Downtown Calgary, Calgary
What a restful release from shopping in TD Square Take the glass elevator to the roof on the fourth floor and relax awhile in this tranquil atmosphere.
Lots of water features and vegetation catch your eye.
A popular place for functions while we were there some areas were closed due to a wedding. The gardens have seating by the pools where you can just sit in quiet contemplation listening to the water sounds and watching the fish.
Sitting in the foothills of the Great Rocky Mountains Calgary stands proud - The Heart of the New West. A clean, friendly, impressive and affluent city but sadly not everyone lives the goodlife. We saw a lot of homeless people here begging at traffic stops and on the lovely avenues these poor people reduced - for whatever the reason - to examining the contents of the bins
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!
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.
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.
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.
A fire in 1886 destroyed many of Calgary’s largest buildings. City council of the time enacted an ordinance stipulating that sandstone, fireproof and locally available, would be used for all new large buildings. In the ensuing building boom Calgary became known as the Sandstone City . Many of these early buildings have been torn down but some well preserved examples remain.
One of the best contrasts between Calgary’s sandstone era and its current designs is the City Hall . The old city hall is built with traditional sandstone and was completed in 1911. The latest addition to City Hall is a tiered glass structure rising behind the older building.
(see additional photos for remaining buildings)
The thirteen story Palliser Hotel was the tallest building in Calgary from 1929 until 1958. Originally referred to as the Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel, the name Palliser was chosen to commemorate Captain John Palliser, leader of the famed British expedition responsible for exploring Western Canada.
The six story Grain Exchange was one of the tallest buildings in Alberta when it was completed in 1910.
Alberta’s first teacher training center, McDougall School , was completed in 1908. At the time, it was Alberta’s largest educational facility. These days, the grounds are popular with newlyweds for wedding pictures.
Designed by the same architect who designed the Alberta Legislature building in Edmonton, the Court of Appeal was completed in 1914.
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.
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.
Originally a planetarium, the facility has been upgraded to a complete hands-on Science Center. There are numerous exhibits which change frequently and admission includes access to two shows. Check out the Telus World of Science website for the latest features.
Every summer, when the mercury inches up into the 20s, Calgarians hop on their bikes, snap into their rollerblades or slip on their shoes and head down to Prince's Island Park.
The island park is nestled between the Bow River and a shallow lagoon in the heart of the city.
The park boasts several pathways for walking, biking and rollerblading which provide access from the all directions. There's a playground as well as a great little water park just across the lagoon bridge near Eau Claire Market
There's water fountains, washrooms and picnic areas and a unique restaurant, the River Cafe.
Every summer the park hosts a variety of performers and music festival especially on Canada Day when thousands of people come out to celebrate.
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.
Stephen Aveune Mall is for walkers, and has been gussied up to look sharp these days. Very pretty with all the lights at night!
This will give you easy access to most shopping downtown Calgary including Holt Renfrew, The Bay, Winners and coutless restaurants and pubs.
During the summer months Eau Claire Market is a nice place to hang out. It is located right over the bridge from Princes Island Park. There are buskers located around the Market making balloon animals and entertaining the kids. There is also a wading pool for the kids to cool off from the summer heat.
The Market itself, essentially a shopping mall is not too exciting. It is full of upscale stores and a couple of restaurants. There is a food court for lunch.
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.