If you read my last post, you know that I went home to Calgary on Friday night in order to be a part of a concert performance of the musical “bare” on Saturday night. I thought that since I did a post before the event happened I would briefly mention how it went.

I am pleased to report that the event was a complete success – we managed to raise over $20,000 for Calgary OutLink, and they have never received a donation that big before. Despite the fact that the group only had six weeks to put it all together, the show was amazing and had half of the audience in tears by the end. I’m so proud of everyone for working so hard and I am incredibly thankful to have been a part of this fantastic experience!

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support this event and helping to promote acceptance and awareness in our community!

Written by: Gillian Newburn
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Next weekend, I will have the opportunity to travel back home for a few days, to be a part of a concert performance of the musical “bare”. A few years ago, the Cappuccino Musical Theatre in Calgary put on the show and received great reviews, and it is being resurrected next weekend, on March 15th, to promote acceptance and awareness in the community. The event will not only include the performance, but will also include drinks, dinner and an after party (depending on which ticket you choose to get).


For those of you who have never heard of the musical, here is a plot summary I managed to find from this website:

“The musical is about the coming-of-age story of five high school seniors at a Catholic boarding school. Knowing their stay in this insular world is drawing to a close, each of them question where they are in their lives and what the future holds in store. Answers are sought in the church confessional and in less formal venues including a stage, a rave, and a well-locked dorm room. The story zooms in on the love relationship between two boys, Peter and Jason. Peter a socially awkward loner and Jason the golden boy popular jock. Through out the story we see the struggles, trials and tribulations that they go through to keep their relationship alive and hidden, and how their love affects their friends and the people around them. Will the world accept them? This is a beautiful story of going against adults, religion and everything that they were ever told.”

I’m posting about this because I strongly believe in equality and the fair treatment of others. In addition, not only will this event shed light into society’s pressure on teens, but all proceeds will go towards Calgary Outlink, a center for gender and sexual diversity, who provide support services, education opportunities, a support line, and access to resources to the community.

It is an amazing production with beautiful music and a story line that is sure to spark discussion. For anyone reading this who lives in or will be near Calgary next weekend, I highly recommend attending the show. More information is available here. Tickets are available here and here (the first is $30 and includes the performance as well as an after party with the cast and crew, while the second is $125 and includes cocktails, dinner, the performance and the after party).

I hope to see you there! Listen for the flute!


Written by: Gillian Newburn
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This week, I have secured my spot in Live Different’s public Hero Holiday trip to Mexico from August 20th to 29th. In honour of this, I thought I would share with you some more information about my platform, what exactly a “Hero Holiday” is, and a piece that I wrote for a newsletter about my last Hero Holiday.

Our trip lasted from July 1st to July 11th last year. Of these days, four were spent on the actual building site – hammering in nails, painting walls, and moving in furniture and food for the family. One day was an excursion day, in which the group went to the beach, and another four of the days were spent travelling, eating tacos, and crossing borders. This is, in essence, all a Hero Holiday is, though the experiences and memories that one takes away from the trip are indescribable. I remember entering the trip feeling wary and not sure what to expect, and leaving having built not just a house, but a home for some very deserving individuals.

If you’d like to know a little bit more detail about my trip, here is the piece I wrote regarding it:


While I thoroughly enjoy mission trips like Montreal and Churchill and I appreciate the impact of volunteer work, I have never seen myself as someone who would take a year off of school and give up my own way of life for the chance to improve that of others, like my sister did. Don’t get me wrong – I revere my sister and the others who have worked with Live Different for the time, energy and emotion they have put forth, both in Mexico and elsewhere – but I simply could not fathom how a person can be so generous.

Going into the Mexico trip, I was unsure of what the experience would be like. I had no idea what kind of house we would be staying in, what sorts of experiences we’d have, or what the family we were building for would be like. And I’d have to say that was my biggest fear – the first impression we would have on the family, the way in which we would interact with them – the concept of trying to connect with someone who does not speak a word of English is daunting. Then there was the fear of building the actual house. I, personally, have never used a single power tool in my life, let alone built a whole structure (at least, not one that was supposed to last for a while).

I am proud to say that, coming out of the trip, I have successfully used a table saw, and I still have all ten fingers.

As for the family, I was surprised. While I initially believed that the language barrier and significant lack of similarities we shared with them would keep us apart, I soon learned that this would not be the case. Our amazing translator, Santiago, helped us to speak with the family, but I personally found the more enlightening experiences to be ones where we found a way to communicate without words. I learned that the youngest boy, Santi, loved playing with bubbles. Martha, the family’s mother and grandmother, was keen on helping with the house, particularly by painting. Angel was very ticklish.

The most important thing that I learned through this whole experience (apart from the fact that beef tongue tacos are delicious) was that the family is not so different from us after all. Going into the trip, I was focused on the poverty that plagues these people and the living conditions of the family, but after being there and experiencing it all, that is not what truly matters. Martha is still a mom. The kids still love playing and drawing and laughing. The family is still a family, much like mine, and the amount of money they possess does not change that.

So while I still don’t foresee a year long expedition like my sister did in my near future, I do see myself going back. Not only is the idea of building a family a permanent home exciting and fulfilling, but the relationships and experiences that I had with the family are ones that I will never forget. My sister, Paisley, has said this before, and I absolutely agree with her – Live Different calls these trips “Hero Holidays”, as if it is us doing something heroic for someone else. While we are helping a family enormously, I truly believe that we gain more from the trip than perhaps even the family does. This family gave more to me than I can describe, and I hope that we as a group impacted them as much.


If you are ever given the chance to do something like this, don’t pass it up. These sorts of trips, in my experience, are even more fun than conventional vacations, and my Hero Holiday was one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life.

I hope that gives you a little bit more insight into what my platform is about and why I chose it. If you’re interested in helping me out for my next trip to Mexico, click here to get to my Canada Helps giving page (but please don’t feel obliged!). All donations made through the page go directly to Live Different, but they fund my trip fee.


“And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.”
-Mumford and Sons, After the Storm 



Image  Image




Written by: Gillian Newburn
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Hi everyone! My name is Gillian and I am the new Miss Teenage West Calgary. I’m so excited to have this opportunity and be representing part of Calgary, and I can’t wait to see where this year takes me!

I was born in Markham, Ontario, but I have lived most of my life in Calgary. I’m the middle child out of three siblings, and I am blessed to have the most amazing family in the world.


I’m just finishing up my first year of university in April, studying flute performance at the University of Victoria. It’s been quite a year, full of lots of concerts, cafeteria food, and numerous naps!

I absolutely love making music (which is why I’m doing flute in university), but I also love to travel, read, write and hang out with my friends. I’ve been doing highland dancing for over nine years, and though I don’t compete anymore, it’s a lot of fun and a great way to stay active. I’ve also been into the modelling industry a little bit, with a few fashion shows and quite a number of photoshoots.

Throughout my life I have been blessed with many opportunities to travel and give back to the community. I spent a week in Churchill, Manitoba, where I and a few others worked to restore a church. I also spent a little over a week in Montreal, where I was able to volunteer in soup kitchens and thrift stores. I’ve worked at the Mustard Seed, and I’ve volunteered at festivals like Word on the Street.

In July of 2013, I travelled with an amazing group of individuals to Vicente Guerrero, Mexico for ten days and built a house for a deserving family. It was undoubtedly the most meaningful, fantastic trip I have ever been on, and I am going back to build another house in August of this year. The organization that executes these trips, Live Different, is the organization which I have based my platform off of, and I highly recommend checking out their website, here.

That’s about it! If you’re interested in getting updates on my journey this year, I recommend following this blog to get notifications when I make new posts!

Hasta la próxima (until next time)!



Written by: Gillian Newburn
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While all my friends are on their S-Trip vacation for grad in Costa Rica, I will be competing for Miss Teen Canada – World! So while they are on their dream vacation, I’ll write about mine.

For over 35 years S-Trip! has been a leader in student travel providing life-changing trips to over 40,000 students annually in over 40 destinations around the world. S-Trip! travelers are encouraged to become global citizens; opening their eyes to new cultures, languages, and experiences. Recently named Profit Magazine’s 25th fastest growing company in Canada, and recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies by Deloitte and CIBC, S-Trip! is a leader in student travel in North America. Find out more at www.s-trip.com.

Everyone knows, if I could go anywhere in the world it would be Bora Bora… so now I’m thinking, “hmm..what’s better than Bora Bora?” Well.. Bora Bora with my friends!!!


The crystal clear blue water, hotels on the water, the water, tropical weather, the water, the water….did I mention the water? This picture is the epitome of WHY Bora Bora is my dream place. To wake up, get out of my hut, and have my friends right across from me would just make that experience so much better. If I could take anyone it would be my best friends; Geena, Nicole, Alexis, Aidan, Matt and Brodie and all my other close friends, not to mention my boyfriend and my parents…. my parents have to be involved to experience paradise with me!

Activities would include fires on the beach, swimming with fish, shopping, tanning, if fishing is allowed there it would be so neat to catch a fish, snorkelling, SeaDooing, parasailing, zip lining… oh the list is endless. This place would become my dream home….

S-Trip! takes student travellers on unforgettable adventures around the world. Celebrate the exciting conclusion of high school in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica or Bahamas with all your friends on Grad Trip. Spend a weekend skiing or snowboarding at one of Canada’s premier mountain resorts on Ski Trip. Experience culture, sightseeing and events in Montreal or Quebec City on Busaway. Make a difference in an underdeveloped country on an impactful student Volunteer Trip. Explore the culture and history of Europe on Euro Adventure. For more information visitwww.s-trip.com.

So since Bora Bora is not on the S-Trip list, my realistic dream vacation would be to be in Costa Rica, right now, experiencing all of the things my friends are right now as our last celebration of graduation all together. Although, this competition is super cool too!

I love all my friends so much, I hope they are enjoying their dream vacation with S-Trip! right now.


Written by: Courtney Wowk
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Hello everyone! Only 2 days left until I leave to Toronto! Thank you to everyone supporting me and my journey! I am so blessed to have all of you in my life.

June 6,

At grad with one of my closest friends, Alexis

was my high school graduation! Took a good 17 years to get to this point, but it is so                                                                                                                                                                                        rewarding to know I am on to bigger and better things. I am hoping to go to SAIT next year to go into a Medical Office Assistant or Unit Clerk course, figure out if the hospital life is really the life I want!




May 25, I volunteered at Calaway Park (Calgary Amusement Park) and talked to people,

about Camp Horizon. This is a summer camp for children AND adults with special needs! Most children are not able to go to summer camps, so this camp allows those people with a disability to be able to experience what ‘normal’ children can.



March 8th I spoke at Thomas B. Riley School, promoting my platform and Stephens Backpack’s

This is one student who just adored me...or my hair. Hopefully both haha!

February I spoke at my school, Bowness High School, promoting my platform, talking about what it means to me to become Miss Teen Canada World 2013, as well as promoting Stephens Backpack’s

June 10th my amazing old junior high school, Thomas B. Riley, surprised me with an amazing donation of $313 to me for Free The Children.

March I was on the cover of my community news letter. That is a crazy experience being on the cover of something for everyone to see!

March 17, I met with Vannessa, and Corin, who are sponsoring me with makeup and introduced me to Motives Makeup which I absolutely love and use everyday.

March 12, I spoke on an online radio show called Get Real Live!

June 15, with the lovely Miss Teen Central Alberta, We judged a pageant called National Canadian Girl, all money collected went to the Children’s Hospital

Today I will be packing like a mad woman and getting everything ready for Toronto!! Two days away, this is unreal. Thank you to all of you reading this, and a huge thank you to my uncle, Jim Conway who supported me from day one. Vannessa and Corin for sponsoring me with Motives, Thomas B. Riley Junior High and Marion Paslawski for donating to Free The Children.

Grand Finale thank you to my parents who have been bending over backwards, going completely out of their way to make all of this possible for me, as well to my boyfriend who drives me to every sponsor meeting, and public speaking event!

Love you all and am so thankful for everyone

Stay Tuned for more updates! I’ll be giving day by day updates about Toronto come Saturday! Voting also starts saturday! July 13th! Please PLEASE vote for me!! Girl with the most votes is fast tracked to top 20. I would vote for you, so please do the same for me :)

I will be posting instructions of how to vote soon.



Written by: Courtney Wowk
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If Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were willing to do a sequel of Crazy, Stupid, Love in a 30 second commercial, under a $ 250K budget and revolving around personalized towels… It would look a little like this

SCENE ONE:  finishing cooking dinner, Emma Stone reaches into the cupboard. Pulling out two bowls, to pour herself and the gorgeous Ryan Gosling a bowl of pasta each.

      Arriving to the dinner table, (in their celebrity designed kitchen) setting the bowls down, and about to enjoy their meal. Mr. Gosling looks at each bowl with a puzzled look on his face, then to Emma Stone, to then ask the odd question of;
“why are you eating out of my bowl?”
Emma Stone looks at Mr. gosling with the same puzzled look he just gave to her, replying with an exaggerated women in love tone of voice with her hand to her heart saying ”well what’s yours is mine, gorgeous gosling, and what’s mine is ours.

” Mr. Gosling chuckles, then a sudden emotionless expression comes across his face, to utter the word “no. “
SCENE TWO:  After a long day of being fabulous, Emma Stone lays on the lovely black leather couch in the black and white modern styled living room with blown up framed portraits of Ryan Gosling modelling on the walls. Turning on the flat screen TV, The Notebook is playing. Starting to get comfy, wrapped in a blanket Ryan Gosling enters the living room holding a bowl of popcorn. Peering around the corner, his beautiful ocean blue eyes connect with Emma Stones and his happy expression falls and he drops the bowl of popcorn. Now with a temper and a look of shock, he asks Ms. Stone “what do you think you’re doing in my seat?” Ms. Stone replies with a look of confusion, “your seat?”  Gorgeous Gosling replied with a look that’s saying, “yes beautiful, perfect, Emma Stone, MY seat!” She speaks again, with a tone of sassiness “Well..I don’t see your name on it!”, Gosling bends down to pick up the popcorn he spilt, looking defeated. ” END SCENE
 It’s the lovely couples engagement party, flowers are everywhere and the celebrities joining them are just as
glorious as the couple.
A large circle of the guests attending form and presents to congratulate the couple start being opened. Now, it’s Justin Timberlake’s turn to give the two love birds his gift.  He places a square box, covered in pastel pink wrapping into Emma Stones lap, and gives the couple a look of congratulations mixed with a smile that says “all your troubles are over” he then turns around and proceeds back to his seat. Emma Stone rips open the box and pulls out two personalized towels, both white with black white writing, one saying Ryan, and the other saying Emma. Both Emma and Ryan analyze the lovely gift and look to Mr. Timberlake, at the same time they say their thanks.
SCENE FOUR : a white screen appears on the TV, with the company logo of Signature Towels.
Written by: Courtney Wowk
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Is there anything better to a cowgirl than the Calgary Stampede? With tons of rides, deep fried Oreo’s, cute cowboys, and rodeo, what’s not to love?! July 5-14 is when you can be sure to see everyone’s country girl and boy persona come out to shine.

When I first moved to Calgary, I recall my family going right to the mall to buy some cowboy hats. There’s a two-stepping, line dancing, cowboy in everyone! There’s no reason not to go, and a million reasons to.

When you first get to the Calgary Stampede you’re bombarded with Calgarians everywhere jumping with excitement, this is the time of the year everyone has been waiting for! After the long line up to get inside the park (which is totally worth the wait), you’re able to get ride tickets, deep fried anything, even go to the bar if you’re a real cowboy, and learn about the heritage of Calgary and the stampede.

If that’s not good enough people are able to watch the Grandstand or watch live performances on the Coca-Cola stage! Singers and bands such as

Dean Brody, MBF, Down With Webster and Hedley will be performing this year with many others too!

If you’re still debating to go or not, think of this little boy, if he can be a cowboy, so can you!

The Calgary Stampede is always worth the trip.




A BIG thank you to Niagara Falls for sponsoring Miss Teen Canada World second blog challenge!

Written by: Courtney Wowk
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In 2010, Calgary was the most eco-friendly city in the world. So where today does it stand? and what does being “green” even mean?

Creating electricity in a way that won’t harm our planet or its surroundings, conserving that energy, recycling, not polluting or littering are all apart of being green. As Calgary as a city grows, the enviornmental impact is being made sure to shrink, an example of a green building in Calgary is the Calgary Water Centre

calgaryThe Calgary Water Centre conserves energy in a few different ways. Natural lighting (more than 95% of the lighting is daylight) .You can even see in this image, on the main floor of the building, majority of the walls are windows. Allowing natural sunlight to enter and light the building, as lighting costs to be reduced and a healthier, more organic work space to be provided for everyone.

  • 95% per cent recycling of excess construction material
  • 72% of waste water is reduced
  • water use has reduced by 59%
  • roughly saving $108,000 per year due to energy consumption (58% savings annually)
  • 800 metric tonnes of CO2 has been reduce (equivalent to roughly 430 hot air balloons)
  • over 700,000 kilograms of reinforcing steel used was recycled product
  • The Water Centre is sure to be recycling, reducing and reusing all of the energy, Calgary Water Centre even provides a green roof (roof with vegetation) and harvests rainwater (collects rainwater to reuse it in another form such as water for plants) .With rainwater harvesting, the Calgary Water Centre has a beautiful rain run off which is allowing the rain water to be collected and reused.

white roof for cold building

If the Calgary Water Centre removed its Green Roof and replaced it with a Tiocoat white roof, the building would be a lot cooler. But there’s nothing like a fresh carrot from the garden after work!

Written by: Courtney Wowk
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