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Here’s a phrase that, depending on the speaker’s feelings about the idiosyncratic Calgary neighbourhood and his or her general outlook, is inflected with either an eye roll or a smile: “That’s so Sunnyside.”
Those in the eye-roll camp will no doubt find the neighbourhood’s latest burgeoning trend—turning one’s garage door into a canvas—as unappealingly artsy-fartsy as the containR lot and myriad other experiments that make Sunnyside Sunnyside. Those in the smiling camp, however, will find the idea of an alley-gallery delightful. Christie Page Stayner is definitely smiling.
After spending many years in the Beltline waiting for her ideal house to come onto the market, Stayner and her family finally became Sunnysiders five years ago. A community activist by nature, Stayner is always on the lookout for ways to encourage liveliness and connection wherever she lives. After noticing a handful of murals painted on garage doors in the blocks surrounding her home, Stayner wondered if there was a way to encourage more people to bring colour and interest to the back alleys. A Sunnyside friend by the name of Gerald Wheatley suggested she take a walk, count up all the garage art, and plot it on a Google map to share on the community’s Facebook page.