Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]


Keeping Currency Local with Calgary Dollars


5 minute read

Calgary Dollars is a local currency program run and operated by The Arusha Centre, a social justice and environmental non-profit established in Calgary in 1972. Gerald Wheatley launched the Calgary Dollars program, originally known as the Bow Chinook Barter Community, in 1995 as a way to benefit community members and local businesses while building the Calgary economy by “facilitating and encouraging local consumption.” 

Each Calgary Dollar (C$) is equivalent to one federal dollar, and can be earned and spent in a number of ways within the city. The Calgary Dollars program operates a free customer loyalty program that allows program participants to earn 10% back in Calgary Dollars when spending federal dollars at participating businesses. These dollars can then be spent at a number local destinations and services, including breweries and restaurants, tattoo parlors, local skincare lines, interior design and home cleaning services, and much more. If you’re not sure where your Calgary Dollars might be eligible, visit the Marketplace to find out. 

Businesses can accept anywhere from 10% to 100% Calgary Dollars for a given purchase, with the option to vary rates depending on hours or days. For instance, The Allium, a local vegetarian restaurant located on 12th Ave is now accepting 40% Calgary Dollars on happy hour cocktails between 5:30 and 6:30 Tuesday to Thursday. 

Since its establishment in 1995, the Calgary Dollars program has shifted its focus a number of times to best meet the needs of communities across the city. Over the years, this has included aiding seniors, providing food access, assisting new immigrants, and more. Currently, the focus for the Calgary Dollars program is the promotion of local businesses and affordable housing partnerships.
“It’s about building community and supporting the people who need it when they need it,” says Sierra Love, Program Manager for Calgary Dollars, “the currency builds resiliency.”

A major focus of the Calgary Dollars program, according to Love, is the creation of a circular economy, where dollars and services are exchanged within the community to “make things more local and minimize the city’s footprint.” 

Currently, Calgary Dollars partners with Calgary Housing, CUPS and The Norfolk Housing Association to provide local residents with the opportunity to earn Calgary Dollars by getting involved in the community, which can then be put towards rent or basic needs. 

Calgary Dollars further supports the community in a number of ways. The Calgary Dollars Take Action Grants program offers up to $2000 in funding, made up of equal parts Calgary Dollars and federal dollars, to support Calgarians pursuing eligible social and environmental projects. They also provide a listing platform for businesses and individuals to feature their products and services while building relationships and trust with other members of the community. These include second-hand sales (furniture, housing items, etc), and personal services such as sewing, programming, etc. 

The impact of Calgary Dollars in communities across the city has been extensive, and is always growing. As of 2018, there are over 1700 registered users and more than 150 local businesses participating in the Calgary Dollars program. On average, businesses accept between 10% and 40% Calgary Dollars, meaning each transaction represents a greater impact on the local economy when including the circulation of CAD dollars with each Calgary Dollars purchase. In the last 12 months, a total of C$110,403.59 has been exchanged in more than 2300 transactions, with C$10,315.71 in exchanges taking place in the month of September alone. That is all money produced by Calgarians, for Calgarians that has remained in the local economy as a direct result of Calgary Dollars! 

To learn more about Calgary Dollars and how to get involved as a business or a consumer, visit  

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.


New app uses AI to help Calgary medical students practise interacting with patients

Published on

A Calgary medical student has developed a new app that allows future doctors to work on their diagnostic and communication skills before they set up their practices. Eddie Guo, seen in an undated handout photo, is a second-year student at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. He says that one of the challenges in medical school is becoming better at interacting with patients. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University of Calgary

By Bill Graveland in Calgary

A Calgary medical student has developed an app that allows future doctors to work on their diagnostic and communication skills before they set up their practices.

Eddie Guo, a second-year student at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, said one of the challenges beyond the book learning in medical school is becoming better at interacting with patients.

As a result, he’s turned to the rapidly growing area of artificial intelligence to create a number of virtual patients, with a variety of health conditions, that a student can talk to.

“It’s good to get more than just two or four hours of the practice we get in medical school to really be able understand what it’s like to communicate in a real-life scenario,” said Guo.

“We think it’s a good idea to have more than a few hours of practice before actually going out into the wild and seeing patients for the first time.”

Guo created a program, called OSCE-GPT, where the computer is the patient. Users choose the patient’s gender and can select a scenario or let the computer decide on one for them.

“I’m Ben Johnson and I’ve been having some really bad abdominal pains over the past two days. It’s in the right upper quadrant and it spreads to my back,” said the robotic male voice in the program.

“I’ve also been feeling nauseous and vomiting. I’m here in the emergency department because of the pain.”

The AI patient can answer questions about its condition and, after the conversation, provides feedback to the student along with a list of other questions that could have been asked.

Guo said until he is finally allowed on the medical wards, the only other interactions he gets are with standardized patients, professional actors who present with various conditions.

“As you can imagine, they’re really quite good at their job, but they’re also very expensive,” Guo said.

“We don’t get that much opportunity really to practise speaking with a patient, and so what this app was born out of was a lack of possibility to practise.”

Guo collaborated with medical resident Dr. Mehul Gupta. He said this kind of additional help will make for better doctors.

“One of the things we learn again and again in medical school, and that’s reinforced again in residency, is that the history you take from a patient is almost 99 per cent of the diagnosis that you make and the impression you make on a patient the first time you speak with them is long-lasting,” Gupta said.

“If you have the opportunity to practise to tailor your questions to see how you could have done better, you really do become a better doctor overall.”

Guo said the app is still being upgraded and at this point there is no image of a patient that shows up on the screen. He said he is hoping that things like a chest X-ray, a CT scan or a picture of someone’s skin could be incorporated into the program.

Within the first month of the app’s launch, more than 550 health-care trainees from Canada and across the world including Europe, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States signed on.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.

Continue Reading


Officials say some patients showing ‘severe symptoms’ in Calgary daycare outbreak

Published on

The entrance to the emergency department at Peter Lougheed hospital is pictured in, Calgary on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. An Alberta health official says some of the 22 patients in hospital after an E. coli outbreak at several Calgary daycares have severe symptoms. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Bill Graveland in Calgary

An Alberta health official says some of the 22 patients in hospital after an E. coli outbreak at several Calgary daycares have severe symptoms.

Alberta Health Services says there are now 96 laboratory-confirmed cases due to the outbreak, which is up from 56 on Tuesday.

Dr. Francesco Rizzuti, medical officer of health for the Calgary Zone, said Wednesday that the number in hospital has risen from 15. He said 16 are at Alberta Children’s Hospital and six are at Peter Lougheed Centre.

“The majority of individuals that get sick from E. coli generally improve on their own and without specific treatment, typically within 10 days,” Rizzuti said.

“However, a small portion may develop more severe complications. Currently, we have a handful of children who are hospitalized with these more serious illnesses related to this outbreak.”

Rizzuti said that due to privacy concerns, he couldn’t say how many are suffering from severe symptoms. He also would not would confirm any of them have hemolytic uremic syndrome, also known has HUS, which affects the kidneys and causes blood clots.

“Hemolytic uremic syndrome can be a severe consequence. At this time, because we do have small numbers and I want to respect the privacy of the parents, I’m unable to speak to the exact numbers,” he said.

“But it is a small proportion of our laboratory-confirmed cases who do have severe illness and are in hospital at the moment.”

Rizzuti said it was his decision to close six Calgary Fueling Brains daycares and five others out of an abundance of caution after he received calls from city emergency wards.

He said it could take a while before the investigation into the source of the E. coli is found. Public health officers have already taken samples from the central kitchen shared by the daycares.

“They collected a number of food samples, both leftover foods as well as frozen foods, from the site and these are being tested in our laboratory. These do take some time,” Rizzuti said.

“Typically in outbreaks like this, we may not find a food source.”

Faisal Alimohd, co-founder and chairman of Fueling Brains, said he’s saddened that children are sick and immediately began working with AHS to investigate the outbreak.

“Though not all Fueling Brains child-care campuses are currently classified as being on outbreak status by AHS, we have proactively closed all potentially impacted locations as a precaution,” Alimohd said in a statement.

“The exact source of the outbreak has not been identified, but we will be reviewing our policies, procedures and sourcing related to food services for our facilities.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 6, 2023.

Continue Reading