Aviv Fried and Michal Lavi are wonderful people, who make wonderful food. These are the two people behind Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, and we are huge fans of them, their business, and their food. We first tried their scones back in 2010, and we have been hooked ever since.
In just under 2 weeks, we are celebrating the Market Collective 7 Year Anniversary, and we are hosting this special occasion just outside of Sidewalk Citizen’s newest location in the Simmons Building on the East Village Riverwalk. You must take a few minutes out of your day to check out their new spot.
We sat down with Michal to chat about the growth of Sidewalk Citizen, and some of the values they hold dear.
Wow. Sidewalk Citizen has become such a huge staple in Calgary, but it is still a relatively new business. Can you tell us a little bit about how you started?
After graduating with a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Calgary, Aviv was offered a finance position in Toronto. He declined the offer to pursue his passion for artisan baking, wanting to produce something with his hands. He started teaching himself how to bake and in his first year baking he delivered his bread on his bicycle for zero carbon emission, donating the proceeds to charity. A bread delivery list started. The beginning was pretty crazy. With no mixer, Aviv was kneading the dough by hand, 50 kilos at a time, before cutting, shaping, and baking, and then riding his bike delivering up to 150 loaves loaded in a child carrier attached to his bike. Market Collective was the bakery’s first retail location apart from the bread list.
We then took a break and traveled to Nepal to bake bread at Tengboche, a small settlement and Buddhist monastery which is a 3 day hike from the Everest Base Camp. We spent 3 months at the Everest national park culminating in baking bread at the base camp (17,598 ft) for climbers. After Nepal, we traveled to Paris to bake with famed sourdough master, Jean-Luc Poujauran.
We we came back we rented a kitchen space in an industrial area by Chinook mall. Tucked between a headstone manufacturer and various car dealerships, the kitchen was the true start for the bakery where we finally bought a mixer and a bread oven. This was the beginning.
Where was Aviv trained as a baker?
Aviv was self-taught at the beginning and he later trained in Vermont with Jeffrey Hamelman from King Arthur Flour, in Paris with sourdough master Jean-Luc Poujauran and in San Francisco with Chad Robertson from Tartine Bakery. He is planning a trip to New York to study more this year.
Back in 2010, Sidewalk Citizen used to cart in scones to sell at the MC. We absolutely loved having you around. This was obvious, because all of your baking would sell out by noon each day.
A few weeks back we were chatting over lunch about the fact that MC was the first retail location that Sidewalk Citizen had. Tell us a little about your experience at MC.
Market Collective was our first retail location. We started selling scones and a little bit of bread when the market was in the Ant Hill building in Kensington. After that we sold cheese sticks and focaccia bread as well. It was always great fun for us to be at the market surrounded by good art, good music and good people. One of the biggest perks was all of the good music playing throughout the day. We got to know many great local musicians through the market, and it was exciting to be a part of it and to see the MC evolve and grow. It is one of the things that makes Calgary a great place.
Recently, you have embarked on a new journey, and you have a brand new location in East Village, sharing the Simmons building with Phil & Sebastian and Charbar. How did that collaboration come about?
When the opportunity for the Simmons came along it was almost 4 years ago. It was actually Phil and Sebastian’s idea. We are good friends and we share very similar business philosophy. We then turned to John and Connie, who are also great friends with us and great restauranteurs. The idea for the Simmons was a place of action where bread is being baked, coffee roasted and meat cured. We wanted it to be accessible for everyone with the notion of creating a culinary destination. For us, we are the smallest of everyone so it was important to maintain our sense of adventure in our flavours and room for creativity to make the food we love. The street, sidewalk, and river trail are paramount to our identity. Our menu was inspired by street food!
Our vision is for a place of exciting, unapologetic food, where the customer experience is similar to our employee experience: generous hospitality, attentive knowledge and friendly customer service. A place that is a meeting spot, a hub with good food, good people and good humour.
What has it been like building a new bakery in an old neighborhood that is undergoing a complete facelift?
Building a new bakery is always a challenge. Although the neighbourhood is being built, to a certain extent it doesn’t feel like a new place. More so revitalized. It’s such an old area of Calgary and close to downtown, so in a way it feels familiar.
With your new location, are you offering anything new that has not been offered previously at your bakery or your Sunnyside location?
Certainly! We’ve created a new menu for the Simmons inspired by street food! One of the new items featured are warm sandwiches in freshly baked pita bread. The pita is different, more like a pocket stuffed with vegetables or meat. We have different pizzas and salads than we do at sunnyside and we also have breakfast sandwiches. Both Sunnyside and the Simmons location offer vegetarian.
At sunnyside, our sandwiches are on a cabbala bun and change daily along with the selection of salads. They are never the same! We aim for these places to be different.
Sidewak Citizen has a deep history in giving back to the community and to charity organizations. Can you tell us a little about why this is important to you as a business, and what types of charities you help fund?
Giving back to the community is in our mission statement and has been that way from our inception. We are partial to the arts as we believe that good food and art, in any form, are essential to life, so it’s where we tend to show the most support. We support art shows, individual artists and bigger festivals. We’ve supported Calgary Underground Festival, Sled Island, Cyclepalooza, Honens, wordfest, New Craft Coalition, EAR and the new gallery to name a few. We donate leftover food to shelters and contribute to soup sisters, meals on wheels and meal share.
The inspiration for the bakery’s name came from Jane Jacobs book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Written in the 60’s, the book identifies the vital role of small business in creating community, fostering human interaction, generating ideas and creativity, and making the city a safe place to live. These busy, symbiotic interactions between people and retail are beautifully described as an intricate “sidewalk ballet”.
We aspire to be part of this ballet. Calgary is our city and we share its sidewalk. Becoming a part of a community by providing the best quality product, using local suppliers, being an active participant in the city through donating to charity, art and culture events and making exciting joyful food – these are our core mandates.
Where can people get their hands on your delicious food?
East Village / Simmons Building
618 Confluence Way SE
Open 7 days a week
Week days (Monday to Friday): 7:30- 6:00 PM
Weekends: (Sat- Sun) 8:30-6:00 PM
Sunnyside Market in Kensington
338 10 St. NW
Weekdays: 9:00 to 8:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 to 7:00
Sunday 9:00 to 6:00
John Fache from Camp and City is our debut artist for the August MC. This jack of all trades loves the city and the countryside, and is honing his skills as a woodworker in YYC. Everything from jewelry to home decor, we are excited to see what he brings to the August MC.
We chatted to John about his love of nature, building, adventure…and what it means to be a young entrepreneur. Make sure to say hi to him this August and give him a big warm welcome to the MC.
Camp & City is an interesting company name, and it definitely conjures up a series of emotions regarding rural and urban living. How did you come up with the name, and how has your daily living influenced or been influenced by it?
Growing up in Calgary, life in the city is definitely something I’m accustomed to, but my family and I were fortunate enough to pack our bags and spend our summers at the lake. Some of my fondest memories are spent at the cabin, and even now—24 years later—it’s the place I go when I need a break from rush hour traffic and the day-to-day grind.
The idea of Camp & City is that there is equal value in both rural and urban lifestyles. There’s something powerful about being just as comfortable at a social event in a bustling metropolis, as climbing and fishing in the mountains. There’s no need to compromise one lifestyle for another but instead why not dip your toes in the lessons each have to offer.
What is Camp & City, and what types of work do you create?
If I were to have to classify Camp & City, I would call it wood shop meets design studio. I think the fundamental goal is to be continually designing and refining concepts.
I get the same pleasure out of building a 9-foot long table as I do a set of palette coasters. It’s the practice of being in the shop day in day out and getting my hands dirty that I love most.
How long have you been working with wood, and what were some of the initial things that got you interested in this type of art?
I attended the University of British Columbia Okanagan where I studied Fine Arts. I had an amazing woodworking instructor that gave me the freedom to just play—even if what I was creating was sub par at best. Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to work with my hands, and these years definitely heightened that desire – I just so happened to be a terrible painter.
In all honesty, sitting down to write these questions is a real struggle and I think that reaffirms in me what I love most about woodworking. In school everything needed a deeper meaning but when you’re doing your own thing you’re able to determine validity and value on your own terms. The final product speaks for itself and requires very little explanation or justification.
What are your favourite types of wood/or material to work with?
I like anything with a story. I’m not particularly interested in what’s traditional or expected, and I think it’s best when there is some form of connection between the client and the chosen material. For example, last year I built a side table for my best friend and his new wife. The inlay was wood I found at various locations that held significance throughout their relationship leading up to their marriage. There’s a certain level of richness with such stories that differentiates custom work to what can be purchased in a store.
Now, don’t get me wrong—I go weak in the knees for anything made of black walnut.
What has the journey of entrepreneurship and creativity been like for you?
Entrepreneurship has become somewhat of a buzzword and I think people really glamorize the lifestyle that comes with owning your own company. While there’s no denying the hard work is fulfilling it’s still just that—hard work. It’s always important to come back to your initial purpose and stay grounded in that reason when things aren’t quite so fun.
In addition to Camp & City, I work as a Designer at an Architecture Firm. My skill set and knowledge has certainly helped me in both roles, but it can be difficult to find time to be creative after a long day in the office.
Creativity often comes when I have the time to devote to getting nice and sawdusty—trial and error is key.
What would you tell any aspiring woodworker if you had the chance?
Take care of your fingers. They’re your 10 best tools and there are no extras in stock.
And now…a little about you! What are some of your favourite camping spots and activities? What gets your blood rushing in the big ol’ outdoors?
I’m sure most people would expect me to name some obscure location deep in the woods but in all honesty my fondest camping memories stems from summers with my dad. My mom would always let us go on a boys weekend and each year he would let me pick our camping destination. Time after time I picked Willow Rock Campground. I always picked the site closest to the highway because I loved hearing the semis drive by. It also happened to have a huge fluorescent light—not quite as alluring as a full moon or a sky full of stars. I like to think my taste has evolved since then.
I grew up fly-fishing and I love climbing. Each provides a very different challenge and requires a lot of patience. That being said, skiing will always be my favourite activity. I love when it’s time to turn the furnace on.
Do you have any exciting adventures planned for the summer?
My girlfriend and I are headed on a surf trip down the Oregon and California coast for three weeks in September. It will be a lot of rubber boots and raincoats—I’ve never been before so I’m really excited to finally slow down and enjoy that area.
There’s a couple bucket list items which include the Redwood Forest, surfing the cold waters or oregon, climbing in Joshua Tree, and of course several stops at in-and-out burger. Fuel is key.
What will you be showcasing at the August Market Collective?
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of large custom work so I’m excited to focus on smaller projects. Expect to see serving boards, rings, mini terrarium houses, and more. After all, I need to maintain some level of mystery!
How can people contact you?
This August, join us for our biggest event yet! The volunteer team will have 154 people on it, and we are excited to bring everyone together for a beautiful weekend full of local love. Before the event, we will have a volunteer gathering as well.
If you are passionate about the arts, giving back to your community, and meeting new and diverse individuals, we would love to have you as a volunteer! It’s a great way to meet people and to get involved in the creative community.
Each volunteer is given a volunteer package that includes: MC gift card, Meal Card, Photobooth Voucher, Tote Bag and T-shirt.
If you would like to schedule a shift, click HERE.
Questions? Email Josh Sison: email@example.com
Village Brewery believes that some of the best things happen over beer. Ideas are born, friendships forged, and deals struck. Village Brewery began that way too, with friends sharing beers and dreams for a community brewery. A brewery that would support Calgary’s artists and craftspeople. A brewery that would create the excellent ales and lagers our friends and neighbors deserve. It takes a village to raise a beer. And a beer to raise a village.
At each Market Collective we sponsor one debut artist by giving them a free table at the MC. We do this to propel new artists in our city, and so that local creatives can use MC as a launching pad for their business.
For the July MC, we received many applications for the debut artist position. The one that really stuck out unanimously to us came from 21-year-old Katrina Wright, founder of Crystal Bar Soap. As she wrote about her work, her passion and love for creating was immediately infectious. We knew that she was an artist that we would be proud to invest in.
Read through our interview with Katrina, and come by MC this weekend to say hi to this lovely gal. She is a real inspiration.
Who makes up the team for Crystal Bar?
I am very lucky to have a very supportive team behind me. It would be impossible for me to say that it is just me behind each bar. I have a great team that helps gather supplies, such as crystals and soap supplies and others that help with festivals and shipping. It’s a collective effort that has made Crystal Bar what it is today.
You are 21, and your just quit your job to pursue your craft full time. Tell us a little about how you made that decision.
To be honest, I didn’t quit my job to pursue this craft full time. Previously I worked in retail, with a radio station and real estate job in between and I found myself very unhappy and lost. I was tired of working for other people where creativity was limited due to standards in the work place. I finally made the decision to quit my jobs and do some soul searching.
The first month was the hardest. I spent most of my days at home struggling with who I was and what I wanted to do. I felt like I made a huge mistake giving up “careers” for what might have been just a much-needed vacation. But I listened to myself and knew that I wouldn’t be happy going back to another 9-5, so I had to figure it out. I asked myself what made me happy? What do I enjoy? And what are my talents. I found that all I really wanted to do was make people happy and spread positive energy.
A friend introduced me to healing crystals and their energies, I remember speaking with her about how it had changed her life and made her world more positive and that’s where the idea kinda started. I wanted to use that energy and spread it. I did some research and found that a lot of people made crystal jewelery (beautiful, but I didn’t feel a desire to do that) so we decided to do something completely different. Crystal Soap. It was perfect! People feel best after a nice shower, they are clean and energized and I wanted to expand on that energy!
What were some of the emotions that you had when you made the step to create full time.
When starting Crystal Bar full time it was a roller coaster of emotions. I felt motivated to started creating and crafting and happy that I was finally making something for myself and eager to spread my creations with others who were feeling the same way I did. I think my motivations behind Crystal Bar are very honest and true, and that really helped motivate me to work hard and to share love.
What were some of your inspirations to begin making soap?
I had an idea in my head and started looking up information and recipes on how to make soap. The very first bars we made were awful. It took a long time before we found something that worked! Our bars continue to get better each time we make them, and everyone we meet inspires us. A lot of our ideas come from request, most people know what stone they want and I try my best to make the soap look like the crystal inside.
How do you feel the integration of crystals helps create a more healing/cleansing experience?
I believe it creates the ultimate cleansing experience, the idea of washing yourself with a crystal and thinking positive thoughts while showering is beautiful. Not to mention the stones and soaps are beautiful themselves, it just creates a little more beauty to a simple everyday task.
What do you hope to see in the next year for Crystal Bar?
Crystal Bar has plenty of ideas, first we would love to expand our line of products, we are already working on a bath bomb recipe with infused crystals of course and maybe a body scrub or bath salt idea too. We are also working on some really fun new bars (but we might have to keep those ideas a secret for now), and lastly we would love to open our own little store. Right now we are making everything in a tiny condo and would love to find a new home for our brand.
Are you excited for MC this weekend?
YES!!! This is our first big market and we are very excited to be doing it with MC. We have been making tons of soap for this market so come say hi to us. We will be giving away free smells all weekend. We are also really happy to be joining the community of handmade local goods in yyc.
How can people get in touch with you?
We are also on IG @crystalbarsoap, Twitter @crystalbarsoap, Tumblr Crystal Bar Soap, Pinterest Crystal Bar Soap and Facebook Crystal Bar Soap
Welcome to the July 2015 DIY Workshops!
For every workshop you will receive MC weekend admission, a limited edition MC totebag, and you get to take home everything that you create. Not only will you be leaving with your special creation, but you will also leave the class with a new skill set so that you can continue creating at home!
Registration is now open! For all inquiries, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
See below for a brief overview of each of the classes being offered. ♥♥
Rosso Coffee Roaster // Coffee Brewing Workshop
About Rosso: Rosso Coffee Roasters is a Calgary local company, focused on sourcing, roasting and brewing amazing coffee. Rosso has three cafe locations in Calgary, with two more cafes opening later this year. We are a team of dedicated and passionate professionals, continually seeking ways to refine and perfect our craft while being active in our local communities.
About the Workshop: Learn the art and craft of brewing coffee at home! You’ll learn the fundamentals of coffee brewing and how to apply them using a Hario V60 pour over and an Aeropress. As we explore these two brew methods we will go over tasting and evaluating the coffees and how to dial them in to taste amazing.
The Workshop Includes:
+ Each person will get a bag of coffee to use for the class
+ All equipment provided (Scales, Kettles, Filters, Brew Devices)
+ Lots of hands on time practicing making coffee with 2 instructors there to guide you step by step
+ Recipe cards you can use to get you going at home
+ MC Limited Edition Tote Bag
+ MC Weekend Admission
Date: Saturday, July 18th
Location: Chinese Cultural Centre (197 1st Street SW, Calgary)
Amy Victoria Wakefield // Photo Transfer Workshop
About the Instructor: AV is the artist behind North Birch Grove, an original photography + home décor company. AV lives in Canmore Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. She owns more cookbooks than cameras, has a trusty sidekick Metsä the blue heeler and believes in exploring nature all 365 days of the year. Wondering where AV is heading to next to photograph? Visit her during the market to find out!
About the Workshop: You will be making your own set of 4 rustic baltic birch photo transfer coasters with an option for some fun text captions over top of your images if you’d like!
Each participant will be given x4 3.5×3.5” custom made blank birch squares to create their set of coasters!
You will be supplied with the needed materials to produce your coasters from start to finish. This workshop will give you the skills + knowledge needed to create your very own image transfer pieces at home!
Note: There is an option to use a fun phone iPhone app to create the text to go over your photos if you’d like.
The Workshop Includes:
+ Equipment and tools
+ Printing of your images on the proper type of paper to create the transfer
+ 4 coasters
+ MC Limited Edition Tote Bag
+ MC Weekend Admission
Date: Saturday, July 18th
Time: 11am – 1pm
Location: Chinese Cultural Centre (197 1st Street SW, Calgary)
We are excited to announce that we are back for the 4th annual East Village Block Party put on by Sled Island!
Please note, there are only 8 artist spots, but artists are welcome and encouraged to share their space. This is an outdoor event, and all artists are provided with a table, two chairs and a tent.
Click on the above image to Apply / Deadline to apply: June 2nd