Downtown Calgary, Calgary
The commercial district of downtown Calgary has very modern shopping malls, TD Square and the Scotia Centre are two large malls in this district. You will also find lots of choices in restaurants and bars for a quick cuppa or snack. What I particularly liked here was the steel structure which twisted and weaved its way between the buildings. Very arty I thought but it has a practical purpose, these structures are build as wind deflectors to protect the buildings and the people on stormy windy days.
The ten sculptures, some measuring 6.5 metres and weighing 680 kilograms are cast in aluminium. The statues were presented to the city by Maxwell Cummings and Sons. The family of man was designed by the English artist Mario Armengol. They were dedicated to the city on 8th. July 1968 by the Duke of Kent. I liked the skinny statues standing in their circle reaching up to the blue summer sky.
I planned this trip for me and my 2 best friends, all of three of us live in Great Falls Montana, and needed a break from all these redneck cowboys. 5 hours later we are here, very lost no hotel picked out we have 1 hou before last call, we stayed at the Calgary 5 Once we got our room which was 200 a night, we were given a key to the wrong room on where a confused old asian guy with pants jumped up as we entered the room, which apeared we interupted his internet time if you know what i mean. well we got the right room and then we were able to catch about 35 minutes of pounding down drinks. The next day we walked aourd had a few pints for breakfast met up with a friend that we worked with that goes there very weekend, he knew some girl and she took us every where, we had dinner at a cool hookah abr, had some awsome pizza and some great smoke went out to the bars had a blast, i was the only one that was not single but i still had a great time trying to watch my friends " hook up" they failed. But all in all was a trip i will never forget!
Otherwise known as 8th Avenue SW, a large part of this avenue (from about Center Street to 4th Street SW) is limited to pedestrian traffic. You can walk down the middle of the road, in the heart of downtown Calgary, and not have to worry about being hit by a car! Along the street there are offices, shops, shopping centers, art galleries, restaurants and nightclubs. It can be dead on weekends, but during the week the street is always bustling and stores have their doors open.
Calgary gets pretty cold in the winter. To help make pedestrian travel easier downtown, most buildings in the city center are connected by a system of walkways called +15s. About fifteen feet higher than the street below, there are fifty-seven of these walkways spanning a total distance of sixteen kilometers.
The +15 system inspired the film "Waydowntown", about a group of young professionals who compete to see who can stay indoors the longest. See this link for info about the film.
One block north of the Calgary Tower, the Palliser and Marriott hotels, you can find something of Calgarys past saved along the mainly pedestrian Stephen Avenue. Old early 20th century buildings give a glimpse into what was once Calgary. Rising on the north side, in post modernistic counterpoint, is the Calgary Hyatt Regency Hotel.
On the norhtern fringe of downtown Calgary, you can find the upscale shops and restaurants of the Eau Claire Market along with a new would-be hotel icon,the Sheraton Eau Claire Suite Hotel. Just north of the market area, you can wander the paths of Prince's Island Park serving as a quieter counterpoint to the hustle of downtown streets to the south. Downstream about a mile, you can find Calgary's zoo, also taking up an island in the Bow River.
Calgary's downtown is a large place with high skyscrapers but at a certain place, the 8th Avenue wears also the name of Stephen Avenue...and has a lot of nice lower old buildings, cafes and bars... it is really pleasant to walk along!! Especially at night with the blue lights in the trees! So this is one of the nightlife place in Calgary but also a very interesting place to discover the past of Calgary :
Stephen Avenue is a National Historic District of Canada
Named after the first Canadian Pacific Railway president, Lord George Mount Stephen, the Avenue was Calgary's main commercial street starting with the coming of the railway in 1883. As the text from the plaque inscribed by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada reads:
"Stephen Avenue is a superb illustration of the central role that retail streets have played and continue to play in the Canadian Urban experience. As a well-preserved commercial street, the avenue bears eloquent witness to the emergence of the modern retail sector in Canada from 1880 to 1930. With the coming of the railway, Prairie cities grew at an unprecedented rate, and their gridiron urban plan reflected a new functional pattern: financial and commercial sectors located near the train station, surrounded by residential areas while factories were farther away. Elegant illustrations of Calgary's sandstone era, the buildings of Stephen Avenue are handsome representatives of the architecture of their time, featuring Victorian, Art deco and Beaux-Arts elements."
the Website of the City of Calgary is wonderful on the contains a great pdf explaining all the old buildings with architecture infos, dates, etc.
Stephen avenue is the nice pedestrian road surrounded by some fine architechture and some greenery. There are good shops, and if at any point you veer off into one of the buildings, you'll be in a mall since malls line both sides of the street. Veer off into the TD Centre and see the Devonian Gardens: a earthy haven in winter. At 8th Ave and 7th Street, stop in at Ceili's Irish Pub. They have a large and gorgeous rooftop patio where you can enjoy a nice pint of Grasshopper (a local beer similar to Corona).
This is a little peice of paradise in the downtown core. It is on the forth level of a large skyrise that is mostly a shopping center. If you are in downtown Calgary and need a break for lunch or anything this is the place you want to be. They have made the floor into a forest inside a concerete jungle. IT is really pretty. There are even pools with hudge fish, and sculptures. It has about 2.5 acres of plant life.Very well done and maintained. At lunch it might get a bit crowded because all the downtown employees try to eat there. IT is year round because it is inside. I haven't been there in a few years but it has always been free and i would guess it still is : ) It isn't a place you want to spend and entire day but lunch or a break from shopping is great there. The web site below just gives you a bunch of pic's cause i haven't got any yet. just click next to see them. There are four. This site also seems to have many other pics of Calgary so enjoy
If you love chocolate and want to see how it's made, then this is the tour to take while in Calgary (self-guided with a treat at the end). Mr. Callebaut (who was born in Belgium) moved to Canada in 1982 with a mission to produce a quality line of chocolates never before experienced in North America.
Well I can personally attest to the fact that he has accomplished this task. The main factory/building is located in downtown Calgary and when you walk in the doors, you are just blown away with the choices of chocolate that await.
The tour takes you below ground where you see the employees going about their craft of chocolate candy making...one thing that we did notice is that they all seemed very happy :-)
There is also a history tour on the wall that explains the process of how chocolate is made and how the Callebaut family started in the business. Once the tour is finished, you go back to the main office to sample (as well as purchase) Callebaut chocolate...what a divine experience.
When we first drove into Calgary from the north, I noticed how nice the area along the Bow River looked as we crossed one of the main bridges into the city centre on the south side.
As a result, after leaving the Calgary Tower, we drove a very short distance through Chinatown and parked on an almost deserted street beside the river. From there, we had a very enjoyable and leisurely walk along the river's edge as we took in the sights of the city.
I found Calgary to be a very relaxing city, not your average hustle and bustle of traffic and noise. Altogether very pleasant, especially in a setting like this!
One of the older neighbourhoods in Calgary is Mount Royal and it starts at 17th Ave. S.W.. (just outside of the downtown area). 17th Ave S.W. is one of the only unique shopping experiences in Calgary (it rivals the Kensington neighbourhood). 17th Ave. is within walking distance from downtown and is flanked with shops and services ranging from your regular Starbucks to the eclectic shoe and clothing store Purr. Great for a summer stroll!
In the summer floating down the Bow river on a hot summer day is always enjoyable. If you don't have a raft you can rent one at U of C.
Great place to ice skating in the middle of the skyscrapers!!!! but only for people having ice skates...It is not possible to rent them.