Exploring for knowledge at the Riddell Library, MRU

A climbing decorator prepares for his ascent of Mount Royal. Riddell Library and Learning Centre, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Ascent of Mount Royal

Earlier this summer, the brand new Riddell Library and Learning Centre opened for the business of study at Mount Royal University in Calgary. For a short while, the doors were open, books could be borrowed but the staircase was closed. The painting had to be completed and that was a task for the climbing decorators (also known as rope access technicians) of Quantum Rope Access.

The climb up through the blue light and airy stairwell leading to the fourth floor of this beautifully designed LEED Gold building was facilitated by mechanical ascenders using a slingshot technique.

The stairwell is now open. Students can explore for knowledge in a more leisurely fashion.

For more photos from this and other happenings in the Summer of ’17 please visit

J. Ashley Nixon Photography


Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Architecture, Art & Design, Calgary, Canada, Documentary photography, Education, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We are all Villagers! Ice cream in Marda Loop, Calgary

Summer birthday treats at Village Ice Cream, Marda Loop, Calgary.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Do you recall a moment in your childhood about ice cream and summer? Maybe a cone on the beach, when the sand got mingled with the runny deliciousness to give it that unwanted gritty feeling? Or the angst, and maybe tears, when your saved up spending money-just a few coins for the week- went down the drain, literally, when you spilled your double scoop onto the pavement?

Both of those happened to me. And then there were afternoons going down to Brontë Ice Cream in Haworth. My friends and I would pause from our game of football or cricket and head down the cobbled Main Street and over the bridge of the River Worth and the railway line to the shop. My favourite was a ninety-nine, a scoop of the real dairy with a Cadbury’s flake stuck into the top.

Ice cream treats in Marda Loop, Calgary at the Village Ice Cream shop.
© J. Ashley Nixon

That taste memory came back to me in Calgary yesterday during a visit to the Marda Loop shop of Village Ice Cream. It was my daughter’s birthday treat and with a family of willing sharers, it gave me the chance to sample a few of the handcrafted ices made right here in Calgary. We sat down in the shade in front of the cool counter and tried out strawberry, vanilla bean, and the more adventurous Earl Grey flavor. Delicious, stylish, artisanal craft.

Village memories recalled. We are all Villagers!

For more images of ice cream and the summer of ’17, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Documentary photography, Photography, Street photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Yorkshire Day to all Tykes and Yorkshire lovers around the world

Happy Yorkshire Day! Here is a short selection of photos to celebrate the broad acres of the biggest county of England and its people, The Tykes, wherever you hang out in the world. Please visit my earlier blog post to explore ten things to do on Yorkshire Day. A recipe for Yorkshire Pudding is included!

Yorkshire Dog: Arya the Airedale

After my early years in Haworth, I went to school in Keighley, Airedale. Many years later, in Canada, when my children begged and begged for a dog, I relented on one condition-I chose a right good Yorkshire breed. Arya the Airedale Terrier (the largest of the terriers) joined our family. Here she is (above) as a puppy and she still often acts like one, four years later. A lovely, yet strong character dog carefully named after the most compelling character in Game of Thrones, Arya Stark. You can read more about Arya the Airedale here and here.

Yorkshire Roots: Haworth Moors

Haworth Moors.
© J. Ashley Nixon

I was born and bred on these Haworth moors, a landscape made famous in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Fond memories of my Mum and Dad, seen here with their granddaughter, Jennifer.

Yorkshire Folk

Yorkshire folk and cycling fans watching the Tour de France in Leeds, July 2014.
© J. Ashley Nixon

This photograph was taken on The Headrow, Leeds amongst huge crowds out to see the first of two days of cycling in Yorkshire during the Tour de France, 2014. You read more about the Tour in Yorkshire here. And here is an article about beer and bikes.

Yorkshire Beer

A fine selection of Timothy Taylor’s beers ready to be served at The Grouse pub in Oakfield, across the valley from Haworth, Yorkshire.
© J. Ashley Nixon

This photograph, taken at The Grouse pub in Oldfield, Yorkshire shows off the fine selection of @timothytaylorsbeer including a special brew Le Champion made for the Tour de France, that ran two stages in Yorkshire in 2014. Landlord is their famous championship ale which, regrettably, I am unable to sup today all the way away in Calgary, Canada. Still, I have some good substitutes. One will be a nice pint of Show Pony, a delightful quaffing pale ale from Last Best The other is an IPA from Wildrose Brewery.

Yorkshire Art and Talent

Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points 1969-70, one of the bronze sculptures created by Henry Moore and on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
©. J. Ashley Nixon

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a fabulous place to walk around and explore some of the best sculpture in the world. Creations located in open-field and woodland landscapes include works of art by Andy Goldsworthy, Anthony Caro, KAWS, Sol Le Witt and Yorkshire-born Henry Moore. Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points (1969-70) is one of Moore’s beautiful bronze sculptures to see alongside the grazing sheep.

For more photographs of Yorkshire and other fine places, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography


Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Cycling, Pets, Photography, Social documentary photography, Sports, Street photography, Travel, Travel photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bellflower to pick at Calgary Folk Music Festival

Em Pompa of Bellflower performing at the Calgary Folk Music Festival.
© J. Ashley Nixon

As the end of July comes around, it’s time once again for the Calgary Folk Music Festival to turn over Prince’s Island into a smorgasbord of music from around the planet. One of the most exciting thing about being there is to experience a band you have never heard of and then rush into the CD tent to buy a recording because you have just been blown away by what you have heard.

That was the feeling when I heard Bellflower, an Indie Jazz, electro-pop/folk fusion that hails from Montreal.  They have two recordings I was able to find: The Season Spell that came out in 2016 and The Lotus Factor from 2013.

Bellflower’s horn section and clever bass and rhythm lines speak volumes of the band members roots, as jazz students, at UdeM. Add in some novel percussion, such as the big brass bell in Cyclone Waltz and soaring harmonies sung by Em Pompa and Kathryn Samman and there’s something special going on here.

The initial warm-up on stage with some beautiful, skin-tingling flugelhorn had me thinking that Efterklang was in the park (a brilliant prospect!) and that hooked me in to sit down and listen attentively as I was taken my photographs. You can see more of those and other Festival photos on  J. Ashley Nixon Photography. Please take a look and help me with a question. Are the tattoos on Em Pompa’s arm and the motif on top of the bell the same design? Just curious!

A young music fan, moving perfectly in time with the music of Bellflower at the Calgary Folk Music Festival.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Music, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alex Cuba and more at Fiestaval Latin Festival 2017

Alex Cuba performing at Fiestaval Latin Festival, Olympic Plaza, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Alex Cuba

Calgary’s annual July journey into South American culture drew to a close on Sunday night at Olympic Plaza with a classy performance by Alex Cuba.

The Cuban-Canadian artist who has lived for many years in Smithers, BC, is a four-time Latin Grammy winner. He has also been awarded the Juno for World Music Album of the Year on two occasions. His jazz, funk, pop fusion crosses many borders, guided by a beautiful voice and subtly understated jazz guitar chops in his musical passport.

I happened to come across his music as I channel-flipped one evening in a hotel in Victoria, some years ago. As soon as I had the chance, I got into a record store to pick up Agua Del Pozo, his third album issued by Caracol Records in 2007. Song after song continues to be compulsive, such as Amor Infinito and De Camino. And then there’s Si Pero No, with its beautiful chorus-line lyric Que puede ser mejor que lo que ya tienes (which, translated in one way says What can be better than what you have right now). His self-named album, Alex Cuba (2009) followed its way into my collection not long afterward. His latest recording, a single, Todas Las Cabezas Están Locas (All Heads Are Crazy) issued in 2017 also comes with a French version. Que Bueno, Alex!

A Flash Mob performing La Marinera at Fiestaval Latin Festival at Olympic Plaza, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Flash Mob Marinera

Musical highlights from earlier in the day included Felipe Alberto, singing popular songs frequently heard in Peñas (folk-music gatherings) in Peru and elsewhere in South America. And there were Latin dancers show-casing their talents, individually, in couples and groups. The biggest of these was a Flash Mob performance of La Marinera, under the direction of Carla Diaz Silva of Raíces del Peru.

For more photos about the Latin food, dance, and music of Fiestaval Latin Festival 2017, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography

Dancers performing a very acrobatic version of Bachata at Fiestaval Latin Festival, Olympic Plaza, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Dance, En español, Music, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canucks run in seven tries on Canucks Rugby Day

Try scored by Derek Arnold, Calgary Canucks in their Canucks Day game versus Calgary Irish at Calgary Rugby Park.
© J. Ashley Nixon

It was a day to celebrate the foundation of the Calgary Canucks, established in 1968 and now one of the best rugby clubs in Alberta. As the temperature soared up to 30 (Celsius, American friends, this is our Canadian summer), the big crowd including many old boys, strategically bunched in close to the Calgary Rugby Club house, quenched their thirst with beer and cheered just a little louder than the Irish fans on the other side of the pitch.

Nathan Pratt attacks for the Calgary Canucks in their Canucks Day game versus Calgary Irish at Calgary Rugby Park.
© J. Ashley Nixon

The game went the way of the Canucks, with the final score, 45-8. Seven tries were scored by the Canucks: Nathan Pratt (2), Thomas Rayner, Jacob Bentley, Derek Arnold (2) and a forward drive over the line, scored by hooker Robbie Burns. The Irish put in one try and a penalty kick.

Emerson Padley, Calgary Canucks, leaves the field with an ankle injury during the Canucks Day game versus Calgary Irish at Calgary Rugby Park.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Sadly, an ankle injury to centre, Emerson Padley led to him being carried off the pitch. It was later confirmed as a fracture, requiring orthopedic surgery. On a more positive note, scrum-half William Nixon, another product of the Canucks Youth rugby program, made his first ever appearance for the Senior Division 1 team, coming on as a substitute on the left wing in the closing stages of the game.

For more photos, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography

Dan Cunningham (left) and William Nixon, who made his first appearance with the Canucks Senior Div 1 team, come on as substitutes in their Canucks Day game versus Calgary Irish at Calgary Rugby Park.
© J. Ashley Nixon

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Happy Canada Day Canada

Canada rugby fans celebrating their team and their sport at the HSBC Rugby Sevens in Vancouver, 2017.
© J. Ashley Nixon

It’s a special day today for Canadians. Canada is 150 years old. This day marks the occasion when the Dominion of Canada was formed, on July 1, 1867, from (the separate colonies of the British Empire) Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In truth, Canada has been around for much longer, especially its native peoples, but the day gives us a calendar point to celebrate this great country.

I’m proud to be a part of this beautiful, diverse and respectful country.

Happy Birthday, Canada. From Sea to Sea to Sea.

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