Have your say in protecting Sunnyside from future Bow River flooding!

Sunnyside Needs Improved Flood Barrier Protection

Please be sure to drop in to the important City of Calgary Open House on the Sunnyside Flood Barrier Project to be held in September.  

When: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
5-8 p.m. 
Where: Sunnyside School Gymnasium 
211 7th St. NW


The City is exploring various barrier/berm height options that will provide different levels of protection from high river levels. At the open house you can learn more about the options being explored in Sunnyside.  Your feedback will be important to ensuring the right option is selected.

For the last 2+ years the HSCA EPARC Flood Infrastructure Committee has been advocating for a flood barrier (aka berm) that will provide adequate protection for Sunnyside.  Pressure from this group was key to pushing the City to consider alternatives to their original plan.  Now we are calling on community members to make their voices heard so that an appropriate (higher) alternative is selected – the more voices, the better.

The City’s original plan for our berm is for no material height increase and this is not acceptable.  Sunnyside needs a higher berm, and we need it now.  How much higher has not been determined, but a one-half metre height increase is the minimum plausible.

Below are explanations of some terminology used in discussing river flooding and the berm.  These are intended to provide clarity and understanding.  One does not have to get very deep into the subject of river flooding for it to get very complicated.  Although this note is very long we have tried to simplify for brevity.

Explanation of Terms Used When Discussing the Berm

(1) River Flow. Rainfall and snowmelt west of Calgary can cause high flows in the Bow River. In the case of large floods the most important factor is the rainfall, with snowmelt contributing perhaps only 10-20% of the flow. At any point in time the flow in the Bow River is different at different locations. The river starts with a small flow at Bow Glacier and the flow increases with tributaries joining as the river runs eastwards.

The Ghost Reservoir west of Cochrane is also important. Depending on the available room in the reservoir and the management decisions taken the reservoir can temporarily hold back water and reduce the outflow to Calgary to less than it would otherwise be. More on this below. On the other hand, the Bearspaw Reservoir has little storage capacity and therefore little potential impact on river flow.

Complex hydraulic models are used to project river flows under different scenarios of rainfall and snowmelt.
To simplify discussion, when we speak of river flow, we always refer to the flow of the Bow River upstream of the confluence with the Elbow River, as measured by an Alberta Environment and Parks flow meter on the Bow at Reconciliation Bridge in downtown Calgary. The flow is measured in cubic metres per second which is abbreviated either as m³/s or cms. The flow at Reconciliation Bridge is a good approximation of the flow at Sunnyside because the contribution from runoff between here and there is relatively small.

(2) Return Period. The risk associated with major floods is expressed as a return period. For example, 1:100 means that a specific high flow is expected to return on average once every 100 years. This is more correctly stated as “a 1% chance of that flow occurring in any year”.

Below is a table translating return periods into probabilities of floods in any one year and over time. Note that at a constant risk the specific flow will be different at different locations up and down the Bow River. The river flow at Reconciliation Bridge corresponding to each return period is shown at the right of the table. These flows are calculated by taking historical river flow data, using statistical techniques to fit the data to a curve and then picking flow values off the curve for the chosen return periods.


The probability of occurrence or the return period is a measure of the risk that we are willing to tolerate. Risk tolerance varies from person to person and represents our perception of the consequences of the flood versus our perception of the cost of mitigating against that flood.

An example of acceptable risk tolerance is the Alberta provincial standard for flood protection which is 1:100, or a 1% probability in any year. In the Netherlands their standard for flood protection can be as high as 1:1000 or more. Calgary has no established flood protection standard, instead individual flood protection infrastructure is built to different risk tolerances, seemingly at the whim of City Administration.

It might seem counterintuitive that there is only a 65% chance of a 1:10 event occurring in any 10-year period. However this is correct, and is a result of the way probabilities are mathematically combined.

(3) River Level. The level of the water in the river depends on the flow in the river, but it also depends on the width of the river at any point. The same flow increase in a wide section of the river will result in less level increase than in a narrower section of river.

The effective width of the river at a specific location can vary with the depth of the water. For example, at 10th Street NW there is a gravel bar. When that gravel bar is dry the river is flowing in a narrower channel and a smaller change in flow will result in a given change in water level. When the river level rises above the gravel bar its width is effectively greater and a larger change in flow is required for that same change in water level. This change in width with depth is referred to as the river cross-section, and it is different at every point along the river. Sophisticated river surveys and flow models are used to estimate projected river levels for specific flows.

A further complication is that the Bow River is in some ways more like a mountain stream when compared to most major rivers. In other words, the Bow River is falling rapidly downhill as it passes through Calgary. Just from one end of Sunnyside to the other the river elevation drops about two metres.

(4) Berm Height. From the paragraphs above we can say that the height of an adequate berm at a specific point depends on the desired risk tolerance as indicated by the probability or return period of a damaging flood, the river flow associated with that return period at that point in the river and the river cross section, or effective width, at that point.

In addition, good engineering practice is to allow for “freeboard”. This allowance is to compensate for any modelling errors, upstream or downstream debris dams, and wave action including any standing waves. Freeboard is to ensure that the berm is not overtopped in a flood of the return period for which it was designed. In the case of the Bow River the freeboard allowance recommended by City engineers is one-half metre (0.5 m). We are using that number.

The table below takes all the discussion above and identifies the increase required to the Sunnyside berm at various points along the berm. The elevation of the existing berm is given in metres above sea level.


There are a lot of numbers in that table.  Here is a simple summary:

For 1:20 protection:  No change to current berm height (the City’s original proposal)
For 1:50 protection:  The berm must be raised about 0.5 m
For 1:100 protection:  The berm must be raised about 1.0 m (the Alberta provincial standard)
For 1:200 protection:  The berm must be raised about 1.5 m (to match the new flood protection on the south bank)
Note that in the case of 1:100 and 1:200 protection the berm should also be raised in Hillhurst.

It is plausible that for modest height increases over modest lengths temporary “water tube” type berms could be deployed when high river levels are anticipated.  This might be an acceptable plan for Hillhurst and perhaps everywhere west of the Peace Bridge, but it is implausible that temporary berms could be deployed for the full height and along the entire length required in Sunnyside. The City has limited resources and many other priorities for water tube berms.

(5) Ghost Reservoir TransAlta Agreement.  The most complex and contentious issue has been left for last. To properly understand the impact of the TransAlta agreement for management of Ghost Reservoir levels and outflows requires the use of differential equations that I last studied in second year university, as well as an understanding of human nature and people’s reactions during crises that I only know through observation during our 2013 crisis.  This is to say that I find it difficult to explain the possible operation of the Ghost reservoir in a clear and succinct way.
There are other upstream reservoirs besides Ghost included in the agreement between the Government of Alberta and TransAlta for reservoir management before and during a flood event.  For the purpose of simplicity, they will be lumped together as “Ghost”.
The Ghost Reservoir has a working capacity of up to 61,000 dam³ (dam³ is an abbreviation of cubic decametre.  1 dam³ equals 1000 m³, and m³ means cubic metres).  Working capacity means the amount of water the dam can store if it is as empty as possible at the beginning of an event and is allowed to fill to just before overflowing.
The flow rates into the Ghost Reservoir from the Bow River and the Ghost River depend on the amount of rainfall upstream.  The flow rate out of the Ghost Reservoir is controlled by TransAlta in consultation with the Province and the City at whatever rate they choose, until the reservoir is full.  Outflow rates that might be chosen correspond to the following flows at the Reconciliation Bridge in Calgary:
Up to 400 cms – no special action required in the City.  Allows time for thorough evacuations.
Between 400 and 800 cms – Pathways closed, some basement groundwater flooding expected.
Between 800 and 1230 cms – Significant overland flooding in Bowness (until their berm is built)
Over 1230 cms – Damaging flooding in Sunnyside unless a higher berm is built.
For comparison the Bow River flow was about 250 cms at its highest this summer, the peak flow for a 1:100 flood is 2020 cms, and the actual flow at the peak of the 2013 flood was 1850 cms.
The river flows corresponding to return periods listed in the berm height table above are “peak flows”.  If the Ghost Reservoir is not used (outflow = inflows) it will take some time for the river flow to rise to that peak flow, where it will remain for a relatively short time before gradually declining, eventually returning to a normal low flow (the flow if the Ghost Reservoir is not used can be called the naturalized flow). Representing this rising-peak-declining inflow pattern and calculating the time to fill the reservoir at a chosen outflow is where the differential equations are used.  When the reservoir becomes full there is no option other than to increase the outflow to whatever the inflow happens to be.  If the reservoir is full before the naturalized peak flow is reached then that full peak flow becomes the outflow.  
The key point for us is the amount by which the actual peak flow is less than the naturalized peak flow.  Estimates of the amount by which the naturalized peak flow can be reduced vary from 0 cms to 500 cms.
The 0 cms peak flow reduction benefit occurs if the reservoir capacity is used to delay the onset of high flow to ensure complete in-city preparations.  The use of the capacity for this purpose has been suggested by both the City and the Province in previous communications. Reservoir capacity used for high flow onset delay will not be available for peak flow reduction.
The 500 cms peak flow reduction benefit is a very optimistic case where perfect knowledge of the incoming flow patterns is available and immediate and aggressive action is taken to increase the reservoir outflows.  Of course, perfect information is not available in a flood emergency.  I suggest that it is unlikely that officials with less than perfect information will quickly take the decision to increase the flows and knowingly flood Bowness.  And failure to take quick action means the full 500 cms reduction cannot be achieved.
In our analysis in the next section we have chosen an intermediate Ghost/TransAlta peak flow reduction benefit of 300 cms.  Applying this to the berm height table above we can see that our “1:20” berm will protect us up to a flood of about 1:40, while a “1:50” berm would protect us in a flood up to about 1:90 (the peak flows quoted in the table are naturalized flows).  Similarly, a “1:100” berm would protect to about 1:180 and a “1:200” berm would protect to almost 1:350.  Is our 300 cms peak flow reduction benefit choice correct?  Maybe, but maybe it is too optimistic.  Probably the peak flow reduction is not constant for floods of different sizes as these calculations assume.
In summary, we do not accept the City’s contention that a Ghost/TransAlta benefit of 500 cms is appropriate and we feel that a reasonably optimistic assumption is 300 cms peak flow reduction benefit.

(6) Upstream Mitigation.  The province of Alberta is now studying options for a new or expanded dam on the Bow River upstream of Calgary.  It is proving challenging to find a suitable location for such a dam.  Even if a location is identified the cost of a new dam will be close to $1 billion.  With the current state of the province’s finances it is not clear that money would be available to begin significant work anytime soon.  In the very best case scenario, a new or expanded dam would not be operational for 10 years minimum with 15, 20, 25 years or never all more likely cases. When/if this dam is completed it will provide good protection for all of Calgary and a 1:20 or 1:50 berm would be sufficient for Sunnyside.  During the time we are waiting for this dam we will be at significant risk of a damaging flood.

Comments on Alternative Berm Heights

[This section was previously distributed as part of the HSCA August e-newsletter]

The City’s original plan was for no material change to the height of the Sunnyside berm, which on its own provides protection against a 1:20 flood (1:20 means a 5% probability of occurrence in any year).  When the 1:20 berm is combined with reasonable estimates of upstream dam operation and future upstream infrastructure construction there is a 30% probability of a damaging flood in the next 15 years.  This is unacceptable, especially when a higher berm is technically, economically, environmentally and socially feasible.
The stress that is palpable in the community each year when flood season rolls around is an important social factor that a higher berm would help alleviate.
Another important social factor the lack of equity and fairness between communities.  Recently constructed or proposed barriers protecting Inglewood, Downtown, Eau Claire, and even the Zoo and the Field of Crosses are substantially higher than that originally planned for Sunnyside.  This discrimination against our densifying inner city, mixed income community is unacceptable. 
If Sunnyside is protected with an adequate berm the City would consider relaxation of redundant mitigation in buildings.  This refers to the prohibitively expensive requirements in the case of significant renovations and to the sub-optimal designs required in new construction.  Both impact the character of our community – an important social factor.
In addition to the social factors above the following technical points are important.
The City’s own Triple Bottom Line economic analysis shows that a higher berm for Sunnyside is solidly justified.
The provincial standard for flood mitigation is 1:100 (1% chance in any year). Even in combination with improved upstream facility management the berm originally planned falls short.  This jeopardizes any provincial contribution to the cost of the project, and is the reason no provincial funds have been awarded to this project to date.  It is likely that the provincial money attracted by a higher berm would more than cover any additional cost for the added height.
All of the probabilities mentioned in this email assume no impact of climate change.  If more frequent extreme weather events occur as a result of climate change then larger floods will be more common.  For example, what is now projected as a 1:100 flood (1% chance in any year) could be as frequent as 1:50 in future (2% chance in any year), and so on.  Consideration of climate change would further justify a higher berm.
For more information on all the Flood Committee concerns with the flood barrier project please refer to
The original flood barrier plan for a 1:20 berm is unacceptable.  We hope you will join as we advocate for one of the other options to be presented.  These include berms that would protect against river levels that would be expected to occur 1:50 (2% chance in any year), 1:100 (1% chance in any year) or 1:200 (0.5% chance in any year).  Each of these options will have their own pros and cons.


We are nearing a critical point regarding the protection of our community in the event of future river flooding.  Your support and some of your time is needed at the Community Engagement Open House on the Sunnyside Flood Barrier Project to be held on Tuesday, September 24.  I look forward to seeing you there.
I would be happy to discuss this whole issue or any part of it further individually or in a group.  If there is enough interest we can convene a meeting of those who want a better understanding.  Either way, please contact me at cdlund2@yahoo.com
Charlie Lund
Chair, Infrastructure Group, Emergency Preparedness and Response Committee
Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association.

Fraud Alerts

Recently, a senior had a phone call – referred to as an Emergency Scam, and it went something like this…

“Hi grandma, I need your help. I am in Montreal and I had my wallet stolen. I need some money to get back home.”

“Who is this?”

“Grandma, don’t you recognize your own grandson’s voice?”


“Yes, it’s Jesse. I really need your help grandma.”

“What are you doing in Montreal?”

“I came here for a friend's wedding, but my wallet was stolen, and I have no way to get back home. Please grandma, I need your help.”

“Why didn’t you call your mother?”

“No grandma, please don’t call mom. She will be so upset with me because I didn’t tell her I was going. She can’t know I was here. Please grandma you have to help me.”

“Jesse I can’t help you. I don’t have any money to send you.” “Please grandma, I really need help. Couldn’t you….”

Thankfully the senior ended the conversation with “I cannot help you, call your mother.” The caller then hung up. As I am sure you realize, this was a scam. It is called an Emergency scam and many seniors fall victim to it every day. We care about our kids and grandkids and we want to help or get them out of trouble. Unfortunately, scammers have tapped into this care and concern and some seniors have lost money after attempting to ‘help’ a grandchild in a bind—only to discover they had been deceived by a convincing scammer. When I talked to this senior about this being a scam, her response was, “but how did he know Jesse’s name?” I explained that she told it to him when he made the comment, “Grandma, don’t you recognize your own grandson’s voice?” If we are not careful, when we receive “scam” phone calls, we can inadvertently give away personal information. The callers are very good at picking up on the clues and working with them. They are very good at what they do. This is only one type of scam. I am sure that most of us have received the calls about lowering our credit card interest, or from Canada Revenue indicating we owe them money, or even the special holiday trips that will give us a lot of “free” stuff, including reduced hotel rates, for a small fee or any of several other calls from scammers. You can block the number, but generally they can just call again using another number. You can tell them to stop calling, but usually they are randomly generated numbers and they don’t know who they are calling, the phone number for that person, or where they are located. They get that information the more they talk to us, often without us realizing that we, ourselves, have given them that information.

Competition Bureau Canada has a great publication called “The Little Black Book of Scams” that can be found on their website: www.competitionbureau.gc.ca. Scroll down and click on “The Little Black Book of Scams 2nd edition”. There is information about different types of scams, tips to protect yourself as well as what to do and who to call if you want to report a scam. Share what you learn with other family members. These scammers are creative and always coming up with something new. If someone is asking for personal information or money, just hang up.

When we are struggling with finances (which can happen to most of us at times), we may expect to get a call. If you do, ask for their name and id number, write it down, then hang up and call the number you have for that service, DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER THEY GIVE YOU.

Don’t let yourself be bullied over the phone, hang up. If you are worried about your credit card or you bank, energy bill etc., call the number on your statements to check it out.



Written by Debbie Olson, Seniors’ Connection Coordinator

Neighbourhood Group Photo Invite – Aug 1, 2019

It’s Lisa here with your Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association.  As a regular contributor to the monthly neighbourhood Hillhurst Sunnyside Voice magazine, and HSCA Blog, I’m looking for community members to participate in a fun, pop-in/pop-out initiative for the next newsletter.  We will explore “Historical Street Names: Then & Now” in the next issue of the Voice and will need a cover photo.

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden Turns 30!

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden Turns 30!

 The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden (HSCG) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Initiated by Jim Hollicky in 1989, the garden boasts 33 plots for residents in Hillhurst Sunnyside, and has served as a great connector of residents.

Garden Leader, Richard Smith and his partner Buff Smith have been involved with the garden for 12 years. They moved from Peace River — where they maintained a huge garden — to their home in Sunnyside — which has a small and shaded backyard — and sought a space to grow some veggies. Buff says, “We saw [the garden] and I asked about it (because I always chat people up). We thought it would take a while and just kept asking every two weeks until finally they were like ‘*sigh* okay here’. We were so lucky the way it all happened.”

3. HSCG .jpg

Buff and Richard speak about the community and connection that makes the HSCG such an excellent tool for residents to engage with one another. Richard says the greatest reward has been the gardeners. He says, “[It’s a] great group of people. They really are excellent. And a number of them have become friends. People that you see on the street and chat with and talk about gardening and other stuff are the best part.”

Buff agrees, “Definitely the people [are the greatest reward] and the fact that you get to run over and pick fresh vegetables too.”

But the garden is not without its obstacles. Richard says routinely weather is the biggest challenge. He says, “Hailstorm in a garden and it looks like somebody put it through a shredder. It’s pretty disappointing.”

Another challenge, the duo says, can be gardeners with an agenda and who may not be so community minded. Richard says, “It’s the same in any group of people, 95% of them are willing to do their bit and volunteer and then there’s 5% who don’t and they can be a pain. There are obligations like coming to the spring clean up and fall clean up and some people just don’t and it’s frustrating. But as I say, it’s 5% of the time. A small minority.”

Buff believes this is “Only because it’s a community garden, so it’s not just about growing the produce it’s about growing the community. When there are people who only want to come and garden then that’s their expectation and that’s all they want to do, so you have to recognize that not everyone thinks community is important.”

The HSCG also produces a lot of compostable material and Richard mentioned that the City’s compost program has been a barrier for the garden financially. In order to eliminate their black cart, the garden took on two green carts, but this changed their status and the price per month skyrocketed. He says, “It cost us over $1100 to have two green carts. It’s $75 per month per cart because we’re classified as commercial. So that’s a challenge right now.

Our total revenues are only $1540 for the plots. And if we’re spending $1100 for compost we can’t do it. So I’m trying to get Waste and Recycling to classify us as residential.

I’m hearing from other community gardens that they’re not using the green carts, they’re doing something else, so there isn’t pressure right now from other community gardens.”

And what do they and HSCG gardeners hope for the next 30 years of gardening? Richard says, “We need more community gardens. There must be 60 people on the HSCG waitlist right now. And it’s at least a two year wait to get on a plot. There are 33 plots in our garden and there were 4 vacancies this year and that’s kind of typical. I think it was a similar case with the Kensington Community First Garden. I hear there’s some talk with Bow to Bluff and Sunnyside Shared garden and making that into an allotment garden.”

Community gardens are important for Hillhurst Sunnyside residents. Richard says, “It brings people together and helps to create community. And aligns with so many other things the community association does like drop in badminton, soccer, potluck nights and stuff. It brings people together. And gives them an opportunity to donate some produce to Fresh Food Basket. And there are people who share their gardens, or their skills and expertise to help others out.”

Buff says community gardens such as HSCG, “Allow people who live in the city and don’t have access to a plot to grow fresh food and feed their family better. And get back to the dirt. There are people who have never gardened before and they’re so intimidated and then when they get their first crops their so excited to be eating fresh stuff.”

We hope that HSCG enjoys another amazing 30 years (and more!) and that community gardens in our neighbourhood will continue to grow (pun intended) and flourish.

Written by Jessica Clark, Communications Manager

Neighbour Day Events in Hillhurst Sunnyside

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community | Neighbour Day Happenings June 15th

Neighbour day is coming up on June 15th and there are so many exciting things happening in Hillhurst Sunnyside for you to enjoy! See below for this year's exciting events and click through the links for more details:

Bowview Pool OPENS- The Bowview Outdoor Swimming pool opens up to the public. Lessons are currently taking registrations!


Community Wide Yard Sales-  9am-2pm between Kensington Road & 5th Ave NW, visit the streets of 10A, 11th, 11A, 12th, and 13th (and beyond??) It’s back! The super-duper, you-won’t-wanna-miss-it: Kensington-Wide Yard-Sale Day! For 18 years (and counting), neighbors have pillaged their attics & storage spaces to find all kinds of interesting things to offer for sale--AND, as an added perk, there are always some young entrepreneurs offering up tasty treats to eat, too.


Sunnyside Park Party- A community-led event at New Edinborough Park from 3-7pm complete with live music, games, baby racing and more! Donations welcome to make this event a success! 

Hillhurst Block Party BBQ- 3-7pm at 1700 Block Bowness Road NW. If you live in Hillhurst come out for some games and food! Donations welcome to make this event a success! 

Framed on Fifth Sidewalk and Backyard Festival Framed on Fifth invites you to meet your Calgary area artists.  Chat, watch them work and check out their skills  and finished artworks in front of our gallery and in our open backyard.

Food Forest Pilot Project - Please note this project has been postponed. Stay tuned for future updates.

Community Planning and Engagement Update for June

Community Planning and Engagement

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee (HSPC) will be meeting on Tuesday June 11, 2019 from 7-9pm. All community residents are welcome! Agendas and past minutes are posted on www.hsca.ca/meetings.

Please help us welcome the applicant’s team at Ocgrow and architects at Riddell Kurczaba as they provide an update on the proposed development at 211-221 14 St NW (site of the yellow National Transmission auto garage on the west side of 14 St between Kensington Rd and 2 Ave).

Want to volunteer? HSPC is looking for more representation from Sunnyside and condo neighbours. All are welcome – guests, students and whether you rent or own your home or have a business in the neighbourhood. Please bring your ideas and an open mind. Contact lisa.c@hsca.ca.

Ocgrow | 211-221 14 St NW (National Transmission Building)

Ocgrow has submitted a rezoning and ARP amendment application for this site for a 26m (8-storey), 5 FAR mixed use building (ARP limit of 20m or 6 storeys and 4 FAR). Because this is a proposed change to bylaw, the application will need to go through City Council for their final decision.

The due date for community comments is Monday, June 10, 2019. For information or to provide comments, please contact the City of Calgary File Manager at matt.rockley@calgary.ca. You can copy HSPC at lisa@hsca.ca and Councillor Farrell’s office at caward7@calgary.ca.

Background information:

·       HSPC overview: https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/residents-meeting-may-30-2019-natl-transmission-redevelopment.

·       Developer’s project website http://engageocgrowkensington.com

·       Review the status of the application at the City’s Planning Map website at www.calgary.ca/pdmap.

Kensington Manor | 321 10 St NW

View an update on the vacant Kensington Manor building at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/kensington-manor-june-4-2019-council-report.

Bow to Bluff public parks project – FUNDED

Check out an exciting news announcement from Councillor Druh Farrell on the citizen-initiated Bow to Bluff project. The project was the result of years of resident engagement and advocacy to transform and create activity on the triangle-shaped parks along the LRT line from the Bow River to McHugh Bluff. Read more at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/bow-to-bluff-funded.

Water for Riley: the drinking fountain

Check out another win for the community from the volunteer team at Water for Riley on the installation of the drinking fountain on the west side of Riley Park by the playground! Check out their blog for updates at http://www.waterforriley.org.

Bow River Naturalization and McHugh Bluff Goats

The City is beginning work this May to naturalize the park open space near 14 Street NW along Memorial Drive, and a portion of the McHugh Bluff natural area. The goals of this naturalization project are to: establish more natural, self-sustaining vegetation communities within the boulevards, provide habitat for native pollinators (e.g., bees, butterflies) and reduce non-native invasive plant species.

Read more and view the map of the affected areas at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/city-of-calgary-naturalization-the-goats-are-coming-back.

Residential Parking Program Review


Written by Lisa Chong, Community Planning and Engagement Coordinator

Food Forest Pilot Project

Sunnyhill Housing Cooperative recently received a $3,500 grant to implement a community greening project.  These grants are part of a multi-year partnership between Tree Canada, Canada’s national tree planting charity and Pembina Pipeline Corporation.  More than 230 project applications were received for the Green Canada Edible Trees program and SHC has been selected among 60 others.  

On Saturday, June 15th Sunnyhill will be planting a Food Forest Pilot Project on their property. The work will be done in collaboration with Sunshine Earth Works, a Calgary permaculture organization “committed to repairing the earth one yard at a time.”  

What is a food forest?   “Forest gardening is a low-maintenance, sustainable, plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, and perennial vegetables that have yields directly useful to humans.” 

Trees are critical to strong communities. They help us to live healthier lives by providing multiple environmental, social and economical benefits to our cities such as absorbing CO2, cooling our homes and reducing our stress. Research shows that living near trees lowers the risk of mortality from common causes and helps to improve our mental health. The effects of climate change in our cities can be mitigated by increasing our urban canopy.

Under the guidance of Jeremy Zoller and his crew from Sunshine Earth Works, the Grounds Committee, co-op members, and volunteers from Pembina and the whole community will be removing sod, preparing the soil, and planting trees and shrubs.  

The work for this is currently postponed. Please stay posted for future updates.

Plan to join us in participating with our community in some healthy physical labour to bring this fabulous spring project to fruition (pun intended). 

Submitted by

Pamela Boyd

SHC Grounds Committee.





Seniors' Week in Alberta

Written by Debbie Olson


June 2 to June 8, is Senior’s Week in Alberta. It is a time to celebrate the contributions our seniors have made to our communities, our city, our country and our lives. They are past and current leaders. They helped to shape the technologies we use and rely on today. They have impacted the lives of family, friends, neighbours and strangers over the years by providing support when and where they can, staying active when possible and volunteering time to help others.

Contributions from the over 1,800 seniors currently living in our community and those who came before and have passed on, have invested time, effort, imagination and supports over the decades to make our community what it is today. Their legacy has provided us with a wealth of history and the foundation on which we build moving forward.

Many of our seniors have faced challenges we can only imagine. If we have been lucky enough to interact with our senior relatives over the years, and if we have truly listened, we have gained personal insights not only to our personal family history, but we have also learned how much the world has changed, in their lifetime. If we take the time to reflect on our own histories, we see the changes that have occurred for us over the years. I often wonder, if I am lucky enough to still be around when I am the age of some of the oldest seniors in our community, what changes are still to come and how much will our future lives and the lives of those who are following us, be impacted by the things we are creating, the technologies we are expanding on and the decisions we have made and will continue to make over the next years.

Too often we don’t acknowledge the contributions of seniors to our lives. Our world is not perfect, but neither are we. We learn, grow, adapt, change and try to make things better in the same way many of our seniors have. We forget that the advances we have today in technology, medicine, business etc. are based on work, creativity, perseverance and the skills of those seniors who came before us. Just as they built a foundation which gave us the advances we take for granted now, we are hopefully doing positive things to create advances and improve things for those who come after us.

We all can have very different views of seniors. Positive views are a result of good interactions and connections. Negative views could be influenced by past adverse experiences or having no experience at all with seniors in the past. This is no different then other interactions we have had, some will be good and some not so much, but I hope we do not “paint” all new interactions with the same brush, or lump all seniors into the same category, based on negative past experiences. We need to give ourselves the opportunity to connect and experience new relationships that may surprise us, despite past negatives.

As with any other stage of life, growing older can have its challenges, joys, downfalls, heartaches, successes, and wonders. Getting older can be an achievement and cause for celebration, looking forward to the possibilities of having the time to travel, enjoying things there hasn’t been time for or crossing items off a bucket list. Challenges faced can be the result of changes in health or circumstances and can be made worse when a support system is lost or was never available.


I am proud of our seniors and enjoy the stories and experiences they are willing to share with me about their lives. I sometimes learn knew things or gain an understanding of the difficulties they have faced and overcome over the years and that creates a whole new learning curve. I look forward every day to connecting and finding ways to help when needed, making connections for support and building a network in the community.

We have all heard time and again that the senior population is growing. Those who were born between 1946 and 1965 are referred to as “baby boomers”. This twenty-year span saw more than 8.2 million babies being born in Canada alone (stats Canada). That’s a lot of babies and while the first of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 there are still a lot of seniors to come. Those of you reading this, if you are lucky, will one day have the privilege of becoming seniors and I hope that will make you proud. For some that will be a good experience, but for some there will be challenges. Hopefully there will be a support network of family, friends or neighbours in place to help you when needed.

The next time you see a senior, trying saying hello and giving them a smile. Strike up a conversation or ask how they are doing. You never know how much of an impact having someone acknowledge you, can have on a person’s day and you never know what you might unintentionally learn. Remember our seniors in June and in the months to come. Remember that if you are lucky, someday you will be a senior and I hope you will be Senior Proud.

The Year of the Farmer Steps into the Sun


Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market Outdoor Season begins May 15th

When the Wednesday tents go up outside the HSCA, you know summer is just around the corner. It is the beginning of the outdoor Farmers’ Market season! Sure, we might be a little keen, making the move outside the week before May Long weekend, but as a year-round market, our vendors are eager to get out of the confines of our indoor set up, and into the sunshine and fresh air!

To reflect our excitement of being back outside, our Outdoor Season Opener –the first special event of many for the 2019 season- takes on a street party feel.  On May 15th, we make the move; come celebrate local with us from 3-7pm! Our strong line-up of local vendors bring you the best in YYC produce, honey, soap, bread, meats, prepared foods and more. Two food trucks provide great on-site dinner options. Get to know your grower to win prizes, and participate in games with your neighbours! Kids will also have a chance to plant their very own bean seeds to take home and nurture. Local favourite, The Sadlier-Brown Band will be playing the Sweet Beet Stage from 5-7pm. They are a family trio playing bouncy bluegrass, sure to get you groovin’. Our Outdoor Season Opener is a great way to kick off a season of community connection, outdoor play, and healthy habits.

Beyond our Outdoor Season Opener, our Farmers’ Market family gathers in the East parking lot of the HSCA every Wednesday until mid-October when we find refuge from the cold back inside the Hearth Room. Until then, expect to find our tents out there, filled with smiling vendors bringing you their high-quality products no matter the weather. We are so much more than a venue for growers to connect with their consumers, and in an effort to ‘grow a good food community’ we are always coming up with ways to make your Wednesday’s something special that you can look forward to week after week. Each week our Sweet Beet Stage hosts live local talent, our Community Booth gives you the opportunity to engage with important grassroots work being done in your neighbourhood, and our Incubator Booth gives you the chance to test new products all season long. We also have special events planned for each month from our Pollinator Party, to our Teddy Bear Picnic, our annual Salsa Fest and Harvest Fair. Keep up with all these events and more on Facebook.

2019 is our Year of the Farmer and we can’t wait to take this party outside! We will transform your weekly grocery shop from complicated to conscious, and give you a reason to love Wednesday’s again. See you at the market!

Written by Heather Ramshaw, Community Connections Coordinator & Farmers’ Market Manager

Community Planning, Development and Engagement Update

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee (HSPC) will hold its next meeting on Tuesday May 14, 2019 from 7-9pm at the HSCA Hearth Room. All residents, guests, and students are welcome. Bring your questions or ideas and learn more about what’s going on in your neighbourhood.

We will have guest presentations from Alloy Homes on a proposed infill at 229 11 Street NW and a subsequent guest presentation from a community member about moving the existing house at 229 11 Street NW to the vacant lot on 10A Street, where the original century-old home was tragically destroyed in a 2017 fire. What a great way to preserve the history of Hillhurst Sunnyside and witness the evolution of this wonderful community!

Thank you, Bob McKercher, Outgoing Chair, Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee


On behalf of the HSCA, we would like to thank Mr. Bob McKercher for his service to the community as chair of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee and member of the HSCA Board of Directors for the last 5 ½ years. Bob has brought a balanced and level-headed contribution to HSPC. Bob was instrumental in navigating the challenges of a changing neighbourhood with an emphasis on collaboration, engagement and finding commonalities between residents, HSCA, City of Calgary, applicant/developers and City Council.

With the collapse of the original Community Planning Committee in Spring 2013, Bob, along with a small handful of interim planning committee members and with the support of the HSCA as an organization, successfully restarted the planning committee in Fall 2013. The HSPC is now structured in such a way to divide the work into subcommittees with support from the Planning Coordinator/Executive Committee. Together, with a renewed focus in transparency and education, we successfully raised the profile of HSCA as a balanced voice for community planning in Calgary.

While we are sad to see Bob step down, he is not going anywhere and will still be present as an HSPC member. With our April 30, 2019 Annual General Meeting, three community residents have stepped up with an interest in community planning. We will meet the new HSCA Board members and the future chair person/people at the next meeting.

Jane’s Walk 2019: A Weekend in Hillhurst Sunnyside

By the time you read this, the Jane’s Walk festival weekend will have passed. Hillhurst Sunnyside residents are/were pleased to host four walking tours on the walk festival weekend. Learn more about Jane Jacobs and the wisdom she has imparted to community activists and city-builders around the world and learn about how to start your own walking tours at www.hsca.ca/blog.

“Theodore” | 417 10 St NW

The Graywood mixed-use commercial/condo project (at the site of the current 10th Street Royal Bank building across from Safeway) has been approved by Calgary Planning Commission at the April 18, 2019 hearing – watch the live video of the hearing at THIS LINK. You can see the final renderings and learn about the new location of the RBC branch at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/graywood-rbc-site-now-theodore-417-10-st-nw.

National Transmission Site

Ocgrow has submitted their Land Use Redesignation and Hillhurst Sunnyside Area Redevelopment Plan amendments on Tuesday April 30; we should expect to see the application before HSCA soon. For details, visit the developer’s website at http://engageocgrowkensington.com and on our website at THIS LINK. There will be further opportunities to engage and provide comment on this proposal – please contact lisa.c@hsca.ca for details.

Victoria on the Park (Formerly Five Eleven)

The proposed development at has undergone its review from the community and City – you can see the new, updated renderings at the developer’s website at https://www.fiveeleven.ca. We will have an upcoming feature on this development and on the history of the area soon on our HSCA Community Planning website and in a future issue of the Voice. Stay tuned.


·       HSCA Community Planning website: https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co

·       City of Calgary Planning and Development Map (note that Calgary Herald public notices are transitioning to online notifications as of May 16, 2019): https://developmentmap.calgary.ca


Mark Your Calendar for Calgary Neighbour Day – Saturday June 15, 2019

One year after city of Calgary citizens came together as a result of the 2013 flood, Mayor Nenshi proclaimed the third weekend of June as Neighbour Day, a celebration of community. Since then, YYC Neighbour Day events have cropped up all over the city.

Planning is now underway for Neighbour Day celebrations across Hillhurst and Sunnyside! Are you curious about how HSCA can support resident-led events, or would you like to participate, volunteer, and/or contribute to local festivities? Contact Lisa Chong at lisa.c@hsca.ca to get connected.

The City of Calgary will waive its block party permits for Neighbour Day each year – for more details and ideas for your Neighbour Day celebration, go to www.calgary.ca/neighbourday.

If you would like to get your event featured on HSCA media, please drop us a line! We are happy to help promote your event – send your stories and photos to jessica.c@hsca.ca.

Jane's Walk 2019 - A Weekend in Hillhurst Sunnyside


Jane’s Walk 2019: A Weekend in Hillhurst Sunnyside

It’s the annual Jane’s Walk festival the weekend of May 3, 4, & 5! Jane’s Walks are free, locally-led walking tours inspired by legendary urban activist, Jane Jacobs. Walks are hosted by volunteers on the first weekend of May, whether it’s rain, snow or shine. Hillhurst Sunnyside has you covered with four walks on Saturday and Sunday – participation in any (or all four) walks is optional. Click on the links for details on each walk as follows:

Gentle Density in Historic Hillhurst
Saturday May 4 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Starts at HSCA, 1320 5 Avenue NW and ending at containR
Hosted by Decker, Lorna & Lisa and guest presenters (Hillhurst residents, Studio North, Sunnyside Sustainable Living)

Sunnyside Garage Art Tour
Saturday May 4 from 1:45 PM to 3:15 PM
Starts at containR, 1020 2 Avenue NW
Hosted by Christie and Darren

Spark Change – A Look at Laneway Housing
Sunday May 5 from 1-2:00 PM
Starts and ends at HSCA, 1350 5 Avenue NW
Hosted by Maricris & Lisa and guest presenters (Alloy Homes, City of Calgary).

Flood Protection in Sunnyside
Sunday May 5 from 4-6:00 PM
Starts and ends at the Sunnyside Bus Loop at 748 5 Street NW. Bonus: the City will arrange to open the doors to take a peek in the recently completed Sanitary Lift Station.
Hosted by Charlie, Lisa and Vania (City of Calgary Water Resources)

A fair amount of planning goes into the Jane’s Walk events. We sat down with Lisa Chong, Community Planning & Engagement Coordinator at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association to learn more about organizing Jane’s Walk in Hillhurst Sunnyside.

Who is Jane?

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She saw cities as ecosystems that had their own logic and dynamism which would change over time according to how they were used. With a keen eye for detail, she wrote eloquently about sidewalks, parks, retail design and self-organization. At the core of her work and thinking was the need to get out and walk your city and observe how people, through their actions and interactions, create communities with a strong sense of belonging (from the Calgary Foundation’s Jane’s Walk website).

What is Hillhurst Sunnyside’s relationship to Jane?

I was first introduced to the writings of Jane Jacobs in my Urban Studies 201 class. Jane’s ability to mobilize communities and champion for vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods piqued my interest in how planning, policy and design influences the social fabric of place and eventually led me to the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association.

The community activism that has shaped Hillhurst Sunnyside mirrors Jane’s work in many ways:

  • A strong sense of social justice and inclusivity resulted in HSCA’s historical and current advocacy for family-oriented and affordable housing, food security, social services and harm-reduction programs and support for seniors.

  • Resilience, demonstrating strength of community, organization and advocacy that resulted from the 2013 floods.

  • The HSCA Planning Committee has existed in various forms since the 1970s and continues to work to inform and educate residents in planning and development initiatives and ensure that neighbours have an opportunity to engage in civic matters together with the City of Calgary and development applicants.

Hillhurst Sunnyside was host to Jane herself: Ms Jacobs visited our community and saw Hillhurst Sunnyside as embodying the planning principles articulated in her 1961 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” through successful qualities of scale and mixes of people with place. We also have a unique family connection to Jane as you will learn on the Saturday tour and at the following link – In the Family Footsteps: An Interview with Jane Jacob’s Calgary Nephew.

What was your process with organizing the Hillhurst Sunnyside walks?

Planning for this walk started a year in advance, when residents were asked what they would like to learn about in the 2019 walk. Walking tours can be tough to run as individuals, so we asked people to help! I’m connected with people daily due to my role at HSCA, the close-knit nature of the community and through redevelopment initiatives.

We have also cultivated positive relationships with City of Calgary staff who are excited to present about their work and to educate about the City’s process and talk about how citizens can engage in city- and community-building.

Development applicants also reach out to us as the Community Association (and vice versa) to present their design ideas to the wider community. We like to involve industry folks in the community through dialogue as new buildings will stand long after their design applications are accepted by the City and eventually built.

Our guest presenters are usually more than happy to talk about their work and about what they love about “home”.

What were some of the successes and learnings from the 2018 Walk?

Participants of the 2018 housing walk were thrilled to learn more about the city that they live in and asked excellent questions of our guest presenters. We delivered our Land Acknowledgement, welcomed participants and introduced HSCA before starting our journey. We connected Calgarians with 12 presenters and stories from neighbours, local non-profit housing organizations and the City of Calgary as we covered 2454 steps (1.87 km) and hosted 40 engaged minds and pairs of feet.

Some residents told us that while they are not able to participate in events at the HSCA building, they loved the idea of joining us on a collaborative walk and learning together. We were featured on Global News and on social media, generating interest and support in affordable housing and population diversity: https://globalnews.ca/news/4189734/more-calgary-affordable-housing-units-urged.

We found that participants wanted a chance to decompress, quench their thirst, and discuss what they learned. We also learned to reduce the distance of the walk, as it was a challenge to move so many people on a tight schedule and split up our walks. This year, we were awarded a modest Stepping Stones grant from the Calgary Foundation/First Calgary to provide refreshments during the first Saturday walking tour (lemonade, anyone?).

Additionally, we partnered with Sunnyside residents to host two back-to-back walks on Saturday May 4 with a picnic lunch break and conversations in between. Bring your own food and drink and a blanket to sit on as we continue the conversation at containR.

Who else will be a part of the festival weekend?

To find more Jane's Walks in Calgary, go to https://www.janeswalk.calgaryfoundation.org.  Remember to check back often as the website is still populating with all the various volunteer-led walks across the city.

Do you have any advice for any residents who may want to start a Jane’s Walk in their neighbourhood?

Ask for help!

You can get together with a neighbour or a friend on a topic you feel passionate about and start from there. This walk-buddy will help keep you motivated and will serve as a sounding board for any ideas. There are resources available at the Calgary Public Library and on the City of Calgary website, if you are looking for facts and historical information.

The Calgary Foundation organizes, promotes and provides training for aspiring Jane’s Walk Leaders in Calgary – contact Julie Black and Janet Hails for more information or go to their website at https://janeswalk.calgaryfoundation.org. You can also connect with HSCA and we can help you promote your walk on our media channels.

Where else can people go to learn more about Jane?

The Calgary Urban Affairs Book Club is hosting an event, “Jane’s Talk” to discuss the book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Wednesday May 15, 2019
Former Central Library
616 Macleod Trail SE
6:30-8:00 PM

Register and find out more at https://showpass.com/janes-talk.

Stepping Stones Horizontal.png

Social Impact Renters: The Success of the Mixed Income Model

Written by Cynthia Mazereeuw, Norfolk Housing

Most people hear ‘affordable housing organization’ and assume a certain amount of fundraising and governmental intervention to maintain operations.

And for a lot of housing models, that is absolutely true and entirely crucial to success. Without funds to boost operations, organizations would be unable to deliver the critical services that they provide to populations in need.

But what if we told you that for NHA’s unique mixed income model of housing, it is (almost) as simple – and as hugely important – as social impact renters?

Let’s delve deeper:

At Norfolk Housing Association, our mixed model means that half of our residents pay rent geared-to-income – they pay a percentage of their income, regardless of what that is (with a minimum base), which allows persons on lower or fixed incomes to live in excellent, stable housing and be part of a community of their choosing.

The other half of our residents, the aforementioned “social impact renters”, pay market rent – rents normal to, or slightly below, the current market price for a given neighbourhood – knowing that their full rent payment directly offsets another person’s rent, allowing both parties to live in a diverse, inclusive community that promotes overall social good and a healthy economy.

Kind of cool, right?

Social impact renters benefit too. Hugely.

The misconception here might be that only half of NHA’s population benefits from our mixed-income model. But that just isn’t true. In fact, our market renters are quick to share all of the ways they benefit from being part of our community.

At NHA, it’s important to us that rent and utilities are kept affordable for everyone. This means that we never raise rents more than 5% annually – for any of our residents. It also means that everyone, whether they pay market rent or not, has access to incentive programs such as Calgary Dollars, which allows residents to turn in a portion of their rent through Calgary Dollars instead of federal currency. That translates to savings across the board!

Beyond that, social impact renters have access to a diverse community with rich amenities in a sought-after section of the city. Not to mention, we’re pet friendly and compassionate, meaning they also get to live with the security of knowing that in the event of a major life change, they have landlords who will work with them to ensure their continuity of home, safety, and stability for the long run. Plus, we’re pet friendly - and I think we can all agree that pets make everything better!

In other words, everyone wins

Together, through the mixed income model, neighbours advance an inclusive and respectful community; this ripples out of our buildings and is echoed into the communities that Norfolk serves (and beyond). Social impact renters are not the only reason the mixed model works – but they are at the very heart of it all.

Canada's Food Guide - A Welcome Change


The new Canada’s Food Guide is a welcome change from the highly structured and restrictive days of its past. The new guide no longer looks to dictate your diet in perfect portions, but actually act as a guide. The eye-catching new plate diagram is a much easier portioning system to understand, and replaces the old (highly-industry influenced) rainbow. The main recommendation is simple: eat more plants. It isn’t about cutting out meat, dairy and grains, but simply shifting our portion sizes to have the focus be on vegetables and fruits.

These positive, plant and protein focused changes are highly important to the health of Canadians of all ages, however our favourite parts of the new food guide are actually in the additional recommendations. They encourage Canadians to try out some revolutionary ideas: cook more often, eat with others, and enjoy your food! Okay, maybe they aren’t so revolutionary, but they are surprisingly relevant reminders in a time where we applaud being busy, and prioritize convenience over our own well-being. Here are some of our own tips and tricks to help you explore these ideas:

Cook more often:

Cooking takes time, and if that is something you’re short on, try to carve out just a couple of times a week that you commit to cooking dinner- and get the whole family involved if possible! Make it fun by trying a new recipe (pro tip- head to the third floor of our new downtown Calgary Public Library and take out a cookbook to base a whole meal around), play music or listen to a podcast while you cook, or appoint one of the kids ‘head chef’ and allow them to choose the meal plan for the evening. Feeling uninspired? Come by our weekly Farmers’ Market on Wednesday to find some fresh ingredients or chat food with our awesome vendors.

Eat meals with others:

Host a potluck or dinner club with your friends and neighbours! Themes help make group meals easier- choose a culture to explore, have guests bring items that align with the theme, and play music from that country to create some great atmosphere! New to the neighbourhood or looking for a way to get to know some more folks in the area? Every Thursday at the HSCA from 6-8pm everyone is welcome at our Neighbour Night program where you can share in a vegetarian meal, and a fun activity. Additionally, the second Friday of every month we host a Community Potluck- all are welcome!

Enjoy your food:

It seems simple, but when it comes to food- you should enjoy it! Eat what you like. But of course, try to keep the focus on plants! If you don’t like vegetables much, find at least one you do enjoy (at least a little bit!) and look up several different ways to prepare it. Cauliflower doesn’t always have to be steamed and bland… try it as a garlic mash, with chickpeas in a curry, or as cauliflower “chicken” wings. If you don’t enjoy what you’re eating, you’ll cook less, and rely more on processed and convenience foods. Eat local to improve flavour and nutritional value, and try new things! Variety is the spice of life after all.

  • Written by Heather Ramshaw - Community Programs Coordinator


Our annual general meeting takes place once a year in April. All residents of Hillhurst Sunnyside are encouraged and invited to attend. Come spend the evening with us and learn what the HSCA Board of Directors and our various committees are up to. Members must have their current year membership purchased and paid for 30 days prior to the scheduled AGM in order to run and or vote for board positions during the meeting. 

Renew your membership to vote

To be eligible for voting in the AGM residents must renew membership 30 days prior to the scheduled AGM.

Renewals may be done online: https://central.ivrnet.com/hsca/membership_plans Or in person at the HSCA front office from Monday-Friday 9:30am-3:30pm.

HSCA Board of Directors Voting and Nominations

Resident participation in the Board of Directors voting and nomination process is highly encouraged. Our Board of Directors at HSCA has an active involvement with numerous programs, events and activities in the facility and the community. The Board also operates critical task forces and committees. Hillhurst Sunnyside residents with valid HSCA membership are encouraged also to run for Board positions. We are a diverse group of motivated professionals working on interesting and engaging projects for a forward-looking community association.

Board meetings are held monthly – If you are interested in finding out more about joining the Board or nominating someone for the Board you may contact our Executive Director, Kate Stenson 403-283-0554 ext 221, email: kate.s@hsca.ca

Community Service Award Nominations

Do you know someone, or are you someone making a difference in Hillhurst Sunnyside?

Please email: jessica.c@hsca.ca with the candidate’s name and a brief explanation as to why the nominee is an outstanding member of our community. Please include the contact information for yourself and the nominee. Nominees may be resident or non-resident, member or non-member provided their community service experience had positive impact in the neighbourhood of Hillhurst Sunnyside.


Thank you for supporting HSCA! We look forward to connecting with you at the AGM

How Can Your Community Association Support You?

March is Community Association Awareness Month. This means that the HSCA and other Calgary CAs (there are over 150 in YYC) want you to know about all of the amazing opportunities to give back to your community association—and there are many ways; from volunteer positions, to donations, to membership, to attending events—but we would also like to take this opportunity to make you aware of the ways HSCA can give back to you.

Resident-Led Initiatives (in our spaces)

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association is known for both our Farmers’ Market and Flea Market, but did you know that these programs were initially started, led or developed by residents in the community?

10 th anniversary 2018 march 12.jpg

And our drop-in Badminton group and art class program were also ideas that first developed outside of our regular programming. Chair yoga is another example. These arts and recreations ideas came from instructors who wanted to find a foothold for their businesses or share their gifts with the community and found such success in collaboration and a fit with our mission and values that we adopted them into our program offerings.

They all share a common thread of passionate volunteers and participants who pitched ideas for programs they wanted to see in the building, and they helped nurture and grow those in our spaces for the benefit of the community.

            The Kensington Community First Garden, located beside the HSCA building, established in 2010, was also a project developed and implemented by residents with some facilitation from HSCA to secure grants and funding, as well as some ongoing stewardship of the garden plots when it was adopted into our Community Food Program.

Resident-Led Initiatives (outside of our spaces)

Community gardens are also a good example of resident-led initiatives.

HSCG Fall Cleanup  2017 Final.JPG

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden, established in 1989, was founded by residents who wanted to provide a place for those with limited space to grow their own food and to meet neighbours who shared their passion.

            And HSCA’s Vitalization Committee worked with the City of Calgary to develop placemaking and public art installation opportunities in the community such as Bow to Bluff and containR.

Community Planning

The Community Planning Committee is another example of what HSCA can give back to residents. The committee is volunteer driven and plays a valuable role in providing advice, background information and community context, as well as expressing the concerns of the Community Association to the City of Calgary and to applicants, and advocating for development that fulfills the vision as described in the Area Redevelopment Plan.

            HSCA’s Community Planning Coordinator, Lisa, has also taken on Community Engagement initiatives into her role and is available to assist with questions and applications for community grants to throw events such as block parties, or Neighbour Day events.  

Outreach and Resources

During and after the 2013 flood in Calgary, mobilization of support efforts on a community level were implemented the quickest. Residents who were flood affected were not necessarily willing to speak to government officials but would open the door to speak to their neighbours.

Eventually, a Flood Task Force was created to assist with the overwhelming amount of information. This task force then evolved into the Emergency Planning and Response Committee of the HSCA board. Volunteers of the committee use their knowledge and expertise, in a similar way to Community Planning Committee volunteers, to advocate for residents, host open houses and informational sessions and push for progress. They also developed a Community Emergency Plan to help keep Hillhurst Sunnyside residents informed and safe.

The Community Connections program at HSCA assists residents either through direct support or by sharing information on available resources externally. Community Connections outreach programs include the Fresh Food Basket, and yearly Tax clinics, and also provides free and accessible opportunities for all residents to participate in social events or programs such as Drop-In ESL Club, Neighbour Night, Seniors Drop in groups (cards or knitting), and Community Potlucks.

Volunteer and Career Experience


Community associations and the community at large benefit greatly from the hard work and skills of volunteers, but there are also opportunities for volunteers to learn and develop new skills and knowledge through volunteering. And for student volunteers we can sometimes provide support through bursaries.

            HSCA also hires practicum students and summer students to assist with their education programs and they in turn are provided with meaningful employment that can be applied to their school requirements.

Stories and Belonging

Some of the most compelling stories originate at the community level. Last year, Christie Page and the Garage Door Art Project in Sunnyside gained traction and attention in the news after receiving mention on HSCA channels. And who would have predicted that Painting Birdhouses, a project initiated by North Hill Centre to revitalize the Hearth Room would have gained that kind of steam? But it speaks to the strength of our local partnerships that we could reach out to Framed on Fifth for support on this and they came through in a big way.

Hillhurst Block Party.jpg

            Sense of Belonging is generated through these types of initiatives (and many of the above mentioned) as like-minded residents come together to share and explore their passions in the community. HSCA is honoured to provide these opportunities as we know that belonging is a human need, such as food or shelter, and is important for residents to see value in life and cope with intensely painful emotions.

Of course, all of the above are just a fraction of the ways that HSCA can give back to you. As the community of Hillhurst Sunnyside grows and changes the needs of our residents will too, and so these programs and committees may change. But what will not change are the core reasons for why we are interested in supporting our residents, that we wish to preserve and enhance a healthy and vibrant quality of life for Hillhurst Sunnyside and that includes providing opportunities for participation to build a sense of belonging.


  • Written by Jessica Clark, HSCA Communications Manager

Be Stress Free and Plan with Dignity

Planning your final arrangements in advance is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give your family. It alleviates the emotional and financial stress of your loved ones having to second-guess what you would have wanted, and you can design the event right down to the smallest detail. It also guarantees the cost against inflation over time, leaving more money for your family after your death.

Why a prepaid funeral makes sense

It’s only natural to make plans that safeguard against the unexpected—that’s why we buy insurance and plan our estates. A prepaid funeral is no different. Planning ahead for a funeral is a pragmatic decision that protects your family’s financial resources and helps to ensure your final wishes will be honoured. Consider these reasons to pre-plan funeral services.

No rushed decisions

When you plan your funeral plans in advance, you have the opportunity to learn about all of your options—from customized keepsakes to personalized funeral services—in a relaxed environment. Without a prepaid funeral plan, your family may feel emotional and rushed when making decisions for you. Planning ahead gives you time to research your options, communicate with family members and even add personal details.  

Your funeral, your way

Funeral planning in advance allows you to create a fitting tribute that will reflect your passions and unique personality. The two biggest questions that family members face when a person passes away “What would they have wanted?” and “Did I do the right thing?” are answered for your loved ones forever. Personalizing a funeral can be as simple as playing your favourite music or holding a service with your favourite flowers. If you like to be the life of every party, you could plan a lively event with a catered meal, live music, and photos or videos of the memorable events that make your life unique. The more personal you make your memorial, the more memorable it will be.  

For more information, or if you have questions, please attend the next Dignity Memorial – Your Life Your Legacy workshop at HSCA on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 @ 7pm in the HSCA Hearth Room. This is a free workshop open to anyone.

Volunteer to be Part of the Bigger Picture

Written by Allison Harrison

Photo taken at our 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Photo taken at our 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Volunteer opportunities can be limitless, they can also be fun exciting ways to get involved with something you feel extremely passionate about. What is volunteering? It is the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of the society and the community, the environment or individuals outside one’s immediate family. It is undertaken freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain.

Benefits of volunteering:

·       help you connect with others

·       energize your body and mind

·       advance your career by obtaining new skills

·       fun and fulfilling.

Connections with others is big in today’s society, networking is one of the greatest ways to advance yourself in life, whether it be to benefit your career or your social life. The skills you gain from volunteering can benefit your career path. Not everyone is able to commit to school on a full or part time basis, but the casual opportunity volunteering can provide can help build a skill you may not have or help in further development with ones you already have.  Seniors benefit as much from volunteering as an anyone else, keeping a commitment can help ward off depression, and give a sense of belonging that may be missing from their daily lives. Children benefit from volunteering as well, it helps foster empathy and a sense of self efficacy, both characteristics that if learned at a young age can boost emotional and cognitive learning.

So how do you pick the right volunteer opportunity for you? Choose a cause you are passionate about. Not only does it benefit you with fulfillment, but the organization also benefits from your enthusiasm and drive. Choose an opportunity that matches your interests, skills, and schedule. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone either, that is where true skill building comes into play. Upload your resume on volunteer sites to help those looking for volunteers understand your skills and interests while giving them a general idea of who you are. Stay in touch with those who you have given a resume to, volunteering is no different that applying for a job and those who stay on top of places you have contacted will not go unnoticed.

The experience you get from volunteering is up to you.

Basic principles to keep in mind are:

·       honour your volunteer commitments

·       the time you committed to them is important and necessary and was already planned for

·       stay professional, volunteering is often an assigned role and an opportunity that should be treated the same as a paid position

·       take the opportunity to let the organization know what you like about the role and what you feel could be improved upon when asked

·       you are an important part in helping many organizations and not for profit stay in the game

Here at Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, we have an extensive and varied selection of opportunities, which can be found by visiting: www.HSCA.ca. You can participate in a range of activities or event such as, food programs, Casinos, recreational programs (such as soccer), Board of Directors positions, committees, supporting seniors and more. For all of the above reasons and more we hope you will consider lending your time and skills to Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association and your neighbours, plus, HSCA hosts a pretty amazing volunteer appreciation dinner you can get an invite to in recognition of your support.


Sources Cited:





Meet our new Executive Director!


Message from Tyler Chalmers, President, Board of Directors for Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association:

The HSCA Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Kate Stenson will take over the executive director position. Kate stepped up as interim ED during the previous transitions and has been instrumental not only in coverage for that position, but also in ensuring that the board, staff and volunteers remain on focus with our vision and objectives.

Kate’s connection to the Hillhurst Sunnyside community and HSCA is a lifetime one. Kate grew up in the community and attended Hillhurst School and was a participant in the HSCA Out-of-School program. Kate also participated as a vendor and volunteer of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market for many years. Her passion for food security and advocacy brought her back to HSCA in the spring of 2013 when she joined as our Community Food Program Coordinator. She progressed to Manager of the program and then lent her skills and expertise to oversee HSCA’s community programs (Daycare, Out of School Care, Community Food Program and Community Connections).

We believe that HSCA has flourished under Kate’s leadership and will continue to do so as we move forward as an organization. Please join the HSCA board of directors in welcoming Kate to her new role.


Tyler Chalmers President, Board of Directors Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association.

Recreation, workshops and events at HSCA for the Winter Season (that are not run by HSCA)

Did you know, that not all of the events and activities which take place in the HSCA building are HSCA programs? We also have a variety of renters who use the space to bring recreation and learning opportunities to residents.

With the new year also comes new programs and the return of some of your favourites! Returning this year are martial arts opportunities with LDK Karate and Hydra Taekwondo. And our friends from CapoeiraYYC have returned to offer instruction on Saturdays! We were in the building a few weeks ago, and along with the physical practice of Capoeira, the instructors also introduced some of the cultural aspects and were singing. They have incredible voices.

And finally, to take us from winter into the spring season are Witches Brew Markets. The first will take place on Saturday March 30. This is a re-vamp from the New Age Markets hosted by New Age Calgary and we cannot wait to see what sort of treasure and learning they will provide.

For information on these, upcoming and HSCA-run programs stay posted to your monthly edition of The Voice, or check out repeating events on the programs calendar and special events upcoming here.

Stay posted to the HSCA blog for more program highlights throughout the year. And if you are interested in booking space at HSCA to host your own workshops or events contact Allison for availability: Allison.h@hsca.ca

Year of the Farmer (...and year of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers' Market?)

A two for one blog entry:

The Year of the Farmer meets HSFM Best of Calgary Nomination

A note from your friendly neighbourhood Market Manager.

As a consumer, you are flooded with eating options. From restaurant delivery apps, chilled meal boxes on your doorstep, and the glowing frozen aisles and piles of perfect shiny vegetables at the grocery store, we are encouraged to distance ourselves as far from the land and our producers as possible. Why do we want to keep the reality of the farm at arm’s length?

Perhaps it is a simple convenience issue. Despite the entire world continuing to eat- and as our population grows, eating more every day- our small farmers are struggling. The volatility of our climate, the industrialization of agriculture, and high rates of depression and mental illness create a perfect storm for small farmers across the globe. Farming is a highly demanding and stressful profession that fewer and fewer young people are choosing to pursue.

Perhaps by allowing convenience to play such a role in our eating choices we devalue the work of our producers. By keeping the farm and our producers out of our sight and mind, we don’t need to share their pain and struggles.

Overall it makes sense. In a society that praises busyness and prioritizes convenience, we believe we have no other option but to rely heavily on prepared meals and delivery. Meal planning, shopping and cooking takes energy that we simply cannot spare. Additionally, we are bombarded with news of negativity, and burdened with struggles beyond our own daily lives. We don’t feel we have the capacity to take on any more outside shame, guilt and stress.

Fortunately, our food choices is an area where a little bit of awareness can go a long way. In shrinking the gap between you and the source of your food, the producer, our community, our economy and your household, can all benefit directly. By choosing to support local, you can keep your money in your community, encourage environmental stewardship and sustainable growing methods, and experience high quality products backed by true passion. Not to mention the health benefits that come with a whole food diet, and the undeniable sense of connection you get when you cook and share meals with friends, family and neighbours.

In an effort to combat the growing gap between eaters and producers, The Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market has declared 2019 The Year of the Farmer. As an Alberta Approved, community-driven Farmers’ Market, we look to provide an important alternative to our conventional food system. We believe in the family farm, small business, and the power of voting with your dollar. We prioritize good food, authentic producers and a slower pace. We look to lighten the load for everyone, and share the burden of the agriculture industry with our farmers and customers.

This year we will be taking important steps to support the Farmers in our Market Family beyond just providing a year-round venue for them to connect with consumers and sell their product. For us, committing to our Farmers translates to a commitment of authenticity, transparency, and continuing to educate ourselves and our customers. Whether you shop with us, another Farmers’ Market, the local grocer, buy direct from a farm, or even just make space to reflect on your eating choices periodically; we encourage you to take any opportunity you can to shake the hands that feed you and get to know your grower. Follow along on our journey through 2019 the Year of the Farmer and share your experiences with us on Facebook, Instagram and by coming to our weekly market at/inside the HSCA year-round on Wednesdays from 3-7pm. (#knowyourgrower #hsfmfamily)

We are SO honoured and excited to have been nominated for Best Farmers' Market in Calgary for the 2019 "Best of Calgary" awards. We are just a small community market, but we have HUGE spirit- all thanks to the vendors, customers and good food friends that make up our market family. As a true, Alberta Approved Farmers' Market, we are proud to prioritize Alberta products and keep things as local as possible. For this competition, we are going up against some of the biggest players in Calgary; help us make our dreams come true and show YYC that a little market with a big heart can take this one home!

Why vote for us??

We're building a 'Good Food Community': Our Farmers' Market really is, as one vendor says, "the tip of the iceberg". This market is just one piece of the greater good food puzzle that we host here at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association. All our fundraising efforts, and any extra profit we are able to make, allows us to support our weekly food access program for those in our community struggling to access good food. We also host many special events throughout the season to help you connect with your food, your producers, and have fun doing it!

We are Alberta Approved: This provincial standard requires that we operate as a non-profit, and maintain at least 80% Alberta made, baked, and grown products. We blow this percentage out of the water each year! In 2017 we hit an 87% average year-round. When you come to our market, you know that everything you buy has been handpicked by our team with this standard in mind- however we do still encourage you to ask questions and get to know your grower!

We do it all for the love of good food: We provide our customers with a genuine market experience. We do our best to provide lots of variety and high-quality goods in a relaxed setting. Our producers are some of the best in Alberta and they're all genuine about their love for their industry. These vendors truly love what they do, and are so proud to be a part of your weekly shop. You can feel the local love from the second you walk in the doors, and with each bite when you chow down on your fresh, local purchases.

Thank you SO MUCH to anyone who nominated us for this honour! Please take a few minutes and let your voice be heard for the Best of Calgary awards. Share with your friends, family, and neighbours and celebrate small business in our beautiful city!