal brand around building people up and being his authentic self, Tewksbury’s story and his megawatt smile can brighten even the darkest winter day. Of course, there are other ways to get through January, namely by retreating to a spa, or eating your favourite comfort foods. If you’ve always felt a little intimidated by spa lingo and etiquette, our Day Spa 101 story should help you get over that hump so you can indulge yourself in a treatment to soothe your winter-battered skin and soul.
Enter the 2022
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
There For Each Other
As for comfort food, dumplings have been a cornerstone of Asian cuisines since the Eastern Han Dynasty, and there’s a reason for that: they’re delicious. From Tibetan momos to Japanese gyoza and all the wontons and soup dumplings in between, foodie and writer Carmen Cheng lays out the differences between them, and tells us where to find the best in the city. Speaking of the best in the city, this issue also features the winners of our second annual Best Wedding Services online ballot. Avenue readers cast more than 17,500 votes to acknowledge their favourite businesses in the city’s wedding sector, and you can read up on this year’s winners in our annual weddings section on the flipside of this magazine (that’s right, just flip it over and you’ll see the weddings section, with its own special cover). You can also read the “real wedding stories” of three local couples who tied the knot in 2021. For two of the couples, the weddings happened at long last, after their original plans to marry in 2020 were derailed. That they were finally able to say “I do” last summer in front of their friends and loved ones made the moment all the sweeter. Fittingly, as we welcome a new year, here at Avenue, we’re also debuting a new look for the magazine. If you’re a long-time reader — or if you’re a new reader and this is your first look at the magazine — we always appreciate getting feedback and would love to hear what you think.
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NOTEBOOK OF THE CITY
LOOK OUT BELOW! THERE’S A WORLD OF INTERESTING SIGHTS RIGHT AT O U R F E E T. H O W M A N Y O F T H E S E I C O N I C CALGARY FLOORS CAN YOU NAME? Answers on Page 9 avenuecalgary.com
AS MORE BREWERIES GET INTO THE SODA GAME, WE TALK TO FOUR LOCAL MAKERS
raft soda seems to be everywhere these days as more and more brewers enter the market. We tracked down representatives of four local manufacturers — new and old — to recommend their favourite soda and discuss what sets their particular pops above the rest. —Colin Gallant
Annex Soda Manufacturing Annex Ale Project was making sodas even before it started making beer. While waiting on a brewing licence, co-owner Andrew Bullied created a root beer, which became the first Annex product brought to market. The newest Annex soda is the craft cola. Like the others, it is made with fresh-pressed ingredients. “You can’t really deviate too far from cola and get too crafty with it because people have a strict vision in their minds of what cola is,” Bullied says. “[But] ours is a little less sugary. It’s very vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon-forward.” 4323 1 St. S.E., 403-475-4412, annexsodas.com, @annexsodas
DandyPop Dandy Brewing Company is a new player in the soda-making game with its playful DandyPop line. Each can has a peel-off sticker designed by art director Jag MacKenzie. While you’d think the cherry and vanilla cream soda would be a hit with youngsters, brewery co-founder Benjamin Leon says his kids prefer the tonic. “It’s more herbaceous, sort of a citrus soda, compared to your regular tonic,” Leon says. “Every time we get someone to try it, they’re kind of blown away.” 2003 11 St. S.E., 587-956-8836, thedandybrewingcompany.com, @dandyalesyyc
Grizzly Paw has been making sodas for 16 years and employs a soda maker, similar to a brewmaster, who is the creative lead and sole producer. But the flagship root beer is still No. 1. “Kids love it, it tastes great in cocktails, it’s as simple as that,” says former staffer Kristina Cardinale. Along with the two Canmore Grizzly Paw locations, the sodas can be found at retailers across Western Canada. thegrizzlypaw.com, @thegrizzlypaw
Minhas Craft Sodas When the locally operated Minhas Craft Brewery acquired a brewery in Wisconsin, it also bought the recipes for craft sodas the former owners created as a way to survive the prohibition era. “We use organic cane sugar now, but the feeling the soda evokes when you taste it will definitely take you back in time to when you were a child,” says co-founder and CEO Manjit Minhas — in particular, the orange cream soda, which tastes like a creamsicle in a bottle. Minhas sodas are available at Sobeys, Safeway and Calgary Co-op stores. 1314 44 Ave. N.E., 403-695-3701, minhasbrewery.com, @minhasbrewery
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SODA, CRAFT, POP!
The Grizzly Paw Pub & Brewing Company
Shelbey Poirier and her dog Freyja.
Beyond Belly Rubs CANINE MASSAGE THERAPIST SHELBEY POIRIER HELPS HER CLIENTS BE MORE LIMBER, FLEXIBLE AND RELAXED
P H OTO G R A P H Y BY J A R E D SYC H
ike massage therapy for humans, there are numerous benefits to our canine companions from the pushing and pulling motion over their furry frames. “A lot of people think that dogs just live their life and they can get through anything, but sometimes they need that little extra help,” says canine massage therapist Shelbey Poirier. Poirier ended up in her chosen field because she wanted to comfort her dog who had developed mild hip dysplasia and arthritis, and had a double knee operation. After taking an online “Petting with a Purpose” course, Poirier quickly realized her new skills could help other dogs as well. She received her certification through Holistic Animal Studies. Now close to two years into the occupation, Poirier has found massaging not only helps the dogs, but also her own
mental health. Getting into a calm headspace is essential to the process, as she says dogs can be very sensitive to her energy. As with humans, Poirier says that massages benefit her canine clientele both mentally and physically. “Some dogs can have anxiety and some dogs can be a little hyper, so a relaxation massage is good for that,” she says. “If they’re sporting dogs, it can also keep their muscles limber. So whenever there’s mobility issues, lack of flexibility, or if there’s some pain, [including] arthritic pain, a massage can help. “It’s not the total panacea, but it is a modality to use in conjunction with vet care.” —Jazmine Canfield Shelbey Poirier offers massages through private practice and is working to become a feline certified massage therapist, as well. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Look Out Below! answers, clockwise from top left: Purple Perk; The Wednesday Room; Caesar’s Steak House; Canyon Meadows Cinema; Hawthorn Dining Room at the Fairmont Palliser; Central Library avenuecalgary.com
NEW & NOTEWORTHY R oc ky M ountain Soap Company Cream Deodorant
SophieGrace Showroom Calgary-based clothing brand SophieGrace started out as an e-commerce venture and gained a loyal following with its minimalist womenswear made from smart fabrics. Rather than a traditional storefront, founder Emma May decided to create a privateshopping showroom for the company’s first
G R AT IT U D E
BY THE G R IN N IN G G OAT
Drops of Gratitude aromatherapy bracelets for adults ($40) and kids ($18) blend essential oils with natural gemstones and lava beads. Feeling a little anxious? Try pairing the “calming” essential oil with the “happiness” amethyst gemstone bracelet. With 30-plus bracelets and six essential oil choices, there are blends for whatever life throws at you. —M.R. Available at dropsofgratitude.ca
The latest addition to IKEA’s Symfonisk family is a framed artwork embedded with WiFi speakers ($249). The collaboration between IKEA and Sonos provides room-filling sound and connects to the full Sonos range and other WiFi speakers from the Symfonisk collection. —M.R. Available at IKEA, 8000 11 St. S.E., or online at ikea.com/ca/en
The Grinning Goat boutique offers an ethical vegan shopping experience with PETA-approved attire. Its winter boots for men ($65 to $209) and women ($58 to $159) are available in a range of designs, but all guaranteed to keep your feet warm, stylish and cruelty-free during the cold-weather months. —M.R. Available at The Grinning Goat, 323 17 Ave. S.W., grinninggoat.ca
GE M STON E A ROM AT HE R A P Y BR AC E L E TS BY D RO PS O F
foray into bricks-and-
Sy mfonisk Pic ture Frame w ith WiFi S peaker by IKE A
mortar retail. Located
VEG AN W IN TER BO OTS
in the industrial-chic Ramsay Design Centre, the appointment-only space can be booked for group shopping parties or for one-onone personal styling appointments with in-house stylist Carl Abad. —M.R. 1230 20 Ave. S.E. sophiegrace.ca january 2022
P R O D U C T P H O T O S C O U R T E S Y O F R E TA I L E R S , S O P H I E G R A C E P H O T O B Y L A U R A C O L P I T T S , C O P P E R B L U E P H O T O G R A P H Y
This cream deodorant ($24) from Canmore-based Rocky Mountain Soap Company smells great and softens your skin. Made with all-natural ingredients, it provides all-day coverage and is packaged in 100-per cent-repurposed plastics, making it a smart choice for both your underarms and the environment. Find it at multiple Calgary locations and at rockymountainsoap.com. —Michaela Ream
ONE YELLOW RABBIT’S 36THAnnual
Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts
January 18 – February 6, 2022
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READ. STREAM. LEARN. The latest eBooks, award-winning films, and virtual talks from local speakers. It’s all at your fingertips with your free Library card.
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P H OTO G R A P H BY T K T K T K
BY TS E R I N G A S H A , E L I ZA B E T H C H O R N E Y- B O OT H , JAZ M I N E CA N F I E L D , V A L E R I E F O R T N E Y, C H R I S T I N A F R A N G O U A N D N A T H A N K U N Z
W E LOV E From a legendary Olympic swimmer to a hip-hop culture ambassador, these 10 people make our city more beautiful, more interesting, more fun and an all-round kinder and friendlier place to be.
BY VALERIE FORTNEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY JARED SYCH
MARK TEWKSBURY O LY M P I A N
Olympic gold medallist, motivational speaker, author, performer, TV host with the most, Mark Tewksbury makes us feel good about life, the city and everything.
H A I R A N D M A K E U P BY J E S S I C A L U T H E R
ark Tewksbury is having a Calgary moment. “We have a jewel of a city here,” says the 53-yearold Olympic champion, who, with partner Rob Mabee, has spent many a pandemic afternoon cycling along Calgary’s innercity pathway system. “It’s beautiful and has everything you need — you drive for an hour and you’re in the mountains, or in a really cute town. I’m re-falling in love with this place.” It’s most deserving for the eternally youthful “Tewks,” as his friends know him, to have such a positive experience in the city of his birth. After all, he’s the guy who gave Calgary — and the rest of Canada — one of its own greatest moments nearly 30 years ago, when he was the first to touch the wall in the men’s 100-metre backstroke at the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympic Games. At the time, the then-24-year-old had already captured the hearts of Canadians with his winning ways, boy-next-door looks and self-deprecating humour, always served up with a million-kilowatt smile. His performance in Barcelona was also much-needed medicine for a country still smarting from the previous Summer Olympics in Seoul, when sprinter Ben Johnson’s record-setting pace in the men’s 100-metre race brought ignominy
to not just one man, but an entire nation, after he tested positive for doping. Still, that mutual love affair between citizen and city wasn’t Tewksbury’s reality for much of his life, especially before he became a star in a sport that, he admits today, literally saved his life. “I barely remember that early part of my life, because everything is so awesome today,” he says of a childhood marred by his early realization that he was gay, soon accompanied by the heart-stopping fear that anyone else would find out. Still, he can recount the stories — many of which he included in his 2006 memoir, Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock — as though they happened yesterday, but with a hard-earned maturity and empathy for his former self. Despite his best efforts to fit in, in Grade 8 someone wrote a homophobic slur on notebooks in his locker. In what he later described as an act of self-destructive rage, he trashed the books and wrote the despicable word across the front of his locker. The school principal’s remedy for such an outrage was to transfer the victim to another school. Even in those days before social media, word travelled fast. It took his classmates at the new school about three days to find out. He dreaded the world of team sports, where locker-room talk was filled with the kind of macho swagger he knew just wasn’t in him. “Swimming was my escape,” Tewksbury says of those difficult years. “The pool was a safe space for me.”
It was also a space where he excelled. When Tewksbury was five, his dad, Roger, an oil patch junior accountant, and mom, Donna, moved him and his two younger siblings to Texas. “It was so hot there, you wanted to be in the pool all the time,” Tewksbury says. When he got back to Calgary three years later, he joined the Cascade Swim Club and met coach Larry Neilson, who motivated kids not only with Olympic aspirations, but with shortterm goals like a trip to the ice cream shop after practice. “We’d have dual meets with the Snoopies and the Red Barons, and Peanut Buster Parfaits after,” he says with a loud, infectious laugh. “[Coach Neilson] didn’t just teach us how to swim, he made it fun.” In the decade leading up to Barcelona, Tewksbury became increasingly known as a formidable opponent as a member of the Canadian men’s national team, his 6’1”, 176-pound frame a perfect accompaniment to his razor-sharp focus in the water. While he came fifth in the 100-metre backstroke at the Seoul 1988 Olympics, Tewksbury got a taste of the podium when the men’s team won silver in the four-by-100-metre medley relay. By 1989, he sat second in the world standings and, by 1991, he made it to the top. Still burdened by his secret, Tewksbury confided in one person of authority in his life: Debbie Muir, a synchro-swimming coach who worked with Tewksbury as a technical advisor. Today, he remembers the tense, and unexpectedly hilarious, moment he came out to Muir. “We were at Earl’s on Stephen Avenue, and it was really, really loud,” he says. “I kept saying, ‘Debbie, I’m gay,’ and she kept saying, ‘Pardon? Pardon!?’” Not long after that revelation, Muir, who had long suspected Tewksbury was gay, but was pleased he could finally say the words, dared him to make a play for a concierge at a California hotel in the weeks before the Barcelona Olympics, which was met with success. One month later, Muir handed Tewksbury a letter to read just before his historic swim. In it, she reminded him of the courage he displayed to come out to even just one person, and how that courage would propel him to the finish line. “Mark is gutsy,” says Muir, who believes her friend’s big smile and self-dep-
recating humour belies a warrior spirit. “He can be so fierce when he decides he’s going to do something, and he’s not afraid to take a stand.” What he would later accomplish, she says, “doesn’t surprise me at all.” Tewksbury’s revelation to Muir, and her loving acceptance of who he was, played a big role in his Olympic win. “This is why being an ally is so important,” he says. “To have even one person be there, you’re not alone anymore.” Although Tewksbury was considered a medal contender in Barcelona, he wasn’t the favourite. His photo-finish Olympic recordbreaking win sent an entire country into paroxysms of jubilation. While he had achieved some public recognition from previous Olympic appearances, and even had a line of clothing with Sears Canada, Barcelona catapulted him to an entirely new level of celebrity. Tewksbury was already honing his skills as a motivational speaker before the win, but afterward he was in demand across the country. With many citing his good looks, charm and clean, healthy image, he soon had big-money endorsements from such companies and organizations as Bugle Boy jeans, Speedo and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. Muir says Tewksbury’s early public-speaking skills set the stage for his future impact on so many. “Mark has the kind of storytelling ability that allows people to see their own stories in his,” she says. “He really connects with people.” The inclusion of LGBTQ youth experiences in those numbers would come later. Until 1998, when he came out to the world — one of the first elite athletes to do so — Tewksbury still felt adrift and inauthentic. Feeling like Calgary wasn’t a welcoming environment for a gay man, he moved to Australia in 1994 in an attempt to escape the limelight. He returned to Canada in 1996 and spent the next several years in Montreal and Toronto — the place he was living when he came out publically. While many praised his courage, one company pulled out of a six-figure deal for a cross-country speaking tour. “Today, brands actually reward people for coming out, but, back then, you could lose it all,” Tewksbury says. Calgary had started to host Pride events by 1998, but there had been none in the years Tewksbury lived there there prior to coming 16
Today, brands actually reward people for coming out, but, back then, you could lose it all.
out publically. His parents also didn’t take it well when he told them, post-Barcelona, but long before his public reveal. While his mother came around, “my dad could never really come to terms with it,” he says, sadly, of Roger, who passed away in 1998. For Tewksbury, the freedom to truly be himself, in time, bolstered his courage. “I wish I had come out at the press conference at the Olympics right after I won,” he says. It’s not necessarily a regret, per se, though he can’t help but wonder what would have happened if he had decided to seize that moment. “But I wasn’t ready then, and the world wasn’t ready to hear it,” he says. The courage Tewksbury had to come out would serve him well when the International Olympic Committee appointed him to be part of the Site Selection Commission and travel the globe assessing sites for the 2004 Olympic Games. He stayed in some of the world’s best
hotels and, at nearly every stop, found lavish gifts awaiting him. When the bribery-for-votes scandal hit the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, Tewksbury knew it was more than spurious accusation. In protest, he resigned from the Canadian Olympic Association (now the Canadian Olympic Committee) and the Toronto Olympic bid committee, then, along with Olympic speed skater Susan Auch, launched OATH (Olympic Advocates Together Honourably), raising the ire of such Olympic power brokers as fellow Canadian Dick Pound. At the 1999 press conference announcing OATH, Tewksbury made a show of leaving his gold medal behind. As reported by the Canadian Press, Pound said that Tewksbury would ultimately regret discarding his medal and blowing off the chance to become part of the decision-making body for the Olympics. Today, Tewksbury laughs off Pound’s remarks. january 2022
“I was always leaving with the medal,” he says of the chunk of gold that has now been touched by more than a million Canadians. Tewksbury can now afford to laugh about his so-called Olympics rejection. He went on to serve as Chef de Mission for the London 2012 Summer Olympics, and today is vicepresident of the Canadian Olympic Committee. He has had a private audience with the Dalai Lama, kept up his speaking engagements and written even more books, now with a focus on leadership. His company, Great Traits (thegreattraits.com), co-founded with former coach and confidante Muir, passes on the invaluable lessons he has learned about integrity and authenticity and how to put those values into action. “Mark is not a CEOtype of a leader,” Muir says. “He is the kind of leader who opens up possibilities for others to see themselves as leaders.” Tewksbury has even dipped his toe into the performing arts pool with a one-man play in which he talks about his experience as a closeted gay man, along with other life adventures. He has a television gig to his name as well — a one-year stint as the host of Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made. (“That’s how the kids know him,” Muir says, with a laugh.) He continues on the public-speaking circuit and as an advocate for LGBTQ rights. In 2019, he received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality for his leadership and activism in the international sports community; and, last year, he became a Companion of the Order of Canada. After years of living out of a suitcase, commuting between Toronto and Calgary, where Mabee resides, Tewksbury is now looking forward to making his “Calgary moment” a more permanent relationship. “I guess my life has really come full circle,” he says of his renewed love for the city that formed him, and later embraced him as a celebrity athlete, but also made it tough in the early days to be a gay teenager. “When I was young, this was not a safe space for me. But we’ve both grown up.” And Calgarians just love this smart, funny, authentic and courageous man who first captured the hearts of a city, and a nation, when he swam his way to Olympic gold nearly 30 years ago.
avenue calgary.com avenuecalgary.com
Flora Johnson ARTIST
ou might not know Flora Johnson’s name, but there’s a good chance you’ll know her work. Her art has adorned Southcentre Mall, the Women’s Centre of Calgary and the John Howard Society building. The Indigenous artist and grandmother of seven is a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. Born in Manitoba, she was taken from her family at age five and placed in foster care. She was adopted by a family in Minnesota and forced 18
to end her relationship with her eight siblings and her culture. Growing up, she endured racism, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Johnson relied on painting to escape the cruelties at home and school. “Art was something that I always went to because I could tune out the negativity,” she says. When she was 29, Johnson’s husband died in a car accident, leaving her with three young children. She visited a Medicine Man who told her to return home. So, in 1996, Johnson drove to Canada and reunited with one of her brothers on the side of snowy Alberta highway. “He hugged me and I just cried,” she recalls. Johnson worked as a B pressure welder but continued painting. In 2019, she received her first big commission — a mural at Calgary’s John Howard Society, a place she credits with helping save her son’s life. The following year,
she turned her full attention to art. In addition to murals, Johnson creates and sells paintings, as well as painted hand drums and feathers featuring bold colours and motifs of animals and women. Her work was recently part of the Truth and Reconciliation Indigenous Art Exhibit at Southcentre Mall. She admits she sometimes struggles to make a living as an artist, but money isn’t what drives her. After many years of separation from her family, Johnson is fiercely protective of her relationship with her children, grandchildren and extended family. “I always say to people that I am a result of what society gave me. It’s not supposed to be negative or positive, either. It’s kind of a combination.” And healing is an ongoing process. “I’m going to keep healing until I go on my next journey,” she says. —C.F. january 2022
P H OTO G R A P H BY J A R E D SYC H
“ART WAS SOMETHING THAT I ALWAYS WENT TO BECAUSE I COULD TUNE OUT THE NEGATIVITY.”
Leah Hennel PHOTOJOURNALIST
H E N N E L P H OTO G R A P H BY L E A H H E N N E L ; C A H I L L P H OTO G R A P H BY R A M S E Y K U N K E L
n the fall of 2020, a photo of an ICU doctor in scrubs and a mask, having sunk to his knees with his head in his hands while calling a family to let them know that their loved one had died of COVID-19, went viral on social media. Captured by Alberta Health Services staff photographer Leah Hennel, the image instantly conveyed the physician’s anguish and the grief emanating from the other side of the phone. It’s not the first time Hennel has conveyed a story in a single shot. After nearly 20 years with the Calgary Herald, she shifted to the AHS job in 2019, while freelancing for The Globe and Mail, The Guardian and other publications. In 2020, she released Along the Western Front, a hardcover book depicting ranching culture in Southern Alberta, named one of the 12 best travel books of 2020 by National Geographic UK. Hennel was also part of the Canadian media contingency to the Tokyo Olympics. “I love telling real, truthful stories of what people are doing,” she says. “I’ve been so lucky to find these amazing inspirational humans who allow me to take their photos and let me into their lives.” — E.C.B.
TERRY CAHILL MAN ABOUT TOWN
e were all first introduced to Terry Cahill in the 2002 film FUBAR, but, 20 years later, the quintessential Calgarian everyman (as portrayed by actor Dave Lawrence), is still “given’r” on a daily basis. He’s starring in the series Trailer Park Boys: Jail with another new show on the way, and has a few other “pots cookin’” closer to home. “I’m like a rare unicorn, born and bred here,” Cahill says. “Ya never forget where ya come from, ’specially if ya never leave.”
Cahill even found himself toying with the idea of a mayoral run last summer, and, although he didn’t follow through, he did get as far as making a campaign T-shirt in partnership with local clothing company C of Dead, and donated proceeds from sales to the Mustard Seed. In typical fashion, Cahill shrugs off his good deed. “There’s been a few times where I was down on my luck an’ I was always able to crash there,” he says. “So, ya just gotta pay it back sometimes. You never know, it could be you.” — E.C.B.
Sho-Tyme HIP-HOP AMBASSADOR
s an instructor at Pulse Studios, Sho-Tyme brings a deeply rooted knowledge of hip-hop culture to the Calgary dance community. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., Sho-Tyme started dancing for fun, but also used hip-hop as an outlet to deal with adversities he faced growing up. As a dancer and choreographer, he has worked with an impressive list of artists, including Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Gwen Stefani. He also worked on the films You Got Served: Beat the World and Stomp the Yard, among others, and was a choreographer and judge on four seasons of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Sho-Tyme was recruited to Calgary in 2019 by Pulse director Tara Wilson. The studio’s focus as a “progressive hip-hop and streetdance community,” and its mandate to provide opportunities for those who can’t otherwise afford to train there, resonated with him. He teaches house, hip-hop and choreography classes, and also mentors several dance groups. “I want to give the Calgary dance community an opportunity where they can hear what the culture is about, how it came to be, and also see the elements of the culture,” he says. “My message to all dancers out here, no matter what type of dance style you do, is love it, and do it with your heart.” — J.C.
MEG VAN ROSENDAAL
wo things drive the force of nature that is Meg Van Rosendaal: art and connection. With a degree in music from Western University and a diploma in painting and sculpture from Alberta College of Art (now Alberta University of the Arts), Van Rosendaal’s background is in making art. But, for decades now, she has channelled her energy into championing artists and arts organizations and building community. She was on staff at Arts Commons’ predecessor, the EPCOR Centre, and has sat on the Calgary Arts Development board and the City’s public art program board.
Van Rosendaal has also been on the ground floor of grassroots initiatives like Find It, a group that created events in Ramsay and Inglewood, among many other projects that have shaped the city’s culture. These days, Van Rosendaal focuses her energies on Music Mile, an organization she co-founded to support music venues along and near 9th Avenue S.E., from the King Eddy to the Blues Can. “I can’t live without a project. It’s what charges my batteries,” she says. “The biggest thing for me is being with all these likeminded doers who have become my community in Calgary.” —E.C.B. january 2022
P H OTO G R A P H S BY J A R E D SYC H
CO M M U N I T Y- B U I L D E R
Chris Hewitt BAR OWNER
P H OTO G R A P H BY J A R E D SYC H
ince March 2020, Chris Hewitt and his team at Dickens have been ahead of the curve. When COVID-19 hit, Dickens was one of Calgary’s first bars to close voluntarily. When the second wave put restrictions on dining, the pub had already been on hiatus for weeks. And, in August 2021, a full month ahead of the Province’s vaccination exemption program, Hewitt announced proof of vaccination would be required to hit the dancefloor. The safety of patrons was always front and centre in making those tough calls. For Hewitt, it’s a natural extension of the reasons behind his purchase of Dickens 14 years ago. Hewitt founded the subterranean live music and entertainment venue in 2008 and currently operates it alongside his wife, Ambor, the bar’s general manager. Hewitt formerly owned The Warehouse Nightclub from 2000 through to its final night in 2010, where he was one of the resident DJs, something he continues to do at Dickens through his retro “Hang the DJ” and UK-heavy “London Calling” parties. While Dickens was founded with music in mind, the bar’s repertoire has expanded to include everything from niche pop-culture trivia to amateur WWE-style wrestling and burlesque performances. The room has also become a go-to for Calgary’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, home to the Fake Mustache Drag King Troupe for the past eight years and hosting countless other drag performances, as well. Hewitt says Dickens’ inclusive reputation is something he and his team work hard to maintain. “The more you see the value that a space like this has to the [2SLGBTQ+] community, the more it encourages you to make it a more welcoming space,” he says. Bar ownership, Hewitt admits, isn’t always the most fun job. But, despite pandemic closures and dealing with no shortage of hate from anti-vaxxers, it’s playing a part in bringing people the nights they love that makes it all worthwhile. “Anybody that does this kind of thing will probably tell you this is not where the big money is,” says Hewitt. “It’s just a love of live entertainment in all its forms and the community that it brings. That’s really what it’s about.” —N.K. avenuecalgary.com
“IT’S JUST A LOVE OF LIVE ENTERTAINMENT IN ALL ITS FORMS AND THE COMMUNITY THAT IT BRINGS. THAT’S REALLY WHAT IT’S ABOUT.”
Sean Crump ACCESSIBILITY CHAMPION
EVELYNE NYAIRO BEAUTY ENTREPRENEUR
ntrepreneur and scientist Evelyne Nyairo knows the importance of ethics when it comes to esthetics. Her company, Ellie Bianca, is a sustainable and socially conscious skin-care line that sources the majority of its natural ingredients, such as shea butter, from women-run co-ops in Africa. Nyairo’s serums, oils, lip balms and other products can be found at Sobeys, Safeway, Calgary Co-op, Blush Lane Organic Markets and Community Natural Foods. Last year, Ellie Bianca was also picked up by Hudson’s Bay Canadawide. While Nyairo’s professional brand might be successful skin care, her personal brand is
supporting success for women. In 2019, the Ellie Bianca foundation launched its inaugural scholarship to encourage single mothers to enrol and graduate from post-secondary studies. Nyairo was inspired by her own experiences with the women in her life supporting her through the birth of her daughter so that she could continue to pursue academic and professional aspirations. “Having my daughter as a single mom, there was a commonality that I saw: women would be there for me and support me,” she says. “A lot happened that gave me that energy and willingness to want to support others and build our brand around women-empowerment.” —T.A. january 2022
S E A N C R U M P P H O T O G R A P H B Y J A R E D S Y C H ; E V E LY N E N YA I R O P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y O F E L L I E B I A N C A
hen Sean Crump kept seeing accessibility issues in the businesses he frequented, he developed an internationally recognized accessibility certification for commercial and residential buildings worldwide. Today, his firm, Included By Design, addresses systemic gaps in disability inclusion by consulting and training businesses and their employees on how to make their spaces more inclusive. He also shows businesses how engagement with the disability community is better for their bottom line. At Included By Design, 60 per cent of staff live with disabilities. “We wanted to make sure that, not only did we practice what we preach, but actually show the value of this underutilized community of people with amazing education, amazing resiliency,” Crump says. Included By Design is currently working on the new Glenbow museum project alongside architecture firm Dialog. And it recently launched Krooshl, a virtual marketplace identifying businesses that have been certified by Included By Design, and free event software for those businesses to host events and track and manage data. It’s one piece of a larger puzzle of helping businesses maximize what Crump calls their “ROI” (return on inclusion). “There’s a misconception of [it being] allor-nothing when it comes to implementing accessibility into the built environment,” Crump says. “But it’s not something [where] you can just flip a switch and be fully accessible. It is prioritizing access, prioritizing initiatives and qualifying the investments … to show that, in fact, there’s a betterment of their business, from social and economic perspectives.” —T.A.
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2022 RESERVE YOUR SUITE TODAY
Inspired Retirement Living Located in the exciting Mission/4th St. district, Riverwalk Retirement Residence is the central location active seniors have been wishing for. Steps away from parks & river pathways, seconds from unique dining and shopping experiences, and brimming with 5-star amenities, it’s the perfect location for a retirement residence that combines lifestyle and ‘LIFE’. At Riverwalk, we believe in individualized lifestyle choices and inspired living & vitality - with customized services and Independent, Assisted, and Memory Care living options available.
For more information, or to request an appointment, call 403-271-7244 or visit verveseniorliving.com/riverwalk 528 25 Avenue SW, Calgary
Presentation Centre: 2424 4th Street SW, Calgary
Annalee Coakley PHYSICIAN
“I DO THIS WORK SO PEOPLE CAN RESETTLE SUCCESSFULLY AND EVENTUALLY THRIVE IN CALGARY AND IN CANADA.”
P H OTO G R A P H BY J A R E D SYC H
hen Dr. Annalee Coakley enrolled at the prestigious London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 2009, she dreamed of a career treating tropical infectious diseases. Back in Calgary, Coakley realized opportunities to practice this kind of medicine were limited, so she changed course and ended up at the Mosaic Refugee Health Clinic. There, she developed such an affinity for her patients that she took over as physician lead in 2012. Since joining the Mosaic clinic, Coakley has worked directly with groups of Syrian, Yazidi and, most recently, Afghan refugees, and also helped address COVID-19 breakouts and vaccine clinics in Alberta’s meat-packing plants. Her work has evolved into advocacy, as in 2012, when federal government cuts to refugee-health programs left her having to fight for her patients to receive adequate funding for their medical needs. The influx of Yazidi refugees fleeing ISIS in 2017 was particularly challenging — many suffered the impact of severe psychological trauma, and Canadian policy meant countless people were separated from their only surviving family members with no mechanism for reunion. Coakley had to act as a lifeline to try to help these survivors find a sense of community to begin the road to physical and mental recovery. “You’re forced into an advocacy role so that people can form a network of supports. You have to engage in that to address their health needs,” Coakley says. “I do this work so people can resettle successfully and eventually thrive in Calgary and in Canada. They eventually do very well once those supports are in place.” Throughout it all, Coakley maintains her sense of humour and takes long cycling trips to let off steam. While she admits to sometimes feeling overwhelmed, the constant influx and changing nature of the people coming into her clinic keeps her charged. “I was so tired at the end of June after the vaccine clinics and then we started to receive the Afghan refugees and I was just rejuvenated,” she says. “They’re a really interesting group and have such a positive energy that rubs off on me.” —E.C.B.
D IN IN G BY CARMEN CHENG PHOTOGRAPHY BY JARED SYCH
umplings are a beloved dish in many cultures around the world. Wrapping more expensive ingredients such as meats, cheeses and vegetables in a simple dough makes them go much further. From wontons and perogies, to potstickers and tortellini, morsels of dough formed around a filling are a universal comfort food. It appears that the first recorded dumplings came out of China’s Eastern Han Dynasty more than 1,800 years ago. To this day, dumplings continue to play an essential culinary role across Asian cultures. Here are a few popular types of Asian dumplings and where to find them in Calgary.
Delicious Dumplings A GU I DE TO AS I AN DU MPL I N G ST YL ES AND W H E R E TO FI N D T H E M I N C ALGARY Gyoza from Shiki Menya. 26
MOMOS Momos, or Tibetan buns, are steamed dumplings traditionally filled with a ball of yak meat, chopped vegetables and spices; or baked, oversized, sans filling. In the 20th century, when refugees from Tibet fled to neighbouring India and Nepal, they brought with them this staple dish, which was adapted into the local cuisines. Today, momos come in a variety of meat, vegetarian and even vegan varieties, in a compact size perfect for picking up with chopsticks (or eating with your fingers).
Tibet Kitchen Tibet Kitchen offers a variety of momo flavours, such as veggie tofu and spinach, alongside a menu of Tibetan, Indian and Nepali-inspired soups, curries, stir-fries and more. Tibet Kitchen momos come in orders of eight. If you want the juiciest momos, order the Tibetan beef momos, steamed, with a side of sepen (a tomato-based hot sauce) and formed in a crescent-moon shape — shaping the dough this way provides a juicier texture overall. 318 10 St. N.W., 403-270-8828, tibetkitchencalgary.ca
Pathway Burgers and Momos When Narayan Dahal came to Canada from Nepal (via Dubai) in 2008, he wanted to fulfill a goal of owning his own restaurant, and to introduce food from his culture to customers. He started Pathway Burgers and Momos in 2017. The eclectic menu features burgers, sandwiches, poutine, Nepalese chow mein and, of course, momos. In addition to the momos available on the Pathway menu, Dahal also makes and freezes momos for other businesses. Try the jhol momos (steamed dumplings in gravy), or chili momos cooked with chili sauce and sautéed with vegetables and masala spices. 2816 21 St. N.E., 403-250-2238, pathwayyyc.ca avenuecalgary.com
Calgary Momo House
Having now been in business for 11 years, Himalayan in southwest Calgary has become something of an institution. The menu offers a selection of Nepali dishes, including momos with three varieties of filling — pork, chicken or vegetarian — steamed and served with a mild dipping sauce called achar. 3218 17 Ave. S.W., 403-984-3384, himalayancuisine.ca
Calgary Momo House opened in northeast Calgary in April 2021, and within a few months, this Nepalese restaurant garnered much attention and a strong roster of repeat customers. Its juicy momo dumplings are available with chicken, vegetarian or mutton fillings, while the popular tandoori mutton momos are deep-fried, then tossed in tandoori seasoning, then pan-fried for a crispy treat. 4310 104 Ave. N.E., 403-660-7043, calgarymomohouse.com 27
D IN IN G
XIAOLONGBAO Xiaolongbao, or Shanghai soup dumplings, are delicate satchels of meat — often pork or crab — and broth made with collagen, which turns into gelatinous aspic when cooled. When steamed, the jellified soup broth melts into a rich liquid. The best way to eat these dumplings is hot off the steamer basket. Gently pick up a dumpling and dip it into the ginger-vinegar mixture. Poke or bite a small hole in the wrapper, then either slowly savour the hot soup or release the soup onto a spoon. Well-made xiaolongbao are rare, but, luckily, there are spots in Calgary that have mastered this dumpling.
Great Taste Chinese Restaurant For more than 10 years, Great Taste has been a favourite spot for Calgarians to get their soup dumpling fix. Seeing a void in Calgary, Great Taste decided to focus on creating quality handmade soup dumplings as a signature menu item. Chef Vincent Zheng makes his soup dumplings fresh every day to ensure that each will be crafted with a thin wrapper. 123 2 Ave. S.E., 403-265-9880; and 594 64 Ave. N.E., 403-275-6577; greattastecalgary.com
1 Pot When Irene Leung opened 1 Pot in 2014 with her father Sam, it was the first individual hot pot restaurant in this city. Prior to 1 Pot, Sam had more than 50 years of global experience in dim sum, and had been a well-known dim sum chef in Calgary’s Chinatown since 1992. Soon after 1 Pot opened, regular customers were asking for Sam’s dim sum, so the family began to offer dim sum dumplings, including pork xiaolongbao filled with tantalizing broth. 123 3 Ave. S.E., 403-708-8088 28
DI NI NG
GYOZA In North America, the term “dumpling” has become commonly associated with Japanese gyoza or Chinese potstickers. Both of these dumpling styles can be found on the menus of chain restaurants and pubs, or in supermarket frozen-foods aisles. A traditional gyoza, however, is more delicate, with a juicy filling and thin wrapper. Executing gyoza well requires thought, preparation and fresh ingredients, and there are a few places around town that offer house-made gyoza in this more traditional style.
Sukiyaki House “A life without gyoza, or dumplings in general, is not a life that I would want to pursue,” says Judith Kwong, general manager of Sukiyaki House. Not only does Sukiyaki House make its own dumplings, but the kitchen team chops all the filling ingredients by hand — a painstaking process that ensures just the right texture. Sukiyaki House’s gyoza are filled with lean chicken, chives, cabbage, aromatics and seasonings, while the pan-fried gyoza are served with a Japanese chili-vinegar sauce. 207 9 Ave. S.W., 403-263-3003, sukiyakihouse.com
Ramen Ichinen Crispy pan-fried gyoza are a perfect accompaniment to a hot bowl of ramen noodles and are often found at ramen shops in Japan. In keeping with this tradition, Ramen Ichinen offers gyoza on its menu alongside its ramen options. Ichinen makes its gyoza with pork and vegetables, giving the meat filling a fine texture to ensure each dumpling is super-juicy. 3132 26 St. N.E., 403-454-2646 avenuecalgary.com
Shiki Menya Using house-ground pork gives Shiki Menya’s gyoza filling texture and flavour, while the addition of Sichuan peppercorns imparts a subtle, tingly heat. Shiki Menya also works its famous pork-based tonkatsu broth into the filling to deliver an extra bit of juiciness when customers bite into each gyoza. 824 1 Ave. N.E., 403-454-2722, shikimenya.ca 29
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WONTONS Wonton noodle soup is the epitome of comfort food. A well-executed wonton highlights great ingredients — often big pieces of shrimp or pork — inside a paper-thin egg-noodle wrapper. Wontons are most commonly boiled and served in broth with toothsome egg noodles, or tossed in a
Szechuan cuisine is known for its use of chilies and spices. At Szechuan Restaurant, the Szechuan hot wontons are duly spicy and tangy, with a wrapper that holds up well when dipped in the flavourful sauce. 320 16 Ave. N.W., 403-276-8876, szechuanrestauranttogo.com
Calgary Court’s wontons are revered in this city. Its wontons are made in traditional Cantonese style from a recipe that is more than 35 years old. The filling mainly consists of prawns and Chinese chives. The team at Calgary Court takes great care to source the best quality prawns they can find, as this important ingredient is deemed the “soul of the wonton.” 119 2 Ave. S.E., 403-264-7890, tasteofasiagroup.ca/#calgarycourt
Famous Noodles and BBQ Café The menu at Famous Noodles and BBQ Café is extensive, but, as the name suggests, the Chinese barbecue and wonton noodles are the signature dishes. The menu has five versions of wonton noodle dishes, including the “supreme wonton noodle soup,” with wontons that are wonderfully large and plump. 333 96 Ave. N.E., 587-351-0788
flavourful spicy sauce.
classic rench modern made
macarons . tea . sweets . workshops 810C 16th Ave SW
A celebration of celebrations
February 27 It’s time to celebrate life’s special days together again. Join Venue 308, The Brownstone and Avenue to experience this celebration of celebrations.
P L U S S P E C I A L G U E ST S T I C K E T S A N D I N F O R M AT I O N AT
AvenueCalgary.com/Celebrate avenue avenuecalgary.com
Aura Inner Beauty, Azuridge Estate Hotel, Black Dog Bakery, eluo, Fiore Fine Events, JD Styling, JP Weddings, Melissa Dawn Event Designs, Smudge & Smoulder, Stephen Cleaners, Tkshotz Photography
BY J E N N I F E R H A M I LTO N
ILLUSTRATIONS BY AMEESHA LEE
Day Spas101 A H E A D -T O -T O E G U I D E F O R THOSE WHO WANT TO MAKE THE M O S T O F T H E I R M E -T I M E .
oing to a day spa is supposed to be the ultimate in relaxation, but, for those who don’t hit the spa often, all the choices, lingo and etiquette can make you want to throw in the towel. Well, don’t. Winter in Calgary is harsh, the cold and dryness wreaking havoc on your skin and nails and eroding your sense of well-being. After almost two years of altruistically abstaining from beauty services, it’s time to peek out of your cave and rediscover the world of hushed voices, soft lighting and fluffy robes, surrendering yourself to the professionals for an aesthetic transformation that’ll soothe your soul as much as it will your skin. Here’s what you should know about and expect from your visit to a day spa (not to be confused with a medi-spa that specializes in injectables like Botox and fillers, as well as other prescription-strength treatments; that’s a whole other ball of wax). So take a deep, cleansing breath and let’s begin.
o the uninitiated, a facial can seem like an exercise in applying creams and wiping them off. But a really good facial by a professional esthetician can clean out your pores, tighten your skin, treat acne, prevent signs of aging and more. Arrive with a clean face so you don’t waste time having your makeup removed. Most facials begin with a consultation with the magnifying ring-light of truth and horror, which exposes your skin’s problems and informs what products and treatments should be used. Then, the action begins with a deep and thorough cleansing, which sometimes includes steam to open the pores to facilitate the dreaded extractions, which is when the facialist manually removes blackheads and safely pops zits. This can be uncomfortable, so, as with any step in a spa treatment, feel free to opt out. Next up is exfoliation, which removes dead skin cells and helps the products about to be applied penetrate deeper and work better. This can be done with chemical exfoliators such as alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, which break the bonds between skin cells and remove them. It can also be done mechanically with microdermabrasion, which uses a wand to suction away dead skin cells; or dermaplaning, which uses a blade to scrape away the offending skin (with the added bonus of removing the
fine hairs from your face), leaving a beautifully smooth canvas for what’s to come — the mask. Your esthetician will apply a customized face mask, which may be peel-off, clay, cream-based or even fabric soaked with nourishing ingredients and laid over the skin. These usually stay on for 20 minutes — the perfect amount of time for a refreshing nap, and/or a hand, foot or scalp massage, which are commonly offered. The final step is a facial moisturizing massage to stimulate your muscles while applying skin-specific serums and creams, which may also include sunscreen. If you opt for sun protection, remember you’ll have to wash your face before bed. Better to time your treatment so you can forego sun protection and sleep with all the potent serums and lotions on, letting them work their magic overnight. Following your facial, your esthetician will likely give you a list of the products used on your face. There’s no obligation to buy but do keep in mind that a daily skin-care routine is essential between facials, so using products curated specifically for your skin is the best way to maintain it.
TIP Don’t get an extraction facial the same day you have an important event. Chances are your skin may be a little inflamed, so you won’t be putting your best face forward. 33
body kin is the body’s largest organ, so however much this pandemic has affected our other organs (liver, we’re looking at you), the least we can do is care for that which covers our entire body. The cells in our epidermis (the outward-facing layer of the skin) are continually replaced with cells produced in deeper in the dermis, but the process slows as we age and also during winter. Not surprisingly then, most dayspa body treatments focus on exfoliation and hydration. Body scrubs (exfoliating with an abrasive product) take various forms, with coarse salt scrubs and dry brushing with a stiff-bristle brush being the most common. Besides accelerating cell turnover, these treatments also increase blood circulation, promote lymphatic drainage and stimulate the nervous system. These treatments can get a little rough, so, if you have sensitive skin, let your practitioner know. They can also get a little messy,
so don’t be alarmed if you’re presented with disposable underwear, since what goes on (salt, sugar, clay and the like) must come off. Many day spas have a Vichy shower or similar, which is a horizontal shower with multiple heads positioned over your treatment bed to rinse you off. Following your buffing and rinsing (generally called hydrotherapy), it’s time to moisturize with a body masque or wrap that will be customized for you. While some wraps claim to melt away cellulite, science doesn’t support this. But they do improve the overall appearance of skin and may have a temporary effect on skin tone. As with facials, time your treatment so you don’t have to shower too soon after and watch all those lovely lotions run down the drain.
TIP Don’t shave or exfoliate 48 hours before your treatment as it can cause irritation. Your practitioner won’t care if you’re a bit stubbly.
herapeutic massage works wonders on the body and the soul, whether you’re suffering from physical pain, mental stress or some combination thereof. The emotional value of touch and its effects on mood and mental health are profound. But the range of options can be daunting, so in the absence of a spa-to-English dictionary, here’s a basic primer: Swedish massage is a gentle type of full-body massage, perfect for newbies with tension who are sensitive to touch. Deep-tissue massage addresses tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems or injuries. Shiatsu is a type of Japanese massage that stimulates acupressure points to improve energy flow and restore balance. Thai massage combines passive stretching with assisted yoga and acupressure to help increase the range of motion in your joints and muscles. Hot stones are sometimes incorporated into massages as an add-on, or for the whole treatment — they’re smooth, flat and retain heat, and are a perfect foil to a cold winter day. Aromatherapy, a holistic healing treatment that relies on essential oils, is also frequently integrated. Massage treatments average 60 to 90 minutes. If you can, go for 90, so the therapist can spend extra time on your hands and feet, which are always in need of a circulation boost at this time of year. Couples’ massages are just as the name implies — a massage treatment that you and a partner experience together, on separate beds, but usually in the same room. Make a date of it and give yourselves extra time to take advantage of peripheral offerings at the spa such as a pool or relaxation room. Every day spa will have a unique menu of massage offerings so don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation. Also, be sure to ask if your therapist is a registered massage therapist (RMT) to ensure the highest level of professionalism.
TIP Treatments by an RMT are covered by many private health plans, and some will directly bill your insurance. Call ahead to confirm.
THE MODESTY MANIFESTO With all spa treatments, from facials to full-body treatments, the name of the game is draping. Service providers use this sheet technique to ensure that only the body part they are treating is exposed. Rest assured that your private parts are always concealed, for your comfort and theirs.
A FEW GOOD SPAS In search of a spa? Suggestions to get you started. FOR MEN Renovations the Spa for Men 130, 1000 Centre St. N., 403-277-1110, reno4men.com Cedar & Steam 102, 12445 Lake Fraser Dr. S.E., 403-452-2257, cedarandsteam.com Spa Escape 101A, 855 8 Ave. S.W., 403-294-1346, spa-escape.ca FOR COUPLES
the holistic experience ometimes, spa-going is a matter of maintenance, and most spas have express services to get clients in and out quickly. But, for a more immersive experience, book multiple treatments and allow time in between to enjoy the lounge area, pool, sauna or other peripheral perks. Schedule body treatments first, then facials, with manicures and pedicures last. Always arrive with plenty of time to spare, because there are forms to fill out before treatments and you don’t want to feel rushed from the get-go. Turn off your phone — or better yet, leave it with your other valuables in the locker that will be provided to you — and if you do speak, use a hushed voice.
TIP Remember to use the washroom before any treatment so your bladder doesn’t disrupt your state of bliss. avenuecalgary.com
Oasis Wellness Centre & Spa 880 16 Ave. S.W., 403-216-2747, myoasisspa.ca RnR Wellness Spa (Le Germain Hotel Calgary) 899 Centre St. S.W., 403-930-5959, rnrwellness.com Stillwater Spa (Hyatt Regency) 700 Centre St. S.E., 403-537-4474, hyatt.com/en-US/spas/ stillwater-spa-calgary FOR FACIALS Diva SalonSpa Multiple locations, divasalonspa.com Peel Salon & Spa 8220 Bowridge Cres. N.W., 403-202-4412, peelspas.com Skoah Three Calgary locations, skoah.com
FOR BODY TREATMENTS Essence Wellness Clinic Three locations, essencewellness.ca Leela Eco Spa Multiple locations, leelaecospa.ca The Spa Ritual 106 Crowfoot Terrace N.W., 403-547-9558, thesparitual.com FOR THE HOLISTIC EXPERIENCE Hammam Retreat & Spa 167N, 8500 Macleod Tr., 403-452-7757, hudasouk.com RnR Wellness Spa (Fairmont Palliser) 133 9 Ave. S.W., 403-244-9290, rnrwellness.com Soma Hammam & Spa (Courtyard by Marriott Calgary South) 150, 3710 Market St. S.E., 587-471-2496, somacalgary.com OUT-OF-TOWN EXPERIENCES The Cave Sauna Day Spa 316 3 St., Cochrane, 403-903-5821, cavesaunaspa.com Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Banff Springs 405 Spray Ave., Banff, 403-762-1772, fairmont.com/ banff-springs/ KurSpa at Sparkling Hill Resort Vernon, B.C., sparklinghill.com
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unset comes early in the mountains right now and you can pretty much expect it to be dark before dinner. But, just because it looks like nighttime out there doesn’t mean you have to call it a day. Here are some great after-dark activities to try this winter in the nearby mountain areas.
BY TSERING ASHA
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O P P O S I T E PA G E P H O T O G R A P H B Y C E L E S T I N E A E R D E N @ C E L E S T I N E A E R D E N / T R A V E L A L B E R TA ; S PA P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y O F K A N A N A S K I S N O R D I C S PA ; N O R Q U AY P H O T O G R A P H B Y R E U B E N K R A B B E
i n G rot to Ca n yo n Located east of Canmore near Exshaw, Grotto Canyon is a fantastic place for an evening ice walk during the winter months. The Grotto Canyon trail is a loop of just over 2.8 kilometres and has a low elevation gain. Canadian Rockies Experience offers tours of the canyon, which have grown in popularity over the past two years amongst experienced and novice hikers, alike. The guided, three-and-a-halfhour tours are perfect for small groups and families, and include safety gear like headlamps and traction aids, as well as freshly baked desserts and brewed hot beverages from local bakery Wild Grazing. canadianrockiesexperience.com
S OA K ING UP T H E STA R S i n K anan askis Relaxing in a heated pool or natural hot springs while being able to see your breath in the winter air is a must-do experience. Kananaskis Nordic Spa is open most evenings until 9 p.m., with hot and cold temperature pools to cycle through as well as various steam rooms and saunas. Pair your spa night with a stay at the adjacent Pomeroy Kananaskis Lodge so you don’t have to drive home afterwards. Note that, as of June 1, 2021, all vehicles stopping in Kananaskis Country must have a Kananaskis Conservation Pass, which can be purchased online. (Some exemptions exist). knordicspa.com
OU T D OOR S K AT I NG in Canmore Canmore is an outdoor skating mecca, with a variety of natural skating spots in the nearby mountain areas. But you’ll also find great outdoor ice right in the heart of town at The Pond. Conveniently located just two blocks from Main Street on 7th Avenue at Mallard Alley, the Pond’s ice is maintained daily by the Parks Department and flooded several times per week (weather permitting). The public rink is lit up nightly until 10 p.m. for evening skating and there’s a gazebo area with benches and heating if you’d rather just chill. canmore.ca/recreation-facility/winter-activities avenuecalgary.com
N I GH T- SK I ING at N orq u ay Norquay ski resort offers the only night-skiing experience in the Canadian Rockies. On Friday and Saturday evenings during the winter, Norquay opens three freshly groomed green runs. The night-skiing zone is lit up by floodlights and includes the terrain park for those who like hitting jumps and rail features. If you aren’t much of a skier or snowboarding enthusiast, there’s also night-tubing in the tube park. Cap off your evening at the Lone Pine Pub with a Norquay 95 Quality Time session ale from Banff Ave Brewing Co., created in 2020 in celebration of Norquay’s 95th season. banffnorquay.com, @mtnorquay 37
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Fernie Alpine Resort offers guided fat-biking tours on Tuesday evenings throughout the winter starting at 5 p.m., and on other evenings by request. These family-friendly tours usually last about two hours and proceed along groomed snow trails at the resort and through the nearby forested areas. Dressing for winter cycling can be a bit of a challenge, especially when it comes to footwear — shoes that are warm and waterproof, but less bulky than full winter boots are the best option. Fat bike rentals at the resort include headlamps (very important for riding at night). skifernie.com
Those seeking a more serene way of enjoying the mountains can venture up to Lake Louise for an evening sleigh ride with Brewster Adventures. The 45- to 60-minute rides set out from the grand Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel in a horse-drawn sleigh with cozy, upholstered seats. Brewster Adventures offers regular bookings for a maximum of 10 to 12 people, as well as private bookings. There’s also a two-seater cutter-sleigh, for a more intimate experience. The evening sleigh rides offer the perfect setting for seeing the stars and a great opportunity to take photos. brewsteradventures.com
No list of after-dark activities in the mountains would be complete without stargazing in Jasper. With the area designated a Dark Sky Preserve in 2011, citizens of Jasper take light pollution very seriously — many of the streetlights in town point downward so as not to create excess light. The Jasper Planetarium offers a guided telescope and planetarium experience. You’ll learn about local constellations of First Nations peoples, the Northern Lights and more inside the planetarium, while outside, you’ll look through powerful telescopes and get the chance to handle meteorites, Mars rocks and moon rocks. jasperplanetarium.com
D A R K S K Y P H O T O G R A P H B Y J E F F L E W I S / T O U R I S M J A S P E R ; F AT - B I K I N G P H O T O G R A P H B Y N I C K N A U LT
Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park, within the Jasper Dark Sky Preserve.
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2021-06-02 3:01 PM