The Story Behind the Calgary Ghostbusters

Ahead of the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Candace Schneider, co-founder of the Calgary Ghostbusters, talks about her team’s passion for the franchise and their volunteer work.

Photograph by Jared Sych

The Calgary Ghostbusters are a team of about 30 volunteers, co-founded by Candace Schneider and Sean Nicholson. In iconic Ghostbusters uniforms, they appear at conventions, movie showings and other events. And as Schnieder confirmed, this month is set to be a big one for her crew with the release of the Alberta-shot Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

As a child, Schneider loved the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. The 2016 release of Answer the Call, a reboot with an all-female Ghostbusters cast, renewed her passion for the franchise. “I still had all of my toys from when I was a kid, but when the new movie came out I decided that for Halloween I was going to go as Holtzmann [the character played by Kate McKinnon in the 2016 film].”

Ghostbuster groups all over the world create their own “ecto” vehicles based on “Ecto-1a,” the iconic Ghostbusters’ vehicle. These groups connect in an annual social media contest where fans vote for their favourite vehicle. The most popular photos are included in the Calgary Ghostbusters’ annual Ecto calendar that they sell to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

The Calgary Ghostbusters also held a food drive for the Airdrie Food Bank during the pandemic. Donors filled their “ecto truck” with more than 1,300 pounds of food over two weekends. There was also a “very tasteful” female Ghostbusters calendar that raised funds for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.

So what does Ghostbusting have to do with volunteerism, exactly? “I did [Calgary Folk Music Festival] before, I’ve given blood. I like to do nice things for the community,” Schneider says. “[Ghostbusting] just puts a fun twist on it.”

With a new Ghostbusters film on the way, Schneider looks forward to sharing her passion with younger fans, too. “It’s going to be a whole new generation of fans. So my niece, who is three now, she can love Ghostbusters like I did when I was younger.”

To learn more about the Calgary Ghostbusters, visit Ghostbusters: Afterlife comes out November 11.

Candace Schneider. Photograph by Jared Sych

Learn more about the people and organizations moving Calgary forward with Avenue's Innovation Newsletter.

This article appears in the November 2021 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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