Calgary is known for a great many things, several of which are rooted in oil and gas, the Calgary Stampede and general western culture. What it's not usually synonymous with, though, is video games.
However, the community is there and those immersed in it say it's growing stronger by the day. Among one of the several notable talents emerging is Calvin French, a University of Calgary graduate who quit his job as a computer programmer to make video games full-time in the summer of 2012.
The game that made it happen for French was The Real Texas, which, in addition to being recently added to Steam – the world's largest online game store – also paved the road for French to land a big-time contract with Devolver Digital, a notable publishing company that has produced titles like Duke Nukem 3D and Serious Sam 3.
Men in Calgary are starting to look a bit more polished. The streets are filled with fantastic fades and breath-taking beards. From greasers to hipsters to punks, rock n' roll barber Corbett Frasz is the man to see if you want a killer cut.
Frasz said he knew that if a barbershop were to be named after him, he would have to be one of the best. Oddly enough, the small shop is located inside of Maddpretty Professional Makeover Studio on 12th Avenue and 7th Street S.W.
Amidst bright pink walls and women getting preened and primped by hair stylists and salon specialists, is Frasz's "man cave," a small room filled with guitars, music posters and a television blasting rock concerts.
Ugo Crecco is in his kitchen. A wrapping machine — used to make both the wraps that hold the guides in place as well as construct intricate weaves — sits on his kitchen table. He made it himself. He's holding a half-finished bamboo fly rod.
The taper — the decreasing width of the rod from handle to tip — consists of six triangular strips of bamboo, carefully glued to form the body of the rod. Towards the tip, the six sides are so thin and the glue lines are nearly invisible that it appears to be one solid piece. He said the dimensions have to be precise to 1/1000 of an inch.
While it takes a tremendous amount of effort to craft a bamboo fly rod, the benefits are felt in the integral function of a rod — the casting. Crecco said that he loves bamboo fly-fishing because of the casting ability and smoothness of the rod.
Jamie Clarke has traded in the experience of being on the side of a mountain battered by bone-chilling winds for the steady confines of a warehouse and office.
After adventures in over 40 countries, Clarke finds himself indoors as he works between his two flourishing businesses in Calgary: Out There and LiveOutThere.com.
"I learned early on that to be a successful adventurer, you've got to be good at business," Clarke said. "You have to figure out a way to pay for your adventures. At an early age, I began to realize I have to figure out how to fund my trips, so I had to learn the business of adventure."
An "adventrepreneur" is someone who creates or runs a business that focuses on adventure gear and experiences. Clarke clearly fits into this mold.