Feature A & E Stories

The Business of Halloween: ‘A Labor of Love’

Screamfest owner Mike Shepard offers tricks and treats to fear loving freaks

thumb markengelWEBFor some, Halloween is an exciting time of year. But for one Calgary professional couple, it is a hell of a lot of work.

Mike Sheppard and his wife Maureen earn their conventional living teaching part-time at Mount Royal University and collecting rental income from a property they own.

In 2001, they invested in something less conventional; they bought a haunted house and invested in the business of Halloween. The Sheppards once simple haunted house has since evolved into Canada's largest and what they claim to be the "scariest" Halloween event in Canada: Screamfest.


‘Anything is possible’: A check-in with ‘The Big Man’

 After losing almost 300 lbs, Bill Laplante is more motivated than ever to show people that they can change their lives

thumb laplante pants tallIt's an all too common story; people decide to lose weight, eat better and focus on their health only to fall back into old routines.

But with radio personality Bill (The Big Man) Laplante, who these days goes by his birth-name, William, that played out resolution meant more than simply staying away from fried food or adding quinoa to his grocery list.


At his heaviest, 707 lbs, Laplante was tired of seeing the inside of a hospital — the fear of death a serious reality.

And with that, he's since lost more than 275 lbs.


Film workshop inspires native youth storytellers

Canada Bridges helps Treaty 7 teens express themselves through film

thumb Filmmaking-Workshop WEBCanada Bridges and aboriginal youth have teamed up this year in Siksika Nation to inspire and accomplish community success.

The non-profit organization aimed at social development and youth empowerment has recently finished facilitating a filmmaking and story-telling workshop that ran from July 21 – 25.

produced by Kelsey Solway

Thirteen youth developed their own script, then planned and shot a movie within five days. They were cast into roles such as directors, writers, editors, actors and sound and camera operators. Their hardships and collaborations resulted in a short film called "28 Moons Later."


Who’s who in the world of Calgary’s microbreweries

Meet the faces behind four of YYC’s seven brewing companies

Wild Rose Brewery’s Brian Smith, Director of Brewing Operations

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Recently married Brian Smith is making the two-hour and 56-minute commute from his home in Calgary to Edmonton where he works at Alley Kat Brewing Company. The year is 1998.

“… I would drive up Monday morning, crash on a buddy’s couch and drive back Friday,” said Smith, who at the time was paid $7 per hour.

Smith’s commute to work 20 years later is a much shorter journey. As Wild Rose Brewery’s director of brewing operations, Smith shares his time between the company’s Southwest location and its new brewery in the Foothills Industrial Park – this commute is only 17 minutes.  

Smith’s passion for beer did not just extend to spending hours in his car commuting to work – a trek which he completed approximately 40 times (around 120 hours) in the five months he worked at Alley Kat. Prior to deciding to pursue brewing beer as a career, Smith was brewing his own beer at home.