Times have been tough since the beginning of the pandemic, but there are still incredible things happening in Calgary. That’s why, in addition to our ongoing reporting about what makes the city great, we’re taking a moment at the end of each month to recap some of the most heartening events, accomplishments and initiatives going on around town. Kick back, relax and give yourself a break with some positive local updates.
Calgary placed 10th on MovieMaker‘s latest list of the 25 best places to live and work as a moviemaker, beating out Toronto (but not Montreal or Vancouver) in the process. Its rationale for the ranking mentioned “sound stages galore, great crews and production services” as well as our proximity to the Rockies and specific facilities like the Calgary Film Centre and The CL Western Town & Backlot. The magazine also reported $200 million in area film industry spending in 2020. Recent major productions in Calgary include Let Him Go (starring Kevin Costner and Diane Keaton), Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the just-begun production of a Fraggle Rock series.
The City of Calgary has partnered with Google for ShopHere, an initiative creating 400 free online stores for small businesses in the city. This follows an initial 45 stores that received the service in the fall and is made possible by an investment from the federal government. The 400 slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis and conditions apply.
Donor-advised fund Place2Give Foundation ended 2020 with the announcement of a new investment in The Leftovers Foundation through its YYC Food Security Fund. The contribution allowed Leftovers to hire five part-time drivers to help deliver service. The goal for the fund is to aid the food industry by “purchasing locally sourced and produced foodstuffs at fair market value” and to employ industry workers who have been laid off.
Speaking of food security, Theatre Calgary recently made a substantial donation to the Calgary Food Bank. The company was able to raise more than $77,000 through with its online production of A Christmas Carol. The show — the second adaption by Geoffrey Simon Brown for Theatre Calgary — was available to audiences internationally and viewers from more than 21 countries tuned in.
A COVID-19 vaccine undergoing Phase I trial is being manufactured in Calgary. Created by Providence Therapeutics — which operates in both Calgary and Toronto — the vaccine is called PTX-COVID19-B and is the first made-in-Canada vaccine to reach this stage of development. Calgary company Northern RNA is also on board to help with manufacturing capacity. Phase II may begin as early as May 2021 and approval for distribution may come by next year.