Tag Archives: calgary

Corner Store Revival – my March column for @AlbertaatNoon

Corner Grocer Goodies - photo - Karen Anderson

Corner Grocer Goodies – photo – Karen Anderson

Loblaws, Canada’s largest grocer, announced this week that they will add 50 stores and spend $1.2 billion on expanding their network and distribution. Walmart echoed this push announcing $300 million in expansion. Big chains are getting bigger. That is not a story.

The stories in the grocery world right now, for me, are two trends I’ve been watching.

One is happening in a big way south of the border with Amazon dot com. They’ve been a distributor of all things since the 90s and 15,000 dry good groceries for a good part of that. Now, in their home base of Seattle and Los Angeles, if you join Amazon Fresh and pay a fee of about 200 dollars a year, you can order online from a wide variety of grocers and specialty stores for home delivery. As you long as you order by 11 p.m. – for most items – that which you desire will arrive on your doorstep by 6 a.m. the next morning. No wonder Loblaws are looking into e-commerce to broaden their distribution. They might be looking at some very empty big boxes of stores if this catches on in Canada. They’ll have to go some to catch Amazon who’ve been doing e-everything since the 90s and who just spent $750 million on their inventory robotics systems. Now that is a big story but it’s not the one I’m going to focus on.

The trend I’m going to focus on is the opposite of big. It’s small in every way. It’s the revival of the corner grocer.

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My #Coffee Conundrum – home brewed coffee therapy with @philandseb

latte art - photo - Karen Anderson

latte art – photo – Karen Anderson

My Coffee Conundrum

I love coffee but for sometime now I’ve felt incapable of making it – so that it’s worth drinking – at home. How, in the year 2015, can someone actually say that? This story has been brewing in my mind for some time.

It’s “true confessions of a coffee lover” meets coffee therapy with my friends Phil Robertson and Sebastian Sztabzyb of Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters. It’s a cool thing to have expert friends to help you solve the puzzles of your life.

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Art Installation #11 – Mustering great choices for @HPRodeo 2015

Calgarians must go out...winter or no winter...thankfully our cultural offerings give us the will to do it - photo - Karen Anderson

Calgarians must go out…winter or no winter…thankfully our cultural offerings give us the will to do it – photo – Karen Anderson

Avenue magazine has done a great job of enticing people to ignore January and get out on the town for some High Performance in this year’s rodeo of the arts. Read High Performance Rodeo 2015 | Avenue Calgary for their picks in this walloping cure for the Arctic Chills we’re all experiencing.

You can check out the whole High Performance Rodeo program here. It runs January 7 to February 1, 2015.

My friend Tonya Lailey works with Theatre Junction and is thrilled with their offering for the festival this year: Untitled Feminist Show by Young Jean Lee.pdf

Read on for the naked truth about this boundary pushing performance.

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Why I’ll always have a crabapple tree – #birding – #TimeInNature

why all always have a crabapple tree - photo - Karen Anderson

why all always have a crabapple tree – photo – Karen Anderson

Last week Tyee Bridge wrote The Wisdom of Birds in Swerve magazine. It’s an in-depth look at the joys of bird-watching in Calgary and how to get started.

Like Tyee, I’m an amateur bird-watcher and an even more amateur photographer of wildlife. Still, I’m amazed at the joy these feathered friends bring me on days when I can get out in nature and walk amongst them.

There are many days I can’t go to them. Blissfully, they still come to see me. What follows are a few photos of feathered friends that stop by to visit.

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Today is a great day! @Westjet begins service to one of my favourite places in Canada – @VisitPenticton (cool thing #28)

Apricot sunset on Lake Okanagan, Penticton, B.C. - photo - Karen Anderson

Apricot sunset on Lake Okanagan, Penticton, B.C. – photo – Karen Anderson


At last there is a direct flight from Calgary to Penticton.

You can read all about it in this press release.

Thank you WestJet.

I live in Calgary so it’s obviously my favourite place in Canada.
It’s where I met my husband and we’re happy to be raising our son here. I’ve loved growing my beautiful business Calgary Food Tours Inc. in this progressive, open-minded and supportive community.

My hometown of St. Andrews, New Brunswick is my second favourite place in Canada because of its spectacular setting on the Atlantic ocean and for my deeply sentimental Maritimer roots (there’s a giant tide that pulls us back).

Canada is a huge country and I’ve explored almost every corner but after my hometown and the place I live and work, Penticton is my favourite place in Canada because…

Penticton is where I go to play, play, play!

Today’s inaugural direct flight connecting Calgary and Penticton will be a game changer for me and my family. Instead of contemplating an eight to nine hour drive through sometimes harrowing mountain passes we’ll be able to access our fun times in Penticton in less than an hour. It also has me thinking as the owner of a food and wine appreciation kind of business of all sorts of growth possibilities and partnerships. I never realized that watching Penticton develop over 15 years of family vacations might lead to this place but these are all fun thoughts indeed. They are thoughts that help me savour it all.

Penticton – I know you are ready with golf, skiing, hiking, cycling, triathlons, water, water, water, farmer’s markets, fruit stands, coffee shops, fun and funky main street shops, hidden gem eateries, micro-breweries, Elvis impersonators, hockey schools, live music, art galleries and a laid back vintage vibe that’s all too hard to find in this fast paced world.

Calgary will be coming to you. I’m filled with JOY to be coming to you today as a guest of WestJet on their inaugural flight.

Off to the airport I go!

Capt. Jaren Belrose and first officer Shauna Epp on the flight deck of the WestJet Q400 look over a map of Penticton on the ground at Kelowna International Airport Thursday while waiting for passengers to start boarding. The same type of aircraft will be used in the direct service between Penticton and Calgary, Alta. which begins Sunday -  photo credit  - Mark Brett/Western News

Capt. Jaren Belrose and first officer Shauna Epp on the flight deck of the WestJet Q400 look over a map of Penticton on the ground at Kelowna International Airport Thursday while waiting for passengers to start boarding. The same type of aircraft will be used in the direct service between Penticton and Calgary, Alta. which begins Sunday – photo credit – Mark Brett/Western News

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Cooks I know – @knifenerd Kevin Kent on the Japanese knives he sells at @knifewear

There’s so many reasons Calgary is Canada’s Chowtown.

The fact that our chefs can access Japanese knives at Knifewear to make all the chopping they do easier – and therefore make the long hours they spend cooking for us more enjoyable – must surely be one of the reasons the food in this town rocks.

The motto of Knifewear is “sharp knives rocks”. I think the chefs using them and their food also ROCKS.

If you live in Calgary – come out tonight and see Knifewear’s Springhammer documentary about the Japanese blacksmiths that hand forge the knives they sell. Details are here.

SAIT Polytechnic Culinary School Alumnus Kevin Kent cut his cooking teeth with Fergus Henderson at St. John in London, England and at River Cafe in Calgary. He started selling knives to chefs in Calgary from his backpack and now owns five Knifewear stores across Canada. He’s one of Calgary’s culinary mavericks.

Japanese knives help me savour it all. Right now I’m savouring the idea of … buying myself another one.

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Let there be light! – Art installation #7 (cool thing #25) – A new central Calgary Public Library for @calgarylibrary

From the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation’s press release today…

“The New Central Library has been a long time coming, and moving forward with this project was a key part of my platform when I was first elected,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “When City Council created the Community Investment Fund in 2011, we also created a mechanism to finalize the funding of a New Central Library that will serve the needs of a growing population now and into the future. I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved together—The City of Calgary, CMLC, Calgary Public Library, and all citizens. The New Central Library will be a new icon for Calgarians and a jewel of public space and opportunity for all.”

The prime design consultant team, Snøhetta + DIALOG, deeply understand that a library is far more than just a building with books – something that’s evident in every aspect of the final design.

“Since embarking on this project, one of the things we’ve kept reminding ourselves is that we don’t just want to build the best library in the world. We want to build the library that’s best for Calgary.” Craig Dykers of Snøhetta explains, “At this moment in time, with the city conditions that surround us, with the different needs of all of you in the community, we continue to ask ourselves, how we are going to make the right library?”

From me…

The City is laying a bridge with this architectural icon to connect the long neglected East Village to downtown Calgary. City Hall was built with its back to East Calgary. This new building brings the area back into the fold and celebrates it as a beacon for our bright future as a whole with no area left out. That’s Nenshi building a different legacy for the city.

When East Village is completed in 2027 there will be more than 11,000 residents. They will have the RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island Park, the National Music Centre and an urban shopping centre to enjoy along with this inspiring gathering place that will be our new Central Calgary Public Library. This isn’t the first time a new library has acted as a beacon of light for our city.

The first library in Calgary at Central Memorial Park was opened in 1912. The Women’s Literacy group of Alberta applied for a building grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. Carnegie had come from nothing in Scotland to become the wealthiest man in the world. He was a firm believer in the ability of learning, books and free libraries in inspiring and lifting humanity to its full potential. He funded over 2500 public libraries in the world and our first library was one of them. That building was built in a feminine Beaux Arts style and raised on a pedestal in honour of the women who got it built. It was Alberta’s first library and brought some balance to our “rough and ready” existence at the time. Central Memorial Library is set in a park, is still open and still very beautiful 100 years later.

It’ll be exciting for our children’s children to see what the next 100 years and this new library inspire. And isn’t it right that all this new light is rising from the East…Village.

I like these two libraries. They are beautiful bookends in our city’s history. Libraries truly shed light and help us savour it all.

Central Memorial Library

Central Memorial Library

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