Bagel-a-thon for a good cause!

Last September, the Montreal Shaw Direct Customer Care Centre decided to put their shoulder to the wheel and get involved with some very special fundraising.

Bagel-O-Thon 2014

St-Viateur Bagel & Café on Monkland St. held an event called Back-to-school Bagel-O-Thon, in collaboration with the Generations Foundation organization. On September 18, donators could order one dozen bagels and pick them up between 6am and 10am. To help grow the success of the event, Montreal’s Shaw Direct team ordered a total of 175 dozen bagels! The organizers were delighted with their participation and all proceeds went to the charity.

Watch the interview below, courtesy of Global:

Bagel-O-Thon 2014

About Generations Foundation: They directly help young children in the community. Every day, thousands of students go to school with empty stomachs because their parents do not have sufficient resources to provide them with three meals a day. Experience shows us that when children are supported by balanced meals and snacks, they perform better in class and achieve better results. It is also a well-known fact that eating in the morning is essential, particularly for children and teenagers.

Bagel-O-Thon 2014

The Generations Foundation offers breakfasts, snacks and hot meals to more than 7,700 students in 96 schools and learning centers. It also introduced a feeding program to help children in becoming independent and autonomous regarding nutrition. Cooking classes and programs were set up so that older students could help younger ones. The difference Generations Foundation makes in the lives of these young people is remarkable and undeniable.

Generations Foundation receives no government aid and requires no cost from the children or their parents. Thanks to the generosity of caring people who support the Generations Foundation, they can continue to help these young people.

You can find more information about the Foundations Generations here.

Bagel-O-Thon 2014


The new HD Guide is here!

Introducing: the new HD Guide!

The new guide interface is more intuitive, delivering an industry-leading customer experience. The HD Guide user interface offers many improvements when compared to the SD Guide, including: faster navigation, redesigned menus to ensure optimal usability and enhanced shortcuts/preference functionality. The HD Guide is available for 6XX series receivers only. Legacy receivers (including 5XX HD receivers) will not be updated.

HD Guide

With the launch of HD Guide, two features on the 6XX series receiver have been retired:

  • Interactive Weather Application.
  • Instant Pay-Per-View (IPPV) ordering: the IPPV order feature has been removed from the 6XX series. The phone line will remain for caller ID only. IPPV will continue to be available on all legacy receivers.

There are six new major features introduced with the HD Guide:

1.  Customizations

Three different font sizes are available, controlling the number of rows of data in the guide, plus two different program colouring options. These settings can be changed at any time by pressing the following: Options // Preferences // User Settings & Appearance.

2.  MiniTune & MiniPlay

  • MiniTune: You can press the ‘B’ button from the guide to immediately tune the video window to the selected channel, while maintaining your current position in the menu.
  • MiniPlay: For customers with an HDPVR 630, MiniPlay functions the same way as MiniTune, but within your list of recorded programs. You can press ‘B’ to begin playback of the selected program in the video window, while maintaining your current position in the PVR list.

3.  PPV Store

A new way of browsing available PPV movies! Selecting ‘PPV Search’ from the Pay-Per-View (PPV) menu bar allows you to:

  • Narrow results by genre.
  • Show clear ordering instructions and ID above the movie description.
  • Be notified that the purchase has been successful once it’s been ordered through the IVR.
  • Purchased program are identified by a checkmark in the guide, PPV Store, and ‘Upcoming Airings’ screens.

4.  Smart PVR Technology

Our HDPVR has an overlooked feature: the ability to look for the episode on multiple channels. This feature, in conjunction with the fact that Shaw Direct carries channels from every Canadian time zone, effectively eliminates recording conflicts.

  • The HDPVR allows you to record from ‘HD only’, ‘SD only’, or ‘All channels’, rather than a single channel.
  • Descriptive information written in user-friendly language.
  • You can also edit your recording preferences by pressing ‘Enter’ on the program and selecting the new menu option.
  • When customizing a particular recording event, you can now access a ‘More Channels’ selector to change the channel you want the recording to take place on.

5.  Multi-User and Single User Modes

Multi-User Mode: Up to eight users can have their own preferences applied at login, in addition to parentally-defined permissions, locks, and restrictions.

  • The current profile can be changed at any time by pressing the FAV button on the remote. Each profile can have a unique PIN.
  • Users can be copied to a USB key for transfer to another satellite receiver.

Parental restrictions that can be customized for each user include:

  • Ratings locks
  • Channel locks
  • Access to Adult content
  • Ability to order free VOD titles
  • Daily VOD purchase limit ($ value)
  • Auto-logout duration
  • PVR Permissions (ability to schedule new recordings, delete existing recordings, etc.)

Preferences that can be customized for each user include:

  • Onscreen and audio language
  • Closed Captions display and settings
  • Descriptive Video
  • Font size and program colouring style
  • Unsubscribed channels in Guide (show or hide)
  • Caller ID notifications (not available on the HDDSR 600)
  • Automatic prompt to delete recordings

Single User Mode: It uses the same approach as before, wherein a single set of restrictions is applied consistently and unlocked individually on an ad-hoc basis. While Multi-User mode generally does not present a PIN challenge upon encountering locked content, Single-User mode does.

  • When migrating from SD Guide with the Parental Controls enabled, you will be placed into this mode by default.
  • You can switch between Single and Multi-User modes whenever you want. If set, a PIN is required to make this change.

6.  Notification Bar

The Notification Bar replaces the ‘Alert’ (!) icon used in the SD Guide and will notify you of Caller ID, PPV purchases, reminders or auto-tunes, dual recordings, and more. It also displays the signal strength, Internet connectivity status (for VOD), HDD space (HDPVR only) and number of active reminders.

Press the ‘Down’ arrow while watching TV to show the notification bar.

Other enhancements:

  • The A, B and C buttons on the remote control serve as shortcuts in a number of different windows – try them out!
  • New ways to search for content: Keyword Search and Category Search. Press Menu // Search to see the different categories.
  • Redesigned Video on Demand store.

Now go on and play with your new HD guide!

HD Guide 2


The 2014 Calgary Stampede

Logo Credit: The Calgary Stampede Foundation 2014

Ah, the Calgary Stampede – When the population of Calgary increases by almost a million people for ten days of cowboy hats, deep-fried food and twangy country music.

Toted as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,’ the Calgary Stampede does not disappoint. Held on the Stampede Grounds for 102 years, there are so many things to see and do. People come from literally all corners of the map to participate. Two of our favourite reasons to keep coming back: The Rodeo and The Midway (food and fast rides. What could go wrong?)

The temperature almost every day we went surpassed 30 degrees Celsius with only a few clouds to give us a well-wished break from the searing torment of the sun. If you don’t have something that closely-resembles sun stroke by the end of the day you’re not stampeding properly.

The Stampede always kicks off with a monstrous parade that blocks off most of downtown for hours. We got wise and went down to the parade route the night before to set (read, tape) chairs down in order to get front-row seats, went home for some excited ‘squee’s’ and a quick sleep before returning at 5:30 the next morning to defend our turf. The parade didn’t start for another four hours – Queue over-caffeination and screaming children.

When the parade did start, we had a really good time. Took lots of amazing pictures and got to wave at William Shatner, the Parade Marshall. You can check out the entire parade album on our Facebook Page.

Our main goal of visiting the grounds was to try all the wicked new food that had been posted on the Calgary Stampede website for months prior. We saddled up and headed down to the grounds. You can always tell when Stampede as the ratio of cowboy hats and boots goes up wherever you look – trains become more difficult to board and suddenly the view for shorter people like me turns into a sea of pressed felt and plaid.

There are so, so many things to do at the Calgary Stampede. I’ll be concentrating on food for this blog post. Sorry if you were looking for reviews on the rodeo and Super Dogs, but I’m sure there are lots of other blogs out there for you to imbibe.

Let’s get to it!

Red Velvet Mini Donughts

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

I was really excited to try these little wonders. Everyone who we had talked to prior exclaimed how rich and dense they were. I’m a fan of true Waldorf red velvet cake which, due to food rationing during World War II, was coloured with boiled beet juices and was extremely moist and sticky.

These were neither moist nor sticky. We were handed a stick of doughnuts that looked suspiciously like regular mini-doughnuts and were assured ‘the red was inside’. Nope. No red. More like a light-tinted rose on the insides of them. The flavour: Less than that of a regular mini-doughnut with the only saving grace being the cream-cheese frosting they had dunked the entire stack into before we received them.

We still ate all of them. Why waste food?

Ranking: 1 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Disappointing reality after reviews, no colour

Deep-Fried Cheezies

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

What could go wrong? Oh, right – Everything. These looked and smelled delicious upon receiving them. Battered lightly with some pieces of that mystery green vegetable you find in instant soup broth. Things were going great until we took the first bite.

Did they mistake Cheezies for Styrofoam peanuts? These were horrible! I tried eating the breading from around the now rock-hard remains but the ‘cheeze’ in the Cheezie had melted, gone nuclear and created some sort of biome inside of the battered-atmosphere. It was like lighting an aerosol can of cheese on fire and devouring what’s left (don’t try this at home). At least the fried bits of dough on the bottom were tasty.

Ranking: 1 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Alien environment contained by breading, styrofoam-like squeaking on my teeth

Deep-Fried Cookie Dough

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

I was so happy to find the booth selling deep-fried cookie dough! Delicious little balls of sweet goodness dusted with confectioner’s sugar… until you bit into it and realized there was a molten mass that resembled a microwaved tube of Keebler Elves. The dough collapsed, my mouth, face and shirt were flooded with goo of all shades of brown and my only reaction was to cough powdered sugar all over everyone within a ten-foot radius. The dough was sweet and resembled a chocolate-chip cookie but the fact that the treat drooled all over the place after the breading was broken was a total ‘nope’ for us.

Ranking: 1 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Brown goo, a new take on the ‘cinnamon challenge’ with confectioner’s sugar

Scorpion, Mealworm & Cricket Pizza

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

Maybe I’m rating this higher than a 1 because I was really hungry (read, hangry). I’ve eaten bugs before on purpose; Candied grasshoppers and cockroaches, teriyaki scorpions and centipedes among other weird things so my expectation for the pizza was fairly positive. I ordered a slice for $10 (TEN DOLLARS!) and was greeted with mealworms standing up on their end, wingless crickets and one dilapidated scorpion. I don’t know what tasted foul, the cheese or the bugs. Everything was dry and dirt-flavoured. For ten bucks, you could at least put some bugs on a primo piece of pizza. The scorpion still had some substance, but the crickets and mealworms were so dry and hollow it was like biting into a stale chip filled with air. This is the only food I did not finish simply because I could have gotten better pizza from a garbage bin.

Ranking: 2 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Tastelessness, legs stuck in my teeth, high price

Maple Bacon Doughnut Cheeseburger

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

This was both fulfilling and disgusting all in one quick-serve meal. I’m one of those horrible Canadians who dislikes anything maple. This bad-boy was a cheeseburger with maple doughnuts acting as buns. The patty, cheese and bacon were all pretty tasty. The fact that the grease from the meat was melting away the maple glaze, creating a sticky coating of sweet/savoury that made my palate shriek with confusion and horror was enough to keep me from eating the entire thing. Thankfully I had two other members of my team to help. It was actually fairly comical how fast I requested a hand-washing station once we were through with the ‘burger’.

Ranking: 2 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Maple, proximity of hand-washing station from food stall

Flower Cotton Candy

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

Another high-priced item, ringing in at $10 for a whopping $0.10 of sugar, the remainder of the value was found in the labour (each piece took about five minutes to craft). I got to pick my colours and watched the master at work. They were using coloured brown sugar rather than white which gave the flower a very robust, deep flavour. The three of us destroyed the bloom in under a minute. R.I.P., cotton candy art.

Ranking: 3 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Complexity, high price

Perogie Poutine

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

Oh my gosh, perogies. This in itself is enough to get me intrigued. Smother them with fries, cheese curds and gravy? Where’s the wheelchair because I’m going to be too large to walk myself off the grounds. The perogies were pretty tasty, along with the sausage that was smothered in sour cream and gravy. The poutine portion itself was a tad disappointing. Poorly-cooked crinkle-cut fries, very little cheese and watery gravy lapped in the bottom of the cardboard tray after we had massacred the meal. I’d go back for a second one, just no fries please.

Ranking: 3 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Limp fries, perogies in anything (mmm…)

Mini Doughnuts

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

Ah yes mini doughnuts. A midway staple no matter where you are in North America. The company who technically invented these little treats and patented the machine they use graces us with their presence every year on the Stampede midway for $5 a dozen. Best use of money ever! They’re hot, sweet and greasy. A perfect balance of cake and crisp, fried outside. Everyone knows the smell of mini-doughnuts, I hope you don’t pass these up the next time you smell them.

Ranking: 4 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Deliciousness, price, midway classic

Deep-Fried Macaroni & Cheese

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

Triangles of Heaven is what these should be called. Delicious, piping hot macaroni and cheese breaded in fine crumb served with nothing but napkins. They’re not too saucy to be a mess but not too dry to be disappointing. We all burned our mouths on them though, so be careful because I’m pretty sure they’re baked in a nuclear reactor. They were pretty greasy, served in a tray of seven with four napkins. I used a napkin per and was still whining for another hand-wash station. If it wasn’t for the last entry, I would have gone back for a second order. Mmm cheese…

Ranking: 4 out of 5 Cowboy Hats


Takeaways: Perfect little triangles, brings me back to my college days, grease

Turkey Dinner Poutine

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

Literally just like Grandma used to make. Delicious hand-cut fries, thick gravy, aromatic bread stuffing, real cranberries and a mound of juicy, well-seasoned turkey breast that reminded us of Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one takeaway container. This was another dish served directly from a volcano-oven, so we had to take turns playing ‘hot-potato’ with the container until it decided to cool down. (Side note: You don’t place your food down at the risk someone else will smell what’s cooking and approach asking to share). This had all the right herbs and spices, the fries were golden-brown and crisp, the gravy had an amazing fat ratio that made it stick to everything. Oh – and cheese curds! Hello.

Ranking: 5 out of 5 Leopard-Print Cowboy Hats (because why not)

leopard leopard leopard leopard leopard

Takeaways: Turkey. Poutine. Cheese.

All in all, we spent a lot of money on food that would make any nutritionist have nightmares and cold-sweats. But it was totally worth it. My jeans are tighter now than ever and I’m proud of my Stampede Belly. Want to see our Food & Fun gallery? Check out the Facebook Album.

Tickets for the 2015 Calgary Stampede (July 3rd-12th) go on sale October 6th, 2014. Hope to see you, cowboys and cowgirls!


A Weekend In The Woods

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2013

The weather in Calgary hasn’t been well-received this month. We were teased with two weeks of hot, humid, sticky days and chilly nights followed by constant rain and nights near zero. At the start of this past weekend it seemed the weather was going to behave so we hurriedly packed our weekend bags, the s’mores kit and a few other weekend essentials. We were off to the cabin about 40 minutes NE of Edmonton, Alberta.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the RDIO app on your phone, I highly recommend it. Streaming music based on what suits your mood and, if you have the paid version, instant access to thousands of albums, there’s never a boring moment when you’re driving down the road, sunroof open listening to exactly what you want to, no more annoying radio commercials. Of course this app uses some healthy data so it’s best to keep an eye on your consumption. No one likes data overage charges on their monthly mobile statement.

We had not visited the cabin since February for a Valentine’s Day getaway (our idea of celebrating is avoiding all the lovey-dovey and commercial pressure and enjoy each other’s company in the woods) and the lawn was overgrown, windows were covered in spider webs and I think a family of squirrels had moved into my hosta garden. No matter – we got to work! Arriving at 5pm on Friday we had the entire property trimmed and shiny by 8pm. I took to organizing the bedroom and kitchen as well as preparing dinner while the other half chopped some wood and readied what was to be a momentous fire seen from space. Steaks and Caesar salad in hand, we sat outside at the fire. At the ‘click’ of the lighter to begin a night of laughter, stories and reflection we heard a bigger sound: the boom of thunder rolling in. Literally ten seconds later the skies opened up and soaked about ten square kilometers with our cabin in the dead centre.

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2013

We ran inside and shook ourselves dry. Now I can handle most weather like a 5’6” warrior, but when it’s raining sideways the last thing I want is a second shower in freezing rain. The decision was made to hide inside, cowering from the rain with high hopes the storm would pass and we could enjoy that fire we had been craving for months.

Two hours passed. The storm was not letting up. Thankfully a few months back we had the smart idea to sign up for the Shaw Direct 2nd Home – a program provided by us that offers service at a second location for almost 50% off the retail price! We were shipped a satellite dish and receiver, booked the install with the local company and had the service up and running within a few weeks (it could have been sooner but our schedules were a bit tight). We picked a package smaller than what we had at home, no movies or sports, got a free month of service, a free HDPVR rental and some free movies, but it’s perfect for those rainy nights at the cabin when all the Monopoly money has been played and that DVD set of Star Wars is smoking from being watched so much.

You can find more information here: along with the program requirements and terms, and if you are ready to sign up, get in contact with one of our customer care agents – Chat now with a live agent.

What better way to celebrate Cottage season? Enjoy your weekends away in any weather with the 2nd Home program from Shaw Direct.


Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2014 – Part 2

Missed Part One? Check it out here!

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

Our Four Days:

Wow. I don’t know how else I can put the four days of running, panels, photos, transcripts, tweets and meet and greets. By Sunday night I was exhausted and twitching with geek-like excitement. If I could unscrew my legs and put a fresh pair on, I could have done another week of the Calgary Expo.

The majority of our time was spent in panels although we did a bunch of floor walking, checking out the cool costumes and vendors. We did transcripts of a bunch of panels and I was considering writing details on all of them. Instead, I’m going to take the best pick from each – short and sweet.

  • Barry Bostwick, when asked if he has noticed changes in acting for television shows:

You make less money now… it’s harder to actually get a job, because everybody wants to do TV… Burt Reynolds and David Hasslehof are who I am up against. I’ve been trying to convince actors in my age range to move away from California so it makes it easier for me to get their roles.

  • Anthony Daniels, on the reception of Star Wars:

When we made Star Wars, nobody knew what would happen. All the cast thought it was a silly film, but they were dedicated to their work… nobody really understood George’s vision.

 Then the film opened, and a few people went to see it, and they ran out – they got their friends and they ran in, they ran out and grabbed more friends and, not that the word existed, but it became “viral” to where it is today. And the reason became viral, aside from it being easier to watch it on multiple media types, the story of Star Wars carried the audience up, up and up, and brought us to today and the future was the audience, and then it was your children, and now it’s your children’s children. And the love and affection and devotion you have shown everybody in the film, everybody in the crew that you may not even recognize when you see their name on the roll… but you contributed to the whole thing, the saga… and who knows where we’re going next. I will end with a really heartfelt thank you to all of you. You’ve been there for me.

  •  Matt Smith, on how he sees the world after playing Doctor Who:

It categorically changed how I see the world. As an actor you try to experience things that your character does, if you’re running a bath, run a bath as the Doctor would run a bath – and it’s just a far more interesting bath. Go for a walk in the park as the Doctor would go for a walk in the park, I recommend everybody try this.

  •  Karen Gillan, on what would be in her perfect burrito:

Diced chicken breast, avocado, pepper, maybe a cheeky sauce.

  •  Vivica A. Fox, on the filming of her legendary fight scene in Kill Bill:

It looked and felt incredibly realistic… It took four days to film… There weren’t a lot of tricks; other scenes used wires, Uma’s and mine fight was the most brutal because there were no tricks. We performed 95% of the fight. The only part I didn’t do was when Vernita Green crashed over couch and into coffee table. I wanted wanted to do it, but everybody said no.

 After the last day of filming, I counted my bruises, I had over thirty on my legs and arms, I was so proud! We went through a little house in Pasadena and destroyed it. The fight went through the entry, hallway, front room, fireplace, into a dining room set, kitchen, through another dining room set, back into the front room and we just destroyed the whole place… it was so cool.

  •  Michael Rooker and Laurie Holden, on their character’s deaths on The Walking Dead:

MR: I wanted to go out the way I came in… Fighting, none of that emotional stuff. If Merle could have jumped up from the grave and smacked Daryl in the head, he would have.

LH: I’m glad Andrea went out the way she did. It came full circle. She needed to go out on her terms – it was her choice to take her own self out with her gun. I loved that she was with Michonne and they healed that. I loved that she was able to relate with Rick and Daryl and didn’t want anyone else to die – I felt like if there was any confusion about her intention or motivation, that in that one particular scene you saw her heart and who she was. It was the perfect death for me.

  •  Sigourney Weaver, on putting her stamp on pop culture through her role in the Alien franchise:

When the decision was made to make Ripley a woman, it was made not because they were feminists, but because no one would ever think this young woman would be a survivor. It expressed something in our culture, and continues to express something in our culture all around the world about the underdog and our ability to find reserves and resources in ourselves. It touched on a cord about who we are.

  • If we saw a reboot of the Alien movies, who would Sigourney want to play her character?

I’m gonna play my character.

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

The Venue:

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (casually called the Calgary Expo) dominated a good portion of the Calgary Stampede grounds; the majority of events were held within the BMO Centre – a 300,000 sq. ft exhibit complex, Boyce Theatre and Corral – 25,100 sq. ft of space offering 8,000 seats and the Big Four – 118,000 sq. ft used for more exhibitors, guest signatures and photo-ops.

Last year, this was the entire event. I was only slightly surprised to see the addition of a 95,000 sq. ft pavilion tent that housed additional panels and a children’s area full of… kids.

Last but not least, Calgary Food Trucks. Two words: Oh my. The lineups were so insanely long, but the food was worth it. I ended up putting my big glutton shoes on, and tried a dish from every truck. But it’s okay because we were there for four whole days, right?

You can check out our interactive map of the venue here.

Tourist Tips:

If you’re planning on visiting the Calgary Expo next year, here are a few things to remember:

  • Exchange your tickets for wristbands early! Calgary Expo offers an exchange day prior to the event which is clearly publicized. This is the best time to do your exchange so you’re not waiting in the line day-of while your favourite panel is starting.
  • You’re going to be walking on hard concrete for hours on end, with little to no seating unless you hang out in the panels (and expect plastic chairs), so bring super-comfy shoes, or a few pairs.
  • BMO Centre is kind enough to offer lockers with in/out privileges. The price was $5 a day while we were there. They’re big enough for a standard-size backpack or ten pairs of shoes, for the stylish.
  • If you are planning on doing it up right and wearing your best costume, Calgary Expo has weapon and prop storage. I left my oversized sword and foam handguns at home so I’m not sure the price or time limits for this service.
  • There are a few food options on site. Inside the BMO Centre and Big Four the options are the same (same foodservice contract, I would assume). Burgers are decent, but the lineups and mashed-up crowds of people are pretty crazy. Also, expect to eat on the floor. We ventured outside to the YYC Food Trucks and tried each of them. As I said prior, these queues are also long – but you’re outside with a good view for people watching and you quickly move up the line. One thing I noticed was the lack of vegetarian options. Don’t expect much other than a kid’s cheese pizza and some cold veggies.
  • Be prepared to get close. Calgary Expo had a record attendance of almost 100,000 people this year. That gets a bit intense in close-quarters, but if you keep eyes-forward and remain polite you won’t have any problem.
  • If you want to go to a panel, line up early. As press we were able to fly in and out of all the panels without having to stand in lines. Whether you have a regular or VIP pass, line up at least a half-hour before your panel begins. They usually open the doors ten minutes before the event and it is rush seating. VIP tickets have their own section but if the panel is popular (like the Dr. Who panel), the sections will fill up fast. Better be safe than sorry.
  • Get the four-day pass. I know it seems like a super-long time to be at the grounds, but if you can get off of work for all the days, do it. You may not be on site for the entire time but at least then you will have access to the entire event and not just a few select days. There are so many panels and events every day and the last thing you want is to miss something because you only purchased a pass for one day and you want to participate in three days worth of content.


Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2014 – Part 1

Logo Credit – The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo 2014

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo entered its ninth year with a nerdy four-day bang that still resonates through the halls of Calgary’s Stampede grounds.

This event is very unique compared to the others that come through the city – Sure we have the quirky steampunk, electro-junkies of “Beakerhead,” the sparkly Michelin Star “The Big Taste” that serves up crazy-good food endlessly for a few weeks downtown, and of course the Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth for over a century, but any expo that starts out with a parade of Stormtroopers, Zombies and Hobbits is a hands-down win in my book.

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

The Event:

The Calgary Expo is a unique four-day event that invites a diverse group of people to let loose and express what they love to the universe without judgement, haste or hurt-feelings. From media guests, artists, creators, horror guests, cartoon and animation stars, anime and manga enthusiasts, and even guests and content geared towards little ones makes its way to the Calgary Expo. We could not believe some of the dedication and hard work that was put into costumes and makeup – and one of the busiest booths in the main hall? The costume repair guys who had everything from glittery-gold duct tape to spare eyeballs.

Along with the attendees and halls packed with exhibitors, photographers, merchants, and LAN-Party tables, we opted to experience some of the many panels offered. We stuck with the headliners including Barry Bostwick, Vivica A. Fox, Anthony Daniels, as well as the marquee guests of Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, and Aliens. There was also opportunity to sign up for geek speed-dating, a costume contest, a quick Toastmasters session, or even a how-to-perfect-your-comic-book-drawing-skills course; the options were endless with always something to go check out. We packed our schedule each of the four days, and never found ourselves standing still or wondering what would be next.

Photo Credit: D. Koch 2014

The Parade Of Wonders (POW!):

Again. Stormtroopers. There were literally hundreds of parade participants from all different movies, comics, T.V. shows and games in full gear and character. We got to the starting point an hour early to wander through the groups and get some wicked pictures. Accosted by aliens? Check. A legendary picture of knights in practice? Double check. We were even in the right place at the right time and bumped into Anthony Daniels (yeah, I touched him), and Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary who was marshalling the parade.

You know when you think about meeting a celebrity and you tell yourself, “I can do this – cool as a cucumber,” and then you actually meet them, accidentally drool on yourself, and end up grunting in some alien language? That happened. Good thing my photographer was able to keep it together and both Anthony and Nenshi posed elegantly for pictures.

Taking off from the riverfront at 11 a.m., the parade snaked through the downtown core and shopping district, attracting thousands of spectators, eventually ending up at Olympic Plaza (just a few jumps to the Stampede Grounds) for the opening ceremonies. All of the special guests were introduced, and the ceremonies were concluded with a fairy-tale ending. Prince Charming proposed to his Cinderella right on stage – thankfully she said yes. Although we were lacking on little yellow birds and fairy dust, it still brought a tear to my eyeball.

Click here to go to Part Two


About the authors

MET-blogMarie-Eve T., eCare Agent with a strong background in customer service, she studied literature and tourism, and also has a Bachelor of Education. Passionate about writing, social media, culture and music, she finally found a job where she gets to work and play.

RHA-blog2Rykelson Harry A., eCare Agent. Experienced in caricature illustration, translation, writing and editing music. His interests include art, cinema, reading, languages, nutrition and of course, technology.