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Calgary

Retail Spotlight: Calgary Jewellery

By SHAUNA MCGINN

A Calgary-owned business spanning three generations, Calgary Jewellery has been a staple in the city’s retail scene since 1955. Started by Les and Dora Florence, today the store is run by their son Bernard Florence and their grandson Jonathan, along with a team of dedicated staff. Jonathan spoke to Where Calgary about how the family business has continued to thrive.

Photo courtesy Jonathan Florence.

Calgary Jewellery is going on 64 years in business. What has kept it relevant all these years?
It’s truly because of the customer service we provide. We pride ourselves on the things that are unique, exclusive, but also, when it comes to anyone’s budget, we focus on providing the exact same experience whether you’re looking to spend $100 or $100,000. Also, the members of our staff have been with us anywhere from 10 years all the way up to 30 years. So when clients come in, they see a familiar face and they can feel comfortable with someone they know.

What was your grandfather’s initial business philosophy, and what does that look like for the store today?
It was integrity, it was customer relationships, and it was providing the same experience for everyone. One of the most important things now is having a unique selection of product. People want something that’s unique to them, and if they have their own taste and style, we’re able to cater to that.

What would you tell someone who is looking for a really special piece — like an engagement ring, for example — but has no idea where to start?
The most important thing is that if they were going to come into the store with zero knowledge, it’s our job to educate our clients. Using an engagement ring as an example, we would sit the client down and make them feel comfortable — for us the sale isn’t the end goal, it’s the relationship we’re building. We would go over a little bit about Diamonds 101, and we would ask questions like: ‘What makes you happy?’ or, ‘What makes you smile?’ At the end of the day, jewellery is an emotional purchase. If a client has no idea about jewellery, the most important thing is that the jeweller asks the right questions and learns about the client first.

How have you seen the retail market in Calgary change over the years?
Social media has become a wonderful tool, and we look at it as an opportunity to connect with clients that we may not have had before. We are one of the first truly independent jewellers that started in Calgary, and we have such a great history… Calgary Jewellery — it’s an easy name to know and to find.

15 things to do in Calgary in February 2019

By SHAUNA MCGINN

YYC HOT CHOCOLATE FEST
What better way to weather the season than with a whole month of celebrating everyone’s favourite winter beverage? In support of Calgary Meals on Wheels, some of the city’s best cafés, restaurants and chocolatiers will compete for the coveted title of Best Hot Chocolate. Participate by sipping sweet or savoury varieties from February 1 – 28 and helping decide which one will reign supreme.

Photo courtesy Calgary Meals on Wheels.

LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
Celebrate with the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre at their annual event to ring in Chinese New Year. There will be live performances, a marketplace, firework displays and more from February 2 – 3. Admission is free to this great family-friendly event, where it will be time to mark the change from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig.

Photo courtesy Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre.

EVEREST OPERA
This moving opera about one of the deadliest days in Mount Everest’s history is having its Canadian premiere with the Calgary Opera, and will be on the stage select dates from February 2 – 8.

CHRISTIAN DIOR
An exhibition dedicated to one of the world’s top fashion houses is coming to Calgary on February 3, and will run until June 2. Christian Dior at Glenbow is a retrospective of the fashion legend’s haute couture from 1947-1957.

LAND’S END ENSEMBLE CONCERT
The award-winning Canadian classical music ensemble is bringing a night of original music with this performance on February 8.

THE ARKELLS
The beloved indie rockers hailing from Hamilton, Ontario will be on stage at the Saddledome on February 9 with American alternative group Lord Huron.

DE.VI.ATE
Watch talented artists from the Alberta Ballet in a triple bill meant to push the boundaries of dance, art and performance. This year’s de.Vi.ate includes back-to-back spectacles: Caelestis, Futureland and A World Premiere, each blending cutting-edge choreography with modern multimedia elements for an awe-inspiring show meant to provoke artistic innovation. Watch from February 13 – 16. 

Photo by Hayna Gutierrez.

SMOKE
From February 13 – 23, watch a thought-provoking play about intimacy, love and violence from Albertan playwright Elena Belyea, put on by Downstage theatre.

THE HARPOONIST & THE AXE MURDERER
The Vancouver-based rock and blues duo are gracing the stage at the historic King Eddy hotel from February 15 – 17 for exclusive performances, as well as the recording of a live album. Head to this legendary venue for “three nights of swaggering, soul-scorching, boogie-laced blues.”

SYMPHONIC FAIRYTALES
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is presenting a repertoire of must-listen pieces geared toward younger audiences, including Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb and Mother Goose Suite, on February 17.

SHAD
The Toronto-based rapper and former host of CBC’s Q is performing at Calgary’s Commonwealth Bar on February 19. His highly anticipated LP, Short Story About A War, was released this past October, joining his repertoire of critically acclaimed musical works like TSOL and Flying Colours. Drawing on themes of home, migration, violence, politics, the environment and more, Shad’s work further exemplifies his ability to deliver thought-provoking, socially conscious art.

Photo by Justin Broadbent.

LITTLE BIG TOWN
The award-winning American country music group are taking the stage on February 23 with their heartfelt, chart-topping tunes.

THE SCARLET LETTER
From February 26 – March 23, see the play based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, written and adapted by Phyllis Nagy and presented by Theatre Calgary.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
If you’ve been itching for a Harry Potter marathon, be sure to incorporate this incredible live experience of the second film. Watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as musicians from Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra perform the original score live. This unique way to view an all-time favourite is not to be missed. From February 28 – March 1. 

TRAILBLAZERS: ALBERTA 
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), is showcasing Alberta’s musical groundbreakers in a new exhibit. Trailblazers: Alberta makes use of video interviews, concert footage and more to showcase big names hailing from Alberta, including Tegan and Sara, Feist and Chad Kroeger. Emerging artists and their accomplishments are also featured, from country singer Lindsay Ell to The Static Shift, a trio of Calgary-based blues-rockers.

What happens when you clean an Olympic medal with Ajax?

By SILVIA PIKAL 

Photo by Jason Dziver.

1936 OLYMPIC SILVER MEDAL
At Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Helena Deng, manager of exhibits and collections, points out a display with two Olympic medals.

The medals are both the same size, shape, and are imprinted with the words “XI. Olympiade Berlin 1936.” Both medals belonged to Canadian track and field athlete John Wilfrid Loaring, who won a silver medal in 400-metre hurdles at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

But one of these things is not like the other. One is silver and shiny, while the other is discoloured and clearly damaged.

“Unfortunately, my mother cleaned the winner’s silver medal with Ajax Cleanser which badly tarnished it,” Loaring’s son, G. R. John Loaring, said in an email to Where Calgary.

“Ajax is a very, very harsh chemical,” Deng says. “It’s great for sinks, less so for silver medals. By cleaning it with Ajax, she stripped a large portion — if not all — of the silver plating off the medal.”

Many years later, G. R. John Loaring received permission from the International Olympic Committee Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland to obtain a duplicate of the medal.

Luckily, the same German company that made the 1936 Berlin Olympic medals was still in business and able to reproduce the original. The medals are identical aside from a tiny “COPY” stamped along part of the thin round edge. (And the copy is unravaged by Ajax, of course).

In 2015, when Loaring was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, his son shipped his collection of medals to the museum, which included the original and its shiny copy.

“We as Canadians have a very long history of success in athletics,” Deng says. “This medal — to have it displayed — is that impact story.”

A CANADIAN TRACK AND FIELD STAR
Loaring was born in Winnipeg and moved to Windsor in 1926. A rising track and field star, he won several medals in high school and on the Kennedy Collegiate Track Team.

At only 21 years old, Loaring competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in 400-metre hurdles. The very first time he competed in this event was at the Canadian Olympic trials. He was also the youngest finalist in the category, and thus surprised the world by taking home the silver medal. Following his success in the Olympics, he won three gold medals at the 1938 British Empire Games.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, he left Canada for Britain to serve in the Royal Navy. In 1940, as a radar officer on HMS Fiji, Loaring overcame gruelling and challenging circumstances. When the ship was dispatched to pick up civilian survivors of a torpedoed ship, Loaring was able to help resuscitate three children due to his training in Royal Life Saving skills.

During the Battle for Crete, their ship ran out of ammunition and was sunk by a German bomber. Thanks to the strength and stamina Loaring developed as one of the top hurdlers in the world, he survived by clinging to the wreckage for hours until he was rescued. He developed severe oil poisoning due to being in the water for so long, and was put ashore in Africa to recover. Still, less than a year later, he was back to competing in track meets in England.

Back home in Windsor he was an active athlete, worked as a coach and lent his time to a variety of sports organizations.

Hot Art Round-Up: Jul 12-15

By HOT ART YYC

THURSDAY, JULY 12 

Second Thursday – Artist Spotlight
cSPACE, Alberta Craft Gallery, 5 – 8 pm

FRIDAY, JULY 13

Chroma Summer Group Exhibition
Christine Klassen Gallery, 5 – 7 pm

Inglewood Night Market, 5 – 11 pm

Community Evening at Esker!
Esker Foundation, 6 – 8 pm

Friday the 13th : Kitty Edition : Roman66 + Guests / Fundraiser
EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society, 7:33 – 11:33 pm

SATURDAY, JULY 14

Fragments of Time
John Fluevog Shoes, 10 am – 7 pm

Farmers & Makers Market at cSPACE
cSPACE, 10 am – 3 pm

ISO Three-Ways: A Reading + Conversation
Stride Gallery, 2 – 4 pm

SUNDAY, JULY 15

Fire Song: Four Afternoons of Indigenous Cinema
Untitled Art Society, 2 – 4 pm

 

 

 

Hidden histories: Uncover the secrets of museum artifacts in Calgary

By SILVIA PIKAL

IF THESE ARTIFACTS COULD TALK
There’s hundreds of thousands of artifacts in Calgary museums, many of them stored where you can’t see them, biding their time to be on display whether as part of a new exhibit or to commemorate an occasion. They have histories just waiting to be discovered by the public.

And the ones you do see under glass in Calgary’s museums have stories you could never imagine — from a cigarette tin discovered recently in France that belonged to a solider who travelled from Calgary to Europe to fight in the First World War, to a 35-foot-long theatre organ that was squished into a basement with its pipes bent to fit — we give you a backstage look at the stories behind four artifacts from Calgary museums.

Photo courtesy Glenbow.

On the seventh floor of Glenbow, one of the floors containing the museum’s collections materials, Travis Lutley slips on a pair of archival gloves and picks up a slender cigarette tin. Its exterior is dotted with rust, but it’s in pretty good shape considering it’s been buried in dirt for almost a century.

(more…)

The bell that rang when Chuvalo fought Ali

By SILVIA PIKAL

Exhibit in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

The year was 1966.

The place was Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

And the fight was between George Chuvalo and Muhammad Ali.

(more…)

15 things to do in Calgary in June

By RACHAEL FREY

Photo courtesy Monsieur Periné.

MONSIEUR PERINÉ

This Columbian group mixes Latin and European influences in their Afro-Caribbean sound. See them on June 4. (more…)

3 new eats in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY and SILVIA PIKAL

Looking for something fresh? These places have opened in Calgary within the past few months.

LITTLE LOT DINER 

Check out Little Lot Diner for casual and tasty breakfast, and lunch and dinner, from bennies to burgers. They’re also licensed and serve 12 cocktails, 4 rotational taps and a coffee bar. (more…)

15 things to do in Calgary in May

By RACHAEL FREY and SILVIA PIKAL

Photo courtesy Alberta Beer Festivals.

Calgary International Beer Fest

From May 4-5, sample some of the 500 beers onsite, take part in beer seminars, vote for the best and more. (more…)

3 high notes at the National Music Centre

By SILVIA PIKAL

Journey behind Alberta’s music festivals

Photo by Gabriella Gut.

Every year thousands of Calgarians flock to local music festivals, or make the pilgrimage to cities and towns across Alberta, to celebrate genres spanning hip hop, folk, blues and more. Festival Alberta at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), takes a look at the history and impact of Alberta’s music festivals.

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5 places to get an Old Fashioned in Calgary

By SILVIA PIKAL

The Old Fashioned cocktail is a classic typically made with spirits, bitters, water and sugar. You can’t go wrong with this classic and it’s quite popular amongst Calgary’s happy hour hoppers. Here are five places that do them particularly well.

Barcelona Tavern 

Smoke in a glass at Barcelona Tavern/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

The drink here is made with Bulleit Bourbon and the glass is cedar smoked by the bartenders. Drop by on a Friday after work and you’ll smell it in the air. (more…)

15 things to do in Calgary in March

By RACHAEL FREY

Paw Patrol Live

Photo illustration courtesy Nickelodeon.

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