“My dad’s grandparents came from Italy back in 1906 to Rochester, New York. In 1909, his great-grandmother made the trip from Italy at the age of 75. Can you imagine? Four months at sea at the age of 75. They worked their way across Canada working on the Railway and decided to stay in Calgary.
They opened up a corner store on the corner of 10a street and bought the little brick bungalow next door back in 1916 (but back then it was 11th street-they didn’t have the A streets at the time). Later on it became a shoe store, and Nancy Wilson had a dancing school there too. There was a little garden between the two buildings. Now it’s the starbucks and the Kensington Pub. I remember being in the K-Pub back when it was still a family house. I was three or four years old, but I still remember the basement.
My dad saw the film ‘Singing In The Rain’ when it first opened at the Plaza Theatre and told his parents that he wanted to be a dancer. The arts have always been in my family so they encouraged him on his dream. My dad is Allan Jerry Cozzubbo. He opened the Allan Cozzubbo Academy of Dance and ran it from 1967 to 1997. He helped choreograph the ’88 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies and had people like Sean Cheesman (he judged and worked on So You Think You Can Dance in the USA, Canada, and the UK – he’s from Calgary) come through his school. I work at the Jubilee for the International Association of Theatre and Stage Employees Local 212. I also DJ. It’s like the arts are in my genes.
My connection to this neighborhood goes back five generations. I lived here back in the 90’s, but I can’t afford to live down here any more. Still, I’ve been coming to the Roasterie since the late 80’s and even though I don’t live here anymore, I still work up at the Jubilee and I’m always at the Roasterie. This used to be a real gathering place for all the counter culture in the City. To grow up and learn from all the regulars here in Kensington – it’s really something. I grew up playing in the grass at Riley Park and now my kids are playing there.” –Jason Cozzubbo.