Living Standards | Food
Community Connections | Neighbourhoods, Citizen Engagement
Environment | Sustainability

Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association

We believe that given a strong sense of community through home, work and play, individuals can be more successful in their relationships and as members of society.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Elizabeth and her eight-year-old son had only been in Canada for two weeks when they stumbled upon our Food Skills Cooking Group. They were quiet and hesitant about joining us, but decided to stay for the lesson and the meal that we would cook together that day. After a few short weeks, they were the first to arrive, never missing a day and looking forward to seeing the new friends they had made. The boy quickly developed a bond with baby Maya – another regular – and their mothers began helping each other with carpooling and cooking dinner. Elizabeth and her son were both eager to try out the new skills they were learning at home, they even grew sprouts to share with the group. The group bonded over the chance to talk about their traditional foods from home as well as leaning more about ‘Canadian foods’. At the end of the program, Elizabeth and her son were excited about the confidence they had developed to cook and enjoy healthy food here in Canada. They continue to meet with their new friends from the group and are eager for the next session to start up.

The Food Skills Cooking Group is one of six Community Food Programs offered at the HSCA, information about them can be found here. In addition to the Community Food Program, the HSCA offers a wide range of programs and services aimed at meeting the diverse needs of community members.

OUR HISTORY | Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association exists to provide services that enhance quality of life for residents in the Calgary neighbourhoods of Hillhurst and Sunnyside. A registered society since 1948, the HSCA’s roots go back to 1912. HSCA became a registered charity in 1980 and provides recreational, community-building and social services to our residents. As we prepare to celebrate our 65th year, the Community Association continues to foster a vibrant and collaborative environment that helps the Hillhurst-Sunnyside community to thrive, and remains committed to adapting to and serving our community’s diverse needs.


Our Impact

What We Do

The HSCA’s mission is “to preserve and enhance a healthy and vibrant quality of life for the residents of Hillhurst-Sunnyside”.  Fostering strong communities and healthy food systems is essential to achieving this mission; we recognize the importance of creating healthy and engaged communities in our immediate neighbourhoods and across Calgary.

The HSCA’s Community Food Program was launched in 2013 as a key contribution to the HSCA’s mission and has been built on the momentum of our Farmers’ Market and informed by a community needs assessment lead by students from Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary.

Our community told us that they need better financial and physical supports to access good food and opportunities to come together to build community and their food skills. Building these supports is what we have aimed to do.

The HSCA has several other program areas in addition to the Community Food Program. More information about these programs can be found here.

HSCA Delivers on a Community Food Strategy in 2015:

Following months of research and community consultation, 25 months into a three-year strategy, HSCA’s community food programming has been adopted. The Community Food Program aims to:

  • Enable residents of Hillhurst Sunnyside and beyond to cook and grow high quality food while transforming the urban food system;
  • Create replicable and sustainable community food programming to share across the city;
  • Engage citizens in food and poverty issues; and
  • Provide a comprehensive range of supports.

HSCA COMMUNITY | We serve the communities of Hillhurst, Upper Hillhurst and Sunnyside in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The community boundaries of Hillhurst include 8th Avenue N and 16th Avenue N to the north, 10th Street W to the east, the Bow River to the south and both 14th Street W and 18th Street W to the west.The Sunnyside boundaries consist of Centre Street on the east and by 10th Street NW on the west. On the north, Sunnyside is bounded by McHugh Bluff Park and on the south by the Bow River.

HSCA SERVICE | Our primary service areas are Seniors services, Outreach services and Child Care, making us a full-service community centre. We also hold weekly Farmers’ Markets and Flea Markets, offer multiple recreation programs and our centre is available for event rentals.

Our Programs

How We Do It

The Community Food Program (CFP) aims to create replicable and sustainable communtiy programming that engages citizens and inspires leadership while providing a comprehensive range of supports, enabling residents of Hillhurst Sunnyside and beyond to ahcieve a sustainable livelihood throught the support and assets of a resilient and connected community. Said another way, we use food to engage people and build a strong, connected community.

  1. Neighbour Support Network: a program for adults that aims to build social connections while supporting the development of a sustainable livelihood at the individual and community level.
  2. FoodFit: in partnership with Community Food Centres Canada, this program brings together low income community members to set goals, learn skills, and makemeasureable changes in overall health and fitness.
  3. Farmers Market: we offer a year-round market focused on bringing the community fresh, local and sustaibly produced food and artisanal goods. The market aims to engage the community by providing a regular gathering space with live music and activities for all ages from yoga to arts and crafts.
  4. Community Garden Programming: both individual and group gardening plots with skill shares and social events.
  5. Community Food Program Network: to connect communities around the city to share resources, programming, and lessons learned and support community-based initiatves. In the past we have supported other communities in starting farmers’ markets and most recently we have worked with a group of volunteers on advocating for urban agriculture in Calgary, resulting in this project.

These programs are designed to engage people in these critical issues; building skills, confidence and relationships and increasing access to high quality food while fostering community connectedness as a foundation for systems level change. Models that can be shared and adapted are central to the development of our programs so that we can help grow these opportunities in communities across Calgary.

Our Requests

What You Can Do


Let’s Talk: There are many ways to engage in the HSCA’s Community Food Program and we would love to hear from you and talk about how you can get involved. Whether you are interested in attending or volunteering at the Farmers’ Market, getting your hands in the dirt in our learning garden, or perhaps you would prefer something more ‘behind the scenes’; there are many opportunities to join us in building a strong community through food and gardening.

We’d love to hear from you – yes – all of you. Please contact Kate at or 403-283-0554 ext. 228.

Stay Connected


Kate Stenson

Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association


Charitable Number: 107482564RR0001

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