A Northwest Hello: Roots And Reasons To Love NW Calgary With Teresa Woo Paw
May 9, 2018
University District’s Notable Northwest series focuses on dynamic, engaging individuals from around Calgary’s Northwest, offering insights across a range of topics to describe the Northwest’s spirit, opportunity and legacy. We pay special tribute to volunteers and active community members, like Derek Chiu, internationally celebrated pianist.
We sat down with long-time Northwest resident and semi-retired community leader Teresa Woo Paw to speak about her neighbourhood, life as an empty-nester, what University District (U/D) adds to Northwest Calgary, and what it means to be “Northwest of Normal.”
Let’s explore your background—how did you end up where you are, as a semi-retired community activist and world traveller?
People say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and that is especially true for me. My father taught me the value and importance of volunteerism at a young age, which drove my passion for community service.
After starting eight (8) non-profit organizations, serving as the first Asian Canadian woman to Legislature and dedicating 40 years of service to the community, I was excited to embark on a new and exciting journey. So when the last of my three children left home, my husband and I decided this was the time to get out and explore the world.
Where do you live in the Northwest and what drew you to this part of the city? How would you describe the atmosphere and the spirit of the Northwest of the city?
I immigrated to Calgary with my family when I was a teenager and have called the Northwest home ever since. My husband and I both graduated from University of Calgary, raised our family in Sandstone and plan to grow old in this part of the city.
Why Northwest? My family is here, but more than that, it’s a welcoming and diverse community. It has this profound sense of connectivity. Here, you will find a blend of seniors and young families and everyone in between, creating a welcoming mix.
It’s a part of the city where there’s a wealth of shopping, streets lined with mature, shade-giving trees and wide-open park spaces, encouraging residents of all ages to get active. For me, it truly captures what I dream about when I think of home.
Plus, it also offers a sweet spot in terms of accessibility. Whether it’s going downtown, to the mountains or even taking my grandkids for their swimming lessons at Vecova, everything is a short drive away.
How has the Northwest changed since you’ve lived there?
The Northwest has seen a lot of growth and development, while maintaining its natural landscape. I have lived in Calgary for more than 45 years and can still enjoy Nose Hill Park as it originally was, and to this day, I still stumble on hidden gems that have been a part of this city for years.
So, while the Northwest is growing, newcomers like University District are changing the area in a way that addresses the increasing needs and diversity of our population. From the new seniors complex to a community designed for walkability and accessibility, U/D is bringing new possibilities to our city.
As empty-nesters we are excited for what’s to come. Embarking on a new journey without kids was a new beginning that afforded us the opportunity to explore our neighbourhood on foot, feel a connection to our neighbours and enjoy the freedom to travel at a moments’ notice. It’s nice to see a new community like U/D offer the same sense of connection, comfort and lifestyle that’s reflective of the Northwest.
How did you hear about the U/D project and what do you think about its addition to Northwest Calgary’s diverse population and community landscape?
For years we saw an empty field next to the University, so when we first heard rumblings of U/D, we were intrigued by the new development taking shape in the heart of the Northwest.
To this day, I enjoy bringing out-of-town guests to the University area because it offers plenty of pristine green space, great architecture, but more importantly, it really showcases Calgary’s evolution, growth, diversity and history, especially with the University being home to the Olympic Oval.
I see University District becoming the hub of the Northwest – a place that will bring people together and show what Calgary is all about.
University District has adopted the tagline “Northwest of Normal”. From your experiences with our growing community, what do you think that means?
Let me begin by saying it’s a fantastic tagline.
To me, it means bringing something extra to this neighbourhood and city. Everything U/D embodies is that of the Northwest, but nothing about it is ordinary. Here we have a good mix and balance that showcase the different stages of life and that’s what is taking shape in U/D. Whether you are a young family, a senior or empty-nester like myself, there’s something here for everyone.
What does “Northwest of Normal” mean to you? Tell us what you think by joining the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.