Vacant lot inspires artistic vision in Hillhurst-Sunnyside

An artist’s playground might be taking up temporary residence in Hillhurst’s currently vacant Triangle site located at 9 Street and 2 Avenue N.W.

The Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA), Bow to Bluff Initiative and Springboard Performance held a meeting for residents on Jan. 30 to discuss the opportunity to build a container village on the site.

“The container village will be used for art exhibits – they will house art adventures,” said Sandra Sawatzky from Springboard Performance.

The containers will be available to everyone from theatre troupes to local schools, providing an opportunity for “artists to make an impact.”

In the long term, the Triangle site will become affordable housing, though the Springboard and Bow to Bluff Initiative see this as an opportunity to inspire art exhibits across Calgary.

“This is an experiment,” said Tamara Lee, Bow to Bluff’s communications chair.

“It’s meant to be a demonstration. Hopefully this will showcase what can happen in different communities.”

The idea for the project was partially inspired by the success of Vancouver’s Olympic container village, which attracted tens of thousands of visitors.

Sawatzky described the project as “cardboard boxes where we can play,” and a way to “create vitality in the community.’

The proposed project would open late August, and would remain open until October with the opportunity to reopen following summers depending on the success of the project and the availability of the site.

City approval and funding for the project have yet to be obtained, but the estimated cost for a one year, eight container exhibit is approximately $200,000.

As well as containers, the site will feature seating, utilities, and possibly a park.

Though the container village is the top contender for the temporary use of the site, the HSCA and Bow to Bluff Initiative welcome other ideas via email at

About Ariana Biagi 7 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ariana Biagi worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.