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Doors Open YYC, 2014

A wonderful weekend where Calgary corporations and institutions open their doors and back stages to the public.

Story by Neil Zeller September 29th, 2014

In the beginning.

In Sept 2012 as I toiled in my past life with a day job and all, I saw this cool thing called Doors Open YYC <link>. I had recently been shooting the city more and more, and I was developing a deep appreciation for all things Calgary. This was especially true of the Calgary Tower. I was able to secure a last second spot for their behind the scenes tour. I ended up winning their photo contest with the first shot shown in this series. Once the 2013 version of the event came along, I had established myself as a working pro here in Calgary and was very excited to be asked to assume the title of official photographer.


Doors open 2013 Recap

It was awesome. We got to 23 of he 33 venues. But it might have been a little too hectic. I didn’t really get to learn and explore as much as I’d like at any of the venues. But it was still pretty awesome.


Doors Open YYC, 2014

This year, I was asked again to be the official photographer! I decided to only attempt to visit the new for 2014 venues. On Saturday, I had another project so we made it to 3 venues and on Sunday an additional 7. The first was the Career and Technology Centre<link>. The Doors Open YYC website describes it as follows:

”The CTC is a state of the art facility designed to provide dual credential programs in a variety of high demand, high skilled career paths. The facility has well over a million moving parts and has been intentionally designed to connect the community, industry and student learning through relevant, engaging projects with client based services“

I was completely floored when we toured here. From robotics to automotive repair to cosmetics to culinary. Wow!

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SAIT's Art Smith Aero Center

After my unrelated photoshoot, we regrouped and made our way up to the Art Smith Aero Centre<link>, which is SAIT’s aviation maintenance and mechanical training centre. It is described on their website as:

Occupying 17 acres of land at the Calgary International Airport, connected to Taxiway N, the Art Smith Aero Centre includes:
A 21,000 sq. ft. hangar that can accommodate a 737-700
13 labs including: sheet metal, composite material, gas turbine, avionics, helicopter, reciprocating engine, aircraft maintenance, and computer labs
7 state-of-the-art classrooms
Open study areas
A cafeteria
110,000 sq. ft. concrete apron (ground side)
18,000 sq. ft. ancillary asphalt apron
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Fiasco Gelato

A very popular addition to the Door Open YYC family. Because they are delicious! Fiasco Gelato <link> is found all over Calgary via their just as popular food truck. We were treated to a tour and a tasting! Can’t wait for all the fall flavours to come out. We did settle for a pint of Raspberry Lime and a pint of Frozen Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows.

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Southern Alberta Pioneer

We started the day at the Southern Alberta Pioneers <link> property. I had shot a wedding reception here back in July, but hadn’t seen it in it’s regular display mode. An homage to Southern Alberta’s past and founders, I just wish I could have stayed longer. In their words:

“Our Historical Building is a Memorial Tribute to the Pioneers who settled Southern Alberta prior to 1890. Our Mandate is to collect and preserve information in connection with the settlement and subsequent history of the Society. We collect and preserve in authentic form a library of books, pamphlets, maps charts, manuscripts, papers, paintings, photographs and other materials illustrative of the history of the Province of Alberta. We rescue from oblivion the memory of its early pioneers and preserve narratives of their exploits, perils and adventures.”

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CC Snowden Building

The CC Snowden Building is preserved as a heritage building, and being rebuilt into a modern commercial office building in Ramsay. Neil Richardson specialises in Heritage Building developments and will be welcoming his first tenants within the next year.

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Asphalt plant and Calgary roads

The City of Calgary opens up many of it’s sites for Doors open YYC and this year added the Asphalt Plant to it’s popular roads location.
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F&D scene changes

F&D Scene Changes <link> produce some of the worlds most amazing theatre sets, shopping mall decorations and almost anything else you can imagine. Employing artists, designers, craftsmen, engineers and welders, they construct what normally can only be found in our imaginations.

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Calgary stampede

A unique opportunity to tour one of Calgary’s defining institutions. With an encompassing tour from the grandstands to the infields, over to the barns and under the grandstand stage, it was a real eye opener for us. It’s such a seamless production every year, that to see how many moving parts and coordinated efforts there are, it makes me appreciate them even more! Calgary is and should be proud to call the Stampede ours!

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North Mount pleasant arts centre

We spent a lot of time here. Between the amazing tour guide/artisan and the fact that we are an artsy family, it was not easy to leave. The city of Calgary has some true treasures, and the curators of these treasures make them even more incredible. All I can really say about the North Mount pleasant Arts Centre <link>, is that we are studying the program guide for openings for their clay and pottery programs.

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City of Calgary sign shop

Our last stop was the City of Calgary’s Sign Shop. While visiting any of the City of Calgary venues we noticed a common theme. Everyone of the city employee/ volunteers had an incredible amount of pride in their work. They were passionate, knowledgeable and fun and engaging to chat with! The sign shop was no different. It was a ton of fun touring here as the colors and bright friendly space was very inviting!

Thanks to all the venues that I was able to get to and sorry to all the ones I didn’t attend. There is always next year and I hope Doors Open YYC will have me back!

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Footnote: If you enjoyed this blog, please click 'Enjoyed' Below! Thank you
Calgary, AB, Canada