Sunshine Chen talks about his conversion to the mountains and outdoor lifestyle after doing a residency at the Banff Centre. Sunshine’s zest for life, appreciation for beauty, and being present is infectious and really comes through in this episode.
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Sunshine was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and his family migrated to Canada where he grew up in Kitchener, Waterloo. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, he once believed he would be a lifelong resident of Waterloo.
He attended the Getting to Maybe Social Innovation Residency at the Banff Centre in 2016 with his partner, Linda. It was there that he had a conversion experience and it seemed the mountains literally called out to him.
Three months later, they decided to move out of Waterloo.
For Sunshine and Linda, the move to Canmore was for their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Sunshine trained as an architect and started his career as a government employee in Waterloo, working on the large-scale urban redevelopment of the city centre.
In 2000, he began to imagine a centre for digital arts in Waterloo. He made videos to explain the concept to tech executives and won their support, and this was his first experience in using videos to explain things.
Inspired by the power of documentary and film as a medium of communication, he began a career change towards media; telling stories through video.
He built a practice for himself, with most of his clients drawn from the West of the country, from places like Fort McMurray, Calgary and Vancouver.
A critical factor in choosing to settle in Canmore was access to an airport for business trips. The connection between Banff and Calgary International Airport makes life very easy.
His clients include Suncor Energy Foundation and Reconciliation Canada in Vancouver, and he is eyeing more business opportunities in the Vancouver, Whitehorse and Calgary areas.
Sunshine and Linda made a deliberate choice to downsize their house to a one-bedroom home with the idea that they would spend more time outdoors.
They enjoy skiing, biking, hiking and just taking walks. Sunshine believes that riding the Legacy Trail must be one of the most exceptional experiences in the country.
They signed up as search-and-rescue volunteers and just love the search-and-rescue community.