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Hyperlocal Q&A with Zoey Duncan

Zoey Duncan is one of 12 bloggers who'll be telling her neighbourhood's stories on Hyperlocal - Canada Writes' interactive story map, launching April 3rd. Zoey lives in Sunalta, Calgary.

Tell us about yourself. 
I’m a freelance writer and occasional social media trainer/comedy-teaching hack. I live in a charmingly old apartment in Sunalta, a historic inner-city neighbourhood in Calgary. I’ve lived in the neighbourhood for a year and a half, having spent most of my life north of Calgary’s Bow River.

Tell us about your neighbourhood. 
Sunalta isn’t one of Calgary’s particularly well-known neighbourhoods. Its amenities include a lobster shop, a blues bar, a "live art" studio and, since December 2012, a brand new C-Train station.

I love how close my neighbourhood is to the action of 17th Avenue S.W.—the bar-filled stretch occasionally still referred to as the Red Mile—and how near the Bow River Walk pathway is to my front stoop.

Sunalta, despite being one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Calgary, still has some growing up to do. The new C-Train station is set to be a hub of neighbourhood development. If we’re lucky, this means more interesting local shops and restaurants will eventually join the present quirky assortment. A lot of the benefits of Sunalta come from its proximity to other flourishing parts of Calgary. I think as it attracts more amenities, a needed sense of community pride will grow too.

What are some of your favourite neighbourhood destinations? 
I'm getting to know my neighbourhood better all the time. The lumpy ice rink down the street from my apartment—at least during the weeks when Calgary's bright winter sun hasn't turned it to slush—is the perfect spot to coax me into hockey skates for a cold-weather workout. And the pakora from the new Indian takeout place nearby has fast become a staple in my life. 

How is your neighbourhood changing? 
A common term that comes up in describing old Sunalta is "crack house." Far from flattering, but a common scourge of inner-city neighbourhoods in this city. 

These days, the descriptors are more positive; words like "vibrant," "walkable" and "potential." The greatest upcoming changes here are related to the recently arrived C-Train station. While it's expected to bring more action to the area, I can't help wondering who might leave the neighbourhood because of it.

Zoey Duncan lives and works in the historic neighbourhood of Sunalta near downtown Calgary. Her cosy (read: post-war) one-bedroom apartment-slash-home office is minutes away Sunalta's brand new LRT station and a stone's throw from the neighbourhood's handful of century-old homes (ancient by Calgary standards). She's got a front seat view of Sunalta as it looks poised to shift from forgotten, downtown fringe neighbourhood to vital urban district.

Zoey was born in Calgary and has lived most of her life here, save for a short stint spent in southern Ontario in early childhood. Now a freelance writer, she spent a year blogging about local news, issues and neighbourhood gripes for OpenFile Calgary in 2011-12. When away from a keyboard, Zoey teaches the skills of stand-up comedy as a tool for writers and plays roller derby under the pseudonym Front Page Bruise.

« Read more blogger profiles from our new interactive project, Hyperlocal 

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