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

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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

SAVE THE DATE! THE 2019 AGM WILL TAKE PLACE ON TUESDAY APRIL 30, 7-9PM

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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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            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.

#howwillYOUbeapartofit

  • 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:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm/

https://volunteer.ca/index.php?MenuItemID=342

https://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/developing-empathy-in-children-and-youth.pdf

https://www.volunteermatch.org/volunteers/gettingstarted/

Meet our new Executive Director!

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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.

Sincerely,

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!

Community Climate Conversation on February 5th in the Hearth Room

It’s time to talk about the climate crisis.

In the aftermath of the flood of 2013, amongst the wreckage and the lost memories, was the powerful gathering of community. We, as neighbours, friends, and citizens, lent each other a hand, an ear, and a shoulder to cry on. We supported each other through the disaster, and we are better people for it.

A new disaster looms, but this one is slower moving, and less obvious. And we have yet to rally our community, in fact, in a lot of ways we are pretending it’s not even coming. It is the climate crisis, and it is knocking at our doorsteps. We do our best to avoid talking about it, because who wants to talk about the implications of a rapidly degrading climate? It’s just not that fun. But it’s time to stop avoiding the issue, because it is through conversation, through discussion, that the solutions are found. And it is through laughter, and community that we will find the path to creating our better world.

The Calgary Climate Hub and the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association would like to invite you to be a part of the inaugural Community Climate Conversation series. To be held on Tuesday, Feb 5th at 6:30 pm at the HSCA, we’ll start with some proposed solutions: from the city, from energy efficiency experts, from renewable experts, from academics. And then we turn it over to you, to talk about what YOU want to do. How we can help each other create the future we want to live in. How we can support each other through the difficult times. And celebrate the many little victories that will come our way. Invite your neighbours. Invite your friends.

Let’s talk about the climate crisis. And let’s figure out how to keep all the things, and the people we love, safe.

Save the Date, more details to come.

2018 Wrap up from the HSCA Executive Director

Wow! What a year it has been for both HSCA and me personally. On October 17th I celebrated my first anniversary at HSCA and I have had a wonderful experience getting to know the staff, volunteers, program participants and my favorite, the children in daycare and OOSC. Pure bias on my part, as I love little humans!

In the midst of my first year I had a very challenging experience whereby I sustained a head injury at work on July 3rd. Despite my efforts at pushing through and trying to rush my healing, the injury won and I spent three months recovering, six weeks in a brain injury program. I could not have taken the time to heal without the support of the Board of Directors, the amazing staff team, and my family and friends. While a few symptoms are lingering, I am healing and feel blessed in every way.

This last year saw another successful year in our childcare programs and our partnership with the provincial government providing affordable childcare. We have had great connection with the community and were able to host a Stampede Breakfast and our 70th Anniversary party.

We are currently seeking donations and support for a number of areas including; Hearth room renovation, adding an extra room to the daycare and renovating our Board Room. If you are considering a financial donation for the end of the year, we would very much appreciate your support. We can accept donations online through Canada Helps, through Benevity locally and if you are involved in a United Way Campaign at work, you can designate to HSCA. Thank you to all of the local businesses, not for profits and residents for all of your ongoing support. We are proud to be your neighbours and partners in Hillhurst and Sunnyside.

May the winter season bring you and your loved ones closer together. May you share joy, laughter and food and celebrate all that is good in our lives and our community. I hope 2019 is full of love, kindness and celebration.

Building Community Participation Through Art

Take a stroll in the community along 5th Avenue and you’ll see a unique housing development taking shape in Hillhurst Sunnyside.  But it’s not a new condo.

Local area artists have created over 90 new homes and many are on display now at Framed on Fifth, or can be viewed in the Hearth Room at HSCA.

They’re birdhouses!

As part of the North Hill Centre Hello Neighbour campaign and in collaboration with Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, Patricia Gustafson and Hannah White from Framed on Fifth took the idea of birdhouses as art installations to exciting new heights.

“While speaking with Karen at HSCA, she told us you had been given the birdhouses by North Hill Mall, they were donated and you were selling them to people and they would decorate them. [And we went, well] we have all these artists friends why don’t we take the project to our artist friends and family and the community, to as many people as we can to paint these things. We’ll give them the birdhouses and they will paint them and they’ll bring them back and we can silent auction them,” says Patricia.

            Hannah says, “We opened it up to everybody. It was in the newsletters for a couple of months. So our youngest artist is 4. It’s a community event. It’s not just artists in Calgary. We made it ‘artists’ and meant anybody who can put a paintbrush in their hand.”

            At least 70 artists have contributed to the project, and everyone who sees the houses gets very excited. Hannah and Patricia talk about the reception from the community. “It’s blown up way more than we ever expected,” says Patricia. “It’s become more work than we ever thought, but it’s so fun.”

            “What I love,” Hannah chirps in, “are kids walking home from school and everyday they’ll all stop, and as a big pod they’re all like ‘blebleblebleblebleble’.” She makes a noise like a flock of tweeting birds.

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            When asked what their favourite birdhouses and names are, Hannah and Patricia move around Framed on Fifth to showcase each. “Invasion of the Birdy Snatchers.” says Patricia, “Wordy Birdy.”

 

     “I love Octavia.” Hannah says. “I like her name. Oh, the tin roof one! Under the hot tin roof!”

             So why do they think birdhouses have been such a success? “It’s a small thing they can contribute to be part of the community,” says Patricia.

            “I would say that there’s a feeling of coziness and a feeling of home and maybe that’s what people are doing,” says Hannah. “It’s almost like cocooning.”

            The catalyst for this project was a partnership with North Hill Centre and that was the exact intention behind the idea to use birdhouses. Paula Lee from North Hill says, “The reason we chose birdhouses is because we wanted to start a dialogue around the Hearth Room, and the centre of a home, and we couldn’t build a house, so we decided that birdhouses were a kind of metaphor to what the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association does. You have programs for the community, for seniors, for kids. So it was just a way to give people a fun project that was around this idea of home. And the Hearth Room being the centre of this project.”

            Money raised from this project will go toward revitalizing the HSCA Hearth Room, which hosts our Community Connections programs, such as Fresh Food Basket, Neighbour Night and Community Potluck. All of these programs are HSCA run and designed to foster connections and a sense of belonging. They are open for participation by all residents. The Hearth Room is also home to our Art Class program and Indoor Farmers’ Market both of which offer capacity and skill building opportunities. 

            When Framed on Fifth is asked why a project like this is a good fit for Hillhurst Sunnyside and HSCA Patricia says, “Because people care here. They walk, they see things, they do things at the community centre. You’ve opened up the community centre to homeless people again. Because you’ve opened it up, you’ve made it accessible and when you make something accessible people want to play. They do. Personally I have no idea where this is going to go, but we’re up for pretty much anything. We’d be more than thrilled to help you do whatever group things where we can play. I don’t know where it’s going to go. This is just the beginning. This has been so much fun.”

            “We want to play,” says Hannah.

            Paula says, “The collaboration with Framed on Fifth is exactly what we want to be happening. We are neighbours. And we should all be doing something that benefits each other whatever it is, you know, especially in Calgary. I just think it’s what we do in Calgary. So they see an opportunity and they help people and we see an opportunity and we help people and you see an opportunity and you help people. It’s really kind of a great story. “

            Silent Auction bidding is open now and you can visit HSCA or Framed on Fifth to view the birdhouses in person and get a jump on the auction. All of the birdhouses will also be available during a special Farmers’ Market on Wednesday December 5, from 3-7 P.M. before bidding closes. But Patricia also mentioned that they’d like to pick 10 of their favourites for a live auction on the December 5th date. There will also be a prize awarded to the artists who win Fan Favourite and Best of Show courtesy of MLA Dr. David Swann’s local arts fund.

To view the full collection online please visit: http://framedonfifth.com/birdhouse/ and we hope you can join us on Wednesday, December 5.

Article written by Jessica Clark

Fresh Food Basket Summer Fundraiser- Thank you for your support!

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The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association Fresh Food Basket Program provides an anonymous, dignified and sustainable strategy to improving access to good, healthy food. We see an average of 60 families weekly, distributing over 350 portions of fresh food.

This program does not seek to solve food insecurity. Poverty and the inaccessibility of our food systems are complex issues, and cannot be solved with basic needs programming. However, we hope that this program allows the families that access it to feel more at ease about where their groceries will be coming from, and allows us to make connections with participants and offer support in other areas. The Fresh Food Basket is a first step in community engagement. When basic needs are met, vulnerability decreases, and we see an increase in the ability to create connection and participate in community.

Moving forward, we hope to depend less and less on donations, and hope to see an uptake of this style of program across other communities in Calgary. This program is one that requires little infrastructure to start-up, but provides a highly valuable service to our community.

This summer we have seen an increase in food donations from our Farmers' Market vendors, and have received many donations from community members! Thank you so much to all the community gardens, vendors, businesses and community members who donated to our Fresh Food Basket Summer Fundraiser this year.

We raised:

  • $2775.26 from Engaged businesses, and Community Members like YOU
  • Weekly donations of lettuce, spinach, chard, rhubarb and herbs from St. Barnabus Community Garden
  • Monthly donations from the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden
  • Frequent donations of greens, peas and zucchinis from Kensington First Community Garden
  • Frequent donations of chard, kale, beans, peas and beets from the Sunnyside Shared Garden

We would like to extend an extra-special thank you to TrueBuch Kombucha for a generous donation, and our Sun Fun Summer Day Program for their bake sale efforts!

If you missed out on donating to our Summer Fundraising campaign- no need to fret! We accept donations ALL YEAR ROUND. Currently our biggest need is cash donations so we can purchase fresh produce weekly, and healthy non-perishable items for the holiday season. Donations can be dropped off to the front office at the HSCA during business hours, mailed or made online.

Mailing Address: 1320 5 Ave NW, T2N 0S2 Online Donations: https://www.hsca.ca/donate/

If you require more information about this program, please contact Heather at heather.r@hsca.ca.

Memories of a 70 Year Old Community Association

The 70th birthday of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association gives me pause to think back on my 44 year relationship with the community. In 1982 I bought a reprint of a book from the HSCA called Hillhurst Sunnyside Remembers by Margaret Tanko. It was simply made with black and white photographs and stories told by members of the community, some who had lived here since the early part of the 20th Century. The book charmed me and became a treasured part of my library.

I have always loved Hillhurst Sunnyside because of its heritage houses, mature trees, vintage lilac bushes, layers of history, diversity of residents and small town feel. As time passes, the community continues to grow and change, but recently these changes have become alarmingly rapid changing the look and feel of the neighbourhood. Residents come and go. Old houses get demolished to make way for condos altering the heritage character. Businesses open and close on 10th Street, 14th Street and Kensington Road.

The land Calgary stands on is the traditional territory of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. This includes the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Piikani, Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (Chiniki, Bearspaw, Wesley First Nations). The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. They have been the stewards of our land for thousands of years and continue to maintain a very positive relationship with it.

English and Scottish settlers arrived in this area, now known as Hillhurst and Sunnyside, as homesteaders in the late 1800s. New Edinborough was the name of the suburb created between 10th Street and Centre Street that eventually became Sunnyside. In 1914 it was incorporated into the City of Calgary. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) built workers’ cottages in Sunnyside on 25-foot lots and rented them to their employees. Many of these cottages still remain today, although they are quickly disappearing due to development spurred on by City Council priority of densification. In the early days Sunnyside residents took a ferry across the Bow River to get to work at the CPR or the Eau Claire lumber mill. Now we hop on an LRT.

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Squatter Felix McHugh staked a claim to homestead on CPR land. The CPR contested it but he was successful in receiving one acre of land through the courts. He built a house at the corner of 9A Street and Memorial Drive, where the green space with a Community garden now exists and the LRT tracks go overhead. McHugh Bluff is named after him.

Ezra Hounsfield Riley was a pioneer rancher and politician who owned the property west of Sunnyside. He also purchased McHugh’s. Eventually Riley sold his property to the City of Calgary and it became Hillhurst, West Hillhurst, Sunnyside and Hounsfield Heights. He donated the land that is now Riley Park to the City of Calgary.

In 1948 the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Association was formed. FYI there is no community in Calgary called Kensington, only a shopping district. Under the Municipal Government Act, the City of Calgary developed several Business Revitalization Zones (BRZ) to encourage Calgarians to shop in areas of Calgary that weren’t thriving during the ’80’s. The shopping area at Tenth Street and Kensington Road was first named Louise Crossing, due to its proximity to the Louise (Tenth Street) Bridge, and eventually Kensington Village named after the street. When the BRZ legislation expired in 2016, these areas became Business Improvement Area (BIA) “a group of businesses in a defined geographical area that come together to improve and promote their businesses.” http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/ABS/Pages/Partnership-programs/BRZs.aspx

I am including a photograph of Gleason family in front of my house on Memorial Drive in 1914 when Hillhurst was a new suburb. Michael and his brother James built two houses side by side on lots purchased for $650 each using materials from the Eau Claire lumber mill at a cost of $1,250 each. Taxes were $68.50 a year. The 10th Street steel and girder bridge is in the background. The City of Calgary’s saplings were newly planted and would stand for almost 100 years. The streetscape shows similar houses on small lots with picket fences lining “Westmount Boulevard” (as it was known then).

I peruse my little 24 page Hillhurst Sunnyside Remembers book with the stories and photographs so lovingly gathered and assembled by Margaret Tanko and wonder who she was and how the book came to be. When I moved into Sunnyside the HSCA had just fought the city to stop them from turning Memorial Drive into a freeway. Instead Bow Trail was built on the other side of the river. HSCA also slowed the construction of apartment blocks during the ’70’s by insisting that the community preferred homes with yards for families.

Is it time for more stories that document the 40 years since Hillhurst Sunnyside Remembers was published in 1978? Do you remember the protests about the LRT? Shoppers Drug Mart taking over Telstar Drugs? The Saturday School? Communicare? Art classes held at The Heart Studio in the home of Carol Bondaroff and Stan Phelps? Fighting to keep the schools open? The Fall Fair and Parade? Did you witness the fire that destroyed the Ross Kerr Block? Or St John’s Church? The Carpenters’ Hall all ages gigs? Gallery 510 in a Sunnyside garage? Wreck City? Ant Hill Fabrics? The blacksmith shop in the backyard of a Sunnyside resident?

Our community has a rich history with many stories to tell. Do you have stories or photos to share? If you do please contact Patti Dawkins or Lorna Cordeiro c/o Lisa Chong at mailto:planning@hsca.ca

For more information about the 70th Anniversary Celebration at the Community Hall on August 25th, follow this link https://www.hsca.ca/blog/2018/7/24/hsca-turns-70

Article written by Patti Dawkins

Credit for photo is:

The Gleason Family on "The Boulevard" 1914 Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hill

Pedal Powered Picnic at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market is proud to be a hub for our community, taking our good food community beyond access to local food, and into education and connection. We hope you have felt the shift this year with our Speaker Series’, special events, bike valet and more. One of our favourite additions to our Farmers’ Market family this year is our community-led cycling group. Each week, community member Rory Allen hosts ‘Pedal Powered Picnic’ from our Farmers’ Market. Participants meet at market at 6:30pm to grab picnic supplies and hangout before riding off together to a nearby park. This is an open group that anyone looking to connect with new friends, and live a healthy, active lifestyle is welcome to join. We are so happy to have Pedal Powered Picnic adding to our ‘good food community’ at the Farmers’ Market! You can also stop into the free Lifesport bike valet and tune-up tent and get a once-over on your bike before you ride off.

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All ages and riding levels are welcome in this casual community group. We cycle as a group making sure everyone is comfortable and leaving no one behind. The group works together to have a safe ride and promote awareness on the road, but please take your own safety precautions including wearing a helmet, and having lights for your bike. Pedal Powered Picnic can be found on Facebook, and will be running for the entirety of the outdoor Farmers’ Market season (last outdoor day October 11th). Join us!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1024128804422632/

HSCA Turns 70!

The community of Hillhurst Sunnyside has a history that spans over 100 years. The first home in Hillhurst was built by Ezra H. Riley in 1882. In 1904, Riley sold Hillhurst to the City of Calgary. Land was being surveyed and sold in two neighbourhood sub divisions in 1906. Those were Sunnyside (originally named New Edinborough) and Hillhurst. The community was incorporated into Calgary in 1907. More information on the history of Hillhurst Sunnyside is available online in the document Hillhurst Sunnyside Remembers (which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!)

In 1912, changing cabins were built on Hillhurst Athletic Park at the corner of 14th Street and 5th Avenue. The cabins doubled as meetings space until a small community hall (HSCA) was built in 1953-54.

In 1948, HSCA was incorporated as a non-profit society by the Government of Alberta.

1978, a new community centre was built in the Hillhurst Athletic Park incorporating the 1953 Community Hall and for the last 40 years staff, volunteers and residents have strived to maintain a healthy and vibrant quality of life for the residents of Hillhurst Sunnyside.

We would like to recognize the milestones throughout this community's incredible history. We wish to celebrate our 70th anniversary of incorporation as a non-profit society with all the residents and neighbours of Hillhurst Sunnyside, past and present. We hope you can join us for a day of community.

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On Saturday August 25th, 2:00pm-8:00pm in the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association fields and parking lot, we hope you and your friends, family and neighbours will join us for a community party.

Please review the event schedule below so that you do not miss out on the fun!

2:00-8:00pm Event Time

2:00-5:00pm Family games, facepainting, ballon animals, giveaways, Hillhurst VS Sunnyside competition (ongoing)

2:00-6:00pm HSCA member partner businesses on site with giveaways and demos. Confirmed so far: Sunnyside Natural Market, MYo Lab, Flippn Burgers, Oranj Fitness, Framed on Fifth, Dignity Memorial

4:00-5:00pm Bike Show and Shine Parade and category judging

4:00-8:00pm Food Trucks, Beer Gardens, Live music (with headliners Sadlier-Brown Band)

4:45-5:00pm The Great Tug of War between Hillhurst & Sunnyside

5:00pm Announcements and Award presentations for Show and Shine and the H vs S competition

8:00pm Wrap up

 
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If you are interested in entering your bike in the Show and Shine you can do so day of, or contact Heather for details. All ages welcome. Free to enter! Email: heather.r@hsca.ca 587*700-9387

 
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If you are interested in performing on our stage please contact Kate. Email: kate.s@hsca.ca 403-283-0554 ext 248

If you are a business, group or organization in the community interested in sponsorship or presence at the event please contact Jessica. Email: jessica.c@hsca.ca 403-283-0554 ext 226

We hope to see you there!

Community Survey Results - What Hillhurst Sunnyside Residents Had to Say

Last year (2017), HSCA surveyed our community residents to gather feedbac, ideas and information to better serve you. We heard from over 500 people, including a diverse range of renters, owners, apartment and household dwellers, age groups and income levels.

The goals of the community survey were to understand and inform:

  • Residents' perceptions of HSCA and the communities of Hillhurst and Sunnyside
  • Residents' current access of social, recreational and leisure programs and services offered by HSCA
  • HSCA's role in building relationships and developing skills within community members
  • Future planning for social, recreational and leisure programs and services in the community.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey, providing rich and valuable information to inform the work we do and help us build the future of your community association!

Sunnyside's Out-Door Gallery

Sunnyside is slowly becoming an Out-Door Art Gallery due to all our creativity and the murals popping up on many resident’s garage doors.

Many home owners are painting their own art and coming up with very unique beautiful designs. We have been told: “It is a great family activity and a great way to get to know your neighbours.”

Other home owners are commissioning artists to do magnificent paintings on their garage doors. There is a post with links to many artists’ websites on the Sunnyside Up/East Sunnyside Survivors Facebook Page.

Recently, we had a request from Prospect Human Services to see if there are a group of neighbours who would be willing to hand their garage doors, plus the cost of materials, over to their artists to show off what they can do. Prospect Human Services works with adults with disabilities to participate in collaborative programming in the arts, the outdoors and community volunteering to experientially develop employment skills.

If this is something you would be willing to help support please contact Stephanie Acheson, Program Facilitator at stephanie.acheson@prospectnow.ca

We can't wait to see how your garage door adds to this great collaboration!

A Story of Community

I’ve lived in urban areas all my life, whether it was a big house or a small apartment, I was always part of a community. Nevertheless, some months ago when I arrived to Calgary chasing after a new challenge, I was able to discover a very different way to live in a community, as well as having a much better understanding of the concept of living as a community. At Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association you can find many different programs that reflect community values and make it a model Community.

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After a quick look in the Hillhurst Sunnyside Voice I decided to check out the ESL conversation club with my parents to practice some English and meet some new people. After a nice long talk with awesome interesting people in a very friendly environment, where everybody respects and shows much interest in hearing what the others have to say, I felt motivated to find out about how to get more involved with the community that had opened its doors to us. During one of the monthly community Potlucks last year, where I got to meet and share a meal with my new neighbors, I was told about a possibility to volunteer as a vendor in the weekly Farmer’s Market. I decided it was a great opportunity to get involved with the other members and show commitment to the market and myself.

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The Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmer’s Market is a great event that takes place in a professional, but friendly environment. You can find an extensive variety of original, tasty, healthy food and products, and even do your shopping while you enjoy some exciting live music, but most important you get to interact with energetic vendors who believe in their growing businesses and serve customers with a smile every time. As a volunteer vendor, I’ve been able to learn a lot from the market, it has been a completely new experience for me that will help me gain success in my future work related fields and I had the pleasure to meet and learn more about all the amazing persons that lead the market weekly in order to create a major beneficial impact in the community.

After having become more familiar with the market and the community I decided to volunteer in the Neighbor Night program too. During the sessions kids get to use their energy in healthy fun ways, while parents engage themselves with fun activities too and neighbor interaction, not before having a tasty vegetarian meal that the program’s coordinator, Shaye and volunteers have kindly prepared to make the evening even nicer. Working with kids was a refreshing new experience for me, one that I didn’t expect to like so much. In theory, volunteers are supposed to look after the kids while they enjoy some playtime with each other, but I couldn’t avoid getting involved in play with them as if I were a child myself again. The kids’ responses made me very happy, it is very healthy for the soul to make some children smile and laugh even if it is just for a few hours a week.

To be a volunteer has been a wonderful experience for me. HSCA has shown me the right way a community should work as well as helping me with the adaptation process. HSCA is an inclusive community that will welcome you under any circumstance without hesitation. You can always find a program that suits you, from a simple interaction with your neighbors to sports recreational classes, everyone will show you a friendly face and try to assist you. From day one, I have been treated with solidarity and respect, I’ve met some awesome members of the community who I consider my friends and now I realize I am not just living in a community, but I have my own impact on it, helping the development of something we can all enjoy together as members of the community. If you are trying to find the nicest people in Calgary, you might want to check Hillhurst Sunnyside Community.

  • Jonathan Cauteruccio

The Sunnyside Mural is a Nod to Community

You may have walked by, or ridden your bike past, a new art installation in Sunnyside. This community mural was created by Miró Esteban (14), grandson to active community members, Buff and Richard Smith. We caught up with Miró to ask him more about his motivation around the mural and how it was executed – even in the near freezing temperatures we had this past spring.

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1. We heard the mural was a gift for your grandmother, is this true? What made you decide to do this as a gift? The mural was a gift for my grandmother, she wanted a mural on the fence for a few years, but my grandpa was unsure. This Christmas my grandpa decided to go for the mural. So, as a gift he flew all of us to Calgary to paint the mural. The original idea was for my dad to design the artwork. Recently, I had been trying out a new style, so he asked me if I wanted to do the mural. And that’s how I ended up doing the mural.

2. How long have you been painting or drawing? I have been drawing all my life. In our old house, we had an art wall that would rotate as me and my sister would make new drawings. We have thousands upon thousands of drawings stored away. It’s a lot of [fun] to look through them and see how my art style has progressed.

3. How did you come up with the idea/concept/images for the mural? The main idea of the mural was based off a very large bookmark I made earlier, the bookmark had a few different biomes that would morph into different landscapes. But instead of being very long it was very tall. As I was doing the mural I had one main struggle. Normally when I’m drawing I like to make the drawing extremely detailed. But I knew I couldn’t make it so detailed for the mural since we would have to paint it all. I also tend to make more creepy/dark art, so it was a lot of fun making all the cute and silly creatures. I know my grandma loves frogs and birds, but I’m not very good at drawing them so I made some [frog] and bird like creatures. But a lot more strange. After I made the drawing I uploaded it onto the computer and started adding colour. For almost all my drawings I keep them in black and white. So this was a new experience for me. I knew I had to stay to a limited colour palette, otherwise my grandpa would have to buy too many colours of paint. I decided that the first section would be a main theme of greens, with accents of purple and blue. The second area was an ocean so I made it blue, and then contrasted that with reds and oranges.

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4. How did you execute the project? What were the outlines of the steps taken to complete this? Executing the project was definitely the hardest part, we worked pretty nonstop the week or so we were there. It was made a lot easier by all the help we had, our cousins came to help (which was very exiting since we only see them yearly)! We had nine people to work on the mural. We had to set up a whole tarp area around the fence section we worked on with space heaters inside, to let the paint dry. The first day we got there we waited until night and set up the projector and then started working. We wanted to have all the pencil outlines done before our cousins got there. We managed to finish the outlines for the whole fence. It was a little stressful for me since I’m a bit of a perfectionist, a lot of the lines wouldn’t line up because we would have bumped the projector. My dad kept telling me that it would all be fine. It was still very exciting to see my art start to come to life. The next day we set up the tarps and started painting, my dad said that out of experience it would be easier to do the black lines after the painting. I wasn’t sure, but I trusted him (he was totally right!) after the painting we did the lines for that section and then started the painting for the next section. As we were on the second part it was snowing like crazy. But we still managed to heat it up enough to work. Now when I see a mural I appreciate even more how much time are put into them.

5 Why do you think community art projects like this are important? I definitely think that community art projects are important. I’ve actually always liked graffiti, not the one were people just write their name in black spray paint, but the large colourful drawings. I feel they classify as art. Murals are just like organized, planned graffiti. It makes boring surfaces a lot more interesting to look at. Especially if you do something unique.

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6. What does community mean to you? Community has always been very important to me. I have lived in the same house all my life, so I know all the neighbours very well. We have a tradition that if anyone gives you food or treats when you return the plate it must have food on it again. We also lend each other ingredients whenever necessary, we don’t pay each other back because we know that if we need anything our neighbours will share.

7. Why do you think this mural is a good fit for Sunnyside? I feel the mural fits Sunnyside quite well, at least my experience of it. My grandparents have always been very community driven, they know everyone in Sunnyside. (Well probably not everyone, but they know a lot of people.) I find the mural reflects this community. All the creatures in the mural have different relationships to each other and the landscape. It’s like a large community of creatures.

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8. What advice would you give to other aspiring artists or community builders? My main piece of advice to aspiring artists is don’t care what other people think. I draw for me, and the pleasure of drawing. I don’t really care what others think about my art, even though it is fun when others enjoy it, because I love making my art!

Thanks for this opportunity!