In the mid-90’s, local artists decorated life-sized cow statues and then auctioned them off for charity. For weeks, cows could be seen adorning the street corners and parks of the downtown core. Energetic gremlins would periodically move the cows to give the impression that the fiber glass bovines were grazing on different concrete pastures. See the remnants of the Udderly Art herd free of cost (at Centennial Parkade +15 walkway, 9th Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets SW).
One of Calgary’s larger parks (36 hectares), the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary does not receive many (human) visitors. It does play host to more than 250 species of birds, 300 species of plants with regular sightings of deer and coyote. Parking and admission are free, though the Sanctuary gratefully accepts donations at the information center. Situated along the Bow river in the east end of the city, the two kilometers of walking trails are open year round during daylight hours.
Twelve Mile Coulee is a natural valley located in the far northwest of Calgary, in the neighbourhood of Tuscany. The coulee stretches from the far north end of the city all the way down to the Bow River, and there are a variety of walking and biking trails available for users. I started by walking in the base of the coulee, but found trails in March were too muddy for easy walking. I then climbed up a dirt trail to connect to the paved bicycle path that runs along the top of the coulee. This trail is excellent for cyclists and walkers alike, and stretches for miles! You could walk all day!
The coulee is home to wildlife including ground squirrels, deer, porcupines and coyotes, although your best chances of sighting wildlife will be at dawn and dusk.
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.
You wouldn’t expect to see a medieval castle in Calgary, but we’ve got one right downtown. It’s actually the Mewata Armory, built during the World War I as a drill hall for militia and regular forces. The interior is largely open with rooms around the perimeter walls and a bowling alley and shooting range in the basement. Units that have been based at the armory include Southern Alberta Light Horse, 19th Alberta Dragoon, King's Own Calgary Regiment and the Calgary Highlanders.
Address: 801 - 11th Street SW
Calgary has one the most extensive bike trails around. They wind all around the city. The below link will show you all the trails in Calgary. Princess Island Park is a nice place. You can bring your dog and strut your stuff, walk by the water, or just enjoy the city skyline.
We took our bikes and headed to Fish Creek Provincial Park the other day. It is located at the south end of the city. Take the Deerfoot south and then follow Bow Bottom Trail, it takes you right into the area, where there are various parking lots to choose from. (Note that there are other entrances to the Park as well, you'll figure it out if you have a map of the city. Get a Calgary's Pathways and Bike Routes map). Anyway, we made a 13-ish km loop from the parking lot north of Sikame Lake up to a bridge that crosses the Bow River to an area called Douglasdale Estates. Wow! what a gorgeous view of the river valley and of the Rockies in the distance. It really is a pleasant area. We followed the trail south toward the Mckenzie Lake area, and crossed the Bow River back to our starting point. Pack a lunch and make a day of it!
for a great day trip drive east on highway 22x and you will be heading to Kananaskis Country. Once you pass the turn off for Bragg Creek the road is AB66. along this route you will find little lakes and the Elbow river. Driving to the end of the road you will be greeted with spectacular views of mountains and alpine meadows. when you turn around the drive will be totally different as you will be going down hill and will see beautiful valleys and rivers. stop at elbow falls for a nice little vista overlooking the falls, have a picnic and there are latrines there if needed. after go into Brag Creek for some ice cream at the alpine village mall. note you can not go past the falls in the winter, but still a nice drive.
The Calgary Convention Center is split across two buildings in the downtown area just east of Center street. Most often used for business presentations, there are rooms suitable for barbeques, receptions and dancing.
Address: 120 9th Avenue SE
Just as we were finishing up our sightseeing from the Observation Deck of the Calgary Tower, we were approached by the tall gentleman in black that you see in the photo. As the Sales Manager for the Tower, he mentioned that they were in the midst of a photo-shoot to be used for the development of new life-sized advertising posters. He asked us if we were interested in modeling for him - my wife and I both immediately turned and pointed at our daughter! After a bit of coaxing, she said she would do it, but only if Sue would as well.
In the end, we all made our debut into the world of Supermodels! First up was our daughter, standing at the viewing telescope with her poses being arranged by the Director (the man with the sheet of paper in his hand). Once he was satisfied, the Photographer (at the left) did his thing. This process was repeated for Sue, then me and finally with all three of us. Once this photo session was finished, we were taken into the gift shop for some futher possible shots there. However, the lighting was deemed to be too poor so that part was called off.
It was actually quite a fun experience, we had to sign releases so they could use our photos as they wished. They also promised to get in contact with us so we could see what the final product looked like. As a complete surprise to us, as things were wrapping up, the Sales Manager said that they had been having trouble getting people to pose. So, as a token of their appreciation, he was taking us down one level to The Panorama Room restaurant for lunch, where we could order anything on the menu that we wanted!
We looked at each other and groaned a bit - this was only 11:30 AM and we had only just left the Nellie's Kitchen breakfast place one hour before! What a time to have full stomachs! However, in the end we consented, saying that we will at least just sit there and enjoy the view and maybe something small - after all, Sue's breakfast had been a bit of a disaster!
During the spring and summer sessions (May-August) there are relatively few students on campus. This is quite a shame because it’s during these months that the grounds are at their most beautiful. The lush green grass and trees are on par with the fairways of most golf courses. If you need an excuse to visit the campus, then you might check out the Nickle Arts Museum . Unfortunately, the museum is a bit pricy for its small size. For my money, I’d nudge you towards the nearby student bookstore in McEwen Hall where you can pick up University of Calgary souvenirs that you won’t be able to buy anywhere else.
Address: 2500 University Drive NW
After walking through the Devonian Gardens you’ll be thinking, “That was a good idea, why aren’t there more gardens like that?”. In the middle of downtown, among all the glass and steel skyscrapers is a two and half acre oasis in the sky. Perfect for a quick break away from the noon-hour lunch crowds, this park is so picturesque that wedding couples have their pictures taken here on days when the outdoor weather doesn’t cooperate.
Address: 317 - 7th Avenue SW, On the fourth floor of the TD Square downtown.
A some what hidden and lesser known gem of a drive near Calgary in Kananaskis country is Powderface Trail. This is a true back country road for much of it's length and can be subject to poor condition if it has been raining. The trail is only open from Mid June to mid October and contains many scenic vistas of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. Beautiful scenic meadows and access to many lesser known hiking trails also provide quick access for the person that wants to get away from the city.
I passed very very few cars both times I have gone through the area.
Two ways, either hwy #1 west of Calgary approximatley 40 mins take the sibbald creek exit and follow the signs or hwy 8 or hwy 22x west from the south end of Calgary to Bragg Creek then hwy 66 all the way out to the Elbow valley Campground the trail starts on the opposite side of the campground.
additions to this trip:
Hamlet of Bragg Creek : Cute artsy little town about half way to the trail.
Elbow Falls: gorgeous picnic area and scenery off hwy 66 20 mins west of Bragg creek
You can get a true feel of Calgary's ranching legacy just south of the city at The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area. Donated from their land by the historical Cross ranching family, the conservation area's mandate is to protect local wildlife on 4800 acres of rolling foothills, which are the gateway to the Rockies.
With relatively little effort, one can get pretty views of the mountains, ranching country, and the city of Calgary. There are 20 km of hiking trails in the area, with an excellent chance of seeing wildlife. "Wildlife" does include black bears, so be on the lookout and take the necessary precautions. Being a hiker, I would rate the trails from easy to easy-moderate.
To enjoy the conservation area, you must phone ahead, as the administration office does monitor who goes in the area, and the amount of people, all part of the ongoing stewardship of this beautiful land. The office is only open Monday - Friday, and if you want to hike on a weekend, you must call by 3 pm on Friday. The conservation area also runs guided hikes and family programs. See the website below for schedules.
Before James MacLeod established his police fort at Ft Calgary. Before local native Americans wandered through the Plains, Buffalo and prarie dogs held court. Buffalo are limited to the stone heads on the Centre Street Bridge, but vacant lots and parks are still filled with prarie dogs. Wander past and hear there whistles. Their vibrant population ensures a food supply for ever present raptors up above - just ask madamx. Careful with your small dogs and cats, for the birds may mistake them for their regular fare.
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