Calgary Is Awesome, and we are dedicated to everything that makes it that way.

If you want to read ugly, bad news about this beautiful city of ours, you’re going to have to look to traditional media and other blogs; C.I.A. promotes everything that makes Calgary awesome, from old to new and everything in between. We’re like the human interest piece on the news… only different.

Learn more about the awesome people who write for Calgary is Awesome.

Irene-53 Irene Seto
They say that good things come in small packages and Irene is no exception. What she lacks in stature, she more than makes up for in personality and laughter. A born-and-bred Calgarian, this Western girl takes the adage of “work hard, play hard” to heart, always on-the-go and finding the most awesome stories to share with C.I.A. readers. As Managing Editor, she acts as a jill-of-all-trades juggling a variety of responsibilities including writing, editing, social media and more. In her (little) spare time, you can find Irene stocking up on more shoes for her closet, enjoying a pint (or two) with friends and cycling around on her love, Minty the bicycle. If you give her mini donuts or kettle corn, she will be your friend for life.

Neighbourhood: Haysboro
Twitter: @heyseto
Managing Editor:

Nick Taylor
Nick is a blogger, broadcaster and professional nerd, living in Calgary for the past 14 years, the longest he’s lived anywhere. A self-described nerd, he’s a radio broadcasting grad from SAIT and you can most likely find him clutching his Firefly box-set and cursing under his breath. He loves the Calgary Flames, so long as they aren’t playing the Montreal Canadiens.

Neighbourhood: Bridlewood
Twitter: @nickandhisvoice
Nerd Life:

Amy Jo Espetveidt
I’m a fan, not a critic, has become a personal motto for Amy Jo since starting to write for C.I.A. in 2012 where her love for Calgary and art collided. A photojournalist by trade, her work has appeared in The Labradorian, the St. John’s Telegram, the Calgary Herald, the Calgary Sun, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Sun (UK), Exposure Photo Festival, the CBC and C-ing Magazine. She owns her own photography company, Quadrophonic Image, and is also the Director of Photography for Calgary Reads. When not taking pictures or out basking in Calgary’s amazing art, she can be found in her garden or with her nose in a book.

Neighbourhood: Bowness
Twitter: @QuadroImage

Blaine Wiseman
Blaine is a proud Calgarian with a soft spot for our unique western history. He’s travelled the world and knows there’s nowhere quite like this great city. By day, he holds a steady job as a copywriter at a creative firm in Inglewood, Calgary’s first neighbourhood. By night, he’s the author of children’s educational books, covering topics ranging from the Winter Olympics to Canada’s national symbol—the majestic beaver. In his spare time, Blaine’s a master of the unfinished writing project, whether starting a novel, penning a one-verse song for his non-existent band, crafting a single-stanza poem or adding to his to-do-later list of ideas. It’s all a part of the plan.

Neighborhood: Victoria Park
Twitter: @wisemanbrewing

Terry Lo

Imagine a Chinese Quebecois kid with an insane love for all things pop culture, chivalry and political / economic theory.  Make him a foodie, add a few espionage skills, and have him exposed to Monty Python from birth.  Toss in a few useful computer skills, a dragon boat paddle, a flair for the dramatic and the unenviable knack of being in the strangest places in the strangest times.  Put that together, and… hi, I’m Terry Lo.

I’m many things to a lot of people.  Most people know me as the Spy Gadget Guy, an enthusiastic Yelper, or a local food fan.  You may have seen me in the rare interview, my constant rants on Twitter over the best smoked meat places or even the rather embarrassing year I was a soap opera actor as a teen.  If you’re ever around the Glenmore Reservoir during Dragon Boat season, you’ve definitely probably heard me growling from the water as I paddle with my Red Eyes team.  But in the end, I like to think I’m a storyteller, and one who’s always been fascinated with the idea, “there’s a million people out there, and each and every one of them has a story.”

Neighborhood: Kingsland
Twitter: @terrylo_Calgary
Stories from our Streets:

Kyla Sergejew
As the Pet Shop Boys said, “go west, where the skies are blue,” so did Kyla, a poor J-school grad, in search of some substantial employment — although, the vibrant skies were a welcomed plus. Born and raised in Guelph, Ont., where a church on a hill dictated the height of all highrises, she had no intention of leaving the southerly province that, to her, had a perfect balance of white winters and dreadfully hot summers. But, when a long-distance call came from Moose Jaw’s one and only broadsheet, Kyla answered with a heave-ho and giant moving truck. Now a graphic artist in Calgary — and freelancing her talents (“free” being the operative word) for friends and family — she enjoys exploring Cowtown, riding the C-Train, walking under shady trees, sifting through dusty records, searching for handwritten notes in old books, and eating cheese every once and a while.

Neighbourhood: Connaught
Twitter: @thanksKYLA


Jason main Jason Filiatrault

Jason is a Calgary-based screenwriter and social-media hack who has written feature films and television and some sketch comedy and pretty much anything else that anyone would let him write. He has a movie filming this spring in Toronto, has served as story editor for the CTV show “Spun Out”, won an award for his web-series “Bunny Hug”, was chosen for the Canadian Film Centre’s ‘Features Comedy Lab’, and even got to write for Ridley Scott’s company. He also pretends to be a robot on Twitter as @SarcasticRover. Jason is very excited to share his love of local film and movie culture with the rest of Calgary, and only slightly less excited to be writing about himself in the third person.

Neighbourhood: Kensington
Sarah Pynoo Sarah Pynoo

Sarah is a freelance writer and editor, as well as the marketing/sales coordinator for AG Silver, a locally owned independent jewellery boutique. In her spare time, she loves volunteering, film, cooking, and exploring Calgary.


Neighbourhood: Hillhurst
Twitter Handle: @scpyn

Tyler Dixon 150 Tyler Dixon

Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years.  He is a teacher with the Calgary Board of Education and is employed at a wilderness-based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction.  Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks.  During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.

Neighbourhood: Killarney
Twitter Handle: @tcdixon3

Joanna Schwartz Johanna Schwartz

 Johanna has been wandering the streets of Calgary looking for something to do since her teen years in the 80s. She keeps finding cool things to do, so she hasn’t left yet. She also likes to help other people make this city interesting by doing all the boring stuff for them, like grant writing and event organizing.  She is a podcast and comedy nerd and doesn’t know how to drive a car.

Neighbourhood: Tuxedo
Twitter: @janedoughnut
DI in YYC:

Bonnie Huang Bonnie Huang

Bonnie grew up in a family that has always put a huge emphasis on food. Every holiday or special occasion was celebrated with cuisines from around the world, so it was inevitable that she developed a love for cooking and eating. Her love of food has drove her to travel the world sampling each culture’s amazing culinary specialties. However, no matter how delicious food is afar, she feels there’s always something special about home. Being born and raised in Calgary, she’s also seen firsthand how the local food scene has evolved and exploded over the recent years. She is excited to be feasting on all the delectable dishes around town and bringing you everything that’s delicious about our city’s ever growing and changing culinary landscape.

Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Twitter: @ScrumpFitFood

Matt Beauchamp 150 Matt Beauchamp
Matt was born in Edmonton (try not to hold it against him) and raised briefly in Vancouver before moving to Calgary at the tender age of 8. After graduating from S.A.I.T with a journalism diploma Matt wandered the province writing about everything from politics to cars and fuzzy cats. Years as a journalist and aspiring writer have provided Matt with a wealth of experience drinking. What started as a simple way to keep warm through Calgary’s freezing winters, has turned into a love for wine and a desire to share that love.Community: Bridlewood
Twitter: @simplevines
Allison Smith 2 Allison Smith
This past year Allison delved into community economic development in yyc and is inspired by the number of awesome initiatives taking place. With a developing love for writing and a new found appreciation for the power of positive story telling – she’s thrilled to be sharing these stories of social good.A born and raised Calgarian who studied in the UK, worked in India and traveled Southeast Asia, Allison is excited to rediscover this changing city. She currently works at a community economic development non-profit in Calgary, where she facilitates the Women’s Venture Programs.  When Allison isn’t writing you can find her sipping a good cup of coffee, illustrating greeting cards, hosting dinner parties, taking off on a weekend Rocky Mountain adventure or enjoying a good old game of crib.
Neighbourhood: Hillhurst
Twitter: @allisonjaysmith
Social Good:
Ryan Stromquist Ryan Stromquist

Ryan has lived and worked all over Alberta as a farmhand, chef, bartender, and is currently working as a writer and editor for FreeFall Magazine. Add him on Twitter @RyanStrommy  or find him in the real world as a pool hustler at your local dive bar. He lives right next to the Red Mile when tapped into the Calgary arts vein and undercover in the ‘burbs as a loving and devoted boyfriend to his wonderful environmentalist poet girlfriend.

Neighborhood: Mayland Heights

Shaleen Ladha Shaleen Ladha

Shaleen is a born and raised Calgarian girl who breathes music. From daily digging for new content on blogs to weekends spent behind DJ booths, (and sometimes trying to DJ herself) she relies on this art form so deeply on an everyday basis. With several close friends in the music industry, Shaleen has learned an awful lot regarding production, studio sessions, songwriting, touring, record labels and academies around the world that shape musicians to be who they are. When not involved with music you can find Shaleen… well, doing nothing!


Neighbourhood: Sandstone
Twitter: @shaleenl