The ARTS program is seeking a local artist to be our next featured artist this summer! 

The selected artist (or art collective) will receive a $2000 budget to lead a community art project as well as three consecutive Saturday art workshops at the BCA. 

Click below to learn more and apply by June 12, or contact Abby at communityhub@mybowness.com


What do our Featured Artists get up to? The sky’s the limit! 

This spring, local stop-motion animator Sacha Michaud hosted a series of community workshops where participants created their own set and puppets for a Made in Bowness animated short!

"Community Is..."

By Sacha Michaud and ARTS Program Participants!


Interviews by Sophie Stocking

Each year, the BCA awards three different awards to volunteers who make a difference in our community. Volunteers are nominated by their friends, neighbours, fellow volunteers, and colleagues. The three winners exemplify what it means to volunteer your time, skills and expertise to better the community.

The Nessie Award

Given to an individual that has volunteered specifically for the Bowness Community Association and has shown passion throughout the year.

The Neighbourhood Nessie

Given to an individual that has made contributions throughout the community of Bowness at various organizations, events or on their own for their neighbours and neighbourhood.

The Team Nessie

Given to a group, organization, or business that has volunteered their time and efforts in creating a better Bowness as a group.

The Nessie Award – Awarded to Linda MacRae for her Contribution to Neighbourhood Food Week

(Pictured: Centre)

Linda is an active volunteer with the Bowness Community Association and helped tremendously with Neighbourhood Food Week throughout 2023. Linda gave thoughtful insight and worked to develop the many events during Food Week, as well as spread the word throughout the community about this new initiative. During Food Week, she connected with many residents and shared information about food resources in the community. She spent many hours inputting feedback from residents who took part in Food Week, and analyzed that feedback with the BCA staff and the community social worker involved in Neighbourhood Food Week. Linda is also involved in a number of other BCA activities, including the HR committee and Events Committee. – From Linda’s Nessie Nomination 

Linda: “I love the BCA, I love the community aspect, and the people who work here because of that community mindedness thing. So, last year was the first year we did Food Week. It was a real adventure and learning project. I met a ton of people from Greenwood Village, Montgomery, and Bowness so that was great. I also sit on the Events Committee and also the Food Week Committee, and I help with the seniors’ dinners.

Sophie: What would you say to people to encourage them to volunteer?

Linda: I would say that I’ve had so much learning through volunteering, through meeting different people in different ways of life, and learning different skills too. I did some administration with Food Week, and I had to learn how to do spreadsheets! I’m getting used to being retired, and that can be kind of isolating. It’s great interacting with people in the community and seeing where I can build bridges and help bring people together who are also isolated. It’s as simple as starting a conversation sometimes. So that’s been the real value for me. 

The Neighbourhood Nessie – Awarded to Crystal Johnson Representing Simon House

(Pictured: Left)

I believe the gentlemen at Simon House deserve a neighborhood Nessie, as they have done so much to help with every event in the community. They support our projects with kindness and humour, and are always willing to lend a hand. Our community garden would not be in the shape it is without the incredible work that they have contributed. The garden comittee thanks Simon House for its efforts and enthusiasm. – From Simon House’s Nessie Nomination

Sophie: Can you tell me why your guys are such incredible volunteers?

Crystal: I’m not going to lie; I push them to do it! I’m a recovering addict myself, and volunteering helped me so much. It gets you out of your own head, and it stops the chaos. Giving back is an incredible feeling, and the more the guys do it, the more community, and sense of contribution, and belonging that they feel. Last year they took part in building the BCA Community Garden. It was hard work, it was hot! So, there was some grumbling, but afterwards the guys were so pumped! They said it was really fun, and they want to come back in the spring, and help with the planting. It was an awesome experience for them. I love everything the BCA does.

The Neighbourhood Nessie – Awarded to Marilynne Walkey Hall

(Pictured: Right)

Marilyn has visibly volunteered in the community going above and beyond to help individuals and community agencies such as Community Kitchen, the Lions, Bowness Seniors Centre, the BCA, Carya, as well as local churches. There are likely more that I am not aware of. Also, Marilyn does helpful compassionate works behind the scenes anonymously. – From Marilynne’s Nessie Nomination 

Marilynne: I came from a family of twelve children. All of us went to school in Bowness, and it was our mum Maree who taught us how to be good volunteers. Even with twelve children she volunteered anywhere she could, the church, the schools. She brought us up really well. We were members of St. Edmonds Church, and before she passed, she was the oldest female member. Because of how she raised me, I’ve always volunteered, whether it was at my kid’s schools, or involving my grandkids. Recently I’ve been cooking for the Bowness Seniors Centre. I’m on the Holiday Committee, and I try to get people to come to the Senior’s Centre for exercise, and to volunteer themselves. I also participated in a wonderful crochet project with the crafting class recently.

Sophie: How do you encourage other people to volunteer?

Marilynne: You just have to show them how much fun you’re having, and what you can accomplish with that little bit of smiles, you know? People are always telling me it’s my smile. It’s an enjoyment thing, not a task.

Screenshot 2024 03 13 at 10.28.39 AM

Originally Published in the Mar/Apr 2024 Bowest’ner

By Gideon Mentie

“I came to Bowness in 2009 when I moved from Edmonton,” says Peter. “And I’ve lived here forever!” says Bartek with a giggle, sending the whole Pilarski family into laughter.

“I met Peter in 2010,” adds Christina. “ I was a south-side girl my whole life and didn’t know much about the neighbourhood except for the stereotypes. Obviously, I hung out here with Peter quite a bit and fell in love – with the community and with the man.”

When I ask the boys what their favourite thing about Bowness is, Bartek is quick to respond, “It’s big!” And his brother adds, “I like that I have lots of friends here.””

“What about all the dogs?” asks Christina. Jacub shakes his head in agreement and says, “DOGGIES!” and then he continues, “we also go to school in Bowness.”

“I think that’s one of the best things about Bowness,” adds Christina. “Everything is around us. One time I signed the kids up for some activity and I didn’t really look at the address. But it was only three minutes away from Bowness! Everything is right here.”

“My goal in life is not to have to drive more than 10 minutes,” Peter adds in total agreement. “And I’m actually super excited about a lot of the new restaurants and developments. I see a lot of young families moving in. When we first got here we only had five families on Halloween. But this year we must have had 100 families on this street! So you can really see the community building and that’s really cool. And I think there are certain things that’ll never change, like the river valley and Bowness Park.”

“Coming from south Calgary, I think what’s changed the most is that stigma about Bowness,” says Christina. “I think that 10 years ago you would say Bowness to someone and they would automatically think about one thing. Now it’s completely different. And all of our neighbours look out for us. If I ever need something, I know I can text my next-door neighbour right away. We rebuilt the backyard fence we share, but we kept a gap so that we can have eyes on each other’s backdoor.”

Speaking of the backyard, the Pilarski boys are excited to chat about their backyard hockey rink. Jacub tells me, “ We had it once before when I was five years old, and now we have it again this year.” I ask them if they have a Zamboni and Jacub responds, “No. We put water on it and we let it freeze.”

As the boys put on their skates, Christina tells me, “The rink has even become a gathering spot for friends. We did our Christmas Eve back there and a bunch of our neighbours came. I think it’s become a new Bowness tradition.”

2024 Socials (83)

Did you know? The Community Garden at the BCA is run by a team of amazing volunteers! The Garden Volunteer Committee is seeking new members to join them ahead of the 2024 season. Click below for detailed volunteer role descriptions: 

Events and Education

Communication and Outreach

Maintenance and Safety



Think you’d be a good fit? Contact Jen at garden@mybowness.com to learn more!


A Conversation with Blayne: A Life of Ice and Flames

By Cody Hollick, originally published in the Jan/Feb 24 Bowest’ner

Cody: Good afternoon, Blayne!

Blayne: Good afternoon.

C: Tell us what you do around the BCA, Blayne.

B: I’m the Olympia driver. I do maintenance on the building, the ice, and whatever has to be done.

C: How long have you worked as an arena operator?

B: Over forty years! I started when I was fourteen.

C: So what your fans want to know about is the time you spent with the Calgary Flames. What was your role with the Flames?

B: I started in the Corral during the second year the Flames were in Calgary. I was working in the grandstand for the Stampede, and the boss for the Corral came over and said, “Do you know how to do ice?” and I said yeah, so he said “Okay, you’re being transferred over to the Corral.” So, I started up doing the Calgary Wranglers Games and practices, and then one morning I showed up in the morning for my seven o’clock shift and he said “Go home and come back at three, because you’re driving your first game!” It was a Flames playoff game against the Vancouver Canucks.

C: What was it like to be so close to the action during the Flames games? Do you have any favourite moments or things that stood out?

B: Driving the Stanley Cup run in ’89. I drove game one, game two, and game five until they were down in Montreal, blew the ghost out of the rafters, and brought the cup home! But I enjoyed every game being close to it like that. Hockey’s my life!

C: What about behind the scenes? Can you share any details that fans might not be aware of?

B: Behind the scenes as a driver, you’re ready for anything. If the glass goes, you might need to do a patch job, maybe a really big one, and next to that it’s just about maintaining the machines and helping out if somebody needs you.

C: Well said. Seems like it’s about the same as what you do for us at the BCA!

B: Except that once you start driving for the Flames, that’s pretty much all you do. You’re a driver! I’ve driven both types of machines, Zamboni and Olympia. I prefer an Olympia. Not only are they Canadian made, but they’re easier to operate. I actually met Frank J. Zamboni, the inventor’s grandson, and I also met the son of the guy who started Olympia.

C: What about some of the interactions you had with the Flames players over the years?

B: I’d get them cigars when their babies were born! Being around them, they’re just people. They’re just like friends and the alumni are just fantastic. I’ve played a few pickup games with them too and intermingled with them like that. I used to get invited out every time I didn’t work. I felt like a pylon!

C: What was the difference preparing the ice for a high stakes game like a playoff compared to a practice?

B: Well for a practice you get out in the morning, you do your edges, you do your ice, and they go out and skate on it. But during a game you do the edges with an electric, but then you have to flood (drive the Olympia) every hour until game time.

C: How did you like the passion and energy of the fans at the Dome during the games?

B: I loved it! The fans were great. Especially when you’d meet someone who had tickets in the Corral twenty years ago, and now they have tickets in the Dome, and they come and talk to you and say, “You drove for the Flames in the Corral, didn’t you?” That really hit home, that people had been watching you that many years.”

C: That says a lot, doesn’t it? How has working so closely to a professional team like the Flames impacted your view of hockey in general?

B: I’ve been involved in hockey all my life. So working for the junior teams the Hitmen and the Wranglers, the best has been seeing how many of my buddies made the NHL from the juniors. My favorite was Ryan Getslaf — a nice guy and a good friend.

C: That’s so cool — you’ve rubbed shoulders with some pretty incredible players!

B: I have! And now and again I still get to rub shoulders with Lanny when he comes and watches his grandson play at the BCA.

C: And we get to rub shoulders with you — you’re a piece of history!

B: I’m just old!

C: What was game day like? The build up to it?

B: It was exciting. It was a totally different feeling from coming in and doing the practices. The other team would be there, and then when the fans started rolling in you could really feel it.

C: Let’s talk about ’89 when the Flames won the Stanley Cup. What was it like when the Flames got back home from Montreal?

B: I went out and partied with them! I opened up the door at the bar and the first person I saw was Lanny, and the tears were still flowin’! He was so overtaken by the joy of winning his first cup, ‘cuz he never did with the Leafs! It was just great to sit with them. They were friends, and they still are, every single one of them. They’re still good people, compared to the hockey players of today… (laughs) It’s something I love doing, you know? After the Flames I went back to the Stampede and I drove there for a while until they tore down the Corral. That really put a hole in my heart cause I loved working in that old building. But then this job came available… it’s in my blood and that’s all there is to it. I enjoy doing the work and I especially enjoy doing it for the kids.

C: Well we sure are lucky to have somebody of your calibre here.

B: I appreciate that and I’m trying my best — there’s still always some stuff I can improve!

seed starting in toilet paper tubes

By Beverley Sheridan – From the Jan/Feb 2024 Bowest’ner

The spiraling cost of… please fill in the blank! It is an almost daily news item and one which has many Calgarians looking for ways to adjust their budgets to make their hard-earned dollars stretch further. Gardeners have not been spared in our recent escalating price hikes. Are there ways to garden in a money-conscious way and still enjoy the food, flowers and stress relief that gardening brings? In a word, yes. There are many things you can do to spend less and get more from your garden.

Growing some of your own food will save you money, but all gardens require inputs on the front end whether you garden to enjoy a food crop or just having a flower garden that provides wonderful physical and mental health benefits. As one of my gardening friends once commented, “one needs to think outside the pot” and find ways to share, upcycle, borrow, and swap those things you need to start and maintain your garden.

One of the best ways to get more bang for your buck is to not spend those bucks in the first place. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination but here are some of my favourites:

Get Free (or nearly free) Plants

Starting your own plants from seed is easy, even if you lack a greenhouse and only have a few window sills. A packet of seeds and a small bag of soilless starter mix will produce many plants, likely more than you need for your own use. In my late winter enthusiasm, I always start more seedlings than I can use and those extras can then be given or traded with my neighbours or fellow gardeners. Get to know the gardeners in your neighbourhood — you will find they are a generous lot, and they usually have extra plants they do not want consigned to the compost bin.

Calgary has several garden clubs and community gardens and many offer a plant swap, plant share or sale in the spring. Even if you do not have any plants to swap, those plants on offer can usually be had for nothing or only a couple of dollars. You may also find vegetable and flower seeds at these events which people are often giving away.

During the peak of the growing season nurseries or garden centres always have a discount shelf for plants that look rough but are still viable. With careful selection, and a little TLC, some of these can be revived and make excellent additions to the garden at a fraction of the list price. Also, be sure to check these same locations at the end of the season as there are usually lots of trees, shrubs and perennials on clearance sale that, if planted immediately, will do just fine.

If you have an established garden, the easiest way to get free plants is to divide and replant what you already have, and to collect your own seed over the course of the growing season. There are lots of resources online, or through our local library, that can guide you in how to dig and divide perennials and correctly collect, dry, and store seeds for use next season.

Vintage laundry tub planters

Tools and Consumables

Garden tools can be expensive, and some of them usually sit unused at the back of the garage. Don’t buy your tools new as using gently used tools will save a bunch of cash and potentially keep them out of the landfill. Charity shops, garage sales, flea markets and online markets are great places to pick up tools for free or at minimal cost. Ask your neighbors if you can borrow tools, they may even give you unused tools that have been gathering dust.

Many tasks in the garden require heavy-duty tools that will make the job easier, but may only be used a limited number of times. Don’t buy them — rent them from the local DIY Store for the few hours needed. You may also be able to borrow or share some of these tools with neighbours and other gardeners. Putting out the word for what you are looking for on a social media site may help you locate what you need, and may cost you only a coffee and snacks with the owner.

My garden uses a great deal of compost and mulch to keep it happy. Buying these consumables in bulk really saves, and finding these products for free saves even more. Check with your gardening friends to see what they need and place a group bulk buy purchase. Leaves are gold for gardeners and best of all they are free! They are excellent mulch during the winter months and will add nutrients to your soil as they break down. I use all my own leaves to mulch my flower beds as well as any I can get from my neighbours’ yards.

Reuse, Repurpose and Upcycle

I have plastic seed trays and pots in my garage that I have used for over 30 years to start my plants each spring. There are lots of ways to save money by reusing what you already have as well as repurposing items you can easily find for free. Plastic bottles and containers can be cut up for pots and protective cloches. I have a friend who makes her own seedling pots from newspaper and toilet paper cardboard inner rolls. Get creative and upcycle household items for use as planters. Wooden wine crates, or even drawers from an old dresser, make imaginative and striking places to plant salad crops or interesting annuals. Root around in the attic or a cluttered closet, you may be surprised as to what can be used as a planter or for unexpected garden art.

Gardening does not have to be expensive. Once you get started you will soon become a pro at identifying ways to save. 

seed packets

Originally Published in the Jan/Feb 2024 Bowest’ner

By Angelina Selvalingham 

Hello, Bowness neighbours!

As our beloved community continues to grow and evolve, the planning and development process plays a crucial role in shaping the future we all envision.

Whether you’re a long-time resident or a recent addition to our vibrant community, staying informed and engaged in planning and development is key to ensuring your voice is heard.

The BCA Planning & Development Committee has created a centralized online resource for you to access information and provide feedback on developments in your community.

You may also be interested in looking into these extra resources:

Calgary Development Map (DMAP)

Here you’ll find all active land use and development applications for Calgary. You can also access the plans that have been submitted to The City with a development application. You can search for developments by address, reference/permit number (found on a notification), community name/ward number, or by zooming into an area on the map.

The City of Calgary’s Planning Bylaws

This site outlines the rules and regulations for development of land in Calgary for each zone as well as the process of making decisions for development permit applications.

Engage with our Ward 1 Councillor, Sonya Sharp

Councillor Sonya Sharp is your voice with City Council. You can engage directly with her team and provide insight and feedback as residents of Ward 1. Signing up for Ward 1’s Newsletter is a great way to stay informed on topics and issues that are relevant to Bowness and Ward 1. In recent newsletters, Councillor Sharp has provided updates on The City’s Housing Strategy and her actions around blanket rezoning.

Calgary Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB)

The SDAB hears appeals regarding decisions made by The City of Calgary subdivision and development authorities and renders decisions based on the evidence presented. All SDAB decisions are archived on the SDAB site and can be used as a resource for navigating previous appeals and hearings.

Your BCA Planning & Development Committee is always here to answer questions and provide information. We’re a passionate group of volunteers who love Bowness and are excited about our community and residents! We perform an advisory role and provide comments to The City on how a proposed development fits into the community, and help suggest changes based on community feedback. However, it’s also important to remember the BCA holds no jurisdiction or authority in any planning matters or in decisions made by The City of CalgaryPlease feel free to contact us anytime at planning@mybowness.com

Director of Planning – Angelina Selvalingham
Co-Director of Planning – Jeff Riedl
Planning and Development Assistant – Logan McEachern

Originally Published in the Jan/Feb 2024 Bowest’ner – Interview and story by Logan Renaud

Tell us about yourself and your history with the neighborhood.

I moved to Bowness maybe five or six years ago and have been in Calgary since 2013. My grandparents lived here and grew up here, so I’ve always come in and out of Calgary. I chose to move here because it has a really strong community with a lot of diversity.

How did you come to be an artist and what medium do you specialize in?

I am a stop-motion animator. Which means I mostly sculpt, using a variety of mediums. My style looks somewhat realistic so it is similar to making miniatures. I became an animator pretty recently, though I did create a lot of puppets and art as a child. In 2020, I was working in social work, helping people who were unhoused find housing. During the pandemic, everything was shutting down, and it impacted that population tenfold. A lot of people were dying, and that really impacted me. I needed to step back a bit and that is when I turned to art. It had been such a big part of my youth and I knew that it would help me process what I was experiencing. I also wanted to depict what I was seeing and help those community members express their experiences. So I came up with an idea for a film and applied to a residency with Quickdraw Animation Society.

In about 2017, I did a little bit of work with a local production house called Bleeding Art making prosthetics as well as things like snot, slime and fake blood. They also had a bit of a stop-motion studio and they released a couple of shorts. One of the staff from there actually mentored me during my film project. She helped me with the urethane and silicone casting, but beyond that I mostly taught myself with tutorials.

My home studio is still set up in my kitchen and it is taking over! I have a down-shooter, camera and computer setup for
animating, and then my puppets and sets. There’s so much stuff — fabric, foam… all sorts of stuff!

What benefits do you see in artists and communities working together?

The film I made follows a main character who is living in an encampment as she tries to find housing. The story was actually written by folks who have had that lived experience. I was able to get funding from the Calgary Foundation, allowing me to pay honorariums to participants, and together we came up with the storyline. They also helped with the fabrication, and did the voice acting of the two main characters.  

So it was a community project, it wasn’t just me.

The film was actually just released in November! It premiered at Quickdraw’s animation festival, called GIRAF.

With one short film under your belt, are there any moments or stories that stand out from your artistic career so far?

I think the film meant a lot to the folks who participated. I shared the stage with two of the co-writers last Thursday and they were so, so excited to be there. It was a big moment for all of us and we were all really proud of the film. It was really important to them to spread awareness about how hard it is to be unhoused. The film talks about how many barriers there are from being unhoused to being housed — it is not as straightforward as people think it is.

Tell us what you have in store for Bowness as the next ARTS featured artist!

There are two parts: 

For the community project, we will be building a miniature stop-motion set of Bowness. It does not need to be exact or perfect, but it will be something we create together!

Then for the workshop series, we’ll be designing and building puppets then animating them using the set that we created in the community project.


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