Mike Morrison

Avenue Calgary’s 2016 Top 40 Under 40.

Photograph by Erin Brooke Burns. Photographed at Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.

Age: 34

Job title: Writer, Blogger, Activist

Why he’s a 2016 Top 40:

The writer behind Mike’s Bloggity Blog uses his online presence to advocate for urban cycling and LGBTQ rights.

On a family trip to Disneyland when he was seven, Mike Morrison kept wandering off. His parents would find him at lost and found, happily recounting his adventure to anyone who would listen.

Nearly 30 years later, Morrison makes his living doing something similar – telling stories. “I’m not really money-motivated. I’m obsessed with experience,” he says.

Morrison’s blog, Mike’s Bloggity Blog, turns 10 this year and he’s one of the city’s most popular Twitter personalities with more than 22,000 followers. Morrison also organizes an annual social media and digital marketing conference, SocialWest, which sold out last year.

In the last three years, Morrison has also become a vocal and effective advocate for urban cycling and LGBTQ rights in Alberta. He tweets an average of 30 times a day, often directly engaging politicians about their stance on issues such as bike lanes and gay-straight alliances in schools.

“There aren’t very many media personalities – I’m putting myself under that umbrella broadly – who talk about being gay in their personal life and stand up to politicians,” says Morrison, who’s been in a relationship with his boyfriend for five years. “When I see something that I don’t think is based on truth or is based on political aspirations, it gets me worked up.”

Initially, Morrison worried that his activism could cost him sponsors and readership. The result has been the opposite. He now blogs full-time and is a featured contributor on both CTV and CBC.

On the cycling front, Morrison is the author of the book Calgary By Bike, which spent nearly two months on the Calgary Herald‘s bestseller list when the first edition was published in 2015. Sales of the current second edition appear likely to match or exceed the first edition.

Morrison says he’s not a “diehard cyclist,” but rather the type who likes “biking 10 minutes everywhere,” making him a strong proponent for the city’s cycle tracks.

It’s been an unexpected, but exciting ride for a man who arrived in Calgary from Fredericton 11 years ago with a new university degree in Spanish and a job as a greeter at a local CIBC. “My life has always been to take what comes to you,” Morrison says. “I think that’s what I’ve been doing.” – Christina Frangou

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