Educator | Communicator | Photographer

Tag: community building (Page 1 of 2)

#Sunnyside365 June 21, 2016


“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 19, 2016


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


“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” Deborah Sword (left) with Gena Rotstein (right) at the Framed on Fifth Neighbour Day Garden Party.

#Sunnyside365 June 16, 2016


“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


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 10, 2016


“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.

#Sunnyside365 June 9, 2016


This is it! The last ten days of #Sunnyside365. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, and a lot of people to appreciate. This truly is a magical, unique little community in the heart of an incredible city. I feel so fortunate to live in this wonderful little neighbourhood.

#Sunnyside365 May 29, 2016


It’s sidewalk poetry season in Sunnyside! The wonderful folks at the Pooh Corner Tiny Library are inviting everyone to come down and add some lines to the sidewalk! Yes In My Back Yard!

#Sunnyside365 May 11, 2016


“Drop by CBC Calgary today between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. as we put on a charity blitz to help people devastated and displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Our radio programs will broadcast from our lobby, with live bands and free snacks, as various charities collect financial donations.

Join these radio programs as we broadcast live from our lobby:

The Calgary Eyeopener from 6-8:30 a.m.
Alberta@Noon from noon to 1 p.m.
The Homestretch from 3-6 p.m.

We’ll have live bands performing in the lobby including:

  • Fraid Knot
  • Amy Heffernan
  • TwoShine County

And there will be free snacks for anyone who comes to support the evacuees, thanks to:

  • Burger 320
  • Crave Cupcakes
  • Jelly Modern Doughnuts
  • ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen
  • Sidewalk Citizen
  • La Boulangerie
  • Village Ice Cream

We also have exciting draws for these prizes when you donate:

Calgary Reads children’s book and game package.
CBC Calgary messenger bag featuring retro branded headphones, T-shirt and much more!
CBC’s Heartland cast-signed photo, and all eight seasons on DVD.
Help us bring some much needed relief to the people of Fort McMurray who have been evacuated from their homes.”

CBC, 1724 Westmount Blvd. NW, Calgary

#Sunnyside365 May 7, 2016


“This is totally an initiative driven by the kids. They came up with the idea. A lot of them experienced the floods in Sunnyside a few year back and wanted to know how they could help the people of Fort McMurray. They’re all too familiar with getting evacuated and losing their stuff. All the baked goods are by donation, no minimum. Everything is going into a donation pot and all of it goes to the Red Cross Fort McMurray relief fund. People have been really helping out with this.

Up till about two o’clock, we’ve raised over $3000. Some corporate supporters said they’d match everything donated, and then the provincial government said they’d match all Red Cross donations, the Feds said they’d match Red Cross donations–it’s just a really great thing. There’s so much great support for this.

It’s fantastic! We’ve had no lack of generosity. Somebody paid $20 for a cookie. It’s really amazing. People are just trying to find a way they can help.”

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