Ara Shimoon

Communicator | Designer | Photographer

#Sunnyside365 Wrap-Up Exhibition

Well folks! That’s a wrap! It’s been a monumental year for me because of this project. I’ve learned so much about myself and this amazing neighbourhood.

I’ve decided that I’m going to keep updating this page with shots from Sunnyside and Hillhurst, but not with the daily determination that I had followed over the past 365 days. Expect regular updates, stories and more!

For now, I’m busy getting ready for the ‪#‎Sunnyside365‬ Wrap-up Exhibition on July 9th. Come on down! Bring a friend!

July 9, 2016
6pm–9pm
Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association
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#Sunnyside365 June 21, 2016

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“I moved to Sunnyside in 2008 into a little apartment on 6 st. & 2nd Ave. Before then I used to live up in Hidden Valley and I would put over 1500km a month driving everywhere. Once I moved to Sunnyside, I drove a lot less, I’m lucky if I hit 50km a month now. I’ve moved around the neighbourhood to various apartments and condos, but I can’t leave, this place is home.

I started this 365 photo project as a way to kick my portfolio into gear after my computer crashed. I wanted to keep the inspiration and motivation that I had when I finished university at Royal Roads in April of 2015, and I also felt that it would be critical for me to have some sort of artistic credibility for the courses that I teach at SAIT. But it was the desire to learn more about Sunnyside and Hillhurst that really drove me forward.

Throughout the year however, I’ve come to discover so many other reasons to keep pushing through, even when my brain was screaming at me to give up. The need to persevere has guided me, despite a nearly life-ending depression that I’ve experienced this last year. Even when I personally felt like I couldn’t stand to live another day. In those times, I put my brain on autopilot and let my heart guide me through to next photograph.

There’s so many amazing stories in this community that I’d need to shoot and post 100 photos a day for year. So many incredible stories of perseverance, inspiration, sadness, hope, frustration, support, encouragement. However, the most common word that I heard was “community” and the generosity of the people who reside and visit here.

There’s some amazing history in this neighbourhood, but what I think is the most fascinating thing is the future that lies waiting for this little place. This little village in the centre of the city, this community of friends and families.

I am, in it’s sincerest form, grateful.” Ara Shimoon, Sunnyside365

*For the curious, I shot this photo using a remote trigger for my camera.

#Sunnyside365 June 20, 2016

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“I moved to the neighbourhood in May of 2000 after spending a couple of years up the hill in Mount Pleasant. I was a student at the time with lots of debt and very little income and I really needed a setting that met all of my needs: grocery, transit, and this neighbourhood met those needs. Since then it’s met more needs that I didn’t really know I had. Haha.

I met Ara in 2005 and we got serious in 2008. I think I’m the reason Ara came to the neighbourhood in the first place. We spent many hours walking around, drinking coffee, eating pho, and having breakfast at the Lido and the charms just rubbed off onto both of us more and more. Eventually we could see a future here and making a home and life and that dream has become a reality for us.

At first the things I liked most about this neighbourhood is the practical convenience of having everything in one place and not having to need a car to access services because before: I couldn’t afford a car. I still enjoy those attributes of the neighbourhood, but really it now includes: the friends I see on the street, the caring of our neighbours, and walking out your door and always finding a surprise. There’s always something happening. It’s quite delightful. I don’t think I’ll ever leave.” Debbie, ‘Mrs. Sunnyside365’ with Deedee (bottom left) and Marshall (top right)

#Sunnyside365 June 19, 2016

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Three years ago Sunnyside was hit with one of the worst floods of in it’s history. Hundreds of homes were flooded, resulting in a massive evacuation. People returned home to discover their homes totally flooded out, in some cases, mud all the ways to the basement ceiling.

Although the residents of this neighbourhood faced devastating losses and were left shellshocked in the floods aftermath, what truly astonishes the incredible outpouring of support from the community and the city at large. Entire gangs of volunteers systematically dove into the muddy basements and took on the job with an unspeakable level of determination, never asking for anything in return.

This truly is one of the most inspiring and wonderful communities that a person could call home.

#Sunnyside365 June 18, 2016

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“Riley Park needs a drinking fountain, so we collaborated with the community to make it happen. We just got a letter of support from the Calgary Cricket League, ACAD is throwing their support behind it, we’ve raised half of the funds in six months and we’re still going strong. We engaged students from elementary schools in the area, the colleges, the neighbourhood… I think it’s pretty cool.

So far we have not spent one penny beyond our costs at the student awards. We’re doing this all on the monumental support from the volunteers–they really came together.

If people would like to donate and get a tax receipt, they can go to WaterForRiley.org.” Deborah Sword (left) with Gena Rotstein (right) at the Framed on Fifth Neighbour Day Garden Party.

#Sunnyside365 June 17, 2016

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Riley Park at sunset. This beloved place is so much to so many people. It takes on a special meaning for everyone at different times of the day or of the year.

Once a part of the Riley Family homestead, it was gifted to the City of Calgary over a century ago. It’s incredible to think of how many people over the past one hundred years have benefited from that single act of generosity. It goes to show that a person can truly make a lasting impact on the world for the cause of good.

#Sunnyside365 June 16, 2016

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“Norfolk Housing builds inclusive communities and we do that through mixed market housing. Our residents are from all kinds of backgrounds and really helps build that sense of community.

It was started 35 years ago here in Sunnyside, but we’re in Hillhurst and Sunnyside, and looking to expand into other neighbourhoods. One of the unique things that Norfolk does is treat all our tenants with the same respect and compassion. We’ve got our commercial tenants that help offset some of the costs and it really helps some of the residential tenants that are on fixed income. We have students, youth, moderate income families, seniors… I think diversity is the key to a healthy community and that’s what makes Hillhurst and Sunnyside so special. Mixed use and diverse incomes are important–we’re lucky that we’re so welcomed in this area by our neighbours.

When you don’t have a stable place to live, you can’t focus on looking after yourself. If you think about the effects that stable housing can have on children and families: it’s huge. There’s a lot of support from the community about looking after our vulnerable community members. We all want places that people are safe and can have the best opportunities they can. Calgarians are a really generous bunch. Sometimes it can be really tough, but it’s nothing compared to what some of our residents are going through.

We have 114 units and I think it translates to about 140 individuals. We served about 63 individuals last year.

I really like the diversity here. It’s a very welcoming place and the people here have a good understanding of vibrancy and community. We have a good relationship with our neighbours–I think it demonstrates that this is what it should be like: it’s a place that you want to cal home. It gives our residents the chance to live the best they can. We call contribute in one form or another.” Maya Kambeitz, Executive Director, Norfolk Housing Association.

#Sunnyside365 June 15, 2016

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From left to right: Annie MacInnis (Executive Director of the Kensington BRZ), Chris Dobbin (CEO of The Dobbin Group), and Ward 7 City Councillor Druh Farrell look up to the newly unveiled Lido sign from Battistella’s Lido project on 10th Street NW.

The namesake (and actual sign itself) are from the Lido Cafe which operated for over 60 years in that location before being redeveloped into the condo property it is now. A diner, personal residences, boutique hotel, and so much more are slated to move into this exciting space.

#Sunnyside365 June 14, 2016

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“Oh yeah, I haven’t thought of that before: with all the new condos coming in, we’re going to be the ol’ timers. I’m not even 30 yet, it’s strange to think that I’ve been hanging around Kensington for a few years and I’m part of the old school.”

#Sunnyside365 June 13, 2016

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“The Salvation Army Agapé Hospice is nestled into a peaceful garden setting on 8th Street NW in the Kensington area of Calgary, Alberta. In 1987 a study was commissioned which resulted in a group of visionaries pioneering the development of a more holistic form of end-of-life care. In 1992, with the transition of The Salvation Army’s Sunset Lodge for Seniors, Agapé Hospice was established with three beds and the distinction of being the first free-standing hospice facility of its kind. Today Agapé has grown to include 20 beds in two wings and has provided compassionate end-of-life care for over 5100 residents and their loved ones.

Agapé provides a serene, loving and home-like environment for individuals to live out their final days with respect, peace and dignity. Beautiful gardens with a gazebo and comfortable sitting areas offer a place of peace for Agapé residents, families and friends. The gardens, tended by volunteer staff gardeners, are a much-enjoyed extension of Agapé’s caring environment and desire to maximize the resident’s quality of life. Inquiries are always welcome: (403) 282-6588. www.agapehospice.ca”

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