The Rise of Backyard Offices in Calgary

Like many construction contractors, Claus Brink has been working from home for years. He’s well-acquainted with what legions of workers are now just discovering in the age of COVID-19: the interruptions from kids, pets and partners, the work papers piled on the dining room table, no place to escape work at the end of the day. A little over 10 years ago, Brink realized the solution was as close as his own backyard, and he set about converting an old workshop behind his Altadore bungalow into an

Worried About Climate Change? For These Guides, It's a Numbers Game

On any normal winter day, Informalex, the email list that ski guides across western Canada rely on for beta, is active with discussion about avalanche conditions and route information. In the off-season, the list, only accessible to members of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, serves as a forum for bored members to debate guiding-related topics. I learned about the Infomalex when I texted a guide buddy to ask how concerned ski guides are about climate change. His reply was a lengthy

Why She Runs

It’s a half hour before dawn when Rachel Notley emerges from her hotel elevator, and I barely recognize her. She’s wearing her running clothes and a battered pair of Asics Gel running shoes. Despite having arrived in Calgary late the night before, she has a schedule to keep and she’s eager to head out. I’m here to talk to Notley about running, and we’re conducting the interview, literally, on the run. I’m a little worried. I want to hit all my questions, so I’ve written notes in Sharpie on the

Running's golden age of technology

When Ron Granich started running in 1977, he did it the hard way. He began by running his neighbourhood streets in Montreal block by block, eventually graduating to early morning, all-weather runs on Mount Royal. He’s competed in triathlons and Ironman competitions since but his first run is the most memorable. “I was bitten by a dog,” he says. We all have our challenges. Finding time to run can be a big obstacle for parents with young kids or people with busy work schedules. New runners strugg

OPINION | Why can't Calgary city council get along? | News

This column is an opinion from Dave Robertson, a meeting facilitator and writer in Calgary. "Calgary's city council was never noted for its tranquillity." Those are the words of Calgary's 28th mayor, Grant MacEwan, and they're from his 1958 book, Calgary Cavalcade: From Fort to Fortune. Fast forward to 2020 and nothing appears to have changed. In its most recent term, our city council has had more than its usual share of cringe-worthy moments. There have been during closed meetings, in coun

OPINION | You may not sense a vision for the future at city hall, but there is one, and it's 211 pages long | News

This column is an opinion from Dave Robertson, a meeting facilitator and writer in Calgary. He has written about biking in the city, restrictive covenants, stressed-out volunteers and an avalanche burial in Sentinel Pass. I'm finishing my cup of coffee at Lina's Italian Market when I finally find the courage to ask former Calgary city councillor Bob Hawkesworth whether the current city council has any vision. Hawkesworth is a polite, optimistic man, and at first he tells me he doesn't want to

OPINION | To hell with expert panels. Calgary needs an XPrize | News

This column is an opinion from Dave Robertson, a meeting facilitator and writer in Calgary. After facilitating my fair share of think tanks and advisory groups, I have little faith in Alberta's Economic Recovery Council or Calgary's Economic Resiliency Task Force. The moment someone utters the words "expert" or "blue ribbon," attention shifts from the problem to the people who are supposed to solve it. That's when a whole new set of problems start. Smart people are just as prone to the Dunnin

8 Tips for New Volunteers

You’ll be a more passionate and productive volunteer if you support a cause that’s close to your heart. If you are unsure where to get involved, take the time to explore different opportunities and find something you connect with. Are you a juggler, a roving consultant or a groupie? Volunteer Canada has created an online quiz to help Canadians learn more about their volunteer passions and preferences. Take the quiz at Opportunities like political campaigns have the potent

How To Help Your Teen Pick A High School

When I attended high school in the 1980s, I only had two choices — the “jock school” and the “stoner school,” as my best friend described them. Using some odd logic, my uni-versity-minded parents decided that the jock school was better academically so I went there. It didn’t make much difference. I turned out to be a lazy student with mediocre marks so when I graduated, I enrolled in a theatre program at the local community college. So what advice can a slacker dad like me offer his more ambiti

The Highs and Lows of the Hyper-Engaged Volunteer

They’re hard-working and competent and they get stuff done. They’re the hyper-engaged, super-volunteers who form the backbone of community groups and volunteer organizations across our city. There’s at least one involved with the parent council at your children’s school, your neighbourhood community association and more than a few with the local charities you support. Without them, Calgary would be a much less vibrant place to live. Ask your hyper-engaged friends if they think it is possible to

Suite Nothings: Restrictive covenant dashes laneway retirement house dreams

It was such a good plan: rezone our property to accommodate a secondary suite—a laneway house. Eventually, we would retire in a new, cosy home, with an attractive design and modern finishes. It would improve our property while bringing some needed renewal to Richmond Road. We’d be cutting-edge urbanists, living on-trend while “aging in place.” Our immediate neighbours liked the idea, and our community association had no objections. We applied for a land-use amendment to get zoning for a seconda