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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Link: simplevines.com Twitter: @simplevines
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.
Twitter: @allisonjaysmith Social Good: email@example.com
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.
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!
Kirran is…only here for the food. And maybe some gorgeous Calgary sunshine. A born and bred Calgary girl, she’s gone in search of food high and low, near and far, experiencing the food culture in the UK, US, and Toronto before moving back to Calgary this year. As somewhat of a “professional student”, Kirran is eagerly re-exploring the flourishing food scene in Calgary by investigating all it has to offer: farmers markets, grocery stores, small shops, local hangouts, and a hidden gem or two. Most of all, Kirran loves getting busy in the kitchen, which is usually where she can be found in her ‘spare’ time; almost everything ends up in photographic form some way or another, so everyone can enjoy the hits and misses (and the occasional near disaster)!
Simply known as “Moose”, Andrew Halipchuk is a young man living in Calgary, Alberta. But the big city wasn’t always the home of this aspiring sports writer, Andrew lived in the small lakeside town of Matlock, Manitoba for 18 years of his life. While growing up in Matlock, Andrew played a variety of sports including hockey for 10 years, and football for four years. During his four years in football Andrew’s team, the North Winnipeg Nomads never missed the playoffs and had won the Provincial Championships in November of 2006. Andrew also curled for nine years and continues to curl from time to time as a spare when he returns home over the holidays. Andrew also tried his hand at other sports over his 18 years in Manitoba, these sports include, soccer, volleyball, basketball, badminton and golf.
After Andrew graduated in June of 2008, he had applied to the University of Calgary, he was accepted in July and had moved to Calgary by the end of August. Initially Andrew struggled in his first semester at the university and found it difficult to balance work and schooling. He would soon dropout of the Chemistry program he was taking and turned his attention to history and geography. He would continue to attend the university for three years before dropping out due to lack of interest. After a year of working and saving up money to return to school, Andrew applied to SAIT Polytechnic where he studied journalism and graduated in April of 2014.
Laura believes in saying “yes” and figuring out the rest later. “Yes” has led to many funny stories, and it’s what brought her to Calgary. But it all started in her hometown of Toronto. It was talking to strangers while pursuing a post-grad degree in public relations that sparked her passion of meeting new people and telling their stories. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the closest gym or fitness studio, coffee shop, or on Twitter. Laura is also a freelance writer an editor, and the giggles and fun behind the life & style blog scribbles&sass.
Greg can often be spotted with a local beer on a sunny 17th Avenue patio or in the front row of a dingy indie music venue. As an avid non-spandex bicycle rider, you may have seen Greg cruising by with baguettes in his basket and a coffee in hand. You may also have overheard him arguing loudly in public about philosophy, politics or the local festival scene; a bad habit he developed while completing his undergraduate at University of Calgary.
He may put on a suit and smile like all the other young professionals: don’t be fooled! Professional life is nothing but the outmost cuticle and mortal coil. Real life happens with a beer in hand, music in the air and a bicycle between the legs.
Like many Calgarians, Ashley is originally from Saskatchewan, but was raised in Calgary. A self-proclaimed sushi connoisseur and lover of words, you can usually find her with her head in a book and a coffee in her hand at whatever hipster hangout has a quiet table. She also writes for the Calgary Journal, and will be graduating from Mount Royal University in 2015. Until then, she continues to blow her budget on sushi and endless bottles of Riesling.