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.
“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.
“I remember back when I was a kid, my uncle used to pick up ‘Chicken On The Way’ on his way home from work sometimes. Sometimes my parents worked a bit late, and my uncle would come over to look after my brother and I. He was never much of a cook, but he really knew how to eat. Chicken On The Way kind of ruined french fries for me because I was always comparing other fast food places to them. I was always left disappointed that they didn’t have that flavour. I’m told it’s because they fry everything in the same fryers, it’s what gives all their food that chicken-y taste.
What’s funny is that I’ve eaten their food hundreds of times, but didn’t actually set foot in the restaurant until I was in my mid-twenties. It seemed like somebody was doing a food run and suggest it and I’d just tell them what I want. I can’t think or look at that building without thinking of my uncle showing up at our house with a few boxes of chicken, fries, and those amazing fritters.
I think that if anybody comes to visit Calgary, they should have the food there. They’ve been in business for over 60 years! It just goes to show that Calgarians sure love their incumbents!”
“When farmer-politician Ezra H. Riley subdivided Hillhurst in 1904, he chose British street names such as Kensington Avenue, Gladstone Road, Preston Street and Beverly Street. The city annexed Hillhurst in 1907 and before long, most of the street names were changed to numbers. Kensington Avenue became Centre Avenue, and served as the dividing point between northwest and southwest Calgary. When the quadrant boundary shifted south to the Bow River in 1926, Kensington Road acquired its present name.”