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Thank you for Your Letters

(33 letters)

Mark McQueen

Had a wonderful first date at the area and made a great friend an what struck me was how sincere and friendly and down to earth all the people were that were there. I was able to go dancing for a bit with the lady cause dancing sooo isn’t my thing then was able to go make smores by the fire then go into the garden and stare at the stars. I hope to go to workshops help with the community garden and whatever other goodys the area offers. Its awesome its so diverse and is no set thing it just is what it is.

Lets make this happen.

Noel Fardy

The Area is a dependable and affordable venue for the arts in Calgary. The Area has been instrumental in growing the Improv community in this city. From new students attending their first class, to sophomores honing their art in workshops, The Area owners always open their doors. Students and teachers showcase their talents regularly for their friends and family, providing unforgettable nights of performances and community.  Ironically, the city backed multi-million dollar Fesival Hall sits dark most nights while arts events take place a block away at The Area.

Calgary is the cultural capital of Canada in 2012, we should be opening venues, not shutting them down.

2012 is the year to tell Calgary’s cultural stories, tell yours.


Jamie Maxwell

I wear many hats around this city; musician, event co-ordinator, music and arts reporter, and music enthusiast. The AREA has been essential to our community as it is so hard to run a venue that is both affordable and accessible. They are also on the cutting edge of permaculture, a field that is rapidly gaining attention nationally and internationally to help provide for every day people and to cut down on our eco-footprint on our environment.

Please do whatever is necessary to keep this venue open. We dearly, dearly need it.

Lana Selbee

Resolution Gallery, Eleven Eleven 233 10 Street NW

I am so grateful for the community your organization is creating and supporting. The Area is filling a huge gap in our City concerning areas of art, culture and sustainability. I genuinely hope, particularly as a small business owner myself, that the City allows you to remain in operation through the process of the Development Permit, as there is no logical reason for you to have to shut your doors, and this would be incredibly damaging to both you, and many communities in our city who use the Area as a venue.

The City needs to work with your business, because they are showing their citizens an example of their support for our arts and creative communities through this incident, and we are watching.
Standing with you and hoping for the best possible outcome.

Lee Rempel

We need an open and flexible space in Calgary where members of the community can easily organize cultural events of all types. The Area provided exactly that.

Clayton L Sanders

To me….while i healed and rebuilt myself from the ground up after my nervous breakdown, this community and the area was a place of healing, connection, and spiritual growth. The area is an important hub to the city of Calgary supporting the arts, community and empowerment of people through sharing and education. To lose the Area, is to lose a big part of the heart of Calgary. I wish them all the love and greatest success in everything. to take the space away is to take away from Calgary and its people.

Long live the area, Namaste

Shawn Hoult

When we started our two person improvised show, Half Her Age, last fall Isabelle and I weren’t sure how much we could do. Theatre space is hard to come by in Calgary and awfully expensive for a couple of students. Luckily we found The Area. This space was perfect for us. A great location, a wonderful community, and affordable enough that we could not only do our own shows, we could also invite young and up and coming acts to perform with us.

We produced a duo tournament that brought all of Calgary’s improv community together under one roof, we gave a leg up to high school teams that will be the next generation of Calgary improvisers, and we honed our own craft. This summer we hope to continue our story with the Area as our home for 13 Fringe shows. We are also representing Calgary as we tour our show this summer.

None of this would have been possible without a space that is committed to supporting new artists. Without The Area there would be no Half Her Age, there would be no Two Feet Deep improv tournament, the amazing story we have lived for the past five months would never have happened. We hope that the Area can continue to be our home for a long time to come and that we can continue creating shows and helping other new groups do the same.

Please save The Area, it is worth it.

Jared Andres

I have done several events at The Area over the past two years.  The main events that I have been behind have been movie screenings called The Creepshow Sinema Series.  Basically we got a bunch of people together to watch a series of horror movies leading up to Halloween.  This later evolved into other screenings for science fiction films, animation and even a Western night.  All along, the Area and David Winkler were supportive in every way – going well beyond the usual role of a venue for rent.  They really believed in what we were doing and went out of their way to help us make these screenings successful.

Some people think that the Area is just being used as a place to party but that is not the case at all.  Their main agenda has always been to bring awareness and education about agriculture and sustainability while providing a cultural gathering place for people who are making art or otherwise making a positive difference in their community.  The more party oriented events that are held there are always secondary to the agriculture classes, building workshops and other educational events.  They are always willing to take the time to talk to you about recycling, solar energy and sustainable agriculture.  They even have a community garden complete with bee hives – something that you will not find many other places in the city.

In addition to being an arts and agriculture hub, the Area allows many different groups to use their space for concerts.  It is one of the best music venues in the city, especially for people who want to skip the bar scene.  As a musician and DJ I have played the Area several times and each time has been incredible.  It is a safe, respectful and fun venue – something that unfortunately is hard to find in Calgary.

I believe that if the Area is shut down for good it would be an incalculable loss to Calgary’s education, art and music scene.

Rebecca O’Brien

Executive Director, Inglewood BRZ ,  2nd Floor, 1230-9th Ave SE

The Inglewood BRZ is fully supportive of The Area. This not- for- profit is very much embraced by the spirit of the commercial and residential community of Inglewood. Our Inglewood slogan is it “It’s not the mall!” and that is something we are fiercely proud of. The Area reflects this in every way: it is whimsical, creative, embraces sustainability (in economic and environmental terms), social gathering, and cooperation. It was our own kibbutz in the heart of Inglewood. The farmer’s market last year was a huge hit for Inglewood and fell in very well with the vision of the BRZ.  We strongly support The Area’s application for  DP with the City of Calgary.

L.J. Robertson

Chair, Inglewood Community Association , 1740 24 Ave SE

The Inglewood Community Association would like to commend David Winkler and his contribution to the neighborhood as designer and proprietor of the AREA over the last couple of years.  David has originated a clever, unique and entirely Inglewoodian oasis that has been a vibrant addition to the community since its inception.

If the City of Calgary is having difficulty trying to create a permit for the AREA, it is no wonder as it combines a number of apparently disparate elements that, while they may not fit a standing by-law or land use, work beautifully in reality and for the distinct improvement of the community.  We want to see the AREA back online as soon as possible and trust there is an equally creative way to make that happen for Inglewood and David.  We appreciate David’s quarter acre of inspiration and are happy to have him as a part of the fabric of our community.

Darren Ollinger

Owner, New Black Music and Arts Centre , 200-919 9th Ave SE

I am writing in support of David Winkler and his amazing establishment the AREA. Since moving into Inglewood, and a stones throw from the New Black Music and Arts Centre, it was very clear the AREA was the perfect neighbour for us and an even more perfect place for Inglewood.  The trailblazing efforts they bring to the community really pair well with Inglewood’s identity.  Whether its creative work shops or exciting events, the AREA is constantly breathing fresh air into Inglewood and thus becoming a very integral part of the surroundings.  If its door stay closed not only will the many patrons lose out on an important part of their life but Inglewood would suffer the loss of this amazing gem as well.

I hope you take my words to heart and support and work with them to help the AREA become more amazing than it already is.

Bruce MacMillan

Owner, Limitless Calgary , 1015 9 Av SE

The Area is important to Calgary in providing an inclusive place that will maintain and grow organically overtime.

I believe communities are about inclusion, a coming together of a variety of personalities that make for a vibrant mix. The Area has always been about that “place” – where people can go and interact with others . It is a place, or hub where conversations grow and activities happen. As our community moves forward in it’s commercial development with buildings such as The Atlantic Avenue Art Block, and my very modern store Limitless within, it becomes all so important to have places that may have a more communal agenda. I believe the people involved with the Area have a vision that is sustainable, and have a healthy horizon plan which will constantly engage with those looking to become involved on a more human level.

The Area is about people, place, and accessibility, something we need and value in this community. I often have conversations with members of this community, and can say a smile always is to be found on on their faces when the Area is brought up! It has a cool factor that can be explained more for what it is not rather than what it is, a unique and organic association of people changing and growing together.

I personally value what the Area brings to this community, and hope the City of Calgary can also see value in the hard work and dedication of all those involved, I feel quite confident that inner city health is about organizations, or hubs like the Area.

The Area is about creating and maintaining a place of interest, sharing in our conversations about daily life and the interactions amongst people in this diverse neighbourhood – a place of pride, and an optimism about our abilities to share, culture, ideas, and compassion.

Angela Underhill

Dearest David and all the other beautiful people of the area…

What can I say…The area is an amazing place for commUNITY…for us to gather…make beautiful friendships…
Learn, grow, heal and be respectful of others……I hope to utilize the area very soon to hold workshops…to empower women and men as well..to be creative, confident
and proud… It’s a place of many fundraisers to help others obtain their dreams and/or help others in need…
I firmly believe that this little sanctuary in the heart of the city is a place that Calgary has been lacking…
Much love and hugs,…


I’m not sure who this letter is going to, but I don’t know that “knowing” who you are will matter much to my words.

I am a recent transplant from Vancouver. A place full of natural beauty, community and a thriving environmental movement that I left regretfully. Coming to Calgary to me meant; rednecks, earth raping oil production, conservatism, beef and the open, vast, (flat) prairie.

Upon my arrival, though some of that exists, I found a burgeoning community of people who care about health, happiness, neighbourhoods, soul food, the slow movement, equality, balance and opportunity.

I found this in many places, but one thriving hub sought to collect and display a vast variety of human passions, I was in awe. I am speaking of The Area.

The Area gives affordable access to the busy communities of Calgary education on what really matters: air, water, sustainability, play, curiosity, and compassion for ourselves, our neighbours and this town. Taking this away hurts more than just the dreamers who participate in it’s workshops and events, it takes away opportunity to grow from the people of Calgary. That, is more of a crime than a few minor housekeeping items.

Please reconsider this decision, practice the amazing beauty of cooperation and community building by working with all those responsible for The Area in getting the facility up and running today.

Thank you for your open heart and mind.

Nicole Bradford

On my first visit to The Area I was amazed to discover things going on right in the middle of my city that I had been dreaming, reading and learning about for 20 years.  But rarely practicing, and hardly ever witnessing.

I am passionate about playing my part in bringing more natural ways of living and doing things into being.  But I had been side tracked in life and was so desperately in need of finding what I found at The Area.

It gave me hope, and a renewed energy to get to work, AND contacts, community and opportunities to learn, practise and collaborate with others…and now my life is all the more filled with healthy, sustainable practices like growing food, re-cycling, re-using and re-puropsing stuff, making greener shopping decisions, celebrating natural cycles and diversity of people, setting up composting systems and reducing water use by capturing runoff and eating more local produce and healthier food, gathering with community more, sharing resources, helping others, spreading amazing information that helps make communities stronger….

AND my 4 kids have been more widely exposed and are reaping the positive benefits in their lives…wow, what more could a mom ask?

I hope we get more of this in our city and all over the world…our very survival on this planet might depend on it.  I think our happiness definitely does.

Janet Greenhalgh

The Area has become my community centre because I live in a neighbourhood where no one seems to want to know their neighbours.  They don’t live there, they just sleep there.  If I didn’t have The Area to go to, I would not know what a beautiful city Calgary can be.  I have taken workshops there; I have donated my surplus building materials and watched skilled people make something beautiful and lasting out of them.  I have dined al fresco with fellow wholesome food lovers.  I have danced to incredibly good, live music.  I have enjoyed the beauty of the artworks displayed there.  Please allow this space to sustain those of us who come from broken communities.  I would be heartbroken if I lost this tie to people of good spirit.

Christy Herdman

I would like to take this opportunity to share why the AREA is important to me and for that matter Calgary as a whole.

The AREA is the perfect environment for learning, celebrating, and exchanging of ideas. This type of space is a rare commodity in the modern world, as it brings people together to connect and be part of something that is bigger than yourself.

In the past couple years, I have had many amazing experiences at the Area. I have been fortunate enough to attend workshops that have given me skills to improve my holistic health. Broadened my horizons through attending free public talks. Cooked meals with food purchased from the farmer’s market. And on a number of occasions danced in the schoolhouse to support local musical talent. The versatility of the space allows for it to be used for a number of purposes. In turn, it allows the person attending an event to become actively involved and be part of a greater community.

The space itself is an educational tool. Not only did I have the chance to see first hand how permaculture can create a sustainable local food source; I also got to pass on my newfound knowledge and share this garden with my niece. In a nutshell, Calgary needs more spaces like the AREA. At the heart of the matter it provides a space for you to connect with: nature, the diversity of people within the community and gain a deeper connection with yourself.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Julia Jungwirth

I grew up in a small town in Northern BC and lived there till I was 18.  I got accepted into ACAD and decided to come to Calgary a year after I graduated from high school.  It was a big shift for me, as I knew no one here.  Those major change experiences shape you. My first community was ACAD.  Slowly I made friends and got comfortable with city life.  It took a lot of adjusting, but it was well worth the wait.  As I became acquainted with events and venues within Calgary I soon realized that there is never a dull moment or night without something going on in this city.  Little by little you grow fond of certain venues  for various reasons whether it be it reminds you of a pub that looks like your grandma’s house or has charming dingy bathrooms.  It was not long until I became interested in permaculture and then suddenly I stumbled onto the Area.  The Area is different on so many levels.  It reminds me of being home.  Of being back in a small town.  It has heart and soul.  You are always welcome.  Things are rustic, but patched with various hands lending their free time to make something a community can only dream of.  We go to the Area to see our loved ones.  To get our hands dirty in the soil. To support our local voices, instruments and artists.  To celebrate local heroes growing local food.  To support teachers who encourage us to walk a softer path on this earth.  To support individuals who inspire us to take good care of our bodies (our vessels).  To provide a safe learning space for children to learn where our food comes from and where community begins.  The area is what the future looks like.  Please let us continue to grow and diversify this community space.

Why is the Area important to me?

People I love and respect are doing great things there.  People are creating / encouraging positive change here.

Why is the Area important to our community?

It is a giant safe springboard for voices to be heard.   It is a space where artists and musicians can continue to grow and showcase their talents.

Why is the Area important to Calgary?

This space is a pilot project that other cities will be looking up too.

Thanks for the opportunity to share.

The Cyclepalooza Steering Committee

Cyclepalooza (cyclepalooza.ca) is a grassroots do-it-yourself festival centered around the theme of cycling, held for 10 days in June since 2011.  The Cyclepalooza steering committee usually organizes only one event, but provides promotion and guidance for regular Calgarians, businesses, and organizations to organize their own bike rides, bicycle treasure hunts, courses, talks, picnics, bike tours, etc. The result is a festival promoting cycling, art, and community spirit, comprised of +50 events involving hundreds of participants and taking place all over Calgary, all run on a shoestring budget and completely on a volunteer basis.

The AREA in Inglewood has been a natural and important partner of Cyclepalooza since its inception.  Every official Cyclepalooza event has been held there, with great success and high attendance. This is because The AREA has all the right ingredients for an inner city cultural hub: it is close to downtown, easily accessed via the Bow River and Elbow River pathways or public transit, set apart from residential areas, can handle large events, and has ample bike parking.  But it is mainly the amazing community spirit of the AREA and its organizers that make it the perfect venue for non-commercial community events like ours.  In fact, we could not do it without their partnership – the events that Cyclepalooza has planned for the upcoming summer could not take place at any other venue. Our partnership with The AREA is vital.

The AREA furthermore fulfills a necessary function of our community. It is a hub for arts, for music, for education and community creation. Its unique nature brings people together and fosters creative and positive interactions among diverse audiences in Calgary. Its importance to the city cannot be overstated. Cyclepalooza is looking forward to continuing our fruitful relationship with The AREA and seeing it continue with its important mission for the community.

Katie Selbee

Hello Area members, just sending a letter of support regarding your ongoing issues with the City in hopes that this feedback will reach them. If there is a contact with the City that it would be better to send it to, please let me know. If not, just consider it a note of my appreciation for the work you are doing!
All the best.

In view of The Area’s temporary closure over licensing issues with City of Calgary, I would like to express my support for the space as well as my concern over the closure of a venue so important to Calgary’s urban community.

I have lived in Calgary up until two years ago, though on visits back to the city have had the chance to attend some events at The Area, and I cannot emphasize enough what an impact this space has had on my personal goals and way of life. Witnessing The Area’s dynamic integration of arts and urban agriculture was one of the reasons I chose to pursue a degree in both Environment & Society and English at the University of British Columbia, as well as a practicum in Sustainable Agriculture at the UBC Farm, which I am currently completing. The Area’s concept of combining the arts, sciences and public education through urban permaculture, arts events, workshops, community gatherings and markets, has played a large role in inspiring me to pursue a future in helping build more sustainable, vibrant, self-sufficient communities. It is one of the only spaces in Calgary that I have encountered which operates on this idea, and I am incredibly excited to see how The Area develops as it continues to grow.

With the current rise in global concerns over issues of food security, climate change, and urban development, The Area is providing a model for creating and maintaining inner-city communities that are educated about being more self-sufficient, happening through their provision of facilities for public workshops and through their focus on local and independent producers, businesses, and artists. This venue is helping bridge the gap created by the increasing disconnect of urban-dwellers and their environment. As do many others, I see these kinds of initiatives as central to healthy communities, and The Area is a model for the type of venue I hope and expect will become increasingly common in urban environments in and beyond Calgary. I am also connected with a few Calgary artists and fashion designers for whom The Area has been an accessible platform for reaching local audiences–the space is an important stepping-stone for becoming more established within the Calgary arts community.

In light of how vital and unique The Area is to Calgary as both a place of increasing local connections and as an active model of sustainable community building, I hope the City of Calgary will allow them to continue to operate while any regulation issues are being sorted, and will put the value of community before the value of fulfilling codes and rules which are not suitably tailored for such a situation.


Sugar Shack

The A.R.E.A. plays an important role in the cultural fabric of Calgary, providing a rare ‘DIY’ space for people to come together to create and celebrate music and art.  There are very few places in the city that offer such an inclusive and self-sustaining approach to creative activity and environmental education; in fact as far as I know, the A.R.E.A. is “one of a kind”.  It would be a real shame if the city were to lose such a unique venue and community.    I was first introduced to the A.R.E.A. during Cyclepalooza, and have attended a variety of events since.  What a fantastic place, so filled with positive energy and creative happenings (and people)!  I wish you success in overcoming your current challenges with the City of Calgary, and look forward to seeing you up and running again soon.


Back in June of 2011 I was fortunate to take part in one of the first volunteer permaculture projects at the AREA. It was a hot day as I recall, and all we did was swing pick axes and attempt to break ground for the garden. It was very slow going, but I met a ton of new people and despite not knowing anything about permaculture I considered the day a total success. Little did I know at the time just how special the AREA would become for me.

I would return several times over the next few months to help with the garden, or to lend Dave a hand with whatever little things needed to be done. The space was transforming daily, and Dave could always give me something to do with either the garden or the schoolhouse. Then in 2012 I made the decision to move into Ramsay, and I was literally across the train tracks from the AREA.

I think I attended well over a few dozen events at the AREA in 2012/2013, I just could not stay away. The warmth, the familiar faces, the incredible artists who contributed so much, the amazing music made each event one to not forget. It’s hard to keep a track that I attended so many, but the Abundance Festival, the Space Invaderz Fundraiser and the many BassBus events are some of my favourites. The AREA creates culture and is central hub for many grassroots organized events.

The City of Calgary needs the AREA. It has set the bar for the quality of venue, potential for education, and production of community driven events and values more than any other place in the city that I have ever seen. I hope and I trust that whatever issues the AREA is facing can and will be resolved soon.

Nolan Fisher

Fisher Farms

To us at Fisher Farms, the AREA is an integral hub for local foodies.  They provide a place for Calgarians to find locally produced, organically grown vegetables and proteins.  As a whole, they bring together vibrant supporters and local producers like us!  We’ve attended the AREA not only for food, but for entertainment as well.  Help keep this little gem in the city just that, a gem.

Gerardo Marquez

Good evening. I hope you are well. The AREA is the best community space in Calgary. I have had the pleasure of considering myself a part of The AREA for over 2 years. I am also an official member of the AREA. During this time, I have been fortunate to attend a variety of events that are a testament of how great and unique of a space The AREA is. I have attended concerts of all sorts, education events, visited the garden, seen a number of presentations, attended Farmer’s markets, among a few other events. During each and every of these events, I came to admire the spirit of The AREA and its team members and volunteers. You have created a welcoming, respectful space for everyone in this city.
The AREA also means a lot to me from a personal perspective regarding its importance to community organizations. As a participant of Cyclepalooza, a 10-Day Bicycle Festival in the City of Calgary in 2011 and then a Steering Committee member since 2012, (currently the overall coordinator), I can confidently state that The AREA has been essential to the success of Cyclepalooza. In the same way, The AREA supports a number of other organizations, which are contributing to make this city a more vibrant place to live and thrive.

I am an active member of my community and to my knowledge, there is no other space in the city that resembles the diverse nature of The AREA and its positive contributions to the Arts, to education, to sustainability and to the community overall.

Shaun Lee

The Area is one of the most vibrant and valuable community projects I have ever seen. Losing it would be a tremendous blow to Calgary’s local culture. This is the type of venture that should have the city’s full support and cooperation, the sort of unique and amazing place that makes people proud to live in a city. Arts, culture, gardening, music, these are the things that make urban life vibrant and livable, and a forward-thinking city should be doing everything in its’ power to facilitate their continuance.

In addition, I felt like The Area, situated in historic Inglewood, in a beautiful pioneer age schoolhouse, gave visitors a direct and vital link to our cities past and connected visitors to a sense of communal bond with the original vision that birthed our city. When people talk about a city having a “heart” or “spirit” its places and things like The Area that contribute to that feeling.

I wish you all the best, and hope that the city and community can see the value inherent in what you do, and pull together to protect this unique and vital gift.

Kurt Loewen

Tequila Mockingbird

The Area is a place where people get together and are encouraged to be themselves.  A place where beautiful food grows, amazing music is experienced, fantastic art is always enjoyed, and friends are always seen and made.

It isn’t just a venue, it is unto itself a thriving community hub, and as such is a rare and exciting opportunity for Calgary.  What I think this city wants and needs more than anything is a place that inspires both camaraderie within its limits, but also brings in outside influences as to always be a leader in the growth of the arts and food community.  The Area is that place.

As a touring band for the last 6 years, playing venues all over the continent, The Area without a doubt sticks out as still one of the most special places we have had the joy of playing at.  We hope The City of Calgary continues to support and help sustain that which nourishes our community for the foreseeable future.

Chelsie Emery

I was saddened to hear the news that the AREA was potentially going to be shut down! I have attended many events there and have been so blessed to have been introduced to it this past year! It is truly magical to go to a place in the city; where moral consciousness can be forgotten so easily and often lost, where you can feel safe to express your ideas and feel welcomed by those who also want to make the world a better place. Everyone can be themselves at the AREA and all of the events I have been to have never had any issues. Everyone cares for and respects the people around them! This is incredibly hard to find in a bustling city such as Calgary.

It is refreshing to see that there are good people out there and reminds you to continue doing the good deeds that you are doing! The AREA provides as a spiritual recharge for my husband and I.  We can then take that positive energy and spread it throughout our busy daily lives! It truly enriches our lives and has been the major influence in our spiritual movement. Our lives would be very different had we not attended our first event at the AREA.

The AREA really brings about a sense of community in helping those around you and those far away! You also get to support local businesses and businesses with environmental and animal ethics. It helps you feel good! The AREA helps you connect with one another and nature! It is a safe place to go have fun, share ideas, and support your community.

We should be endorsing such places as the AREA and help them grow; not shut them down! Our city would be a better place if there were more venues like the AREA. I truly hope things get sorted out! We are always willing to lend a hand to ensure the success of the AREA!

Sir Joshua Whitford

Hands down the most culturally and socially dynamic AREA in all of Calgary, if not all of Alberta. The Area plays a vital role in the continued growth of our city and is a catalyst for many great minds to interact with one another.

I wish you the best of luck and hope to see the doors re-open soon.
It is truly frustrating to see a beautiful place under assault by the city.


Rita Luft

I visited the area in its initial developement stage. I am a master gardener and am interested in permaculture. I was amazed at how the people involved had transformed a derelict building and outdoor space into a teaching tool. Our society does not have enough community space, nor does it promote environmental learning. This space provides both.

I hope that the Area is allowed to continue as a community space and teaching facility.

Janet Greenhalgh

My borough doesn’t have a community hall.  I don’t know my neighbours.  I go to the area to meet people from all over the city that are interested in building community.  The area enhances this through its attempts to be as inclusive and diverse as a neighbourhood should be.  The installations are inspiring and the positive energy there is infectious.  I look forward to my next visit.

Kristoffer Benoit

Calgary Sound Rentals

My most memorable event, out of literally hundreds, was at the area.

Mike Todd, who’s music is influenced by Americana and the blues, performed a mostly acoustic show outdoors.

The Area was the perfect venue for his show.  Periodically a train would roll past in the background, adding a fitting ambience, and light from the small community fire would illuminate the trees later in the evening.

There was a group of at least 40-50 people taking in the show and at one point the crowd joined arms and swayed together while singing along.

The Area is a special place to me.  I feel it is the only venue in Calgary that has the capacity for a wide multitude of events where by many communities can benefit from it’s use.

Community, and unique experience are the true wealth of a city, and places like the area are where these two can culminate.

If we are to break free of the stigma that is placed onto our city, we must cultivate our culture in places like the area.

Nicole St Michel

When living in a city it can be challenging to feel a sense of community. I have lived in Calgary for three years now and have only really begun to feel a sense of home and community since connecting with the Area in Inglewood. The establishment represents so much positivity and resonates with my deepest beliefs about nature, art, music and community. The Area is built on the strongest and most integrity filled values. And this is felt by all those who have the honour in participating in its various activities.

The Area is my favourite location to meet friends and feel a sense of community in Calgary. It is a place where Calgarians can learn about gardening and earth care; while listening to live music and connecting with new friends. Or enjoy some dancing in the dead of winter, in an environment that is not overrun with alcohol, drugs and fighting like some ‘club style’ locations. It is a place where Calgarians of all ages can come, connect, find a sense of purpose and feel a sense of home. And studies show that happiness is derived from this ‘sense of purpose and belonging’. It is my strong opinion that Calgary should be proud to host such a wonderful community space.

Sheila Wetanko

My 2 cents:

The AREA should be a model and inspiration for what can be accomplished in Calgary, with teamwork, dedication, and hard work.
What David and Katherine have given to the community, not only the physical space but of their time. When I heard that the space was purchased I was scared that the old school house would be lost to condo building or the like…but when found that the new owners intended to not only restore the building but to share the space with the community for Arts, Recreation, Education, and Agriculture, I was so excited, and inspired. They do such things as enabling others to educate, through urban gardening lectures and education events, the fun cob oven workshop!, to allowing talented local people to share art, poetry, music, yoga, to opening the space for a community farmers market. The AREA is a place where friends gather, communities unite, and children (and adults) learn.

My past 2 years (or is it 3…?!!) have been enjoying the AREA space. Even when I was newer to the neighbourhood, I felt always welcomed. I have met so many wonderful people through the AREA, who are now friends…some even like family. I can’t express enough in words how much a space like this gives to a community. One of the reasons Ramsay/Inglewood is such a wonderful place to live can be attributed to the AREA and the sense of community it brings….a small town in a big city. I have been to numerous music events, in winter and summer alike, have met so many people! The involvement in my community today I can directly relate back to those I met there, but more than that it was such a sense of community you can’t help but wanting to be a part of it…and to share it with others. Soon I was inviting friends which lead to meeting more wonderful people.

I see how younger people come for music events, but come back to learn more about urban gardening, to shop at the Farmers Market…bringing with them friends and family. The excitement the AREA creates inspires a way of thinking…a way of living… A new culture has been born through this space… excitement for music, art, urban gardening, sharing, learning, and love. All of which should be the inspiration for all Calgary can be. OK maybe that was more than 2 cents….I could go on…but lets leave it with this:

To try an explain the AREA to others I say: “you just have to come”. :)