Thursday, June 22, 2017

Award-winners recognized for their commitment to education, community and Aboriginal culture

Elaine Cairns and Latasha Calf Robe love to share their passion for education, literacy and learning for their community.

Today, the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC) and The City of Calgary recognized these two exceptional women with The Chief David Crowchild Memorial Award and Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award. Now in its 31st year, these awards honour those who build bridges of understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures.

2017 Winner of Chief David Crowchild Memorial Award

Elaine Cairns, 2017 recipient of the Chief David Crowchild Memorial Award
Elaine Cairns is a literacy specialist who has developed curricula and facilitator training for Indigenous learning programs. Elaine is currently the executive director of the Further Education Society of Alberta (FESA), which she co-founded in 1996.

Elaine has worked with isolated communities, and provided mentoring and facilitator training for Indigenous community workers and trainers. The curricula she has worked on embraces Aboriginal traditions and focuses on sharing of information. In the acknowledgement that community is different, she works with community members to incorporate the knowledge of Elders about how to share the traditions and culture. With these learning programs, families are then able to share, teach, and build relationships within and outside their communities.

“As a Non-Indigenous person, I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award. It reaffirms for me the importance of the work I do in Indigenous communities”, says Elaine. “I have learned more from Indigenous people than they have ever learned from me. I have learned the importance of patience, to listen, be resilient, to persevere, and always have a connection to culture and traditions.”

Elaine’s efforts have opened the door to understanding the importance of working together to improve literacy in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures. She believes improved learning leads to improved lives and with passion and dedication we can bring literacy and learning to everyone. Making a difference, one learner, one community, one organization at a time.

2016 Winner of CAUAC Youth Achievement Award

Latasha Calf Robe, 2017 recipient of the CAUAC Youth Achievement Award
Latasha Calf Robe, 24, is a graduate of Mount Royal University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business, and a minor in Indigenous Studies and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Latasha is a proud Blackfoot student from the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta and is being recognized for utilizing traditional community teachings. In founding the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) Resiliency and Empowerment Discussion Group in 2016, Latasha created a positive space for the Mount Royal community -- a place to celebrate Indigenous resiliency and empower her peers. Her academic work and leadership has helped bring the community together to bridge generational, cultural, and ethnic differences through dialogue and storytelling. She was a featured panelist at an Access to Education, hosted by Mount Royal University, to discuss barriers Aboriginal students encounter at post-secondary institutions and how to overcome them.

This year, she also presented the student address at Mount Royal University for the visit of the Honorable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Aside from her academic achievements, Latasha’s involvement with student life demonstrate her strong desire and deep commitment to education, culture and her community.

“Winning this award allows me to represent my community, the Blood Reserve, in a positive way. I hope to empower and encourage other young Indigenous scholars and youth to iiykakimaat (try hard), and to never stop chasing their dreams,” says Latasha. “There is no goal too big. By using the resiliency and traditional ways taught to us by our elders, parents and community, anything is possible.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The City celebrates World Wi-Fi Day

Today is World Wi-Fi Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the significant role Wi-Fi is playing in connecting cities and communities around the world. It is hard to believe that the Internet has been around since 1969 and last year the Internet got its very own global day of recognition.

Did you know that The City has a Public Wi-Fi program that provides Wi-Fi service to over 65 City facilities and locations using the Shaw Go WiFi network? Since last year, when Mayor Nenshi acknowledged June 20 as World Wi-Fi Day, over 8,200,000 guest connections have been made using the Shaw Go WiFi network.

The public Wi-Fi service started in 2013 and is available to all members of the public at no charge. Below are some interesting facts about The City’s public Wi-Fi program.

The top LRT Stations where Calgarians use public Wi-Fi are:
  • Chinook LRT Station 
  • Marlborough LRT Station 
  • City Hall LRT Station 
  • Rundle LRT Station 
  • Whitehorn LRT Station
The top City facilities where Calgarians use public Wi-Fi are:
  • Southland Leisure Centre 
  • Calgary Soccer Centre 
  • Village Square Leisure Centre 
  • Devonian Gardens 
  • Henry Viney/Stew Hendry Arenas 
The City has been working with Shaw to expand its public Wi-Fi program to make it easier for Calgarians to stay connected while travelling around Calgary. Coming in early July all LRT stations in Calgary will have public Wi-Fi access using the Shaw Go WiFi network. Learn how you can connect to this free service by visiting the Public Wi-Fi program.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Play area, public art, new trees and a rain garden all part of the 4 Avenue Flyover project’s final concepts

Students from Langevin Science School, the University of Calgary’s Landscape Architecture program, with support from The City, unveiled their final concept for the green space under the 4 Avenue N.E. Flyover.

The final design includes safety elements, public art, play opportunities and a rain garden which will all enhance the walkway between Bridgeland Riverside and Calgary’s downtown and river pathway network.

After reviewing the public’s top choices of the six concepts that were presented in April, a final design was created from those preferred components, along with technical advice from City experts.

These final design features are:
  • Better lighting
  • Play area and adventure play opportunities
  • Colourful public art – including a community banner on the flyover
  • New trees, organized to feel like an orchard
  • A rain garden to clean and slow storm water 
  • A boardwalk through the rain garden (wheelchair accessible) 
  • Street art created to be playful and allow students to leave their mark. 
  • Shipping container artist spaces 
  • Location for an artist to create a gateway feature
  • An inclusive space to gather and play games

The project will be funded through grant applications, some existing City programs and community donations and will be built as budget becomes available and according to opportunities for greatest impact. To-date, the project has already been awarded a Soul of the City grant, a local developer is donating rocks for the rain garden and The City will be planting carefully selected trees for the environment near Memorial Drive.

The City would like to say thank you to our many partners in the community, Langevin Science School and University of Calgary for giving life and ideas to this hidden opportunity.

To learn more about the project, visit

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Four things you need to know about the Community Standards Bylaw

When you ask Calgarians what they love about this city, the answer is often “the people.” While most of us do our best to be good neighbours, sometimes we need a little guidance to do the right thing. That’s where the Community Standards Bylaw comes in.

Updated at the end of 2016, the bylaw promotes good neighbour relationships and addresses community concerns by regulating noise, fire pit use, untidy properties, weeds and grass, graffiti and nuisances. When we engaged with citizens as part of our bylaw review, we heard the concerns many of you expressed about outdoor concert bass sound levels, wood-burning fire pits, upkeep of properties and delivery of flyers to homes with “no junk mail” signs. We made a number of amendments to address these concerns, and brought in other changes to make the bylaw easier to understand and use.

1. Fire Pits

Did you know that the Community Standards Bylaw lays out the requirements for using backyard wood-burning fire pits? The new regulations for fire pits include:
  • Using a mesh screen or spark guard to reduce the spread of embers and sparks
  • Extinguishing the flame by midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends
  • Increased fines for unsafe fires and burning prohibited materials

The bylaw still covers other aspects of using wood-burning fire pits, such as:
  • Restricting the height of the flame to one metre
  • Building a fire pit out of acceptable materials and within maximum size limits
  • Listing materials that cannot be burned
  • Ensuring the fire pit is at least two metres from other structures and is not under a tree or overhanging branches
  • Ensuring you have a means of extinguishing the fire on hand and that you put it out before you leave it unattended

2. Noise

While many Calgarians love their outdoor concerts and festivals, there are those who prefer peace and quiet. The Community Standards Bylaw helps reduce noise concerns for Calgarians by regulating the maximum sound levels that outdoor concerts can reach when measured from a home. The bylaw sets a new limit of 85 dBC for outdoor concert sound to reduce the impact of bass music while still allowing concert goers to enjoy the experience. Mid- and high-frequency sound still has a limit of 65 dBA. There are also increased fines for noise exceeding allowable limits.

3. Flyers

While some Calgarians appreciate getting information from organizations around the city others consider flyers junk mail. Flyers, including non-commercial flyers, cannot be delivered to homes with “no flyer” signs. There are a few exemptions, however, so you’ll still get election advertising, newspaper subscriptions, community newsletters, and information provided by government and elected officials.

4. Upkeep of properties

Calgary is known as one of the world’s most desirable cities to live in, and pride of ownership plays a big part in that. Since we can have different opinions on what is considered unsightly, the Community Standards Bylaw sets out rules based on what most people consider reasonable when it comes to upkeep of properties. We’ve increased the fines for bylaw violations. This helps maintain the deterrent effect for offences that cause an unsightly condition, create a public safety concern or attract pests. This includes long grass and weeds, and accumulation of building materials stored improperly, offensive materials and harmful fluids.

Want to know more or have a concern or complaint?

Read the Community Standards Bylaw, or call 311 for more information. To log a complaint about these and other bylaw infractions, call 311, or submit a service request using our 311 app or on The City’s web site.

Friday, June 9, 2017

June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month: Adopting a cat through Animal Services

June is nationally recognized as Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month for prospective pet owners and the City of Calgary’s Animal Services Centre currently has an influx of adoptable cats. This higher than normal volume is due to the Animal Services Centre assisting the Humane Society in time of need (due to the organization’s recent temporary facility closure to manage canine parvovirus).

As a result of this support, Animals Services has taken in stray cats that would normally be housed by the Humane Society and currently has 53 adoptable cats and kittens.

Calgarian communications professional, Alysha S., was intrigued by the cat adoption process because of her busy lifestyle, personal nature and love of animals.

“I grew up always having pets as part of our family and after university I had been thinking about getting an animal of my own for quite some time. Based on my lifestyle and the size of my home I thought a cat would be the perfect addition to my life. I visited both the Humane Society and Animal Services to meet some cats and see if there was one that seemed like a good fit for me.”

Alysha knew it was love at first sight after visiting the Animal Services Centre facility, “As soon as I saw Darlene, I knew she was the cat for me; the most adorable, small, black, adult cat!”

From there, she found the adoption process at Animal Services was easy, quick, and educational, laying the groundwork for her and Darlene’s new adventure.

“Darlene had up-to-date shots and a recent veterinary check-up. I was provided a one month trial for pet insurance and information on how to insure my new cat. I felt ready and prepared to take my cat home and start our new journey together,” said Alysha.

Any pet owner in Calgary will tell you their animal plays a vital role in their lives and overall lifestyle. “Darlene has been a great addition to my life; we ended up being the perfect match. Being a laid back, busy, young professional, Darlene has the perfect temperament and makes a great roommate.  She greets me at the door every day when I get home from work and provides me with the adoration and caring companionship I was looking for from a pet,” said Alysha.

She would recommend adoption to any prospective pet owners, “The impact adoption has on an animal is amazing to watch as you and your pet get to know one another. Darlene took a while to warm up to her new surroundings but as soon as she learned to trust me, and that she was finally home, her true personality was able to shine.”

Licensing your pet cat is also an important process that Alysha recommends. “Although I don’t know the background of my cat, it is clear that she had been someone’s pet at some point. I can’t imagine my life without her, so for me it’s an obvious decision to license her in the event she was able to wander outside. It’s also inexpensive and easy. I love that I can renew Darlene’s cat license online,” said Alysha.

Pet ownership has proven benefits to the health and social well-being of owners, in addition to the positive impact of providing a home and social setting for a homeless animal in need. Through adoption you are contributing to making a better Calgary for all Calgarians; human and furry citizens alike.

How to Adopt
To learn more about the cats available for adoption at the Animal Services Centre, visit, call 3-1-1 or visit the facility at 2201 Portland Street S.E.

Animals Service Centre staff welcome walk-ins during business hours and are happy to answer your questions about adoption and pet ownership.