By Mario Toneguzzi
For the second year, a unique and innovative pop-up retail concept is taking over an empty parking lot space in the East Village neighbourhood in the heart of Calgary.
East Village Junction, the brainchild of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation which is the master developer for the neighbourhood, is a contemporary outdoor retail park using 12 shipping containers to house a selection of local businesses and organizations.
Last year, the retail area attracted more than 50,000 people during the summer.
The retail park is located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 4th Street S.E., directly by Calgary’s City Hall.
“We are blending community and culture – from local sustainable, meats, vintage clothing, vegan speciality foods, to a showcase of indigenous fashion and even a dog boutique – along with a host of programmed activities. There will be new reasons to visit each week,” said Jessa Morrison, senior manager of brand marketing for CMLC.
“EV Junction is a great example of the community East Village is becoming, and our goal this year is to continue to bring visitors and residents of East Village together to celebrate community and our great city.”
Construction continues in East Village, which is a mixed-use, master-planned community with retail and commercial space. The neighbourhood will have more than 11,000 residents when it’s completed in 2027.
EV Junction’s 12 tenants include: BARK, Family Squeezed Treat Box, Meadow Creek Sausage x Mob Honey, Otahpiaaki x Park Nation-to-Nation, Platform Innovation Studio, Pony Friday, Prairie Bazaar & Ox Eye Wild, Rath Bicycle, she[EMPOWERS], The Painted Bottle Art Gallery, That Vegan Place and the EV Connexion Pod.
“We’ve added this year something a little bit different where we actually have a few containers that are home to what we call programmers. Their expertise lie in kind of creating experiences for the visitors or providing some education on some programs and initiatives that are happening in our community,” said Morrison.
“Last year we thought we had really great retailers and really great local brands that people really resonated with but we did feel if you were a visitor from outside East Village and coming you may feel if you’ve seen it once you’ve seen it a thousand times. And so this is a way to make sure that people understand that not only is there great retail and we want it to be a place where locals can shop for their homemade sausage as well as get some treats for their dog for people who actually live in East Village proper but it’s also so that visitors know that as a destination they can come and have a different experience each time on multiple weekends throughout the summer.”
East Village Junction will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays. For a full listing of EV Junction programming activities and more information about retailers, visit www.evexperience.com/evjunction
The retail park, which will be open until September 3, will run a series of weekly programs as well.
Entrepreneur Jameela Ghann, who operates Alora Boutique, organized the she[EMPOWERS] shipping container which is a collective of female entrepreneurs. That container sells visual arts, jewelry, stress relief gift boxes, handmade planters and macrame, greeting cards and sustainable clothing.
“We find that the best path towards female empowerment is through economic empowerment. So we really wanted to create a space where the public can be able to support female entrepreneurs and really see that there are people in the city who are pursuing and following their dreams and the hopes to inspire others. But really it’s all about female economic empowerment and finding a place in the city to let other women thrive.
“The location is great. We were there last year. A nice central neighbourhood where you can bring your family. There’s always a lot going on. I would say it’s a really great neighbourhood.”
*Photos are by Mario Toneguzzi.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org