Posts tagged bloggers of calgary
Neighbour Day 2019: A Review
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By Jessica Lajoie, CHCA President.

Neighbour Day 2019 started for me with putting up some barriers on 21st Ave to close down the block to traffic - a first for Capitol Hill Neighbour Day! Immediately I had some helpers decorating the road with side walk chalk, drawing hopscotch squares and stars. The weather was lovely. As the day went on I enjoyed live music, a yummy sausage, and chatting with local businesses. I even got my family's bikes tuned up for free! I wrapped up the day sipping a glass of sangria on the sunny deck of the community centre. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked hard to make it happen.

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By Mavis Sew, CHCA Vice President

The Capitol Hill Community's first Neighbour Day celebration wasn't planned as such.

In June of 2013, the Community Centre had organized a BBQ fundraiser for the Dinosaur playground. We had planned an evening of burgers and hot dogs, and some live musical entertainment. People attending would be charged at the door and all funds would go towards the new playground. Earlier, on the day of the event, Calgary started flooding, and our plans changed quickly from a fundraising event, to a free community BBQ with an invitation to anyone displaced by the floods to come up for a free meal and to escape the realities of the disaster for a brief moment. A few members of the Barberellas, a group of barbershop singers were unable to come due to living on the other side of the river, but the rest of them were eager and willing to contribute to our event. The event ended the evening with a lively and exuberant set by Aaron & the Cultivators, a Capitol Hill resident at the time.

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This coming together of neighbours, and community is the heart of Neighbour Day in Capitol Hill. Since 2013 we've continue to grow community through increasing opportunities for neighbours to meet at the Community Centre through recreational classes, social gatherings and clubs. By reaching out to the local business community, Neighbour Day found a partner, and has evolved to showcase the best that our community has to offer.

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My family spent the whole day at Neighbourday, eating lunch from the Dogfather while listening to the band on the stage. My children participated in the bicycle safety course & obstacle course offered by Safe Cycling Calgary. We caught up with the many local businesses, and had a free family portrait taken by Studio Lumen. We ended the day in awe by the musical talents showcased in the Talent Show organized by Bryan Buss of Leroux Studios. The family bands that performed were our favourite and has inspired our family to jam and perhaps enter into next year's talent show.

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On behalf of the CHCA, I hope you enjoyed the day, and thanks to you for coming and supporting our community! Many thanks to the vendors, Bryan Buss for organising the Talent Show, Abi Harker for organising everything on the ground, The Rockin’ Rebels, Scott Taekwondo and his students for putting on their demonstration, Velo Fix for coming out to treat everyone’s bikes, Pamela McHugh for organising the Bike Rodeo and Safety event, The Dog Father for the food, Happy Feet for providing the football, Brinna for manning the bar and mixing up her Sangria recipe, and all the volunteers who helped out on the day. Hoping to see you again next year!

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Citizens of Capitol Hill: Pistachio Bake Shop
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By Aarthie Fernando and Maria Castillo-Stone

Aarthie and myself were eager to welcome new kids on the block: Pistachio Bake Shop , so we were invited to have a chat with Ismah Souraya - the brain child behind Capitol Hill’s treat spot, and sample some of the goodies for ourselves.

What made you you decide to choose Capitol Hill to situate your business?

When we were looking for a location, this was a perfect place - next to the school, next to the church and the old folks home, and near SAIT which seemed like a great location. The people here are super friendly, family-orientated. You see a lot of demographics here - families, students and seniors.

What inspired your line of business?

I started baking pastries at SAIT (graduated in 2016). From there, I’ve worked as a cake decorator at Co-Op, and at Bridgeland Market as a baker.

I’ve always had a passion for baking, and I’ve always wanted to open up my own coffee shop and bakery. My dad has owned a few businesses  - we jumped at the opportunity for this place.

For a new customer, what do you recommend they try first?

Definitely something Middle Eastern because that’s what we’re about here at Pistachio. I would recommend the Raspberry cake slice or the Basbousa. (Author’s note: Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake. It is made from a semolina batter and sweetened with orange flower water or rose water simple syrup.)

What was your favourite treat growing up?

My favourite dessert - it’s Lebanese, called Knafeh. It’s made with semolina flour, and cheese - it’s melted. It’s best served warm.

What are your three essentials for the kitchen?

Passion - a love for baking. Patience and butter!

Who inspired you growing up?

Definitely my mum -  she’s a part-time baker

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a business in Capitol Hill?

If somebody found a place to start a business in Capitol Hill, I would say “Go for it!” Because the community is amazing and the people here are lovely.

Pistachio Bake Shop is located at 1104 20 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2M 1E8. At time of print, their opening hours are 9am-6pm (except Mondays - they are closed) but I recommend calling ahead at: 403-475-1104 to confirm their opening hours.

Do you have an interesting story to tell? Do you have a hobby, talent or a sustainable way of living? Are you a business (big or small) owner in Capitol Hill and you want people to know about what you do - please get in touch at: communication@capitolhillcommunity.ca and you could be featured here!

Neighbour Day Bike Programs

By Pamela McHugh

Thanks to the generous support of the Alberta Traffic Safety Fund, the Capitol Hill Community Association is able to host a number of free, active transportation focused programs.

On June 15th, as part of the CHCA Neighbour Day event, Safer Cycling Calgary will offer FREE Family Bike Rodeo (Level 2: Cycling Basics course) workshops. Plan to come to the community association for the Neighbour Day and sign your kids up for this "playground" based event that introduces cyclists to key bike handling skills that they will need to ride safely. Helmet are required and this course is typically designed for kids 6 years of age and older.

Workshops will take place at 9am, 11am and 1pm. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged to help us plan for numbers. Head to the Safe Cycle Calgary website: https://tinyurl.com/SCCL2CH. Kids participating in the workshops will have the chance to win lots of fun bike safety prizes. At 2:30pm we will have an obstacle course open for kids of all ages and abilities

Adults and kids alike should bring their bikes because we will have Velofix Calgary on-site offering FREE bike tune-ups out of their mobile repair van. They will be on-site from 11am until 4pm so come on by.

And don’t forget to swing by the CHCA information booth to fill out a community survey and enter for a chance to win one of many fantastic prizes. See you there!


Citizens of Capitol Hill: Rachel Taylor-Fergusson
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By Maria Castillo-Stone

Having spent most of my education hanging around art studios, art shops and visiting galleries, it was a real treat to be invited to the home of local artist, Rachel Taylor-Fergusson (who also fed me some yummy liquorice tea!).

There’s nothing like being in an eclectic studio space, surrounded by mood boards, materials, artwork and inspiration.

How would you describe the community of Capitol Hill to an outsider?

It’s a small town that’s like it’s own little island, in the big city! I love it here. I grew up here, went to the local schools. I love that when you walk down the street, you can meet or get to know your neighbours. I have friends that live in communities and they don’t have the same experience.


I believe Pub Nights have had a lot to do with that - or being at the park. You chat with a parent and say: “Come along to Pub Night!”


So you’re an artist, what is your background?

I did a lot of art in school, and took part in an art program at Queen Elizabeth High School, as it had one of the better art curriculums in the city. I was thinking about going into art school but I was still undecided in where I was heading. I did Art 10-20-30 and Portfolio Art but felt unprepared at the time. So I decided to step away from art for bit, and went to university to study other subjects instead.


After the passing of dad two and a half years ago, I fell back into art - he was an artist. Processing the loss, I did a lot of family portraits. I discovered that I really enjoyed art and that I was actually good at it.

What has been a seminal experience for you artistically?

I love that question. So I was struggling with the medium of watercolours (when I started art again),  - the lack of control. I couldn’t get skin tones down, I was having a hard time with colour theory, and in the end, I realised that I was going to have to redirect my whole style.

When my son Fin was little, I got him doing some painting. It lead to an epiphany: I had to start over, I have to start playing with the materials again and being more exploratory. I looked at his art, copied his use of colour, and it lead to free-flow, dripping effects. I then superimposed portraits over top of the painting, using pen and ink.

I let go of the need to have the finished picture visualised in my head, as it would be represented on the page. Instead I let it become what it would become. Seeing what my son was making, completely changed my approach to art - it made me 100,000 times better!

How do you work best?

Probably in directed periods of time. I’ll spend a lot of time in the thinking process, such as the Canadian Wilds for example. About the animals, and what they mean to me, what do they represent? I do a lot of art that represents a specific time - I’m very present in this moment, what is going on for me, emotionally, what things are representing me right now, what am I trying to express? Also, if I have time away from my son, I like to spend plenty of time immersed in a project! So I’ll end up getting a whole piece done in one day.

I also love it when I’m motivated from an experience, such as one piece I did as a gift for an instructor, for the end of class. This piece was a perfect example of being present in this moment.

Who are your influences?

Just Fin. I don’t observe a lot of art. Fin has been really inspirational for me, especially his use of colour. And also my dad - his use of lines and portraits.

What are your essential tools for working?

The tool I could not live without is this easel [points] I went into the art store and asked them to show me what easels they have. The easel that caught my attention ended up being the most expensive one! Yet my justification for getting was: I want an easel that will meet my needs, a good investment piece.

I also have a favourite brush - I’m very particular about materials, it’s very funny you asked me that! It’s a No.12 and there are smaller ones for detail work. Also the Pilot Fineliners - they’re the cheapest pens. I bought $50 worth of pens to do testing and honestly the Pilot is my favourite one - I love how it bleeds and I love to use a monochromatic black, so I use Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna to make my black. I also love using water soluble crayons [shows me an array of crayons!]  - I bought them on a whim for Fin. Yellow is my favourite to work with, I love Yellow!

What is an artistic look on life?

I would say it’s a couple of things: truly being present - in the moment, because you have to be, when you’re drawing or painting, You have to use your eyes, not your mind. You have to look, not think. You can’t be evaluating and judging, and not thinking: “Where’s the future going to take me?”

And looking for deeper meaning and metaphor in life. For example, wolves from my Canadian Wilds pieces, they’re big on metaphor - to represent the things that eat at you. Anxiety is a “big wolf” in my life because it’s that fear of something that can get at you. Being able to represent those concepts in metaphor is an artistic life.

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Lastly, What is your favourite spot in Capitol Hill?

I really like this tree area at the St. Pius school - we call it the Peace Garden. It’s just trees surrounding large tree trunks you can sit on. It’s very grounding.

Citizens of Capitol Hill: The Friendly Edit
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By Maria Castillo-Stone

Last Friday, I was lucky to spend a lovely afternoon at the home of Jess Voykin, one half of the blog: The Friendly Edit. Little did I know we were neighbours on the same block! (U.K me would say street but I wanted you to get my drift!)

As well as getting a peek at her lovely home, and getting my belly filled with delicious treats (mentioned below), I got to make a new friend. And that’s what I love about this little Citizens of Capitol Hill project - I get to meet all sorts of people in our community and make connections.


What makes Capitol Hill a great place to live?

It’s awesome! There’s such a good mix of people of all ages and stages of life. I believe that’s what makes an asset to our community.


How would you describe the community of Capitol Hill and it’s people to an outsider?

It’s something you have to experience! Before we came to live here, we were invited to the Pub Night by some of our friends that live in the area. It was great seeing kids running around, how safe it was, everyone knowing each other - that has been really special. Our life has been made better by living here. We are always trying to convince our friends to move here by telling them about our experiences here.

We are so lucky, we are so close to everything and it feels like a community.


What inspired your journey to becoming a blogger and starting The Friendly Edit?

My best friend is a registered dietician and I suggested that she should start a blog. After a few glasses of wine at a Wine Festival,  she said: “I’ll only do it, if you’ll do it with me” and that’s what started it all.

Since then, I’ve found it to be a passion of mine - food has always been something that we shared within our friendship, and cooking - cooking together. We don’t live in the same place, so this was another way to keep us connected, especially at different points in our life: getting married and kids, it was nice to tie our lives together.

I don’t think I would have done this on my own but because we were doing the blog together, it pushed us forward - you’d do anything for your best friend, despite our own fears.

When driving the blog, what’s your inspiration and influence, when you’re creating a post or cooking a recipe?

I try to think of it as a family recipe. A couple of years ago, my mum and dad brought us a recipe book with all our family recipes for Christmas. It’s those things that are so good - you have to share them with your family or your friends. It’s great when you’ve made something excellent and to be able to share it. It’s not about the fanciest food, it’s about things that everyone has in their house, that’s quick and tasty!. My passion lies in making food accessible to people.


Do you have a favourite family recipe?

It’s less about the recipe and more about the time when we have it. Before Christmas morning, my family does these Overnight Cinnamon Rolls, where you put everything in the Bundt pan the night before  - it’s a wife-saver cinnamon roll. It’s super tasty and it’s become a part of the holiday for me. It’s not a fancy recipe but because I have all those Christmas morning memories tied to it, and now I have my family, that’s why that’s my favourite family recipe.

What’s a favourite memory - travel or food related?

I grew up in Medicine Hat, and at the time I grew up, there weren’t a lot of diverse restaurants for example, there wasn’t a sushi restaurant until I was in Middle school. Also, my mum didn’t love cooking - she’ll admit that she needed to cook to serve us something healthy and good. It’s funny because I’m one of three sisters and we love to cook! Food in our household wasn’t a huge emphasis  - it was more about bringing people together.

When I went travelling in Middle school, I remember not liking the food, yet when I went back as an adult (just this last year), I went to London and to Austria, I was so passionate about the food!


So the part about bringing people together is part of the force behind your blog…

Yes for sure! The way I show love and care for people is making food and feeding them, which my husband really likes - it’s one of his love languages! But yes, it’s about bringing people together.

I’ve seen a lot of healthy eating recipes on your blog, what’s one healthy eating tip you would dispense?

Full disclosure, I’m not a healthy eating expert - my blog partner is the registered dietician, so she is really good! I’m more of a “cook with butter” girl, but we try to eat less meat - that’s an easy way to cut down on less fat and calories. We did try one month without meat and what I liked about doing that was that it challenged me to try out different recipes. Before I was in a rut: meat, veggie, side. So going meat-free for a month, made me think about food differently, and it therefore expands your palette.


What’s one recommended tool everyone should have in their kitchen?

A good chef’s knife - is really key. We got given one three moves ago by our realtor. When we got it I thought: “This is such a weird gift! Why would he give us a knife?” Yet here it is, the thing that I use every day. You can do things faster and easier - I remember once thinking “This is hard on my wrists, why can’t I chop this yam?” and it was down to a bad knife! I really love Le Creuset’s spatulas and they last forever. I especially like the Spatula Spoon  - it has this cut out that makes it handy for cooking.

Tell me 3-5 things you can’t live without?

My iPhone, my Dyson, my car, Borage Seed Oil by The Ordinary - it’s made my skin so much better! And sunglasses. I’m an Optician by trade so that’s something I really value.


Name your Desert Island books and/or music?

The Acoustic Covers playlist on Spotify, it has become the soundtrack of our house. We’ve played it so much, I know every song! I sew - it promotes a busy-hands-clear-mind thing, and so I quilt specifically, so the quilt you’re sitting on, and the pillow - I made those! I also like listening to podcasts: The Stuff You Missed In History Class - that’s up my alley.


Lastly, What, as a community member, would you like to see in the future?

I think the community is heading in totally the right direction. It’s very inclusive and family-focused. The community centre is so awesome! For example on Tuesdays I was going there three times in one day: preschool, Tae kwon do and the dance classes. There are so many things happening at the centre, we’re very lucky, so adding more to the agenda would be great. I’m also excited to check out the Fibre Arts Club. Things like these are good to connect people and get you out of the house.


Now you may be curious (and hungry) about the treats Jess made prior to her interview. Thankfully, I also have the recipes courtesy of Jess and am sure you will find them amazingly tasty (the Blondies lasted two days in our household!).

Again, many thanks to Jess for inviting me in her home! If you would like to be featured in Citizen’s of Capitol Hill, contact me at: communication@capitolhillcommunity.ca




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Smoothie Bowl and Dijon and Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Stay tuned for the chicken recipe post - will be published on Friday!)