My fondest memory of Calgary is the shopping. I lived in Canmore, just outside of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains, one summer, and being a prairie girl used to open spaces I would take a day and go to Calgary just to see the open spaces and visit the mall. Calgary has really grown over the past few years, and as I and my boyfriend have family in Calgary we like to go whenever we can.
Drive out to Cochrane (West on...
Drive out to Cochrane (West on the 1a Highway -- Crowchild Trail). If it's morning, grab an espresso or cappuccino to go at Expresso To Go (right off the highway as you first enter town) but if it's hot and sunny out go to MacKay's. Go directly to MacKay's. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.00. Prepare to stand in line but prepare also for some of the finest ice cream North America has to offer! You can't miss it -- it's right on Main Street. MacKay's has been around since I was a child (going on 3 years now, I guess, nyuck nycuck). Anyway I wouldn't say it is my fondest memory of all, but I would be remiss if I didn't steer you in that direction once you've made it this far!
Never bring more than you can carry.
Calgary’s weather can change rapidly day to day or even hour to hour. And then again, the weather can stay constant for weeks at a time. So how are you supposed to pack? Even here, there are expectations as to what the weather is going to be like. On the attached slide, I’ve tried to indicate the most probable types of clothing you’d need to wear if you’re spending a moderate amount of time outdoors in Calgary.
There’s probably no better advice though than to dress in layers. This means that using sweaters, jackets and shells you can tailor make an outfit to fit the weather conditions of the moment. Of course you’ll need to bring along a rucksack to hold any (temporarily) discarded clothing. Essentials that you’ll need at any time of the year include: Sunglasses, Moisturizer, Lip balm, Walking shoes and a Camera. Most days in Calgary are “blue sky” days, so you’ll need sun glasses, even in the winter. It’s dry here. The rain has trouble making it over the mountains so your skin will dry out quickly, especially in the winter. Boots in the winter? Probably, if you’re going to spend much time outside and you want to keep your feet warm and dry. A camera? Never leave home without it.
If you are extremely branded, you’ll also want to bring anything that you can't live without. For example, the recipes for cigarettes, chocolate bars, even Coca-Cola and Heinz ketchup are slightly different in Canada than in the United States (to say nothing of the rest of the world). Personally, I'd suggest just trying the Canadian equivalent. It will add to the experience and who knows, you might even prefer the Canadian version. But if it's going to overshadow an otherwise amazing trip, by all means bring it along.
The Calgary Stampeders
Calgary's football team started in 1909 -- that's football as in rugby. The team joined the CFL (Canadian Football League) -- as in American style football, in 1945.
You can now catch the Stampeders in action at McMahon Stadium during the summer into fall. Single game tickets are $27.00 to $55.00, and the big game to catch is usually the Labor Day Classic (held on Labor Day in September) where the Stamps play their arch enemies, the Edmonton Eskimos.
Calgary has two major rivers: the Bow River and the Elbow River. The Bow River passes through northwest Calgary in an area called Bowness, which used to be it's own small town but has since become a fairly central part of Calgary's urban sprawl. The City of Calgary has done its citizens a huge favour by creating a system of trails called the Bow River Pathway, which follow this river for almost fifty kilometres!
Yesterday, I headed to the far west section of this pathway. I parked at Bowness Park (8900 48th Ave NW) and started walking west. The trail took me under the Stoney Trail overpass and then along a dirt trail through the woods. After about twenty minutes in the woods there was a signpost and a large set of stairs. I took the stairs up and connected to the paved Bow River Pathway, which I then followed BACK to Stoney Trail. I crossed under Stoney Trail and walked east along the river on the paved trail, going under the 85th Street Bridge and a cute outdoor ampitheatre. Shortly before the train overpass I crossed a pedestrian bridge onto a small island nature preserve, and from there I crossed a larger bridge back to the south side of the river. I followed the first major street (48th Avenue) all the way back to the Bowness Park parking lot. This route is about seven kilometres and it's great because it's got some interesting gains in elevation, cool examples of engineering, the possibility of spotting wildlife in the woods and birds on the river, as well as the fresh river air.
I didn't take any photos yesterday but I did find this one in my archives- the trail I'm talking about will take you through the trees, under the huge overpass, and then back on the other side of the river.