One step at a time: One man’s mission to walk every street in Calgary

Mark Shupe says his decision to explore the city helped save his life

By Emma Boyne | August 18, 2022 |5:00 am

Mark Shupe encourages others to explore the city's different communities.

Photo: Submitted

Calgary is filled with trails and different spots to check out around every corner, and while it may seem impossible to visit every street in the city, one man is up for the challenge. 

Mark Shupe and his family are fitness lovers. After moving to Calgary in 2006, their kids were constantly playing hockey, which prompted Shupe to explore the neighbourhoods where the games and practices took place. 

Ultimately, that curiosity helped shape Shupe’s goal to walk every street, and so far, he’s completed 10,000 to 12,000 km of the city’s streets. 

“That’s not counting the number of streets I’ve done more than once,” he says, adding he believes by next spring he will be 75 to 80 per cent complete.

How it began 

In 2018, Shupe wasn’t able to run anymore because of extensive back issues.

“I just needed to exercise and I needed to set myself some sort of goal to keep myself interested,” he says. 

That’s when he bought himself a map of the city. 

“I was just going to start with the streets of my neighbourhood and the streets near where I worked at Quarry Park. I slowly worked my way through the streets, basically as an incentive to keep myself interested while I was doing some exercise.”

More than just a hobby 

Shupe would soon come to realize that his goal would become more than a hobby, as he would later suffer from two heart attacks that had doctors telling him staying active was integral to his health. 

Shupe was inspired to write an e-book titled HA, HA (Coronary heart Assault, Coronary heart Assault): The right way to Get better from Two Coronary heart Assaults with a Sense of Humour, detailing why this journey has been so important. 

“This project became more than just something that was interesting, it became this life-sustaining thing for me,” Shupe says.

“I was actually starting to get back into running while I was doing these walks, and then I had a second heart attack in November of 2020 and there was not much they could do other than my medicine. But, I look at this now as a project to keep me moving.” 

Encouraging others to explore new neighbourhoods 

Through his journey, Shupe says he has uncovered many of Calgary’s hidden sights, and he encourages Calgarians to take a trip around a different neighbourhood whenever they can, just to get to know the city.

Shupe enjoys exploring the city’s viewpoints, pointing out that there’s no shortage of mountains, rivers, and park views. 

“If you get lucky, sometimes you get all of those combined in one,” Shupe says. 

“One of the big things I noticed in the city is just the sheer number of parks, but there’s all these little parkettes in the different neighbourhoods where there’s a couple of park benches, a few trees, and often great scenery.” 

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Emma Boyne

Emma Boyne is an intern at Calgary Citizen.

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