25 YEARS OF CITY| LIFE| STYLE| CALGARY
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A SALUTE TO LOCAL CRAFT DISTILLERIES KEEPING SPIRITS UP WHILE WE STAY SAFELY DISTANT
CONTAIN YOURSELF The art and joy of gardening in pots
SOBER SECOND THOUGHTS Exploring the trendiness of teetotaling
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F E AT U R E S
contents MAY 2020
8 EDITOR’S NOTE 50 WORK OF ART
Cheers to Calgary’s Craft Distilleries A toast to the new craft distillers who are operating in and around the city and who are creating a sense of community spirit in the local cocktail culture. By Julie Van Rosendaal
Best Alberta Beers Find out which local craft breweries came out on top in the third annual Alberta Beer Awards.
Mountains Even if you can’t physically get out to the mountains, there are still ways to immerse in mountain culture.
Detours Night sky photographer Alan Dyer speaks to his celestial inspirations. Plus, a Calgary-based filmmaker whose work is making waves on the international festival circuit, a recycling initiative for hair-salon waste, and the local artist who inadvertantly wrote the perfect pandemic song.
Decor A home with a decidedly neutral palatte is anything but ordinary, with design elements that create warmth and coziness throughout.
Alcohol-free Drinking A look at the growing movement around giving up booze and the better beverage options out there for those who take that step. By Christina Frangou
Container Gardening Why planting a garden in pots isn’t just a consolation prize for those who don’t have a yard. By Jacquie Moore 6
Profile: Sarah Adams Meet the Vulcan-based flower farmer who hopes to create more awareness around buying local and sustainable blooms.
The List Consignment boutique owner Kristin Halpape on some of her favourite things in and around the city.
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G E T AVE N U E O N Y O U R TA B L E T! To get the tablet edition, go to avenuecalgary.com/ tabletedition 25 YEARS OF CITY| LIFE| STYLE| CALGARY
MAY 2020 | $4.95 AVENUECALGARY.COM
A SALUTE TO LOCAL CRAFT DISTILLERIES KEEPING SPIRITS UP WHILE WE STAY SAFELY DISTANT
The art and joy of gardening in pots
SOBER SECOND THOUGHTS Exploring the trendiness of teetotaling
O N THE COVER
Käthe Lemon Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
me back from the brink of overwork. I am grateful for my colleagues who have worked alongside me on this magazine while a new cloud of uncertainty hangs over this city that we have dedicated our working lives to celebrating. I’m enormously grateful for the businesses and organizations that have supported us in the past and those that continue to support us now. I’m incredibly grateful for Calg-arians’ resilience, ingenuity and cooperation — including the many distilleries that we wrote about in our cover story who have started to make hand sanitizer. And of course, I am grateful to you, our readers, without whom there truly is no magazine. We have found a variety of new ways to get the magazine into your hands and we will continue working on that. You can find us online and we hope you will sign up for our weekly newsletters and check out the many stories that we are creating to keep you up to date on the city as the current situation continues to evolve. Many of you have written to us with questions and kind words and we thank you for that. If you enjoy what you read in this issue, please consider signing up for a subscription — whether a free newsletter subscription, one of our current short-term free print subscriptions or a paid subscription. We are grateful for the time you spend with us each month and we hope to continue to spend time with you for many years to come.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Jared Sych Bramble cocktail from Confluence Distilling. Neat crystal glass by Riedel, $30 (for two), jigger, $12, cocktail picks, $11 (for four), all available at Willow Park Wines & Spirits.
B RAMBL E COCKTAI L B Y CON F L U EN CE DI STI L L I N G Local gin gives this classic cocktail hometown flair. 0.75 oz. rich simple syrup 0.75 oz. lemon juice 0.5 oz. Cointreau 1.5 oz. Manchester Dry Gin 0.25 oz. crème de cassis Combine first four ingredients in a shaker and shake. Double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Pour crème de cassis in a circular motion for a cascading effect.
Photograph by Jared Sych
ptimism is my natural outlook on life. It’s a view that fits well with my work at Avenue — at the magazine we tend to see any problem the city faces as one that Calgarians have the know-how to solve and any hurdle as one we can overcome together. However, I have found myself struggling to find optimistic words to write in this space right now. In the face of all of that is going on in our community right now, optimistic sentiments seem at best like platitudes and at worst callous or even dangerously ignorant. Instead I have found myself relying on gratitude. Where optimism is about a positive outlook on the future, gratitude is instead a positive outlook on the current moment. In the wise words of Pabbie troll in Frozen II (I have a four-year-old daughter, so the film is the current soundtrack to my life), “When you can’t see the future, all you can do is the next right thing.” I don’t know where we are headed at this point, but I believe that the next right thing is to be grateful for what we have, value what we love and work to support those that are important to us — whatever and whoever that might be. I hope that you have something right now to be grateful for, and if you do, please consider sharing it with us. You can reach out to us at SupportLocal@redpointmedia.ca to let us know about what you love and value in the city right now — what you’re wishing will come back. But even more, I hope you have someone to share your struggles with. A burden shared is a burden halved — even when we are all burdened. For my part, I am grateful to my family — who have allowed me the space and time to focus on this magazine, while lovingly pulling
2020-04-17 11:52 AM
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We acknowledge the traditional territories and the value of the traditional and current oral practices of the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Tsuut'ina and Stoney Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.
A look inside the growing local technology and innovation sector in Calgary and how these companies are helping the local economy move toward diversification in the areas of
Health Medical Business Finance Food agriculture energy T H E A L B E R TA I N N O V AT I O N C O R R I D O R Several Edmonton and Calgary groups that support the tech sector have banded together to promote the region as a whole and attract tech companies. But will their cooperative efforts work?
Director HR & Business Operations Terilyn Lyons,
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A shot of the Milky Way from the University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.
One Small Snap for Mankind Astrophotographer Alan Dyer shoots beyond the stratosphere.
Photograph by Alan Dyer
From the University of Calgary student discovery of an unknown Milky Way structure to Calgary astronaut Dr. Jenni Sidey-Gibbonsâ€™ graduation from basic training at NASA, Calgarians seem to have their eyes to the sky as of late. And while only a select few can actually visit the final frontier, astrophotographer and astronomy author Alan Dyer has long honed his own method of exploring the night sky.
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A behind the scenes shot of filmmaker Levi Holwell's award-winning short film A Walk Down to Water.
Calgary Filmmaker Gets a Slam Dunk
wenty-five-year-old Levi Holwell has had a busy, but exciting year. His short film A Walk Down to Water won matching awards at Calgary and Edmonton’s 2019 international film festivals for best Albertan short. The film also received five nominations, including two wins, at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers’ 2019 Stinger Awards and was selected for both the Slamdance Film Festival (a Sundance Film Festival counterpoint focusing on emerging filmmakers) and a Telefilm Canada showcase in Clermont-Ferrand, France, earlier this year. Water was one of four Canadian narrative shorts at Slamdance (one of nine Canadian short films across the festival) and one of six films chosen to represent Canada in France. “Maybe a week before I heard from Slamdance, Telefilm Canada emailed me to say they were really interested to see my film,” says Holwell on the rush of attention Water received after its Alberta festival run. As it turned out, he had to fly to France less than two days after returning from Utah. “I wasn’t planning on those two big shifts, but I had to make it work,” he says. The film intercuts an unusually emotional day for an immigrant, played by Boban Stojanovic, working at a rural Alberta motel, with lush, dream-like sequences depicting his home country and the family he has left
behind. To say the film evokes authentic emotion is a serious understatement. The climax scene in which the unnamed protagonist calls home shows Stojanovic, a non-professional actor and Serbian refugee who works for Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers, drawing on his own experience of what it’s like to live far away from where you’ve grown up. This scene also uses footage of majestic forests and a pristine beach at night, images captured guerilla-style by Holwell while roaming Demark’s countryside on a family trip and connecting with distant relatives. “I wanted it to feel so distant,” he says. “That was an appealing part of going to Denmark; I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before, that was literally on the other side of the world.” A Walk Down to Water is just one of several films produced by Leftside Pictures, the company Holwell started with fellow filmmaker and high-school classmate Gabe Romero in 2015. Neither of the pair attended film school but have taught themselves just about every aspect of bringing a film to life and they take turns filling various production roles. Their next endeavour is Berlin Castro, a short directed by Romero about two young employees at a publishing house who accidentally destroy an important work and must create a forgery to avoid being fired. It is planned for release this year. —Colin Gallant
Levi Holwell photograph courtesy of Levi Holwell
“It’s a bit of an addiction in a sense,” Dyer says, of night-sky photography. “Even a simple 30-second exposure of the Milky Way suddenly shows you much more than you can see with the naked eye. As soon as that comes up on the screen, you’re kind of hooked.” Stemming from a childhood interest spurred on by the space race, Dyer turned his hobby of capturing out-of-this-world images into a career. The Strathmore-based photographer has published his night-sky photos in numerous publications over the past 30-plus years, with one image even appearing on a Canada Post stamp in 2018. Dyer has dedicated much of his work to astronomy education, penning articles and books, capturing images and producing shows for planetariums, including the Calgary Science Centre (later Telus World of Science and Telus Spark) from 1993 to 2013. Since retirement, Dyer has continued teaching through workshops, such as his annual “shooting stars” class. Ultimately, he says his goal is to relay “a sense of wonder of the universe to people to hopefully enrich their lives.” Dyer has travelled the globe in pursuit of eye-catching nightscapes (photos which include the surrounding landscape), capturing scenes in places like the Arizona desert and Arctic tundra. The shooting stars workshop teaches participants how to capture nightscapes, and breaks down everything from equipment choices to image processing. Dyer notes that all you need to get started taking nightscape shots is a DSLR camera, wide-angle lens and a sturdy tripod. Alberta, he notes, provides a wealth of suitable locations for nightscape photography. “Just like with regular daytime landscape photography, you have to be at a nice-looking location, you have to be at a place with a scenic landscape of some kind,” says Dyer. “We have a lot of those in Alberta. In the mountains, the badlands and even the prairies; you can get some beautiful scenes here.” —Nathan Kunz For more information, visit amazingsky.com avenueMAY.20
2020-04-15 11:17 AM
Hair Today, Fertilizer Tomorrow
Style Recycling photograph courtesy of Style Recyling; Selci photograph by Veronika Brylinska; The Pharm Drugstore photograph by Michelle Johnson
limate change can feel like a problem that is too big to be solved by everyday folks. But that’s not how Richard Desilets looks at it. The veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces prefers to think with solutions first. “You don't have to save the world, save your corner of it,” he says. This kind of thinking is what inspired him to create Style Recycling, an Okotoks-area recycling company that serves hair salons in Calgary and Southern Alberta. Desilets and his wife Nancy personally visit the salons to collect the recyclables, including hair clippings, and won’t take on a client that they can’t personally drive to. The pair recycles around 80 to 90 per cent of the waste created in salons and aims to also educate salon owner about reducing their waste within their own facilities. Perhaps the most interesting part of the Desilets' work is how they repurpose hair clippings by weaving them into hair mats for the garden industry. Style Recycling's new initiative involves using a modified felting machine with extra needles that compacts the hair into 12-by-24-inch mats. The mats can be used as garden fertilizer and mulch. Gardeners can place segments of the mats into the dirt and then plant their greenery on top, or lay mat segments around an already-growing plant for protection. The hair smothers weeds, helps retain moisture, promotes growth and naturally fertilizes the garden. The entire mat is made out of hair and it biodegrades completely in three to four months if buried or a year if placed on the ground’s surface. The Desilets says that using hair in gardening and growing is an “old world” practice many have forgotten, and they are happy to repurpose something that for years was just thrown away. The mats will be available for purchase this gardening season, check stylerecycling.ca for more information on that or how you can become a salon partner. —Alannah Page Style Recycling repurposes hair into hair mats for the gardening industry.
BEEBOP DOUGHNUT This new bakery in the Tivoli Theatre building on 4th Street S.W. has coffee and doughnuts, with plans to add other pastries and savory items. There are around a dozen doughnut flavours, currently available for takeout or delivery. 2015 4 St. S.W., 403-497-5813, beebopdoughnut.com Musician and performer, Selci.
Selci’s Song for Solitude
lectro-pop singer, songwriter and producer Selci is one of many musicians impacted by self-isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. She lost live gigs, was laid off from her day job and had to abruptly return home from Toronto when an airport was the last place anyone wanted to be. In a strange coincidence, she had long ago finalized plans to premiere her single “Hide Forever” on March 23. The Calgary-based artist wrote the song, described as a “soothing anthem for self-isolation,” about her experience with an especially difficult episode of chronic anxiety and depression when the only comfort she could find was in seclusion in her bedroom. “It was totally by fluke,” she says, noting the thematic overlap between her personal experience and the broader one affecting people during a global pandemic. “A lot of people are experiencing this languorous feeling; you don’t know what day it is, you don’t know what time it is, you don’t know when the last time you left your house was. People are probably feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression even if that’s something that they don't usually deal with.” —C.G.
CARMINE’S PIZZERIA With a Highwood location already, Carmine’s Pizzeria has expanded with a second location in Oakridge. Choose from nearly two dozen kinds of pizza, as well as items like garlic knots, wings, pasta, cannoli and more. Both locations offer takeout and delivery. 9, 3109 Palliser Dr. S.W., 403-457-8884, carminespizza.ca The Pharm Drugstore.
THE PHARM DRUGSTORE The Pharm Drugstore doubles as a compounding pharmacy and a retail shop where you can pick up everything from beauty products to florals. The beautifully designed space in South Calgary is also home to a travel clinic and a smoothie/elixir bar. 103A, 3009 14 St. S.W., 403-764-3080,
“Hide Forever” is now streaming on all major platforms. It's one of six songs on the forthcoming A SOFT PLACE EP set for release later this year on Inner Ocean Records.
thepharmdrugstore.com For our updated lists of local shops and restaurants offering takeout and delivery options, visit AvenueCalgary.com AvenueCalgary.com
2020-04-15 11:20 AM
Cheers! Meet the Calgary craft distillers creating local takes on classic spirits. BY Julie Van Rosendaal PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jared Sych
his is an exciting time for fans of exceptional gins, pure vodkas and other small-batch traditional spirits. Calgary has seen an influx of craft breweries in recent years, following updated Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission regulations that allowed for new operations to open with smaller production volumes. Close on its heels, a mini-boom of craft distilleries has followed suit. Inspired by cocktail culture and a community passionate about local food, these spirit- and liqueur-makers bring some of the best grains and glacier water in the world to your glass. The new craft distilleries are reviving some of the provinceâ€™s most colourful stories, while sourcing local barley, honey, sugar beets and botanicals to produce uniquely Albertan distillations, building community while reinforcing our sense of place. While most of these distilleries also have tasting rooms well worth a visit once social-distancing measures are no longer in place, you'll also find recipes from each of the distillers at AvenueCalgary.com/ DistilleryCocktailRecipes perfect for your next virtual cocktail hour.
Bridgeland . Burwood . Confluence . Last Best Romero . Skunkworks . Tippa . Two Rivers
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Bridgeland Distillery founders Jacques Tremblay and Daniel Plenzik.
The Bridgeland logo depicts Reconciliation Bridge, one of the oldest in Calgary, which has connected generations of people in and out of the city’s core across the Bow River. The company’s goal is to bridge tradition with innovative spirits, using quality locally sourced ingredients, in the hope of continuing to make those personal and community connections.
Bridgeland Distillery 77 Edmonton Tr. N.E., bridgelanddistillery.com THE DISTILLERS
Founders Jacques Tremblay and Daniel Plenzik bonded in 2016 at a distilling workshop in the Okanagan. Using their combined knowledge of viticulture, winemaking and brewing, and drawing on their own cultural backgrounds, they set about bringing locally crafted brandy, whisky, limoncello, grappa and eau de vie to Calgary.
The distillery, bar and tasting room opened late last summer in a distinct building that was once a furniture showroom on Edmonton Trail, just across the Bow River from East Village. Their large space, rich with wood and brass, also features an aging room and laboratory.
Bridgeland is currently the only Alberta distillery making grappa and Cognac-style brandy. The distillers use single-grape varietals in both the Bridgeland moscato and gewürztaminer brandies, and age spirits in new oak barrels that are charred for whisky and lightly toasted for brandy.
Café Baines cocktail made with Bridgeland Distillery gewürtztraminer brandy. Find the recipe at AvenueCalgary.com/ DistilleryCocktailRecipes
“I was initially attracted to Bridgeland Distillery because they were [making] products that are unique to Calgary. While most distilleries in the city were focusing their efforts on gin and vodka, Bridgeland was doing traditionally Italian and European grappa, limoncello and brandy. As the bar manager of a very small business, I love working with suppliers that have the same ethos and commitment to that quality we do.” — Maya Bartha, Yard Arm AvenueCalgary.com
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Double Smoked Penicillin cocktail made with Burwood Medica. Find the recipe at AvenueCalgary.com/ DistilleryCocktailRecipes
Burwood Distillery founders (clockwise from left) Ivan Cilic, Marko Cilic and Jordan Ramey.
“Burwood’s Medica honey liqueur somehow makes its way onto every menu I’ve created. I love that Burwood respects traditional ways of producing old-world spirits while bringing them into the 21st century. Younger me would have never believed that the spirits my grandparents used to consume are now sought-after in the craft world of bartending and proudly displayed on the back bar of my cocktail lounge. It separates them from spirits produced on a massive scale.” —Ivana Lovric, Shelter Cocktail Bar
4127 6 St. N.E., 403-276-8410, burwooddistillery.ca THE DISTILLERS
Jordan Ramey met realtor Ivan Cilic while house hunting in 2012. Ramey helped create and runs the Olds College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Program, and he and Cilic immediately connected over a passion for small-batch brews and spirits. As their conversations evolved toward opening their own distillery dedicated to the art of oldworld craft distilling, they brought Ivan’s brother, Marko, into the fold.
Marko designed and built the Burwood cocktail lounge from the ground up and he styled it after old-world Eastern European and Scottish farm distilleries. The space is filled with interesting pieces, including some furniture used in the local filming of the Netflix series Fargo. Burwood’s food menu is similarly Euro-inspired, offering dishes such as Croatian ćevapi (grilled sausages).
Grounded in old-world craftsmanship and locally sourced ingredients, Burwood prides itself on pioneering flavours inspired by generations-old European traditions created with homegrown Alberta products (lots of barley and lots of honey).
Burwood’s Medica honey liqueur, a traditional Croatian spirit Ivan and Marko grew up making with their family in their ancestral home of Croatia, is sweetened with raw Alberta honey from their parents’ backyard in Chestermere. Sip it chilled, add it to cocktails or chamomile tea, or use it to drench a European honey cake (medovnik).
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Confluence Distilling 507 36 Ave. S.E., 403-521-4378, confluncedistilling.ca
Confluence founder Ross Alger started experimenting with small-batch spirits in his backyard in 2007. As his and cofounder Pheelan Mah’s passion grew, they decided to introduce their spirits to the city, opening their distillery and lounge in 2018 to inspire experiences that connect people and build community.
“I like that Confluence starts with a solid foundation — its Headwater vodka — and builds on it to produce the rest of their products. Their Vinland Aquavit is a great example: the base spirit is the perfect canvas upon which the caraway, dill and fennel mix together harmoniously and really shine to make a final product that’s pure gold.” —Greg Williams, bartender, Bridgette Bar
Situated next to Cabin Brewing Company in the Manchester Industrial area, the Confluence lounge has a homey feel, with antiques gathered from around the province and a vintage shuffleboard table. Alger and Mah say it’s like having a dram in your grandma’s living room — which is true, if you have an extremely hip grandma. THE PHILOSOPHY
Confluence is named for the place where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, which has been a significant gathering place for people for thousands of years. With this concept at its core, the company is very engaged in the community, supportive of local arts and culture, and strives to facilitate personal connections and shared knowledge.
Confluence’s signature Manchester dry gin, an Albertan twist on the traditional London dry style, is light and refreshing, delicately balanced with hand-picked Saskatoon berries, Alberta wild rose petals, cucumber and citrus. It’s perfect on its own or with conventional tonic, but the distillers highly recommend pairing it with elderflower tonic and a wedge of lime.
Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail made with Confluence Manchester dry gin. Find the recipe at AvenueCalgary.com/DistilleryCocktailRecipes
Confluence Distilling founders Ross Alger and Pheelan Mah. AvenueCalgary.com
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Dark and Stormy cocktail made with Romero Dark Sugarcane Spirit. Find the recipe at AvenueCalgary.com/ DistilleryCocktailRecipes
Last Best Brewing and
Distilling 607 11 Ave. S.W., 587-353-7387
Master distiller Bryce Parsons and his assistant Alfredo Murillo do the distilling at Last Best. Their focus is on producing unique spirits using local ingredients via unique collaborations and techniques. THE PLACE
While most of the Last Best spirits are reserved for the pubs and taprooms within the ownership group (Last Best, Jasper Brewing, Banff Ave Brewing and Campio in Edmonton), limited quantities are available through a handful of retailers, including Market on 17th, Kensington Wine Market, Vine Arts and Bricks in Inglewood. THE PHILOSOPHY
Last Best embraces the essence of smallbatch craft spirits by exploring connections between brewing and distilling. Olli vodka is produced with Canada Malting using a rare heritage variety of barley grown on a single farm in Northern Alberta. Boatswain’s Mate gold rum is a demerara rum made for the 100th anniversary of #22 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps. Undaunted, and Skal Rocky Mountain aquavit was produced in recognition of Skal Canada’s Rocky Mountain chapters of Tourism and Travel Professionals. THE SPIRITS
Around 95 per cent of Last Best’s production is whisky, made using malted grains and a variety of brewers’ malts, yeast strains and distillation techniques. Whisky must spend three years in an oak barrel. March 2019 was the initial three-year mark for Last Best, but the distillers are patiently allowing it to age even further. In 2018, Last Best produced 52 gins in 52 weeks, making it a bit of an under-the-radar gin haunt. It's also know for collaboration gins such as Ghost River with Ghost River Theatre and the punchy 52-per cent Weirdo Ways gin with Kensington Wine Market. 18
“It’s amazing to use spirits crafted in the same place you work. You know the flavours, aromas and ingredients, and it allows you to create a special experience that you just can’t create with generic brands. I love the Afterglow gin — super bright with citrus and a touch of herbaceousness. Makes a great G&T.” — Ray Burton, beverage manager at Last Best
Romero Distilling Co. 300, 688 Heritage Dr. S.E., 403-640-7886, romerodistilling.com
Romero Distilling Co. founders Diego and Tomas Romero. THE LOVE
Father-and-son duo Diego and Tomas Romero co-founded their namesake distillery in 2018. Changes to liquor laws that allowed for more craft distilling inspired them to fill what they saw as an untapped niche in the rum market (not to mention the fact that Diego wasn’t quite ready to retire and was looking for a fulfilling project).
Hotel in the Crowsnest Pass. The Romeros aim to share this part of our province’s history while following what they call their RUM core values: Respect for community, employees and the environment, Use of local, premium Canadian-made products and equipment and Modesty — an appreciation of the rich heritage of rum-making in Alberta.
Romero’s lounge-style bar has dozens of cocktails crafted to showcase the distillery’s spirits. The bar serves cold plates and snacks and also allows customers to order in food through any food-delivery service. THE PHILOSOPHY
Alberta has a history of rummaking. One of the most notorious of Alberta’s early entrepreneurs was Emilio Picariello, a.k.a. “Emperor Pic,” who ran a rum-running operation during prohibition from the Blairmore
Under Canadian appellation law, Romero must call its products “sugar cane spirits” for now because of their accelerated maturation process. But for most intents and purposes, it’s rum — amber, spiced or dark. All of the spirits are made with Canadian processed molasses made from non-GMO Guatamalan sugar cane. Romero also has a collaboration with Village Brewery — Rum Runner is Village Blacksmith beer aged in Romero rum barrels.
“The amber is smooth and easygoing, great for an old fashioned. The spiced spirit is different and unique compared to most spiced rums, due to the freshly ground spices added to each batch. My personal favourite is the dark rum, which tastes like a gingermolasses cookie.” —Megan Vandale, head bartender at Romero
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Moonshine Mule cocktail made with Skunkworks Moonshine. Find the recipe at AvenueCalgary.com/ DistilleryCocktailRecipes THE LOVE
Skunkworks founders Marty Lastiwka and Faye Warrington.
Skunkworks Distillery 4009 4 St. S.E., skunkworksdistillery.com THE DISTILLERS
Skunkworks founders Marty Lastiwka and Faye Warrington are two energy-industry professionals — Warrington a geologist and Lastiwka a production engineer — motivated by a desire to create something new and memorable by applying their professional skills to a niche product: premier engineered moonshine made with sugar beets refined in Taber, Alta.
Skunkworks’ tasting room has a steam-punk-meets-space-race vibe, in keeping with the founders’ technical roots. There you’ll find moonshine-based cocktails, shareable plates and Glamorgan Bakery cheese buns that have been warmed in the oven. A recording studio at the back of the building means you may you may even run into some local bands during your visit.
The name of Skunkworks Distillery refers to the secretive, high-tech engineering departments found in aeronautical and automotive companies, which were designed to advance new ideas and technology. The distillery’s products and branding, and the atmosphere of the tasting room, similarly convey a fun sense of discovery and optimism.
Skunkworks makes moonshine, a smooth, sweet and slightly creamy spirit that can be used in lieu of any clear hard alcohol, like vodka, rum or gin, in your favourite cocktail recipes. Historically, moonshine has been a catchall term for high-proof clear distilled spirits that were produced illicitly. Skunkworks, of course, is perfectly legal.
“People have a preconceived idea of what moonshine is. It has a bad reputation. People assume it’s going to taste like rocket fuel and burn all the way down when they take a sip, but I love the look of surprise on customers' faces when they taste one of the cocktails we serve. This moonshine is crafted by ‘science nerds’ (which I use as a term of endearment!) and is not some hooch made in a backwoods shack.” —Christina Berg, resident bartender at Skunkworks
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Two Rivers Distillery 453 42 Ave. S.E., 403-803-1319, tworiversdistillery.com
Tippa THE LOVE:
“I’m quite excited to have Two Rivers’ gins and vodkas on our list. My favourite so far is their coffee vodka; it makes the perfect chocolate martini!” —Mel Bain, general manager, Original Joe’s, Quarry Park
With a marketing and engineering background and a history in high-tech start-ups, Paul Poutanen launched Tippa when he was in his late 50s, realizing that employment opportunities were becoming sparse and the local micro-distillery industry remained largely untapped. Poutanen does everything at Tippa himself by hand, from fermentation to corking and labelling. He also initials every bottle. THE PLACE
Tippa’s Okotoks distillery has no tasting room, but its Lovebird Gin is sold at approximately 140 stores around the province. You’ll also find it behind the bars at various spots around city, including Teatro, Milk Tiger Lounge and Free House in Kensington — look for the distinctive labels designed by Calgary woodcut artist Lisa Brawn. THE PHILOSOPHY
Poutanen is of Finnish descent, and tippa is the Finnish word for “drop.” His goal is to make spirits that do not require mixing, in that they should be clean enough to stand on their own, he says, and best served neat. THE SPIRITS
The extraordinarily smooth Lovebird Gin was Tippa’s original product. Poutanen followed that with his Wood Duck Oaked Gin, a golden gin made in the style of 19th century gins, which were stored in oak barrels. Watch for Tippa rum to be released this fall. 20
“Tippa has gorgeous branding and delicious gin! The Lovebird is a balanced smooth gin that’s a great addition to the Alberta distillery lineup.” — Matt Stewart, Free House
Hibiscus and Bubbles cocktail made with Two Rivers hibiscusinfused Cockscomb gin. Find the recipe at AvenueCalgary.com/ DistilleryCocktailRecipes
With an eye toward producing premium spirits with local ingredients and minimal environmental impact, Two Rivers’ Mark Freeland and Patrick Roy take on complementary roles: Freeland covers the production side of things and Roy oversees the tasting room. THE PLACE
Two Rivers’ distillery and tasting room has an atmosphere meant to bring to mind 20th-century colonial Britain. Freeland holds a degree in history and archaeology and has significant ancestral ties to the battle of Vimy Ridge, all of which inspired the look and decor of the tasting room.
Two Rivers founders Patrick Roy and Mark Freeland. THE PHILOSOPHY
Calgary began where two rivers meet and so has Two Rivers distillery. Inspired by their settler ancestors, Freeland and Roy use only ingredients that can be sourced locally, combined with waters from the glacier-fed Bow and Elbow Rivers, to produce spirits they deem “distinctly Albertan.” Two Rivers strives to minimize its environmental impact, reusing water and sourcing as many ingredients as possible within a 100-kilometre radius of the distillery. They also give their spent grain to local ranchers to supplement their livestock feed.
The Two Rivers 1875 Vodka (made with two-row barley and named for the year Calgary was founded) is triple distilled, but the distillery’s signature product is the Cockscomb gin, made with its vodka plus 12 botanicals. This year, Two Rivers will also start offering limitededition seasonal varieties.
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AD V E RT I SE ME N T
DESIGNING OUT WASTE
S A P L . U C A L G A R Y. C A @UCALGARYSAPL
magine building the cities of tomorrow out of the waste of today. That’s the challenge researchers and students at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape are working hard to achieve. Using advanced robotics, they’re exploring how to refabricate old building materials into new components that can be reused on other building projects. “Calgary, like most cities in North America, has a large number of commercial buildings built from the
1960s to 1980s, and their exteriors need to be replaced to upgrade energy performance,” says architecture professor Joshua Taron, Associate Dean of Research and Innovation. “Rather than sending those old precast concrete façades to the landfill, we’re looking at how they can become a material bank of parts that can be refabricated into a replacement façade for another old building.” It’s about recycling value instead of volume — using robots to do the work
can make it an affordable option. “Digital fabrication is the frontier of architecture and is going to revolutionize the way we design, build, and manage our cities,” observes John Brown, Dean of the School. “We want to make sure Calgary is at the forefront of that change.”
B O L D T H I N K I N G F O R T H E B U I LT E N V I R O N M E N T
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ALBERTA BEER AWARDS
MORE THAN 80 WINNING BEERS SHOW THAT THIS PROVINCE IS FULL OF GREAT BREWS
BREWERY OF THE YEAR
HERE ARE THE RESULTS OF THE THIRD ANNUAL ALBERTA BEER AWARDS, CO-PRESENTED BY THE ALBERTA SMALL BREWERS ASSOCIATION AND AVENUE MAGAZINE. THE ENTRIES ARE JUDGED BY A PANEL OF BEER EXPERTS WHO BLIND-TASTE THE HUNDREDS OF BEER ENTRIES. WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF STYLES AND BREWERIES FROM ACROSS THE PROVINCE REPRESENTED, YOU'LL BE SURE TO FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE.
I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y G L E N N H A R V E Y
GOLD SILVER BRONZE
The brewery with the highest number of points. Points are awarded for medalling in categories only (not Best of Show) on the following basis: four points for a gold, two points for a silver, one point for a bronze finish.
Cabin Brewing Company
Campio Brewing Co.
Canmore Brewing Company The Establishment Brewing Company (Calgary)
NEW BREWERY OF THE YEAR
Awarded to a brewer that opened in 2019 and received the most Brewery of the Year awards. Points are awarded on the following basis: four points for a gold, two points for a silver, one point for a bronze finish. (Best of Show and Soda categories are not included).
BEST OF SHOW The gold-winning beers from the other categories (excluding root beer/ginger ale) were judged against each other to determine a gold, silver and bronze rankings for the best beer in Alberta.
Alley Kat Brewing, Company, Olde Deuteronomy Barley Wine 2018
Blindman Brewing, 24-2 Brett Stock Ale (Lacombe) Cabin Brewing Company, Sunshine Rain
Odd Company Brewing
Spectrum Ale Works Long Hop Brewing Co (Calgary) Sheepdog Brewing
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TRENDY BEER OF THE YEAR: HOPPY KVEIK ALE
A dry, hop-accented ale fermented using a Kveik yeast strain. Flavours should be fruity with a light malt graininess.
Collaboration between Undercurrent Brewing (Sylvan Lake), Red Hart Brewing (Red Deer), Red Shed Malting (Penhold), Belly Hop Brewing (Red Deer)
and Craft Beer Nation (Red Deer)
Ryes Beyond Kveik IPA Sea Change Brewing Co., Hype Juice (Edmonton/Beaumont)
Annex Ale Project, Null Test Kveik Pale Ale (Calgary)
Lagers or ales that are lightbodied, refreshing and not overly hopped. Colour may vary but the overall emphasis should be on balance and accessibility with no aggressive flavours. With 34 entries this year, this was the most popular category among Alberta brewers.
Tool Shed Brewing Company, People Skills Cream Ale (Calgary)
Sea Change Brewing Co., Death Wave Mexican Lager (Edmonton/Beaumont)
Analog Brewing, Dry As Bones Dry Hopped Brut Ale (Edmonton)
HOPPY SESSIONABLE BEER
Hop-forward, but accessible beer with a noted but not overly aggressive hop flavour and bitterness, and a focus on balance overall. Alcohol strength under 5.5 per cent.
Sea Change Brewing Co., The Wolf (Edmonton/Beaumont)
Cabin Brewing Company, Retrospectrum (Calgary) SYC Brewing Co., Salud! (Edmonton)
GERMAN/CZECH STYLE PILSNER
Light-coloured lager with noted hop flavour and aroma. Designed to reflect the characteristics of German- and Czech-style Pilsner. When someone tells you to “take a pill,” this is what you drink. Snake Lake Brewing Company, Kinabik Pilsner (Sylvan Lake) Trolley 5, Turntable Lager (Calgary) Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery, Pilsner (Calgary)
AMERICAN-STYLE WHEAT BEER
Ale or lager brewed featuring wheat as a key ingredient and wheat as a dominant flavour and characteristic of the beer, but lacking the yeast characteristics of German- or Belgian-style wheat beer.
The Establishment Brewing Company, My Best Friend’s Girl (Calgary)
Trolley 5, Upbeat Wheat (Calgary)
Prairie Dog Brewing, Super-B (Calgary)
GERMAN AND BELGIAN-STYLE WHEAT BEER
Ale brewed with wheat as a key ingredient, and using traditional German or Belgian yeast. Wheat is a dominant flavour characteristic, balanced with a noted yeast character appropriate to regional sub-style.
Brauerei Fahr, Fahr Away Hefeweizen (Turner Valley)
Hell’s Basement Brewery, He Ain’t Hefe He’s My Brother (Medicine Hat) Bent Stick Brewing, B.S. Wit (Edmonton)
Ale designed to reflect Belgian ale characteristics, including spicy yeast flavours and aromas with a moderate alcohol content.
Campio Brewing Co., Nondenominational Abbey Ale (Edmonton)
Sawback Brewing Co., Saison Series No. 1 Belgian Style (Red Deer)
CALGARY’S CABIN BREWING COMPANY CLAIMED THE TITLE OF BREWERY OF THE YEAR WITH FOUR MEDAL-WINNING BEERS, INCLUDING TWO GOLDS AND TWO SILVERS, AND RECEIVED THE BRONZE BEST OF SHOW AWARD FOR ITS SUNSHINE RAIN IPA.
Inner City Brewing, A Day In Bruges (Calgary)
STRONG BELGIAN ALE
Ale designed to reflect Belgian ale characteristics, including spicy yeast flavours and aromas and with a higher alcohol content (above seven per cent).
Brewsters Brewing Company, Oh My Quad! (Calgary/Edmonton)
Olds College Brewery, Cill Dara (Olds)
Olds College Brewery, Cold Winter’s Night (Olds)
AMBER AND DARK LAGER
Medium and darker-coloured lagers. Should have more malt character than light lagers, although malt-hop balance can vary.
Ol’ Beautiful Brewing Co., Eternal Twilight (Calgary)
Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery, Black Lager (Calgary)
Inner City Brewing, Eis On The Bridge (Calgary)
Brown-coloured, malt-accented ale or lager. Darker malt flavours should be emphasized and hop character can range from none to moderate.
Deep brown, malt-accented ales that are reflective of the traditional porter style.
4th Meridian Brewing Company, Border Porter (Lloydminster)
Amber-coloured, malt-accented ale. Malt should have darker flavours without being overdone, including caramel, toast, bread and biscuit. Hops can vary in profile and perception, but without becoming too dominant in the balance.
Canmore Brewing Company, Chocolate Maple Porter (Canmore) Blindman Brewing, Triphammer Robust Porter (Lacombe)
Very dark ale designed to reflect the characteristics of a stout.
Born Colorado Brewing, Arm Candy Milk Stout (Calgary)
Siding 14 Brewing Company, Coal Pusher Stout (Ponoka) Medicine Hat Brewing Co., Gentlemen’s Stout (Medicine Hat)
Tool Shed Brewing Company, Red Rage (Calgary)
Red Hart Brewing, Irish Red (Red Deer)
Hard Knox Brewery, Grunt Work (Black Diamond)
ALL ALBERTA MALT BEER
A beer of any style brewed exclusively with grains grown and malted in Alberta.
Blindman Brewing, 24-2 Brett Stock Ale (Lacombe)
Campio Brewing Co., All Malt Lager (Edmonton)
The Growlery Beer Co., Wheels Up French Saison (Edmonton)
Village Brewery, Village Blacksmith (Calgary)
Canmore Brewing Company, Georgetown Brown (Canmore)
Travois Ale Works, Scottish Export (Medicine Hat)
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CABIN BREWING COMPANY WAS JUST ONE OF MANY CALGARY BREWERIES TO CLAIM GOLD THIS YEAR. OTHER LOCAL GOLD-MEDAL WINNERS ARE BORN COLORADO, BREWSTERS, THE ESTABLISHMENT, OL’ BEAUTIFUL, OT BREWING COMPANY, TOOL SHED AND VILLAGE BREWERY.
IMPERIAL STRENGTH BEER
Medium-bodied pale- to ambercoloured ale, with noted hop character and a balance of malt. Beer designed to reflect the characteristics of American pale ale or English bitter are appropriate.
Ale or lager brewed to higher alcohol levels, usually above eight per cent. Body, colour and malt/hop balance vary.
Alley Kat Brewing Company, Olde Deuteronomy Barley Wine 2018 (Edmonton) Medicine Hat Brewing Co., Russian Imperial Stout (Medicine Hat) OT Brewing Company, Ape Index Barrel Aged Barley Wine (Calgary)
Any lager or ale where the addition of fruit or vegetable is a key ingredient and important flavour or aroma component.
Undercurrent Brewing, Finn’s Raspberry Porter (Sylvan Lake)
Analog Brewing, In Another Castle Peach Mango Milkshake IPA (Edmonton)
Marda Loop Brewing, Blackberry Porter (Calgary)
Any lager or ale where the addition of spice or other adjunct (coffee, for example) is a key ingredient and important flavour and aroma component. With 27 entries from Alberta breweries, this was the second-most competitive category this year.
Odd Company Brewing, Mulled Lambrusco Sour (Edmonton)
Snake Lake Brewing Company, Ice Cutter Vanilla Latte Stout (Sylvan Lake) Analog Brewing, Porter Fandango (Edmonton)
OTHER FLAVOURED BEER
Ale or lager brewed with addition of alternative ingredients that do not fit into other categories. Includes beer made with alternative grains (gluten-free, for example) or alternative sugars (honey, for example), and smoked beer, as well as beer cocktails.
Inner City Brewing, OFA (Calgary) Bow River Brewing, Prairie Night Porter (Calgary)
KETTLE SOUR BEER Any ale or lager where sourness is a feature of the flavour and aroma produced through the process of kettle souring. Can include fruit and other ingredient additions.
Campio Brewing Co., Albertasourous (Edmonton)
Ribstone Creek Brewery, Raspberry Berliner Weisse (Edgerton)
Medicine Hat Brewing Co., Bussmann Cranberry Sour (Medicine Hat)
Any beer that was aged in wood barrels and exhibits flavour and aroma characteristics of the barrel.
Travois Ale Works, Black Forest Porter
OT Brewing Company, Barrel Aged Hack Weight Imperial Stout (Calgary)
WILD/NATURAL FERMENTATION BEER
Beer produced through the use of “wild” yeast and bacteria, including brettanomyces, or through spontaneous fermentation. Should exhibit the flavour profiles of the organisms used, including earthiness, spiciness, sourness, mustiness and cellar characteristics.
Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company, Substantially Complete (Edmonton)
Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery, Foeder Aged Golden Sour (Calgary)
Grain Bin Brewing Company, Burgundy Barrel Aged Braggot (Grande Prairie)
WILD/NATURAL FERMENTATION BEER WITH FRUIT
Beer produced through the use of “wild” yeast and bacteria, including brettanomyces, and/or through spontaneous fermentation that includes fruit as a key ingredient.
Grain Bin Brewing Company, Welcome (Grande Prairie)
Light-to-amber-coloured hopforward ale with a moderate-toassertive bitterness, hop flavour and aroma, depending on substyle. English or American versions of IPA are both appropriate.
Cabin Brewing Company, Sunshine Rain (Calgary)
Origin Malting & Brewing Co., Pioneer IPA (Strathmore)
Endeavour Brewing Company, Sudden Draft IPA (St. Albert)
An IPA designed with features that deviate from traditional IPA, including colour, ingredients or yeast. Central feature of the beer is bitterness and hop flavour and aroma, with varying balance appropriate to variation.
Troubled Monk, Mary Samsonite
Canmore Brewing Company, Ten Peaks Pale Ale (Canmore) The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, Three Sisters Pale Ale (Canmore)
Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company, Fruitful Pursuits: Plum (Edmonton)
Spectrum Ale Works, English Pub Ale
Canmore Brewing Company, Railway Avenue Rye IPA (Canmore)
Sheepdog Brewing, La Noire Cascadian Dark Ale (Canmore)
Odd Company Brewing, Brett IPA II (Edmonton)
A higher-alcohol IPA. Exhibits moderate-to-high bitterness and hop characteristics. A warming, but not hot, alcohol is appropriate. Alcohol should be above seven per cent.
Cabin Brewing Company, Super Duper Saturation (Calgary)
Citizen Brewing Company, Royal Pine WCIPA (Calgary)
The Establishment Brewing Company, Ghost Machine (Calgary)
NEW ENGLANDSTYLE ALE
Hazy, light-coloured, mediumbodied hop-accented ale. Moderate-to-strong citrus-fruit flavours and aromas with lowto-moderate bitterness. Mouth feel will be full with a silky character. Designed to reflect the characteristics of the ales originating in Vermont.
The Establishment Brewing Company, Sky Rocket V (Calgary)
Long Hop Brewing Co, Long Hop Hazy Pale Ale (Calgary)
Snake Lake Brewing Company, Sidewinder IPA (Sylvan Lake)
ROOT BEER/ GINGER ALE
Non-alcoholic soda beverages made with traditional root beer/ ginger ale ingredients and process.
The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, Root Beer (Canmore)
Hell’s Basement Brewery, Heck of a Root Beer (Medicine Hat) Troubled Monk, Ginger Ale (Red Deer)
Cabin Brewing Company, Chapter 1: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy (Calgary)
Village Brewery, Village Framboise (Calgary)
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BY Christina Frangou PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jared Sych
algarian Ted Fleming lay in a hospital bed in Malta, the blue waters of the Mediterranean glittering outside his window, and decided he’d better make some changes. Fleming, then 33, had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, five years earlier. On holiday in Europe, he ended up in the hospital — the fifth time in five years — with complications from his disease. Fleming promised himself that when he got out, he would focus on his health. He would exercise more, eat better and quit drinking. But the last goal proved especially challenging. Fleming loved beer. He loved everything about it — the smell, the rituals around it, the sense of discovery that came with the first sip of a new craft beer. Firmly committed to his no-alcohol pledge, he set out to taste test every alcohol-free beer he could find, and came up wanting. “There was no variety, the taste profiles weren’t inspiring,” he says. In 2013, he started Premium Near Beer, North America’s first online non-alcoholic craft beer store, trying to get more options into the hands of non-drinking Canadians. But the selection, especially those that Fleming could drink, still disappointed him. So, in 2017, he decided if he couldn’t find a great non-alcoholic beer, he would make one. That spring, he launched a Kickstarter campaign that surpassed its goal within three hours. By September of 2017, Partake Brewing released its first beer, an IPA with 0.3 per cent alcohol. It was brewed in Toronto, but the company maintains its headquarters in Calgary. In early 2018, Partake rolled out its second product, a pale ale that went on to win the World Beer Award for the best non-alcoholic beer that year. (To be considered non-alcoholic, beer has to have less than 0.5 per cent alcohol.)
Whether for a short time or a long time, more and more people are finding that their good times are better without booze. Today, Partake produces four different non-alcoholic beers that are sold in liquor stores and grocery stores across Alberta, online for customers throughout North America, and at local pubs and restaurants that range from Craft Beer Market to the fine-dining restaurants at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. “I launched Partake as an answer to my problem,” says Fleming. “As it turned out, it solved that problem for a lot of other people.” The problem Fleming is talking about is this: many people like a good drink, they like the social scene that comes along with a good drink, but they don’t want to drink alcohol. That’s not an easy problem to solve when the phrase “let’s grab a drink” is a standard part of business networking and friendly socializing and is understood to mean an alcoholic drink. Restaurants advertise happy hours and cocktail hours, deluxe tasting menus with wine pairings and gameday specials that celebrate sport by offering deals on drinks. Booze is never difficult to find: Alberta is home to nearly 2,300 liquor retailers selling more than 29,000 products, and more than 10,000 businesses with licenses to serve alcohol. So celebrated is alcohol, that a separate industry has sprouted up, extolling the idea that drinking is part of how we get by as stressedyet-high-functioning adults. This has been further fuelled recently by the uncertainty and stresses of the pandemic. On Amazon, there’s a section of products selling a love of wine that sometimes overlap with the category that New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino billed “mom merch.” Products in this category include things like wine tumblers with the words “Because Mommin’ Ain’t Easy” and “Mom Juice.” (Never mentioned alongside these fun-time
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Seedlip, a gin-like non-alcoholic spirit from the U.K.; the â€œRosetta,â€? a mixed drink on the menu at Sidewalk Citizen's Central Memorial Park location made with almond, rose and mint; and two types of beer from Partake, a non-alcoholic brewing company based in Calgary. 28
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promoting items: women are at greater risk than men for certain alcohol-related illnesses like stroke, some cancers and liver disease, and alcohol consumption among women is increasing rapidly.) But more people are also speaking out about sobriety — and they’re looking for places and products that support their decision to stay away from the hard stuff. “People are becoming more comfortable creating that boundary to say ‘drinking isn’t quite for me,’” says Kira Dunlop, founder of Calgary’s Boring Little Girls Club, a social group for sober women, trans and non-binary folks. Dunlop stopped drinking almost two years ago when she was 21. She stood in front of the mirror one morning and figured that she was going to die. It might not be from liver failure or cancer or any other health issue directly related to drinking, but she had a tendency to down one drink after another, which got her into one dangerous situation after another. She had watched family members struggle with addiction and she didn’t want to be next. “I just decided right there that I would stop drinking,” she says. Dunlop knew quitting wouldn’t be easy, but she was surprised by just how hard it was. She went out to bars and restaurants with friends and felt paralyzed with anxiety about being surrounded by alcohol and people drinking it. She wanted a circle of like-minded supporters who didn’t drink or use any mind-altering substance (or, at least not much), but who still wanted to have fun. So she set up the Boring Little Girls Club (the “boring” in the title being entirely tongue-in-cheek). The group is neither a recovery group nor a peer-support group. That said, members get together at coffee shops, and they have each others’ backs when things are challenging. They share strategies for high-stress events where alcohol will be served and discuss how they’ll deal with any pressure to drink — “putting on your armour” is what they call their defence systems for not drinking. Their members include “Sober Supporters” who don’t stay sober all the time, but who are sober when their friends need them to be. “The biggest thing is making sure people know that they are not alone. They don’t have to be hiding in their houses. I want people to know that supports exist, and if you’re struggling, that’s okay,” says Dunlop. Globally, enthusiasm for not drinking, or for drinking a lot less, has been growing. Google Trends data shows a sharp rise in searches in Canada for “dry January” in December 2018 and 2019 compared to the three years prior. So, too, for the terms “staying sober” and “alcohol-free.” The New York Times in 2019 described a movement of people who are “sober curious” or “mindful drinkers.” They’re abstaining from alcohol, permanently or temporarily. And if they’re not abstaining entirely, then they’re sharply curtailing their consumption. They don’t drink for many reasons: religion, fitness, diet, addiction, dependency, cost and, increasingly, overall health. And they’re backed by a growing body of research that shows alcohol, even in moderation, can be harmful: according to statistics cited by Canada’s Low-Risk
Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, average long-term alcohol use — even as low as one or two drinks per day — can lead to at least six types of cancer as well as other serious health conditions. Josh Methot, a long-term Calgary wine expert turned real estate agent, says there’s been a big shift in the way people talk about sobriety. “It’s more socially accepted these days for people to not drink. Ten years ago, or even five years ago, there wasn’t an open community of people that didn’t drink that I knew of,” he says. Thirteen years ago, Methot attained his sommelier certification and went on to become the wine director for the Teatro Group and one of the province’s most sought-after sommeliers. “In hindsight, toward the end of my drinking, I was always drinking to get drunk,” Methot says, acknowledging that people don’t often associate sommeliers with excessive drinking. But as he got older, the consequences of alcohol became “more intense or more serious.” It got harder on his body and he took longer to recover. It was clear, he says, that it was time to stop. He stopped working in the wine industry about five years ago, and 21 months ago he quit drinking. Today, he still does all the things he used to. He goes out to dinners, parties and events. He’s still the person who selects wine at dinner. “I just don’t consume alcohol,” he says. And he chooses to be public about not drinking because he wants to show support for others looking to quit or slow down their drinking. His good friend Jereme Bokitch, the Calgary hairdresser who founded and co-owns the Hedkandi salons, Butter Beauty Parlours and Johnny’s Barber + Shop, publicly announced in 2019 that he was celebrating his one-year anniversary of sobriety. A longtime trainer and employer of hairstylists, Bokitch says the hairstyling world can be tough on people, with its social events, late nights and lots of drinking. He went public with his own sobriety because he wanted people to know that they could succeed in the industry without alcohol. “Because so many people in our industry have challenges with alcohol and drugs, I wanted to put my experience out there if anybody’s having challenges,” he says. As more people speak up about not drinking, restaurants, bars and breweries are coming up with products tailored to non-drinkers, a previously overlooked market. While most restaurants are currently closed due to pandemic restrictions, many had added alcohol-free drinks to their menu before that. At Bridgeland’s Waalflower Kitchen and Cocktails, the menu includes a full page of zero-proof drinks. In Central Memorial Park, the Israeli-inspired menu at the new Sidewalk Citizen restaurant features six fresh-to-order alcohol-free juices and juice-soda combinations — a list nearly as long as the actual cocktail list. The Rosetta, for example: a combination of almond and rose with some mint flavours that are common in Eastern Mediterranean drinks and desserts in the summer. At Proof and Bar Von Der Fels, bartenders serve made-to-order alcohol-free drinks mixed with Seedlip, a high-end, London-based brand of non-alcoholic spirits. AvenueCalgary.com
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“We are definitely seeing a movement of people who want to enjoy a drink with complexity, but it doesn’t necessarily have to involve alcohol,” says Erin Miller, the general manager at Proof. Ten years ago, most alcohol-free products were “kind of gimmicky,” she says. Now, with Seedlip and other products, “you can get the same complexity and the same kind of satisfying conclusion from a ‘mocktail’ as you can with a bottle of gin.” While it is of course too early to say how the pandemic may affect this, another trend afoot in the bartending world has been a shift toward lower-alcohol cocktails, Miller says. Bartenders have been switching out high-alcohol bourbons, gins and vodkas for Sherrys, vermouths and liqueurs with lower alcohol content. Even within the industry, Miller says she has seen a change in attitudes around drinking. Ten years ago, people who worked in bars and restaurants were more likely to feel pressure from co-workers or customers to drink alcohol on the job or after a shift. But not anymore. “I’ve had friends in the industry who’ve struggled with addiction and abuse of the thing that we work with every day. Not drinking is definitely more of a respected decision,” she says. Justin Darnes (who goes by JD) has been a bartender for 20 years and sober for the last four. He stopped drinking because he could see the toll alcohol was taking on his health. “I heard a statistic that the life expectancy of a bartender is 55 and so I quit [drinking],” he says. “And then I discovered a lot of my peers were doing the same.” Darnes started experimenting with elaborate cocktails made without alcohol, and developed his own botanical take on non-alcoholic gin. Popularity grew by word of mouth and customers started requesting his concoctions. Last year, he got a message from Calgary entrepreneur Jo-Anne Reynolds — founder of SpikeBee.com, a website that helps parents search for children’s camps and activities — asking him if he wanted to partner with her and start a brand of non-alcoholic spirits. Reynolds came up with the idea after a girls’ trip to California with two friends who don’t drink. In the evenings, her friends’ drink options were limited to water, pop or sugary mocktails. “The more I looked into it, I saw more people who were confident in going out and saying ‘I choose to not to drink,’ and that’s where the idea came from,” she says. Earlier this year, Reynolds and Darnes launched Sexy AF Spirits 30
The more I looked into it, I saw more people who were co ‘I choose to not to drink.’ -Jo-Anne Reynolds, co-founder, Sexy AF Spirits
(the AF stands for alcohol-free), a line of botanical-infused variations on gin, triple sec, Campari and amaro. Breweries, too, are getting in on the act. In 2019, Village Brewery launched its first non-alcoholic beer. Called Local, it’s a pale ale made with regional ingredients, weighs in at 35 calories and has an alcohol volume of 0.3 per cent. Village now also brews a non-alcoholic stout. A few kilometres away at Annex Ale Project, founders Andrew Bullied and Erica O’Gorman started making artisanal sodas in 2016 as they waited for their brewery license to come through. Since then, their sodas have remained so popular that the pair expanded their taproom last year to add a soda shop. “We are primarily a brewery, but we also understand that the craft-beer experience can be extended to people who maybe don’t drink beer or don’t drink alcohol,” says Bullied. As for Fleming, he says he’s been surprised by the demographics of Partake's customers. He set out in the alcohol-free business expecting to have older customers or those with specific reasons for staying away from alcohol — health issues or religious beliefs, for example. Instead, Partake’s customers tend to be in their 30s, and often don’t have any clear reason for not drinking other than they don’t want to. “I think that’s a mindset change. Instead of alcohol being a normal part of someone’s life, they’re looking at it as an indulgence,” he says. Even though it’s gaining traction, sticking to a lifestyle of not drinking still feels like swimming against a very boozy current, says Dunlop of the Boring Little Girls Club. We live in “an alcohol-centric world,” she says, and that requires strategizing and planning to maintain sobriety. She also emphasizes that the stakes are high — sobriety is for many people a life-or-death decision, not a lifestyle trend. For all the inventive alcohol-free cocktails bartenders can shake up, most bars still don’t list their zero-proof offerings on the menu and mocktails don’t appeal to everyone. The onus is on the customer to know what he/she/they want and ask a bartender to deliver. But, as Dunlop says, “the shift is beginning to happen.” Addiction is a serious issue that requires treatment. If you are experiencing addiction, you can call the province's Addictions Helpline toll free at 1-866-332-2322.
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Craft sodas from the non-alcoholic beverage arm of the Annex Ale Project craft brewery; Sexy AF’s “Triple Sexy,” a non-alcoholic spirit designed to mimic the flavour profile of triple sec; and the Village Local non-alcoholic beer from Village Brewery.
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BY Jacquie Moore ILLUSTRATIONS BY Lynn Scurfield
CONTAIN YOURSELF Growing flowers and vegetables in containers is as old as dirt, still, there are fresh ways to go about it. From how to be bolder and plant smarter, to the wonders of worm poop, here’s how to get growing (in pots) this season.
long with solving the ultimate question to life, the universe, and everything in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series (the answer is 42, of course), the late Douglas Adams asks readers to ponder another existential question: “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it, too?” Heck yes! Who needs magic, when cultivating a container garden in Calgary — whether for tasty veggies or pretty flowers or some combination of both — is so easy? That’s right, I said easy. Toss aside everything you’ve been told about the futility of our climate zone 4A growing (a fairly recent bump up from our previous 3B designation), and stay with me on this. Container gardening is defined as, well, gardening in a container. While ceramic, clay, metal and plastic pots are most common, just about anything from an old bucket to an abandoned bathtub will do. As long it’s filled with soil and sports a drainage hole in the bottom, your circa-2013 Nike Air Foamposite sneaker qualifies as a garden container (certainly, there is no better use for that shoe). Either way, corralling your garden in pots is no longer perceived as a consolation prize for folks without yards; rather, container gardening and related products occupy an increasingly large territory in gardening centres as an elegant, practical and bountiful answer to maximizing both food production and ornamental drama on any scale.
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IN PRAISE OF PORTABILITY
Unless you’re determined to compete with Taber's corn production, gardening in a pot can even be preferable to planting in the ground. “Containers are amazing for everyone,” says Donna Balzer, author of the bestselling book No Guff Vegetable Gardening and a regular expert-guest on CBC radio. “Many places in our yards aren’t ideal for growing, such as under trees with large root zones.” That, she says, can pose a problem even when a vegetable garden is 20 feet from the tree (“roots find a way,” she says, somewhat ominously). A pot, on the other hand, can be moved to an optimal growing location in the yard, expanding a garden’s real estate. A container’s portability also makes it ideal for growing anything that needs a lot of heat — plants heat up more quickly in pots than in the ground — or has other special needs. If you’re trying to grow coralle fuchsia, for instance (and why wouldn’t you be?), you’ll need warmth and shade. “Fuchsias are so charming but they require a weird combination of conditions,” says Balzer. It’s a rare yard where such ideal ground is available exactly where you want it, but a pot full of fuchsia can be transported to its happiest place. Likewise, lowlight-thrivers such as hostas, begonias and astilbes can be planted in containers and placed under trees where they’ll thrive in the shade and remain out of reach of hungry slugs.
SEIZE THE DAY (BY ITS ROOTS)
The beauty of container planting is, of course, the relatively easy ride. Still, a bit of TLC can take your pot from meh to marvy. At the end of the season, pull out the old plants from the roots (if you missed that step last fall, right now is fine, too; we’ll wait here). And don’t be shy about it, either. In fact, if your pot is 14 or more inches in height, Balzer recommends digging out at least six to eight inches of soil and tossing the whole shebang into your compost. With that, she makes a particularly stirring 34
philosophical point that might sum up the very soul of gratifying gardening in Zone 4A: “Maybe we can stop caring so much about perennials versus annuals in every case. Many plants don’t work as perennials here, they don’t overwinter as they would in other parts of the world, and that’s okay.” So, out with the old, and in with something fresh that thrills you to your toes. “If you’ve fallen for a hydrangea, don’t worry, just enjoy it and know that it may not come back.” If it does? Count yourself a magical garden fairy.
Chelsie Anderson is a Calgary-based natural-gardening educator and author. As such, she’s an advocate for the power of worm castings to bring soil to vibrant life, particularly in pots where plants don’t have access to the minerals, microbes or moisture naturally found in the earth. “Potting soil is a sterile mix,” says Anderson. “You don’t get the critters that benefit plants grown directly in the ground.” The beauty of adding worm castings, she says, is that “you get all those beneficial guys to kickstart the system.” Worm castings are a by-product of vermicompost — basically, worm manure that works as a rich, natural fertilizer. An alternative to chemical fertilizers that can leach water and damage soil, worm castings can improve and sustain soil by adding beneficial bacteria and fungi that deliver nutrients from the soil to a plant’s roots. “Castings add microbes that feed plants naturally, as well as add minerals in well-balanced proportion,” Anderson says. Perhaps most noticeably, the addition of worm castings, which Anderson suggests replenishing annually to pots, means less water is required. “The casting works like a sponge, it helps the soil maintain moisture really well, which can mean 50 to 75 per cent less watering.” So, how to worm-cast like a pro? Mix 25 per cent castings to 75 per cent potting soil in your container (some experts say go as far as 50/50). Plant your plants. Sprinkle some castings on top for good measure, and then sit back and watch things grow. (Note to the squeamish: a bag of worm castings does not contain actual worms; it looks similar to coffee grounds, and you’ll find it at most gardening shops.) Avoid supplementing the castings with chemical fertilizers as you’ll likely kill the microbes that are busily trying to teach the soil to feed itself. And, if you think DIY vermiculture might be your jam, check in with Anderson at chelsiesgardens.com for upcoming workshops and events.
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FRUIT AND VEG OUT
Sometimes, an otherwise wayward edible just needs lovingly enforced boundaries. Strawberries have a reputation in Calgary for being disappointingly unproductive, but can thrive when contained. Balzer says that’s because, when planted directly in the ground, strawberry plants “can kind of take off on you,” running rampant ground cover and sending out energysucking shoots at a rate that prohibits berry production. Contained, however, they can grow exceptionally well in Calgary. Last spring, Balzer tried something new with her berries, to delightful result. “I drilled holes every foot or so in a 10-foot length of eavestrough — just a regular rain gutter from the hardware store — filled it with soil and planted strawberry plants every six inches or so.” She hung the gutter on small metal brackets screwed to her fence and, she says, “we had amazing strawberries until quite late in the season.”
Balzer has also had delightful results with container-grown summer squash. “It was such an unexpected surprise,” she says. “It grew down the side of the pot and spilled onto the sidewalk. The flowers were so pretty and the leaves were 30 centimetres wide and really exotic-looking.” Hearty herbs such as sage, thyme, mint and rosemary look great in a pot, which can be positioned for easy access from the kitchen. Balzer tucks herbs in with just about any mix of potted plants for pizzazz and practicality. One of her most dazzling recent discoveries was potted saffron. Commonly grown in Iran, Greece and India, saffron is derived from the flower of crocus sativus; it’s essentially a pretty, purple, fall crocus. “By the end of August, pots start to look pretty horrible,” says Balzer. “Go get yourself some saffron bulbs — they’re not easy to find but some stores will have them — and crowd them into a pot and they’ll bloom in the fall, providing nectar and pollen for late bees” (if not saffron threads to finesse your paella).
TOP 5 PRETTIEST POTTED PLANTS All we really want out of our gardens is something gorgeous to fawn over, right?
Kath Smyth of the Calgary Horticultural Society shares her top-five stunners best grown in pots.
New Zealand Flax (Phorium)
King Tut Grass (Cyperus Papyrus)
Climbing Snapdragon (Asarina)
Cup-and-Saucer Vine (Cobaea Scandens)
“This is a big plant that doesn’t
“Essentially a water plant, this
“This one has a bell-shaped
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that opens and closes with
grow well in a garden, but it’s
one just kills me in the summer
flower that looks similar to
my deck and this pink, purple
the sun. It loves my sunny
great for pots. I love it because
when the flowers suddenly
fuchsia, but it’s a little differ-
and white flowering plant
deck where I pot it with Eng-
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and it’s just stunning in a pot,
do it alone in a pot because
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I love how it climbs up the
like sage, parsley, maybe
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I companion it with one of
fashioned flowers like zinnias
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basil, for their texture.”
itself to all sorts of looks be-
my favourite hanging plants.”
my screen. My dog Marigold
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loves the shade.”
“I’m a big fan of this daisy
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GROW YOUR EXCITEMENT These products and resources will get you pumped up for the gardening season, which for zone 4A residents kicks off unofficially on the May long weekend. Think Globally, Act Locally The global bucket was developed as a low-tech system for fighting malnutrition around the world by making growing food cheap, easy and water-efficient. These self-watering containers are typically made by stacking a couple of five-gallon buckets and adding a bottom reservoir. To make one check out the dozens of YouTube how-tos online. The Medium is the Message
THE ART OF CONTAINER GARDENING
(OR LOVE, COURAGE AND COLOUR IN A POT) So now your soil is ready, your confidence is up, and you’re sold on the fact that planting food and flowers in a pot is where it’s at. It’s time to go for it. Calgary Horticultural Society’s Kath Smyth (who formerly taught a course at the University of Calgary called, yep, The Art of Container Gardening) has a tried-and-true, knock-yoursocks-off opening act she recommends to kick off planting season. A devoted advocate for upping our gardening courage and joy index, Smyth suggests getting summer bulbs in a pot ASAP — try begonias, canna lilies or her favourite, butterfly gladiolas (haemanthus). “Plant them now, while it’s still spring, and then, as soon as possible, cover them with annuals, like pansies, or anything colourful you love,” she says. Sometime around the end of June or mid-July, the bulbs will find their way up and around the annuals. “I call these my ‘forgotI-put-you-there’ pots,” says Smyth. “You’ll just suddenly see these strap-like leaves come up and then (if you planted butterfly glads) white flowers with purple eyes. It’s such a wonderful and beautifully fragrant surprise.” Smyth also recommends scattering pots here and there throughout your yard, perhaps in places where a perennial didn’t survive or in a spot where you haven’t yet decided what to plant in the ground. “Just toss in seeds of colourful,
old-fashioned favourites such as bachelor buttons or zinnias.” Voila!: simple, cheap, exuberant. “You just need to feel the joy, that’s what this is about.” The art of perfecting a container “recipe” is a fairly loose, gratifying and always-illuminating endeavour. Be weird, be wild. Don’t be afraid to put plants and seeds side by side; veg and flowers together; trailers or climbers with anything. A solid but unexpected combo that Smyth returns to time and time again in a shady part of her yard is rainbow chard seeds (and/or beets) planted alongside begonias. Edible and unexpectedly pretty is always the high watermark in container gardening (Calgary’s bulletproof garden-darling, kale, grows well with everything). Smyth is also a fan of flowers from the daisy family paired with early small cucumbers, which will climb fetchingly over the pot. “A daisy-shaped flower like a gerbera will attract pollinators,” she says. “The bees then discover that the vegetable is there flowering as well, so they’ll pollinate the cucumber plant for good success.” Smyth also said something about a boy flower and a girl flower, but this is a family magazine. At the heart of all of it, of course, is that urban gardening here in Zone 4A, or any zone for that matter, should be approached with both passion and a light touch, and regular watering. (About that, give hanging baskets a miss if you don’t like daily, or twice-daily watering). Gardening should be a conversation starter, a source of pride and relaxation, an annual experiment, a wonder. You don’t have to spend much, nor strive for a 100-per cent success rate, to be astounded and delighted by what comes out of a pot of dirt.
Think twice before spending $500plus on a fancy ceramic pot big enough to overwinter a VW. Left out in winter, it’s at risk of cracking due to moisture in the soil. Go a couple of sizes down so it can be wheeled into the garage or under a carport until spring. The Fabric of Our Plant Life Fabric planting containers can be planted in-ground or used like typical pots. Designed to improve and insulate a plant root system, the breathable fabric allows roots to grow outward in a natural pattern that’s not possible with a plastic or metal container. Turn On, Tune In Donna Balzer’s podcast Helping Gardeners Grow is a chatty, informative mix of tips and tricks and other gems to thrill gardeners and armchair gardeners alike. Find it on the usual podcast channels, or subscribe at donnabalzer.com. Contained Within These Pages Kath Smyth of the Calgary Horticultural Society has a long list of favourite gardening books whose origins are both local and further flung, but her pick of the moment is Edible Container Gardening for Canada, a sturdy softcover by Edmonton-based expert gardener Rob Sproule, that is a practical and inspiring source of container recipes and helpful tips.
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PROFILE BY Julia Williams PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jared Sych
Growing a Dream How city-dweller-turned-flower-farmer Sarah Adams found space to blossom.
n the Canada Day weekend in 2017, Sarah Adams drove from Calgary to a five-and-a-half-acre patch in Vulcan County and stood there looking at the land. The farm was weedy and dilapidated — it had stood abandoned for 30 years — but all Adams could see were flowers. Today, that farm is her home, her job and her life. Adams is the founder of Alberta Girl Acres, selling fresh-cut specialty flowers that she grows on the land. Like any entrepreneur, she found getting her business off the ground (literally in this case) enormously challenging, but it’s working. All summer, she sells stems by appointment from the farm and out of a converted horse trailer at the Vulcan UFA Farm & Ranch Supply Store. She creates everything from handtied bouquets to flower chandeliers for weddings and events, and she runs flower-related workshops and a floral community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. During the months when the ground is frozen, she plans her fields, builds her marketing strategy and updates the self-published book she wrote about small-business flower farming. All the while, she’s raising two pre-teen daughters, spending time with partner Nathan Linford (who lives on the farm when he’s not working in Calgary) and caring for her dogs, pig and a small flock of chickens. From the outside looking in, Adams’s farm purchase might seem impulsive, but for her it was the culmination of a lifelong yearning. As a child, she lived out in the country near Cold Lake, Alta. and loved everything about rural life. When she was a teenager, her grandmother taught her the basics of gardening, and she loved that, too. But as she grew older, life kept getting in the way of retreating to the country. As a visual artist, stand-up comedian and communications professional, cities were where the work was, leading her to Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary. She got married and divorced and adjusted to life as a single parent. But through it all, Adams never lost her love of growing things. “It didn’t matter where I was, I had to have a garden,” she says. “It feels like an extension of myself. At a certain point I decided this is what I truly care about, and that maybe I’m the only person who can make my dreams come true.”
Realizing the dream has not been easy. Adams says the days since that first weekend on the farm have been full of work, sweat and stress. “I joke that every problem is 20 problems in disguise,” she says. At first, the farmhouse didn’t even have running water. Adams renovated it herself with the help of her mother, all while putting together a business plan, planning her fields and learning how to make a living as a farmer. On top of everything, she worried her children, born and raised in the city, wouldn’t like this new life. Every day, Adams was driven by the knowledge that she had no real safety net; she was just going to have to make it work. Fortunately, working on the farm was deeply rewarding. After years of feeling anxious and directionless in the city, Adams was building something of her own. “I’d never had my own place,” she says. “As a single mom, I hadn’t thought it would ever happen.” Hard work aside, the transition to grower life has been surprisingly seamless for Adams. Far from a massive career shift, flower farming has proven to be a natural extension of all the skills she had been developing for years. She uses her creativity and her artistic sense of composition and texture every day. Her marketing and management skills helped her launch her business and keep it steady, and her experience in arts administration, including her most recent pre-farm role as a communications coordinator for a non-profit arts foundation, taught her to spin gold from a shoestring budget. Even the economy of language she honed in comedy is applicable in her communications efforts (and of course, keeping her sense of humour intact has been vital). “All my experience trained me to make something out of nothing,” she laughs. Back when Adams first drew up her business plan and applied for a loan, she was the only small-scale flower farm in Southern Alberta; now she’s part of a small but expanding community of growers. In the summer of 2019, Adams launched the Alberta Growers’ Flower Market with nine other farmers, securing a small location at Granary Road where they could sell blooms as a cooperative. The location didn’t work as well as Adams had hoped and she has since reluctantly closed the market, but as a community consolidation effort, the venture was a huge success. One of the things Adams is particularly proud of is how the regional growers
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“AT A CERTAIN POINT I DECIDED THIS IS WHAT I TRULY CARE ABOUT, AND THAT MAYBE I’M THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE.”
were able to come together to set prices that better reflected the realities of small-scale farming, rather than abide by wholesale pricing lists set by the commercial floral industry, where blooms are mass-produced with liberal usage of chemical pesticides and herbicides, and often in parts of the world with minimal labour laws. “This commercial floral industry has dominated floral pricing and our perceived value of flowers for a long time,” Adams says. Though there has been a shift toward consumers seeking out local and sustainable flowers, small-scale growers in places like Southern Alberta with its stunted growing season can’t compete with the commercial industry’s prices. By coming together and setting their own prices, as well as establishing processes for counting inventory and getting their product to market, Adams
and her fellow regional growers were, in essence, advocating for their product as something separate from imported flowers. “As a group we were able to effectively demonstrate what ‘locally grown flowers’ meant in terms of value and quality,” she says. In the future, Adams hopes to engage in more cooperative efforts. “It’s one of the few industries that works better with collaboration as opposed to competition,” she says. But for now, she is focusing her energy on her own farm, where she’s happiest and continues to be inspired. “Every day is completely new,” she says. As for her early concern that her kids wouldn’t like country life, that proved unfounded. Recently she was helping one of her daughters study vocabulary, and one of the words was “utopic.” The girl’s eyes lit up. “Oh!” she said. “That’s like our farm!” AvenueCalgary.com
2020-04-15 1:57 PM
M O U N TA I N S
Aurora at Minnewanka from Paul Zizka’s book The Canadian Rockies: Rediscovered.
BY Diane Bolt
Big, But Still Far Away
y first glimpse of the Canadian Rocky Mountains was in the winter of 2003 on a ski trip to Fernie. My travel buddy and I had set out driving from the Calgary International Airport and I can still remember the moment when I caught sight of the peaks in the distance. “I expected them to be bigger,” I said. He rolled his eyes and replied, “big, but still far away.” To my horror and embarrassment, this exchange became a running joke at dinner parties and social gatherings for years to come. In my defense, I didn’t know any better. I had spent much of my life up to that point in London, England, and my perspective on the natural world was lacking. I was well versed in navigating the dense, urban sprawl of the city but far less aware when it came to deciphering nature and the wilderness. The following morning, as I sat in the snow at the top of the Elk chair at Fernie Alpine Resort and clipped into my snowboard, I looked out on the expansive, snowcapped vista, and felt a sense of peace and
belonging that I had never experienced before. The mountains had captured my heart. I moved to Canada permanently a couple of years later and my desire to be close to the Rockies topped my shortlist when the time came to choose my home base. Calgary felt like a natural choice — on a clear day, the Rockies glisten in the distance, and the charming mountain towns of Canmore and Banff are a mere hour’s drive away. When I’m asked, “Why Canada; why Calgary?” my answer is always the same: “the mountains.” And, I’m certainly not alone. “Being close to the mountains” is a common answer when you ask fellow Calgarians what they like about living here, or why they chose here over other Canadian locales. And during times when you can’t physically be out there, you can still appreciate mountain culture from your sofa or armchair, one that is hopefully positioned near a window with a view of the Rockies, big, but still far away.
Photograph by Paul Zizka
For many Calgarians, the Rockies aren’t just a beautful backdrop — the mountains are the reason they chose to live here. But for those times when it might not be possible to physically get out to the mountains, there are still ways to be there in spirit.
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A selection of films from the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival are available online.
Chef Katie Mitzel’s roasted red-skinned potatoes from Rocky Mountain Cooking.
Beyond the Banff Centre, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies virtual exhibitions offer in-depth looks at some of the people who shaped the region. You can learn more about the Brewster family, one of Banff’s most prominent clans
that was known as the “Royal Family of the Rockies,” or William C. Van Horne, the Cana-
Speak To Me Softly photograph by Henna Taylor; Rocky Mountain Cooking photography courtesy of Katie Mitzel/Penguin Random House Canada
dian Pacific Railway general manager, who
The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book
founded CP Hotels and, as an amateur archi-
Festival goes back 45 years and is one of the
tect, helped plan the Fairmont Banff Springs.
premier mountain film festivals in the world. The
If it’s breathtaking
Chef Katie Mitzel shares some of her favourite dishes
nine-day event happens annually in October-No-
served up during her time working in some of the Rock-
vember and celebrates all aspects of mountain
you’re looking for, Banff-
ies’ best-loved backcountry lodges, including Assiniboine
culture, from sport to environmentalism. Outside
Lodge, Skoki Lodge, Mistaya Lodge and Shadow Lake
of the main event, there’s a popular World Tour
Paul Zizka’s book The
Lodge, in Rocky Mountain Cooking (Penguin Random
of award-winning films. This year, with many tour
House Canada). While you flip through Mitzel’s cookbook or
screenings either postponed or cancelled, the
Rediscovered is a weighty hardcover collec-
swipe the pages of the e-book version of “recipes to bring
Banff Centre has put a curated selection of final-
tion of gorgeous imagery of alpine landscapes
Canada’s backcountry home,” sip one of the spirits pro-
ist films from the 2018 and 2019 festivals online
and portraits and action shots of the athletes
duced by Banff’s Park Distillery, made with glacial waters
at banffcentre.ca/film-fest-at-home. Selections
and adventurers who play in them. You can
that originate high in the Rockies and become mineral-rich
include the 2019 festival film Speak To Me Softly,
order the book through Zizka’s online store
as they journey down the mountain. Stock up your bar cart
a peek inside the inner struggle and self-doubt
(shoppaulzizkaphoto.com) or major retailers
with Park’s elevated gin, vodka and rye, then go online to
of rock climber Jenny Abegg.
such as Indigo and Amazon.
parkdistillery.com for cocktail recipes.
out there on the people and places of the regional mountain areas. In Lizzie Rummel: Baroness of the Canadian Rockies, author Ruth Oltmann chronicles the riches-to-rags-to-nationalhero story of the environmentalist and explorer, who was
The central character in
For a fictional offering set in
For young readers,
known for being humble,
A Castle in the Wilderness:
the Rockies, Ridgerunner
hardworking and passionate
The Story of the Banff
by Gil Adamson (House of
book author and illustrator
about the outdoors. Follow
Springs Hotel by Bart Rob-
Anansi Press, set for release
Jocey Asnong encourages
Rummel’s journey from
inson, is no mere hotel. Rath-
on May 12) follows William
kids to dream of playing in
German aristocracy to cham-
er, it’s an institution whose
Moreland, a notorious thief
high-up places through her
bermaid, guide and host at
story is integral to that of the
known as “the Ridgerunner,”
Nuptse and Lhotse series.
Mount Assiniboine Lodge to
surrounding Park. Robinson’s
as he travels the backcoun-
In Nuptse & Lhotse Go to
managing Skoki Lodge, high
book offers extensive insight
try on a quest to retrieve
the Rockies Asnong’s two
in the mountains northeast
into “The Springs” (now part
his son from the care of a
courageous cat characters
Mountain culture is a vast
of Lake Louise, to finally
of the Fairmont brand), from
nun named Sister Beatrice
are on a quest to help Mrs.
literary genre that spans ev-
realizing her dream with her
how much it cost to build, to
and return to his family’s
Jasper find her lost bear
erything from biography to
purchase of Sunburst Lake
the famous visitors who have
geology, and there is much
stayed there. AvenueCalgary.com
2020-04-15 2:02 PM
GDEETC OT RH E L O O K BY Karen Ashbee PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jared Sych BY Amber McLinden PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jared Sych
Custom iron and glass room dividers create a feeling of intimacy in the dining area, without closing it off completely from the rest of the home.
NEXT LEVEL NEUTRAL Decorator Heather Draper and interior designer Melissa Hryszko transform a young familyâ€™s home with a restrained palette and personalized detail. 42
The Chan familyâ€™s formal dining room is the crown jewel of their custom-built home where family time and entertaining were considered at every step of the design process.
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The den’s rich tones, plush seating and statement geometric light fixture make it the perfect space to relax and enjoy a cocktail. Wicker baskets tone down some of the more formal elements of the room.
eather Draper, decorator and founder of The Heather Company, is known for her profligate use of colour. However, she’s just as comfortable working with the kind of neutral hues that her clients Andrée and Josh Wilson sought for their expansive new-build home in Altadore. The builder, Veranda Estate Homes, is known for timeless transitional style in a palette of soothing neutrals. The 3,400-square-foot house (with an additional 1,174 square feet of living space in the basement), was at the framing stage when the Wilsons bought it for their family of four, making it, technically speaking, a partial custom build. “It was perfect timing,” says Melissa Hryszko, who does Veranda Homes’ interior design, while her husband handles
the building. “Although all of the interior selections, such as the hardware, tile and plumbing had been completed, Andrée and Josh were able to make a couple of tweaks, like converting the fourth bedroom into a loft, customizing the colour of the on-site finished oak flooring, and adding a steam oven,” Hryszko says. One thing the Wilsons did not alter was the paint colour. “I love the colour scheme,” says Andrée. “It’s homey to me, simple without being plain.” With that in mind, Draper went about working her magic. “You can do neutral in a way that brings loads of personality into a house through the use of pattern, by incorporating details, like brass nail heads into the furnishings, and layering different textures such as leather and wool to add uniqueness to a neutral look,” Draper says. For example, the main-bedroom draperies open to reveal a subtle stripe, while a busy insect-patterned cushion adds an element of playfulness to the otherwise serene space. Aside from mixing textures and details, Draper added statement-making pieces to amp things up. She had the dining-room chairs upholstered in a neutral woven fabric highlighted with a bold swash of black down the back to add character. Two rooms where the homeowners did allow Draper to play with colour are the main-floor den and powder room. Draper and Hryszko decided collaboratively on the deep, moody, grey-blue paint colour for the den, which exudes a cocktail-lounge vibe. “I wanted to think about the best gin and tonic I’ve had when I was selecting the furnishings and fabrics,” says Draper. She chose tub chairs that you could just melt into featuring faux-leather seating and tweed upholstered arms, and a massive loop pile rug in a deep charcoal grey. These elements, along with Veranda’s ceiling-high custom cabinetry finished with matte-black pulls, enhance the room’s masculine feeling, while pillows depicting scenes of Montreal are a nod to Andrée’s French Canadian heritage. But it isn’t this cozy den that best encapsulates the home’s warm and inviting vibe. That distinction is reserved for the main-floor kitchen/dining/family room. With its antique-style polished corbels and grand vent hood paired with a striking stainless-steel Wolf range, the space is reminiscent of a traditional-style hearth. “People love to hang out by the stove, and most tell me they feel as if they are in France,” laughs Andrée. An oversized, eight-by-six-foot custom-stained white-oak island with a leathered-granite countertop grounds the all-neutral kitchen. Gleaming hardware and a sparkling backsplash of handmade tiles from Spain add all-important interest, while red knobs on the stove inject just a soupçon of drama to the otherwise restrained palette. Asked if she foresees a time where she might add a note of colour to the home, Andrée smiles. “Maybe one day I might try a red pillow or two,” she says, “but for now this is exactly how I want my house.” AvenueCalgary.com
2020-04-15 2:07 PM
The streamlined kitchen island is where visitors naturally tend to congregate. Cream-coloured faux leather upholstery on the kitchen chairs is easy to wipe clean.
A brick fireplace complements the warm tones of the facing couch, while two ottomans upholstered in velvet create a cozy conversation area.
PEOPLE LOVE TO HANG OUT BY THE STOVE, AND MOST TELL ME THEY FEEL AS IF THEY ARE IN FRANCE. — ANDRÉE WILSON, HOMEOWNER
The black framed door heading to an enclosed outdoor seating area echoes the bold lines of the countertops, windows and room dividers. 44
2020-04-15 2:10 PM
CDL South 7265-11 Street SE Calgary, AB T2H 2S1 CDL North 11752 Sarcee Trail NW Calgary, AB T3R 0A1 CDL Invermere 4B 492 Arrow Road Invermere, BC V0A 1K2
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A SALUTE TO LOCAL CRAFT DISTILLERIES CONTAIN YOURSELF
The art and joy of gardening in pots
SOBER SECOND THOUGHTS Exploring the trendiness of teetotaling
Thank you again!
For the past 25 years, Avenue has relied on many community supporters, sponsors, partners and advertisers to be able to bring you the magazine. From the businesses who provide space and now in some cases delivery to get our magazines to readers, to the sponsors and advertisers who share their messages with you on these pages, they are the glue that holds these pages together. These are difficult times for so many of our local businesses and we wanted to acknowledge the continued support of the advertisers who worked with us to produce our May issue.
Alberta Beer Award Winners | Calgary Distilleries | Container Gardening
MAY 2020 | $4.95 AVENUECALGARY.COM
GA MA Z
25 YEARS OF CITY| LIFE| STYLE| CALGARY
ABC Benefits Corporation Alberta Blue Cross Alberta Teachers Association Alloy Dining Aspen Landing Shopping Centre Springbank Land Company Banker’s Hall The Brenda Strafford Foundation Ltd. Brookfield Properties Burrowing Owl Vineyards Calbridge Homes CDL Carpet and Floor Centre Connect First Credit Union Denca Cabinets Excel Homes Gracorp Great Event Catering Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Homes by Avi Rhapsody Calgary Roche Bobois Paris Man of Distinction Rawlco Radio Ultra Lite Doors University of Calgary - School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) University of Calgary - Outdoor Centre Wild Rose Brewery
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H OW TO C REATE A HOMEY FEELING IN AN EXPANSIVE SPACE. Even within a large space it is possible to create cozy niches, says designer Melissa Hryszko of Veranda Estate Homes. Here are her tips on how to configure large rooms to be welcoming and warm. 1. Carve out seating areas. Define conversation spaces through the use of plush seating arrangements. Position couches and chairs to create inviting spots for conversation and ensure there’s always a spot to put down a cup of coffee nearby. 2. Use paint to your advantage. Dark colours create a feeling of intimacy and warmth. 3. Divide and conquer. In the Wilson home, Hryszko used custom black iron and glass panels as dividers, separating the dining room from the kitchen. “They don’t necessarily enclose the space, but give it an air of separateness while maintaining the flow of the house,” she says. 4. Create visual interest at eye level. Placing architectural details or lighting, such as wall sconces, at eye level (or just slightly above) encloses the elevation, giving an impression of coziness. 46
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP The homeowners opted for soothing colours in the main bedroom. Made in Calgary, the headboard is covered in a luxurious wool fabric in midnight black with nail-head details for a graphic appeal.
The upstairs loft features window seating with built-in storage. A felted-wool area rug adds both texture and coziness. “It is key to size rugs to fit a room,” says decorator Heather Draper. “If it was a tiny little rug the room would just feel empty.”
The ensuite bathroom’s marble flooring, vanity countertop and matching slab on the shower bench are not only elegant but will stand the test of time, while the oversized iron octagonal pendant light punctuates an all-white space.
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SOURCE DECOR PAGES 42 TO 46
Architectural design by Dean Thomas Design Group, 403-719-6641, deanthomas.ca Millwork and interior finishing by Veranda Estate Homes, 301, 908 17 Ave. S.W., 403-239-8688, verandaestatehomes.com Interior decorating, including all draperies and furnishings by The Heather Company, 2711 14 St. S.W., 403-474-5852, theheatherco.com All lighting sourced by Veranda Estate Homes Windows by Lux Windows and Glass, 6875 9 St. N.E., 403-276-7770, luxwindows.com Plumbing by Canyon Plumbing & Heating, 3185 114 Ave. S.E., 403-258-1505, canyonplumbing.com Living-room accessories from HomeSense, multiple Calgary locations, homesense.ca Fireplace insert from Diamond Fireplace & Stone, 4, 10221 15 St. N.E., 403-273-0000, diamondfireplace.com Kitchen appliances from Trail Appliances, three Calgary locations, trailappliances.com Kitchen countertop from Alberta Marble & Tile Co., 2020 Pegasus Rd. N.E., 403-287-0944, albertamarble.com Hardware from Banbury Lane Design Centre, 1301 10 Ave. S.W., 403-244-0038, banburylane.com Den paint colour is Flint AF-560 by Benjamin Moore, multiple Calgary locations, benjaminmoore.com Electronics from Symphonic Residential Systems, 24, 21 Highfield Circle S.E., 403-252-3010, symphonic.ca Mattresses from Black Sheep Mattress Company, 601 Manitou Rd. S.E., 403-455-8491, blacksheepmattress.com
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From our Kitchen Pantry to Yours Join us for the #DENCACHALLENGE Denca Cabinets has partnered with the Calgary Food Bank to help stock its shelves as we face COVID-19. Donations made in April â€“ May 2020, for every dollar donated, Denca will match the donation up to a maximum of $5,000 total until we reach our goal of $10,000. But lets not stop there, lets see if we can exceed the goal and do more of our community. As a second-generation, family-run business in Calgary for more than 43 years, supporting the community is and has always been important to us. Join us as we work together to support each other through these uncertain times. Who will accept the #DENCACHALLENGE? Go to www.denca.ca/dencachallenge or Instagram @dencacabinets and click #dencachallenge to donate. Thank you to all who will participate. Please share on your social media platforms, email it to your friends & family, or by sending it over to any media connections that you might have. Every share helps, every share makes a difference.
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Calgaryâ€™s largest LOCAL cabinet manufacturer AvenueCalgary.com
2020-04-15 2:19 PM
THE LIST AS TOLD TO Jennifer Friesen
Kristin Halpape 4
Thai Satay Noodle Soup from Mina’s Vietnamese “This is the best Thai satay noodle soup in the city. It’s just a small mom-and-pop kind of joint, but the flavour of the broth is incredible.”
Frye Boots from Gravitypope “Gravitypope has an amazing selection of high-end shoes that are hard to get in the city. I have a ton of Frye boots from there, the quality is incredible. The store is so well curated and beautiful.”
Canmore Brewing Company’s Georgetown Brown Ale "Canmore Brewing’s Georgetown Brown is amazing. It’s a perfect combination of chocolate and coffee flavours.”
Holt Fine Art “Brad Holt is a mixed-media artist and he’s truly amazing. His pieces are all so unique, so rustic, and all about nature so [I find them] very relaxing. My house and all of my stores are filled with his work.”
Rings by Sina.Jewellery “This designer makes the most amazing jewellery. I have so many pieces from her, but her rings are my favourite. She uses raw stones and silver and each one is so unique, so they really speak to you.” Available on etsy, at etsy.com/ca/shop/ SinaJewellery
Motorbike Rides to Bragg Creek “On a nice sunny day, I like to ride my motorbike out to Bragg Creek. It’s great to see all the fellow riders out, and then stop at Moto Café [open for takeout only at press time]. The decor’s very bike-oriented and they have treats you can take away for the ride.”
Evening Walks at Fish Creek Park “I love walking my dog through the pathways in the evening. The sunsets are so beautiful and there’s a quiet stillness with amazing views. It’s my relaxing escape.”
Kristin Halpape, Mina's Vietnamese and Sina.Jewellery ring photography by Jared Sych; Frye boots photograph courtesy of gravitypope; Fish Creek Park courtesy of Travel Alberta
Kristin Halpape grew up in the world of consignment fashion. Her mother owned two consignment stores in their hometown of Regina, Sask., and when Halpape moved to Calgary two decades ago she used what she learned from her mom to start her own consignment clothing business, and then took things to the next level. She now owns six consignment stores in Calgary and Okotoks, including Expressions Ladies Consignment, Molly Marie’s Accessories, Rhoda’s Elegance Again and three Man of Distinction locations. (At press time, Halpape was hard at work transitioning to online sales in response to COVID-19.) “There’s so much life left in so much of the clothing that we have,” says Halpape. “I like seeing new people give clothes new life, while also being able to dress the way they always wanted to. I also like offering a comfortable environment for both men and women to shop and find their style.” Here are seven of Halpape’s favourite things in Calgary.
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THANK YOU HEALTHCARE WORKERS
2020-04-15 2:26 PM
TITLE: The Breadwall, 1979.
WORK OF ART CURATED BY Katherine Ylitalo PHOTOGRAPH BY Jared Sych
Photo Michel Gibert, photograph used for reference only. Zulma editions. *Conditions apply, ask your store for more details.
ARTIST: David Gilhooly (1943 to 2013). MEDIA: Glazed earthenware. SIZE: 10 feet by 40 feet. LOCATION: Harry Hays Building, 220 4 Ave. S.E. NOTE: Breadwall is one of six artworks commissioned by the department of public works’ 1% Program in 1979. Works by Gilhooly are also in the Nickle Galleries collection at UCalgary and at Glenbow.
oes anyone still have a ceramic loaf given out by the late David Gilhooly at the Harry Hays Building in 1979? The irrepressible artist enjoyed overhearing workers on lunch break talk about their mother’s (or grandmother’s, or aunt’s) bread from the “old country” — soft, crusty loaves; rounds sprinkled with sesame seeds; braided holiday breads — while they watched him mortaring his ceramic versions onto the wall. Upon completion of The Breadwall, he happily gave his extra ceramic loaves away. Gilhooly visited bakeries all over Calgary before making 400 individual loaves out of clay, designed to look as real as possible. Like a baker, he kneaded, rolled and pressed the clay without overworking it. He scored the tops with shallow slashes that could expand in the heat of the kiln and coated them with toppings and glaze. A self-confessed obsessive regarding work and food, Gilhooly enjoyed making this supersize 50
mural. Speaking about himself with characteristically wry wit, he once said that “his large frame does not permit him to make small or delicate things.” When Gilhooly received the Harry Hays commission, he was already famous as a prominent player in the free-wheeling, anti-establishment California Funk movement in the 1960s and a catalyst in the Regina Clay Movement that included Canadian stars Victor Cicansky and Joe Fafard. His ceramic world of frogs, a parallel society to ours with remarkable similarities in ancient history, politics and pleasure seeking, was popular in Canada and the U.S. He made ceramic foodstuffs as an extension of the frog cosmos where cookies are used as currency and clay (a.k.a. “frog mud”) is an essential element for transformation. “Humour is like the handle on the refrigerator door. You have to use it to get all the goodies inside,” Gilhooly once told an interviewer. The humour of The Breadwall is two-fold. Giant loaves of bread
that spell “BREAD” is a clever visual pun. But the underlying humour to Gilhooly’s way of thinking was that the humble clay sculpture be a permanent reminder of the everyday life of common folk and the bounty of the land within the halls of federal power, the territory of those he irreverently called “suits.” Post flood and renovations, The Breadwall, the most enduring, significant public mural by this larger-than-life artist, is thankfully still here for all to enjoy — newcomers, workers and suits alike.
2020-04-15 2:31 PM
7 12:35 PM
Photo Michel Gibert, photograph used for reference only. Zulma editions. *Conditions apply, ask your store for more details.
French Art de Vivre
Temps Calme. Modular composition per element, designed by Studio Roche Bobois. Leaf. Cocktail table and side table, designed by Antoine Fritsch & Vivien Durisotti. Farouche. Rug, designed by Alessandra Benigno.
CALGARY 225 10th Avenue SW - Tel. 403-532-4401 VANCOUVER 716 West Hastings Street - Tel. 604-633-5005
In-store interior design & 3D visualization services.*
Manufactured in Europe.
Date: March 11, 2020 Client: Roche Bobois
Avenue Calgary Format: 9â€? X 10,75â€?
3-Storey Townhomes in the Vibrant Heart of Springbank Hill
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A salute to local craft distillers, container gardening in Calgary and the trendiness of teetoling.