Meet Ian McAnerin
Next Councillor for Ward 3
Community Leader. Husband. Father. Entrepreneur. Long Time Resident. Small Business Owner. Tax Payer. Voter. Advocate. Ally. Volunteer. Friend.
I have deep roots in Ward 3, having lived here for 27 years, and I intend to live here for the rest of my life. I have raised my family here, worked here, played here, and volunteered here with and for my community. This is home.
I understand the frustrations of living in the "gap in the map" where transit and other important infrastructure are overlooked.
For example, my kids were bussed an hour to schools down south because the schools up here were still missing 30 years after the area was built. I fought for the Northern Lights Elementary School and the North Calgary High School even though my kids have since moved on to college and university, because I don't want other parents to have to go through what I did.
I was born in 1967, which makes me 100 years younger than Canada (my preferred way to answer the question “how old are you?”). My father was in the Canadian military and we moved around a lot when I was young. My mother is independent, feminist, and a strong social advocate. Growing up, I learned to see multiple sides of all issues, as my father identifies as a Conservative while my mother is strictly NDP. Household dinner conversations near election time could be very interesting, to say the least! I am grateful for those discussions, as they laid a foundation for me to instinctively consider opposing points of view, and work to find the common ground on every issue in order to build towards an idea or solution that addresses the highest priority points for all parties.
In my teens, I started developing my passion for volunteering, first with the Air Cadets, followed later by the Canadian Reserves. In 1985, my Reach for the Top team won the National Championships, an experience that left me with a lifelong interest in both multidisciplinary studies and useless trivia.
I obtained my first degree, a combined Bachelor of Arts and Science degree, from the University of Lethbridge. While attending, I volunteered as the photo editor of the school newspaper (The Meliorist), and worked as a CKUL disk jockey.
I followed this with Law School at the University of Alberta where I continued nurturing my spirit for volunteering with the Street Legal Project, giving legal assistance to troubled street youth and helping to get underaged prostitutes off the street.
While in university, I met an amazing young woman, Leah, who not only tolerated my love of useless trivia, but also introduced me to Chinese culture. She has been my motivation to work hard and smart, constantly improving myself. Leah and I married shortly before I started law school, and our first child, Isaac, was born during final exam week of my last year, heralding a new stage to our lives.
We moved our young family to Calgary in 1993, where we got busy with the important stuff in life; raising our family, which grew to 3 children soon after. Leah and I moved around Ward 3, finally settling into our current home in Coventry Hills in 2007, having raised our 3 children as well as working, playing, and volunteering here.
Having graduated from Law School the same year the World Wide Web was publicly launched, I was immediately interested in this new technology, in short order creating the 3rd most popular website in Canada (at the time), a Yahoo-like directory that focused on Canadian websites. I became acquainted with Jerry Yang (founder of Yahoo) and my database eventually became the basis for Yahoo Canada.
After working for McDonalds head office helping to turnaround faltering stores, I entered into the emerging field of digital marketing. I was hired at a struggling company who needed all of my legal, turnaround, and technical expertise, where my efforts were so successful it resulted in an acquisition.
It was then that I decided it was time to be my own boss, and I started McAnerin International, a company specializing in international digital marketing, which successfully continues to this day.
Business Owner & Entrepreneur
In this new role of business owner, I became one of the top international & technical SEO's in the world, speaking at conferences in Canada, USA, China, Germany, and India.
I worked with large organizations around the world, including Proctor & Gamble, Reuters, Dell, Disney Hotels, Destination BC, the BC Ministry of International Trade, Canada Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Heritage Canada, Gov of Canada Business Services Dept., China National Tourist Office (Canada), Canadian Tourism Commission, and the Calgary Business Information Center. Notably, I did all of the digital marketing for the Canadian Government for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
In addition to clients, I did volunteer and charity work for the Canadian Lung Association and the Akshaya Patra Foundation, which feeds almost 2 million children every day across India.
Working with such a diverse client list helped me to develop a talent for working between different governments and organizations, and helping clients deal with their own internal bureaucracies, which could take upwards of 40% of my time for some clients.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
In 2013, Leah suffered a near fatal stroke and would have died if I had not happened to be home between business trips, and I realized that it was time to stop travelling around the world.
I successfully pivoted McAnerin International to operate with virtual meetings and remote networking, renewed my passion for volunteering, and shifted my energies to my immediate community and to Ward 3 as a whole.
Northern Hills Community Association (NHCA)
In 2017, I joined the Northern Hills Community Association as Business Director, and was elected President in 2019.
The NHCA is the largest community Association in North America, and is focused within Ward 3.
During my time on the board, I helped advocate for North Central Calgary, maintaining my commitment to fairness, respect, and acceptance towards Ward 3's many groups, including new Canadians, LGBTQ2+ people, seniors, youth, and those struggling with addiction, poverty, and isolation.
I support local infrastructure needs.
I fully understand the frustrations of living in the “gap in the map”, where transit and other important infrastructure has been repeatedly overlooked or outright ignored. I have volunteered in many capacities over the years, most recently as President of the Northern Hills Community Association, advocating for much needed community infrastructure needs. Some projects have been implemented, some we must continue to fight for.
- Upgrades to Stoney Trail
- Centre St & 14 ST interchanges
- Greenline LRT
- Nose Creek Valley Park protection
- (proposed) North Calgary Medical Centre
- Vivo expansion
- Area Traffic Calming and Pedestrian safety
- Community Skateboard park
- Northern Lights Elementary School
- North Calgary High School
I support local businesses and entrepreneurs.
One of the key aspects of a recovery is the availability of good local jobs. In addition to stimulating the local economy through employment, goods, and services, local businesses also provide support to local non-profit associations, sports teams, and other initiatives around the community.
I saw a need to bring together one of the most diverse areas of the city, so I founded Night Market North, supporting local businesses and the community through food, entertainment and crafts.
I volunteer with Northern Hills Connect, a volunteer-led community initiative focused on helping local entrepreneurs get their start: fleshing out ideas, connecting them to people and resources, and helping to create business plans.
I support transparency and meaningful engagement
It's frustrating when your elected officials don't listen to you. When they hold "information sessions" instead of actual community engagement. When you ask them for help only to have your phone calls and emails ignored. When the community speaks loudly and firmly on a topic but the elected official votes the way their party/slate/donor tells them to instead.
- As President of the NHCA:
- I drove a transparency project to ensure the members were fully informed and the NHCA held accountable.
- I oversaw a complete rewrite and modernization of Objects and Bylaws that strengthened members rights and included tougher rules about conflicts of interest by Directors.
- I set rules and guidelines that kept the need for in-camera (secret) meetings to a minimum. The City of Calgary spends way too much time in-camera.
- I reached out to people and groups affected by the NHCA and began working with them closely on projects that were of mutual interest.
- I made sure that all the elected representatives (Federal, Provincial, Municipal and School Board) in the area were invited to NHCA meetings every month so we could hear directly from them what was happening, and advocate directly to them for what the community needed.
- As Councillor I will continue to fight for transparent, honest, and meaningful communications from both the City and my Office.
Serving My Community
I feel I have spent my whole life getting ready for this election.
- Legal background has informed extensive policy knowledge
- Experience in writing and amending Bylaws
- A rich history of volunteer and charity work
- Commitment to supporting diversity
- Experienced in dealing effectively with multiple levels of government and layers of bureaucracy
- Solid business, procurement, and technological background
- Years of governance on multiple boards
- My unwavering commitment to my community
This is it. I am offering you my vision to get real change happening within the City of Calgary bureaucracy. I am asking you to choose someone who has a history of listening and serving; to support someone who isn't in the race because of a paycheck, slate, agenda, or ego; to vote for the councillor that you deserve. I am asking for your vote.
Vote for Ian McAnerin. Make Ward 3 Matter!