The Devenish is a fashion and culture hub in Calgary’s Mount Royal neighbourhood. Continuing our Tenant Spotlights, we’re highlighting one that has expanded her footprint in The Devenish twice in just four years. From a humble 900 sf of retail space to 4,000 sf today, Kate Hewko has grown a budding e-commerce empire and become Calgary’s top destination for all things fashion.

In tandem with her growing business, Kate gives back to her local community, participating in several of the city’s largest charity events and fundraisers. From styling top celebrities to being featured in several renowned fashion magazines, Kate’s accomplishments serve as a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit.

Kate Hewko in her store front
Kate Hewko inside her store located in The Devenish

Before becoming a fashion mogul, Kate began with a degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario, and a diploma in fashion marketing from the International Academy of Design & Technology. With a clear passion for fashion, she knew she wanted to start her own small business.

Although she had an eye for fashion and emerging trends, design was never something she studied, nor had interest in. Shortly after graduation, she started a small women’s boutique carrying emerging designers that unfortunately never took off. With a slight pivot, she started a similar small online jewelry store. Upon launch, she faced familiar issues such as slim profit margins and not enough reach.

Kate then made the career-changing realization that her business model needed to be self-branded, instead of selling other people’s jewelry. She began looking for manufacturers who would make smaller batches, so she could start producing her newly self-branded Kate Hewko jewelry – a change that ultimately proved incredibly successful.  

It wasn’t long before she needed to keep up with the growing success of her brand, deciding to open a retail store to support it. Searching around town, she wanted to be on 17th avenue in Mount Royal – the life and cultural heart of Calgary. The Devenish was the perfect spot, checking all of her boxes, with the added bonus of its historic design and heritage status. Beginning with a 900 sf unit, she opened her first ever retail store just two weeks before giving birth to her third child – an incredibly challenging time for her!

Within her first few months of opening at The Devenish, it quickly became apparent that she wasn’t going to make it from her jewelry collection alone. Wanting to dive into clothing, she asked herself: how do the big fashion brands such as Zara and H&M make large profits? The answer lies in sourcing from the right manufacturers using a private label model. By adopting this, she was able to turn her business around, increasing profit margins, and driving repeat business. This marked the second major milestone in her business and was a turning point for her brand.

Today, Kate works with over 50 manufacturers that allow her to bring in new product every week. In contrast to her competition, Kate’s products are not mass produced and aren’t available everywhere else. Her clients love the exclusivity and uniqueness of her products and can always come back to find something new and fresh on Kate’s shelves and online store.

What sets her apart from other designers is her keen eye for new trends and fashion freshness. If she notices a trend when purchasing, she won’t buy it as it wouldn’t interest her niche client base – they’re always looking for unique finds. Not only is it good business, but exclusivity allows her to thrive over the cheaper fast-fashion brands.

Kate Hewko Store

With her increasing success, Kate has now expanded twice in The Devenish in just four years. Starting at 900 sf, expanding to 1,700 sf in 2019, and now 4,000 sf, Kate Hewko is growing exponentially. Like most business owners, she was recently forced to pivot during COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic, she turned focus to her online store to adapt to the unprecedented circumstances – ultimately skyrocketing her sales. She went from having most sales come from in-store purchases at her single store in Calgary to a North American-wide range of clientele. In fact, her most popular cities now include Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, New York, and Los Angeles. Even though she saw great success in The Devenish prior to the pandemic, her e-commerce growth has greatly augmented her in-store sales and traffic even further.

Not only has her pivot to e-commerce helped grow her business, but she’s also grown an exceedingly large social media presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok. She’s also been featured in some of the world’s most prestigious magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and has had celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Idina Menzel sport her jewelry on the world stage.

Through the continued success of her business, Kate is always looking for ways to give back to the Calgary community. She especially loves and cares for those that support children’s causes because she has three of her own. Kate believes it’s an important place to put money because it’s our next generation. She has hosted and participated in countless charity events over the years and has become known in the city for doing so. Her most notable ones include hosting a charity fashion event at The Grand and being part of the infamous Alley Party.

I love giving back because I enjoy helping to improve culture and community

– Kate

Kate recently hired four additional employees, allowing her to focus on the business aspects that she loves most – marketing, lead generation, and data analytics. Going forward, her main goal is to continue growing her business throughout North America, dive deeper into the world of e-commerce, and potentially bring back footwear and faux fur – apparel she once had to discontinue due to her smaller reach.

We congratulate Kate on the outstanding success of her business and the two remarkable expansions of her shop at The Devenish.

Learn more and shop at Kate Hewko here:

Web: https://www.katehewko.com/
IG: @katehewko


For over 11 years, First Capital has developed a significant and longstanding relationship with the Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD U). In partnership with OCAD, we’ve held various art competitions challenging students to create unique installations at some of our properties across Canada. These competition pieces provide exposure for the artists while beautifying the neighbourhoods in which they are displayed. With every new piece we’re reminded of their creativity, imagination, and talent. We are thrilled to help them kick start their careers and build their professional portfolios.

This Artist Spotlight features our newest art installation, and the creative minds behind it. Recently, we met up with the three winners of First Capital and OCAD’s first ever mural-specific art call competition, Anastasia Tarkhanova, Zuna Amir, and Ashlyn Mundy. Tasked with designing to the theme of equity, diversity, and inclusion, while embodying the Yonge & Roselawn neighbourhood, these young artists impressed the judges, OCAD professors, and First Capital employees alike.


Just four months ago, Anastasia, Zuna, and Ashlyn found themselves looking for ways to build their artistic portfolios as fresh new graduates of OCAD University. By freelancing, assisting on bigger projects, and growing their own brands and businesses, they faced difficulty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon hearing about First Capital’s student and alumni mural competition on equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) in our Yonge & Roselawn neighbourhood, they were immediately interested.

The theme sparked their creativity and left plenty of room for interpretation. They were confident in their abilities to produce a quality mural reflective of their differing cultural backgrounds. Their decision to work together was easy – not only were the three friends from OCAD, but they’d previously won a similar competition that had been canceled due to the pandemic last year. This was their chance at redemption, to prove themselves once again, and to showcase their artistic skill and talent.

Anastasia Tarkhanova:

A versatile artist and designer specializing in digital art and indoor murals. People, music, nature, and new projects are what sparks her inspiration. Anastasia moved from Russia at the age of 19 to study at OCAD U, pursuing her artistic dreams .
Zuna Amir:

A multidisciplinary artist with an emphasis in illustration and animation. Finding inspiration from her surrounding environments, Zuna immigrated from Pakistan with her family several years ago. She also owns a clothing line called The Shared Brand.
Ashlyn Mundy:

Enjoys drawing, painting, and printmaking, while exploring new illustration mediums and playing with textures. Born and raised in rural Ontario, Ashlyn moved to Toronto at the age of 17 to begin her studies at OCAD U.

As they began brainstorming ideas and possible designs, their main objective was to bring the Yonge & Roselawn neighbourhood to life. Differing from Toronto’s bustling downtown core, they knew this neighbourhood had more of a community-like feel, consisting of a diverse population, local businesses, friendly dog walkers, and growing families. Out of the three artists, Anastasia lives in the neighbourhood with her boyfriend, and is a regular at the local coffee shops. As a Russian immigrant, it is stories like hers that create the wonderfully diverse community at Yonge & Roselawn.

Working virtually during the creative process, their goal was to make the mural as cohesive as possible, attempting to avoid it looking as though three individuals had worked on it. Using paint as their artistic medium, they decided on a 2D/flat image given the competition’s time constraint. Accounting for the large space (50ft long by 14ft high), they developed a striking colour palette to capture the eye from afar. Sending designs back and forth, their differing areas of expertise and creative opinions, coupled with their comfortability to be frank with one another, ultimately proved to be a recipe for artistic success.

From March to April, the three worked diligently to meet the proposal due dates upon each round’s progression. Although confident in their mural, they grew nervous as they couldn’t gauge their competition, meet the other contestants, nor review their entries – a truly suspenseful moment for the trio.  

Not long after did Anastasia, Zuna, and Ashlyn find out the exciting news of being the chosen winners of First Capital’s mural competition. With this win in their back pocket, it ultimately marked the next major milestone in their careers.

You work so hard and are hopeful, and then once you get it, it’s extremely rewarding

– Anastasia

Throughout the month of June, Anastasia, Zuna, and Ashlyn began hand-painting the mural onsite in the Yonge & Roselawn neighbourhood. Since they had never really worked on something of this size and scale, seeing the large blank wall in person was a bit overwhelming at first – far bigger than their small computer screens. Despite their nerves, they all agreed how refreshing it felt to socialize and work with others again, following Ontario’s third lockdown.

On site, the team was delighted by the vibrancy and inviting atmosphere, receiving daily greetings from the locals and free meals from the onsite food truck, Home Appliances Food Co. Not only does the mural beautify the area, but the three believe it creates a community gathering place. They recall one woman saying that the sight of the mural had brightened her day, and another stopping to read a book against the new mural backdrop.

Overall, Anastasia, Zuna, and Ashlyn are extremely proud of their final work of art and are positive that it’ll only bring them more success going forward – growing their careers, portfolios, and artistic ability. They all agreed that after working on this incredible outdoor mural at Yonge & Roselawn, they see themselves working together again and on something similar. Above all else, they take pride in how they have beautified a piece of their community, and that their work is on display for their friends, family, and neighbours to see.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to current and former students in the arts?

Keep on trying for as many opportunities because the worst thing you’re going to hear is no… so keep putting yourself out there

Zuna

Follow your heart and do what you want because someone is going to hate it… Also, say yes to things you might not be sure about… Look at us now

Ashlyn

Just keep producing because I believe it’s better to not have opportunity but be ready, than not be ready but have opportunity… so if you know you can do it and you continue to apply for things, you could be chosen in a second and you don’t want to be overwhelmed when that happens… Also, networking; for me, it’s not necessarily how talented you are, it’s who you know because people want to work with people they know. Keep talking to people because you never know who you’re going to meet or where it’s going to take you

Anastasia

We couldn’t be prouder of these three amazing artists and look forward to seeing their continued success in the future! We congratulate them on their well-deserved win in our ED&I-themed competition, and for their work-of-art featured proudly in our Yonge & Roselawn neighbourhood. To learn more about the artist and their portfolios, head to their websites and socials below:

Anastasia Tarkhanova

Personal & Art Portfolio
Web: https://www.anatarkhanova.com/
IG: @anastasia.art

Zuna Amir

Personal & Art Portfolio
Web: https://zunaamir.com/
IG: @zunaamir.art

Shared Brand
Web: https://thesharedbrand.com/
IG: @thesharedbrand

Ashlyn Mundy

Personal & Art Portfolio
Web: https://ashlynmundy.format.com/
IG: @ashlyn.mundy.art

To see the mural in person, head to 2440-2444 Yonge Street, and for more information on our arts program check out our Explainer podcast here.

In reflecting back on this past year (and a half), it is no secret that it has been very trying for everyone, but imagine trying to scale a new business during the pandemic! In our ongoing Tenant Spotlights, we are meeting the people and places that are the driving forces within First Capital neighbourhoods. In this second installment, our spotlight is on Jennifer Halfin and Hillary Abramsky – two incredible women changing the face of physiotherapy in Toronto – with a youthful twist!

Jennifer & Hillary of Toronto Kids Physio

This past year has been an interesting one for many, but no year has been more eventful for the women behind Toronto Kids Physio, Jennifer and Hillary. While the idea of launching and scaling a business on the cusp of the global pandemic sounded daunting, Jennifer and Hillary were up to the challenge and have been crushing it.

The dynamic duo behind Toronto Kids Physio met at Camp Kadimah, an overnight camp in Nova Scotia, with Jennifer acting as Hillary’s counsellor one summer. This created a bond which led to years of back-and-forth discussions about life and career paths, resulting in a brief overlap at another Toronto based clinic. Whether or not they realized it at the time, their partnership would turn into a great entrepreneurial story, resulting in two Toronto-based Kids Physio practices.

Jennifer & Hillary in their 3080 Yonge Street Practice

Finding a job in the specialized area of paediatric physiotherapy is quite difficult for a new graduate, despite the significant need for services in the community. This ignited Hillary’s entrepreneurial spirit as she knew there must be a better way. She needed to think creatively after experiencing difficulties getting job placements. While she was working alongside Jennifer, she followed Kids Physio Group, a kids-only, physiotherapy-only company in British Columbia, on Instagram.  

It wasn’t long after, that she reached out to Laura Patrick, CEO and Founder of Kids Physio Group, and set out to Vancouver to work there for a year. She then coordinated with Jennifer to take the plunge and start a Kids Physio Group franchise in Toronto – the first outside of BC. For Hillary and Jennifer – the idea of creating a complete one-stop-shop for kids to get the therapy they needed was an exciting opportunity.

They saw firsthand the need for this service in Toronto – and after almost a year of working to build a business, including Jennifer’s signing of loan agreements from a hospital bed just after delivering her third child – the two were ready to open their practice. However, they still needed a great location to open up shop; one with convenient access for their clientele. It was through a familial connection that Hillary heard of 3080 Yonge Street, First Capital’s mixed-use property on the corner of Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue. 3080 Yonge Street is situated atop the Lawrence subway station and only a 5 minute drive from the 401, a location perfect for their first location in Toronto.

The pair knew that after bootstrapping their way to this point, using credit cards and small business loans to fund such endeavours, they needed a space that would be easily transformed into the practice they envisioned from the start. A space on the 5th floor had recently become available, a former small office with some self-contained rooms. The location checked a lot of the boxes for their practice, and the pair began a buildout and within 2 months, had the grand opening in November 2019.

Toronto Kids Physio at 3080 Yonge Street – under construction in 2019

Responding to COVID-19

Fast forward to March 2020. Like the rest of us, the first lockdown caught the newly minted entrepreneurs by surprise. The pair was left to shift their practice from in-person to a fully virtual experience. Hillary and Jennifer needed to think quickly and make difficult decisions, while also balancing the needs of their families. It was during this time that their partnership proved to be most valuable, in which their hard work really paid off.

The practice was able to sustain itself in its new digital capacity, but by no means measured up to the physical space they had just built. Taking consultations online meant Jennifer would often use her own kids as subjects in various exercises and stretches. It wasn’t long before the pair was able to rehire their existing and new employees and reopen their physical location, albeit in a very different capacity. New stringent cleaning protocols and safety measures left the team adapting their practices day-by-day to keep employees and clients safe. These safety measures and a team of dedicated volunteers enabled them to continue growing their practice and work towards opening their second location in Leaside Village!

The new COVID safety measures changed the protocols during an appointment, but not the team’s desire to help.

Hillary and Jennifer quickly recognized that they were ready to add a second clinic. Strong relationships with physicians in the field meant that they were able to connect with existing tenants at the newly completed mixed-use medical building in Leaside Village, and knew that it was the ideal location. First Capital’s new building, an extension to its Leaside Village Shopping Centre, allowed the pair to build a custom space and reach an established community in the Leaside neighbourhood. 

Jennifer & Hillary inspecting the buildout of their new Leaside Village location

The Road Ahead

On the heels of International Women’s Day in March, Jennifer and Hillary served as true examples of leaders in our community. Today, through the hiring of new grads and interns, they are working to build the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. They continuously credit the people they surround themselves with for helping them get to this point.

We look forward to seeing where this pair of entrepreneurs take their business next!

I really loved building a team and sharing success with them…It’s really all about the people!

– Hillary Abramsky
The women behind Toronto Kids Physio in what is soon to be Leaside’s newest kids only physio practice!

You can learn more about Toronto Kids Physio on their website and Instagram. Join us in welcoming them to Leaside Village next month!

First Capital is known for owning and operating a portfolio of high quality commercial real estate across Canada. However, First Capital is also known for its people and as an organization dedicated to giving back in the communities in which we operate. Poverty and food insecurity is a key area that First Capital is focused on addressing through the FCR Thriving Neighbourhood Foundation.  

We sat down (virtually) with a handful of our tenants to highlight the individuals who are driving forces within First Capital neighbourhoods.  In our first instalment of this series, we have the spotlight on Michelle Berry, Executive Director of Shelley Cares Foundation and owner of Shelley’s Delight, opening soon in Parkway Mall.  

Michelle Berry, Executive Director of Shelley Cares Foundation

Growing up in Guyana, food was always the centre of Michelle and her family’s life, so it was no surprise that Michelle’s love for food led to her starting a catering company in Toronto. Through her work, she noticed that low-income families, seniors, and homeless community members were struggling – particularly with food insecurity.

What started with serving one-off meals to people on the street eventually led to the creation of the Shelley Cares Foundation in 2018. Since then, Michelle and her team have embarked on a mission to positively impact local communities by confronting the issue of poverty and hunger. 

Michelle taking calls from Suite 215

Based out of Parkway Mall, Michelle and her team have launched a variety of initiatives aimed at tackling poverty and food insecurity in the community, including: a food basket program feeding over 450 neighbours in need, a community pantry serving over 65 clients monthly, and a series of community events bringing hundreds of people to the resources the foundation provides. 

Through these endeavours, Shelley Cares Foundation alleviates hunger by providing safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food to low-income families, unemployed and under-employed adults, seniors citizens, new immigrants, homeless individuals, and those with developmental disabilities living in Scarborough and surrounding areas. 

Shelley Cares Foundation’s Turkey Drive, 2020

Michelle has even more planned at Parkway Mall. Later this year, Michelle will launch Shelley’s Delight, a social enterprise that will serve the community an eclectic mix of Carib-fusion cuisine. A portion of the revenue will go directly to help fund Shelley Cares Foundation programs, such as the newest Seniors Spotlight initiative to engage our senior citizens and provide them with health and wellness opportunities.  

Michelle in front of what will soon be Shelly’s Delight

The pandemic does not stop these great initiatives. Michelle and her team are looking forward to a return to more in-person events and community outreach.  We are proud to support the Shelley Cares Foundation, and look forward to the launch of their new social enterprise! Thank you Michelle for your work in the Scarborough community.  

You can learn more about Michelle Berry and the Shelley cares foundation – or make a financial contribution – here: www.shelleycaresfoundation.com/donate