Supporting local projects, ideas and people

This month, Awesome Calgary’s Thousand Dollar Thursday returned to Melrose Cafe and Bar in the Heart of the Red Mile on Calgary’s uptown 17th Avenue.  In fact, we were here exactly one year ago in June 2011 when the Calgary Circus Studio won the prize for their Street Arials project.

The emcee for the night was yours truly, Trustee of Awesome Reg Tiangha. Faced with a packed house and many new faces and first-timers to our Thousand Dollar Thursday event in the audience, the stage was set for all of our Top4 Finalists for June 2012 to take to the stage for 90 seconds each to try and wow the AF-Calgary Trustees and the audience and convince them why they felt they were worthy of winning the $1,000 no-strings-attached prize.

Pitch 1:  Eureka Lost and Found 

First up was Vanessa MacTavish and Elizabeth Buchanan with Eureka Lost and Found.
Eureka Lost and Found is an online community that inspires finders to help seekers in their community retrieve their lost possessions.

It uses a matchmaking process unlike any conventional lost-and-found that connects finders with seekers.  People can join online communities and receive alerts when items go missing in their area.  People are inspired to become finders and to show neighbourly kindness through the Eureka Lost and Found and such positive behaviour is rewarded through a system involving “Karma Points” that can be redeemed for cool things.  Community venues are also encouraged to sign up so that they can participate in creating helpful and trustworthy communities.

According Elizabeth and Vanessa, there is no such system on the Internet that they’ve found that leverages the concept of online matchmaking with a Lost-and-Found.

The $1,000 would be used towards the first prototype of their website and kickstart the momentum required to see the project to its conclusion.

Pitch 2:  Urban Stationary 

Second was Natsumi Yokura and Brendan McCabe with Urban Stationary.

The Calgary Creative City Collaboration (C4 for short) plan to take over C-Train platforms with art, pop-up galleries and other interesting installations.  In fact, Calgary Transit has already agreed to donate the spaces needed to execute the project.

Urban Stationary gives local artists exposure to thousands of Calgarians who commute throughout the city every day using transit, will bring life and vibrancy to public spaces all over town, making arts and culture more accessible to ordinary Calgarians.

The first event will be a pop-up gallery on Friday, June 29 at Brentwood LRT station, plus another event will occur the first week after Stampede, as well as events roughly every three weeks over the summer and hopefully from September onward.

While a good chunk of the project has been funded through smaller arts grants or self-funded by the collective up to now, the $1,000 would be used towards art supplies and honorariums to participating artists.

Pitch 3:  Old Homes. Great Stories.

Up third was Lindae Stokes with Old Homes. Great Stories.

Celebrating Calgary’s Century Homes, Lindae wore her presentation on her body as she explained her Old Homes. Great Stories. idea.

A grassroots movement of 250 homeowners in 30 communities who love build heritage and their homes and wanted to celebrate century homes built in 1912 in the Victorian, Edwardian and Craftsmen styles came together and were inspired to research the history behind their homes and to tell their stories by creating visual displays outside their homes to share with all Calgarians.  Homeowners were trained on how to research and communicate the stories of their homes through training courses held in advance.

During Historic Calgary Week from July 27 to August 6, the public can visit their website at and create their own self-guided walking tours of Century Homes in various neighbourhoods around the city.

According to Lindae, this is the first time such a project has been attempted in Canada.

The $1,000 would help the group pay for higher-quality and longer-lasting coroplast signs and banners to honour the buildings and the people who participated in the project, as well as to promote the homes to the public by having them on display when they go on their self-guided walking tours.

Pitch 4:  Buying Local Project

Last was Ashleigh Ahern with her Buying Local Project.

The $1,000 would be used to create a video blog series spotlighting local businesses and the things that they’re doing as well as the services that they provide that are green, sustainable and sets them apart from others, giving them exposure and encouraging the public to support all local businesses and vendors who strive to be green or sustainable.

The goal is to produce at least one video per month, and Ashleigh has already started filming the project (the morning of this month’s Thousand Dollar Thursday in fact), doing interviews at the Kingsland Farmers Market with Hoven Farms.  She hopes to profile more local businesses in the future, but the $1,000 micro-grant would allow her to do even more as expenses thus far including various membership and administrative fees have been all paid out of pocket.

And the winner is… 

 Congratulations, Ashleigh!

AF-Calgary’s June 2012 no-strings-attached $1,000 micro-grant went to Ashleigh Ahern with her Buying Local Project.

Ashleigh plans to start work right away, and the first videos from her project should be up shortly.  Stay tuned to or right here at for more details as they become available.

BIG Thanks to our venue sponsor Melrose Cafe and Bar for hosting us again this month.

As always, putting on a Thousand Dollar Thursday every month is always a challenge, and it can’t be done without the help and support of our Awesome Support/Production Team. So a BIG Thank You to the following people for volunteering some of their time to help us out this month with running the event:

Photo Credit:

Production Duties:

Livestream Production:

Live-Tweet Team:

We’re still accepting submissions for our July 2012 prize.  The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, July 10 at 11:59 p.m. and if you’d like to submit an idea or project for consideration, fill out this handy-dandy web form!

Finally, if you missed out on the event, check out our live stream recording on our YouTube channel.

Thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy evening to come down and watch, and we hope to see you again next month!