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MAY 2012


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Mark Wilson

Welcome to the May Edition of the Hotel Arts Group E-Newsletter.  


Welcome to Spring (I think).  This past weekend underscored how fickle Spring's arrival can be in Calgary with a heavy snowfall on Saturday followed by a perfect Sunday night to lounge on a deck and BBQ.   


Our group is excited for Spring to not only make its arrival but to ensure an extended stay leading to what we hope will be a nice warm summer.  To that end, we've been busy making preparations to open our patios for licensed dining at Hotel Arts and Kensington Riverside Inn. Keep your fingers crossed that we've seen the last of the snow until the late Fall.


This month's E-Newsletter highlights Mother's Day; some of our "green" initiatives; a host of events taking place in May & June; and highlights of some of our community involvement; among other things. 

I hope that you enjoy what we have to offer and that we'll see you soon on our patios. 



Mark Wilson

VP, Hotel Arts Group



Mark your calendars to celebrate your mom this weekend (May 12 & 13). Raw Bar and Chef's Table are each hosting special breakfast buffets on Mother's Day.


Raw Bar Menu 

Two Seatings: 10:00am to 10:30am & 12:00pm to 12:30pm 

Cost: $50/person 


Chef's Table Menu

Seatings: Saturday, May 12 & Sunday, May 13 9:00am to 2:00pm 

Cost: $15-$18/entrée  


To book, we invite you to contact Raw Bar at 403.206.9565 or rawbar@hotelarts.ca or Chef's Table at 403.228.4442 or info@kensingtonriversideinn.com.


In celebration of Mother's Day, we came across the following Facebook post by "Spring in the Air". While we're not sure of the original source, the message resonated with several of us as we reflected on the myriad of gifts that our parents bestowed upon us as we grew up and how critically important it is to share the same patience, love and nurturing as our parents age.


Letter from a Mother to a Daughter: "My dear girl, the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don't interrupt to say: "You said the same thing a minute ago"... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. When I don't want to take a bath, don't be mad and don't embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl? When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don't look at me that way... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life's issues every day... the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through. If I occasionally lose track of what we're talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can't, don't be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don't let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don't feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I'll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I've always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my darling daughter. "


No matter how you choose to celebrate Mother's Day, we hope that you all have the opportunity to reflect on what makes your mother special and that you have the chance to express gratitude in your own way.




Spring can be a little fickle in terms of when it chooses to arrive (and stay) in Calgary. Heavy wet snow this past Saturday became a distant memory on a beautiful Sunday that was ideal for lounging on a deck. We're hoping that we've seen the end of the snow and the beginning of a nice warm summer.


To that end, we've begun preparations to open our poolside patio at Hotel Arts for licensed dining and, weather permitting, we'll be ready to open on the May Long Weekend. This should coincide with an exciting new Spring/Summer Cocktail Menu being prepared by award-winning Raw Bartender Colin Tait. Our poolside patio is a wonderful urban oasis in Calgary's downtown where patrons can drop by to lounge over a refreshing cocktail and enjoy some delicious cuisine from the Raw Bar between dips in the pool. Bring your sunscreen and a great excuse for that extended lunch away from the office.


Chef's Table at Kensington Riverside Inn also has an inviting patio overlooking the Bow River Pathway System and the downtown skyline. With its sheltered glass wall and a verdant garden, our patio is the perfect neighbourhood spot to dine al fresco or simply to drop in for a glass of wine and enjoy the riverside view. We invite you to try out the new patio /lounge menu on your next visit.

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New Spring Menu

It's fresh, it's playful, and now you can create your own menu Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Whether you're entertaining clients or simply want to enjoy a fantastic culinary experience, drop into Chef's Table for a 2 or 3-course Prix Fixe Menu choosing from items on our à la carte menu.   


Tasting menus will still be available Thursday to Saturday. Spring brings us a beautiful Heirloom Tomato Salad, Suckling Pigs Head Torchon, Striped Bass, a Foie Gras Brulée, Alberta Rabbit Loin and a refreshing Green Apple Dessert.  Wine pairings are unique, from boutique wineries sure to impress.  


Nice weather is upon us which means patio season is here! Our south-facing patio is the perfect spot to wind down with a crisp glass of rosé, an appetizer, or something light and simple from our new Fireside Lounge and Patio Menu!  Yes, we even serve burgers and pizza at Chef's Table! Whether you're on your commute home from work, venturing out in Kensington to shop, enjoying our beautiful pathways along Memorial Drive or simply looking for great cuisine, we invite you to drop in and try out our new menus.


Check out all of our new menus online at www.kensingtonriversideinn.com.   


Mastroberardino Winemakers Dinner

On Wednesday, May 30, Chef's Table is hosting a beautiful dinner prepared by Chef de Cuisine Craig Boje and his team accompanied by the wines of Mastroberardino - considered the most important wine producer in the region of Campania. The family is responsible for rescuing the native ancient varietals fiano, greco and aglianico. For nearly 300 years, Mastroberardino has been making wine with deep-rooted loyalty to their homeland and its natural environment, defending its cultural identity. Mastroberardino believes the vineyard is the first step on the path to creating great wines and views the cellar as the fortress of their treasures.


Make your reservations today by calling 403.228.4442. Tickets are $125/person.


Around The Inn

Guests of the Inn may now enjoy a complimentary fitness drop-in at the Kensington Fitness Studio.  The studio is located three blocks from the Inn and lives in the heart of Kensington Village. They offer a wide variety of fitness equipment, personal trainers (at 50% off to our guests), free towel service, a juice bar, nutritional counseling and friendly staff!   


Kensington Village

There is a variety of different events and activities going on in Kensington Village for Spring and Summer. Late night shopping in Kensington is back this Spring extending Thursday's shopping time until 8pm (starting May 24th).  


May 24th is also Ladies Night in Kensington! Bring your girlfriends down and start with a bite at one of the many Kensington restaurants offering specials including Chef's Table, Vero Bistro, and Sam's Bar & Grill.  Several Kensington Retailers will be offering great discounts including Kensington Florist, Splash of Fashion, Joints, Hughes on 10th, the Kensington Dollar Store, and the brand new OMZ Hair and Kensington location of Sun Drops.  

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Calgary's Night Out...in San Fransisco  

Colin Tait, Raw Bartender at Hotel Arts, was invited by Tourism Calgary to join a host of talented chefs for Calgary's Night Out in San Francisco as part of the wrap up to Canada's Media Marketplace. The purpose of the event was to introduce US media to Calgary's avenues and artists (culinary and otherwise) in order to showcase Calgary as a freshly popular choice with an exciting food, arts, cultural and sports scene. Some culinary heavyweights were in attendance from Calgary: Paul Rogalski from Rouge; Connie DeSousa and John Jackson from CHARCUT; Kyle Groves from Catch; Justin Leboe from Model Milk; Aviv Fried from Sidewalk Citizen Bakery; and Bisha Pati from Sheraton Suites Eau Claire preparing desserts.


Colin Tait prepared two drinks to showcase Calgary's emerging cocktail scene:

  • Wild Rose Punch using Canadian Spice Box Whiskey, Raspberry Gum Syrup, Rose Water, Fresh Lemon and Orange; and
  • YYC Energy Daisy with coffee from Phil & Sebastian infused with Canadian Spice Box Whiskey shaken with a Canadian Apple Cherry Shrub and Maple Syrup.

Check out several of the blogs written by media who profiled the event:

Since returning from San Francisco, Colin has been busy preparing the new Spring & Summer Cocktail Menu which we hope to launch in time for the May Long Weekend. Stay tuned for another eclectic and delicious array of cocktails. 



If you have some clothes to shed, you'll certainly be interested in this event! Hotel Arts is proud to be partnering with The SWAP Team to host their "Take Off Your Clothes" event in Calgary. Attendees will be able to look through the fashion boutique, get fresh new looks, support the community and the group's charity partners including Goodwill Industries of Alberta. 


If you're interested in attending, gather the clothes that you no longer wear including shoes, bags and accessories, drop them off at one of the participating drop-off locations and you'll receive tickets for each piece of clothing that is suitable for the boutique. These tickets can be used to purchase clothing at the event on Sunday, June 3 from 11:00 to 5:00pm. For more information on the event and detailed outline on the types of clothes accepted for the boutique, please visit www.theswapteam.org. 



Big Deal Rotary Club: Friday, May 11

The Rotary Club of Calgary Crowchild Urban Spirits is hosting The BIG DEAL on Friday, May 11 at Hotel Arts. The event is a Poker Tournament & Casino Night where you can win Big Time at Texas Hold'em, Roulette, Blackjack and Craps. The club supports different organizations in the community. In 2011, their fundraising efforts went towards "Right To Play" and "Newborns In Need". For tickets to this year's event, please visit http://bigdeal.zoobis.com.



Sweet City Celebration: Friday, May 11 

Calgary 2012 - Cultural Capital of Canada will be hosting a Sweet City Celebration on Friday, May 11 at the BMO Centre. Join in on the event as they kick off this year's cultural activity with surprise guests, activities and entertainment including: Go-Go Dancers; Superheroes; Bollywood; Luchadors; Food Trucks; Performance Artists; Living Statues; Circus! DJs; Cowboys; Dragons.


Interested in a chance to win the ultimate Sweet City Celebration package? Enter into the Calgary 2012/CTV Calgary contest to win two tickets to the event, a Chef's Tasting Menu for two at Raw Bar and a $50 gift card from ESPY experience. To enter visit http://ctv1.ctv.ca/ctvcontests/calgary_2012/default.asp?test=yes  and for more information on Calgary 2012 visit www.calgary2012.com.


Carifest: June 2-9

Carifest is an annual festival held in Calgary that showcases the arts and culture of the Caribbean and introduces people to "what it means" to be from the islands. Hotel Arts is proud to be partnering with the Caribbean Community Council of Calgary as an accommodation sponsor for this year's festivities. This festival is a place to connect with family and friends but also provides the opportunity to make new acquaintances. Attendees can expect cultured food, music, events and an overall great time. For more information or to purchase tickets to the festival, please visit www.carifestcalgary.com.


Vitalize 2012: June 7-9 

Vitalize 2012 is a training and development conference for nonprofit and/or voluntary sector organizations put on by the Government of Alberta. The 3-day conference will take place June 7-9 at the TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary. For anyone doing board work, sitting on committees and working with volunteers, there should be a range of topics that will be of benefit to your efforts with these organizations.

For more information on the conference, visit  Vitalize

Coming into town for the conference? Receive a special group rate under the Vitalize 2012 block by calling our Reservations Department at 403.266.4611.

A Creative Affair: Friday, June 15

On June 15, join the Alberta Diabetes Foundation as they dabble in the world of art and culture at the first annual Creative Affair Cocktail Gala and Auction at Hotel Arts! The event will showcase original works of art created by local celebrities including Brett. W. Wilson, CFL star Bruce Covernton and local wine expert and foodie, Linda Garson; as well as pieces by some of Calgary's most talented artisans.

For tickets or more information call 403.228.1488 or visit   



Pig & Pinot Festival: Wednesday, June 20 

Hotel Arts is pleased to team up with City Palate and Calgary Food Tours to host the annual Pig & Pinot Festival in our spectrum ballroom on the eve of the Summer Solstice. Teams of chefs will work their magic on delicious local piggie parts with their creations matched with pinot noir and pinot blanc from around the world. Raw Bar and Chef's Table will prepare specialty pork dishes along with the talented chefs from Rouge, River Café/Boxwood, Muse/Kensington Wine Bar, SAIT, Mercato and Charcut. Stay tuned for more details about Pig & Pinot special at Raw Bar and Chef's Table for the month of June as well as posts about our tour of the specialty pork farms that we'll be visiting in preparation for this "Pig Out".


Tickets are $100.00, available at the The Cookbook Co. Cooks at 403 265 6066 ext 1. Proceeds will go to Meals on Wheels. For more info, visit: http://www.facebook.com/hotelartsyyc1#!/events/423909580956157.  



Hotel Arts has been working with the faculty at McKenzie Lake School on their Earth Box Program as part of a larger initiative to showcase sustainable growing practices and to better understand the progression of food from fields to our dinner tables.


Back in the Fall, Chef Duncan Ly hosted teachers from McKenzie Lake School for a tour of our kitchens to showcase how large commercial kitchens operate, how we source out our materials, and our rationale for seeking our regional product at its peak seasonality. This past week, Chef Ly visited their classrooms to learn more about what their K-Grade 4 students are growing in their indoor Earth Boxes. Later this month, Chef Ly will participate in their Celebration of Learning where he'll prepare several dishes using the ingredients grown by the students. We hope to share these recipes online and also to share some video and photos of the different Earth Box experiments taking place at McKenzie Lake School.


Chef Ly and his team have been experimenting with our own indoor gardens for some time, yielding micro-herbs for dishes prepared in the Raw Bar and our banquet kitchens. Since March, the students at McKenzie Lake School have been growing a wide array of different produce like basil, corn, cucumbers, carrots, canola, wheat, tomatoes, sprouts and herbs among others. It's astonishing to see their progress (see photos) as well as to see how the impact on their yield through the addition of some solar panels.


Where and how we source our food are topics of great interest for the Hotel Arts Group as our chefs are continually exploring new ways to promote sustainable regional products and prepare them at peak seasonality. This extends to how we source out supplies that are not only grown but also what is raised. Our chefs benefit by visiting nearby farms and understanding how ranchers raise their cattle, pork, poultry, etc. as how they're raised can determine their taste when our chefs prepare them up on a plate.


To that end, our team is very pleased to participate in events that promote sustainable growing practices and specialty breeds like the upcoming Pig and Pinot Festival at Hotel Arts on June 20  Promoting awareness of specialty breeds of pork and other products as well as how they're raised is something which many chefs are keen to share with a broader public. We hope that events of this nature help spur a broader appreciation of regional products and how we serve them up in our kitchens at Raw Bar and Chef's Table.



Caring for the environment and environmental sustainability is gaining more traction locally and abroad as more organizations step up to make a difference with new environmental initiatives. Big or small, each act makes a difference.


In April, H'Arts of Service (Hotel Arts Social Committee) introduced an initiative called "Acts of Green". The idea was brainstormed by the committee members in connection with Conscious Brands, an organization that works with companies to expand and implement sustainable practices.


Whether personal or work related, our employees stepped up to challenge starting April 1 and we reached a total of 108 acts big or small! Countless employees have been using their own ceramic mugs for coffee or water breaks; several energetic individuals are trying to reduce their ecological footprint by walking or biking to work; and, one of our Sales Managers even brought in his own hand towels so he wouldn't be using paper towels! Over all, it was a very successful initiative that has generated awareness and promoted environmentally sustainable practices to our 200 employees.



Community involvement and volunteer service is an integral part of our belief here at the Kensington Riverside Inn, evident in the many connections we make in our immediate neighbourhood, but volunteer service also goes outside of our borders. Hotel Manager, Werna Maurer, has recently become involved in an organization run by the original owners of the Inn, Bob and Karen Brown. Their latest venture is called "Open to Grow," a micro-credit lending organization that provides funds for women in business in Guatemala.  


As a business woman and mother, when Open to Grow approached the Inn for a donation for their upcoming fundraising event, Werna was instantly intrigued and decided to help them achieve their financial goal of raising $50,000 for this event, helping women realize a dream to support themselves and their families doing something they are passionate about.


The fundraising event will be held at the Calgary Golf & Country Club on October 20, 2012. For more information, visit www.opentogrow.com.  



Training and fundraising has started, rain or shine, for this year's Ride to Conquer Cancer.  With 59 days left until the Ride, there are 300 spots available so it's not too late to register!  Join a team, ride with a friend, or simply come and cheer on the participants, including KRI manager Werna Maurer, at the finish line!    The ride is a history-making opportunity for you to do something big about cancer, something epic. Riding for two whole days along the majestic Rockies on June 23-24, 2012 sounds like a feat... and it's meant to be. The conquest of cancer is a monumental task and won't be easy. This event isn't just for athletes or cycling enthusiasts - The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer is for anyone who wants to challenge themselves for a great cause. All you need is motivation, a bike, and a helmet. The rest is history. Be part of it.  To learn more, register, or make a donation, visit Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.



Hotel Arts Group is actively involved in the neighbourhood around us.  Every month, we are dedicated to giving back to the community that supports our businesses and helps to make Calgary such a great place to live, work and play.    


Here are a few highlights of some of the groups we assist with donations:   

  • Calgary Food Bank: Calgary Food Bank is hosting the Empty Bowl Benefit On-Line Auction in partnership with Color Me Mine and Seven62 to raise funds to help address hunger in Calgary as well as raise awareness to the issue. Hotel Arts is supporting Mike Morrison's bowl with a night stay at our property. Bid on Mike Morrison's bowl with a chance to win great prizes! Click here to bid http://bit.ly/KhjNjf.  
  • Heavens Fitness: Heavens Fitness is a local gym in Calgary located on 11th Avenue. Every year, they host a fitness challenge "Fitness Games of Heavens" for their members to motivate them in terms of health, fitness and wellness. For more information, visit www.heavensfitness.com.  
  • Bow Valley College: In May of 2012, students from the Early Learning and Child Care program at Bow Valley College will be heading to Uganda. The students will work alongside other educators and concerned citizens to support child headed families. They hosted a silent auction fundraiser on April 27th to raise funds to support the experience.  
  •  Dine & Deals: In ten years, Dine & Deals has raised over $1 Million Dollars for Providence. Providence provides a therapeutic and educational preschool for children with disabilities. Funds from 2012 will be used to contribute to the financing of a new showcase school in McKenzie Towne. For more information, please visit http://providencechildren.com/giving-volunteering/dine-and-deals/.  

Thank you for taking the time to read about the Hotel Arts Group.  We invite you to create your own experiences at our properties that we hope will be source of your own memorable stories.


Thank you for supporting the Hotel Arts Group and best wishes for a great May.



Mark Wilson
VP, Hotel Arts Group

Contributing Editors: Katie Mayer and Fraser Abbott 


Along with the Hotel Arts Group Newsletter comes a chance to win Monthly Prizes and enjoy the many aspects of our properties, whether it be luxurious stays at the Hotel Arts or the Kensington Riverside Inn, or unforgettable dining experiences at Raw Bar and Chef's Table! 


This month's prize is: 


Weekend Chef's Tasting Menu for two in Raw Bar 


To enter in to win the prize above, please send kmayer@hotelarts.ca an email with the answer to this question: How many "Acts of Green" did the hotel reach in April?


If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please email Katie Mayer at kmayer@hotelarts.ca.  


*Please respond by Friday, May 25, 2012