Summer fun in Calgary

As many people do, I rarely take time to explore my own city. This summer I decided to remedy that. Yesterday I went to Glenmore Park here in Calgary for the first time in a long time with my two little nieces. It was absolutely beautiful! The day was sunny, there were sailboats out on the water and the kids were having a blast in the splash park.

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Taking time to appreciate the fabulous things to do in your own city is something everyone should do. A friend of mine who lives in London is great at doing this and I’m trying to learn from her. I’m often so interested in where my next trip will be and when that I don’t take the time to explore local attractions as much as I should. This thought inspired me to use this summer to make more of an effort to enjoy what Calgary has to offer, which has been made a lot easier this summer with the gorgeous weather we have been having!

Summer in Calgary would not be complete without the Stampede. It is a great event with things to do for everyone. The rodeo is of course the reason the Stampede exists (although I rarely go to it), but aside from the rodeo there are the rides and games on the midway, animal exhibitions, free concerts on the Coca Cola stage, all of the delightful, greasy, often bizarre food (an interesting addition this year was deep fried bugs! I did not try it), beer gardens and the BMO Centre with all of the exhibits. This year I wandered the BMO Centre, even bought a few things, walked the midway and spent a lovely couple hours at one of the beer gardens in the sun with a beer and mini donuts.

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I also tried the deep fried cookie dough, in my opinion a wonderful addition this year and although I probably gained 5 pounds eating it, it was delicious! The businesses in the city also have events in honour of Stampede. Pancake breakfasts and beer gardens are everywhere, there is even an app for smart phones to show where the best free pancake breakfasts are each day. One of my favourites is at Chinook Centre where this year the various businesses were competing for the best toppings. I had a delicious pancake covered in a concoction of M&Ms, oreos, whipped cream, syrup and a few blueberries to make it healthy.

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Aside from the Stampede, Calgary has many other great events in the summer. There are food festivals, music festivals and one of my favourites, Shakespeare in the Park (now renamed Shakespeare by the Bow) which takes place on Prince’s Island Park each year. Performances are at lunch time and in the evenings where drama students or recent graduates from around Alberta perform the works of Shakespeare, either traditionally or with a modern twist. It is a great way to spend a lunch hour or evening.  Picnics are available from the nearby River Cafe, or food can be purchased in the Eau Claire complex. Folk Fest is another highlight, which starts this weekend. Prince’s Island Park is set up for four days of music by artists from all over the world.  You can wander from stage to stage during the day and food trucks are set up for your dining pleasure. My personal favourites are the crepes and the perogies.  Last year I sampled the Saskatoon berry perogies, they were amazing. Sadly I won’t be able to make it this year but it is something I try to go to for at least one night of the festival.

For the first time in years I went to the Calgary zoo. I went with my two nieces and we had a great time.  There are lots of animals to see, although one of my niece’s favourite, the elephants, are no longer there. A highlight was the penguins, they are so fun to watch.

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Rafting down the Bow River or tubing down the Elbow River are two wonderfully relaxing things to do here in the summer. The river is usually cold and fast in July, it slows down and warms up in August, which is why I prefer rafting in August.

There are many parks and walking or cycling paths throughout Calgary. This summer I have been taking advantage of walks along the Bow and the Elbow Rivers, as well as along the Glenmore Reservoir. Unfortunately the floods last year destroyed many of the pathways and not all have been rebuilt. The path from Edworthy Park to Eau Claire is in good shape and is right along the river.

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This summer has been great for patios. My favourites are on Stephen Avenue and in Eau Claire. I recently discovered the rooftop patio at Joey’s in Chinook Centre, it is quite large, has a nice mix of shade and sun, and is full of flowers making it quite lovely. My local pub also has a nice patio although it is small and often full. The warm temperatures have been lasting into the evenings, which is unusual for Calgary, and I have been taking advantage of it as often as I can.

My next plan is a trip out to the mountains, another place I don’t go nearly enough even though one of the major benefits of living in Calgary is the proximity to the mountains.

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