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Things to do around Calgary

Enjoy a Staycation in Calgary

By | Calgary, Vacation

Road trips, month-long holidays and weekend getaways are always a fun time, loads of timeless memories, but dang they’re a lot of work! Between packing, planning and executing the adventure (especially if you have kids) there is only a small fraction of time that allows you to actually enjoy the vacation at all.

That’s why we are encouraging you to put on your tourist hat and enjoy an exciting staycation right here in YYC. Our city has a ton of culinary delights, hidden gems and adventures to be had. Even if you think you’ve seen it all we promise you there are still lots of adventures to be had.

In our most recent episode of Homes and Lifestyles our host, Kim Hayden took a mini tour around Calgary and hit up some of her favourite spots around the city. She highlighted a few of her favourite spots, how to get around, where to dine and hotels with amazing amenities that will have you truly believe you’re on vacation!

Here are just a few must-see locations to add to the bucket list this summer without having to spend a pretty penny on a plane ticket!

The Glenbow

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This magnificent place holds some of the greatest art collections and artifacts from Calgary’s history in all the city. Throughout the last 50 years, the Glenbow has entertained many generations and hosted a variety of unique international art exhibitions that works to connect art, culture and the world around us. Giving us a sense character and place, the Glenbow has helped to shape our community, curate creativity throughout the city and connect us on a national and global level. It’s the spot where our city’s story is best told and we can grantee that you’re in for a memorable and personal experience every time you talk a walk through its art-filled hallways. You can always join them for an exhibition tour, behind-the-scenes experience, a film screening or an artist chat, whatever you prefer. Bring the whole family or simply come on a solo adventure – there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

The Calgary Zoo


Travel across the world, without having to leave the city at all! That’s right, the Calgary zoo is split up into continents, so you will feel like you’re in a different climate and country in each exhibit you visit. From red pandas to flamingos to gorillas to lemurs to hippos to penguins, there are lots of animal varieties for you to observe and even interact with, in a safe environment of course. New to the zoo this year re the Giant Panda’s and they have created quite the stir so far. Be sure to check them out more than once in the next few years that they are here. Grab a snack from their many cafés and head out on a safari adventure – YYC style!

See the city on a Segway

 


There are many ways to see the city, but have you seen it on a Segway? If the answer is no, we highly recommend booking on for you and the family this summer. The guides at River Valley Adventure Co will lead the tour, expanding on Calgary’s rich cultural history, while pointing out landmarks and showing you hidden gems that you might have otherwise missed if you were on foot. We can guarantee you this experience is safe, fun and more than memorable. It’s time you saw Calgary from a different angle and fell in love with your city all over again.

The Calgary Tower + SKY 360


It may be cliché, but you have to venture up the tower if you’re spending the day rediscovering Calgary! For most of us that live here, we haven’t actually explored the tower very in-depth. To make your experience even more worth it, this year is the 50th anniversary of our iconic red tower. As a result, they will be hosting a variety of events, contests and fun activities throughout the year in celebration. While you’re there you have to dine at SKY 360 and get a rotating birds-eye view of the city during your meal. This is the truly authentic way to view the city from above!

International Avenue


For a truly unique experience, we highly recommend hitting up the International avenue. This is one of the oldest and original parts of the city and its rich history is still very evident throughout the community. It’s a one-stop shopping stop for all things international! From retail goods, services and food you can find just about any cultural dish here on the ave. We recommend starting at Illichmann’s Sausage Shop Ltd., Begim Uzbekistan Restaurant or Indonesian Kitchen. All are very unique and authentic to the customs and traditions of each culture – especially when it comes to the ingredients. You’ll feel like you’re in a different country at each of these delicious restaurants!

YYC Food Trucks

 

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You’ll see them scattered around the city during lunch hour, along with at the various events, festivals, and activities that happen around the city each summer. The trucks are colourful and each one brings with it, it’s own personality, taste, and experience. They bring people together and hang out in some of the most beautiful corners of our city. Keep an eye out for them this summer and eat your way through Calgary, one food truck at a time!

Shop local


Instead of spending your summer in an air-conditioned mall, head out to the many shopping districts that are scattered around the city. You’ll not only be getting a way better quality product, but you’ll be supporting a small business or the work of local artists or maker while helping to pump up Calgary’s vibrant economy – it all comes full circle. Be sure to hit up Kensington Village, Mission (also known as 4th Street) and Inglewood, just to name a few. Each of these areas holds their own unique character and charm and will have you lost in an adventure all day long!

 

Missed the episode? Watch it here!

A Heart of Gold: Calgary’s Relentless Entrepreneurial Spirit ft. the Recess Shop

By | Community, Entrepreneur, Kim Hayden

As you may know, Homes and Lifestyles is a show written, filmed and created by Calgarians, about Calgarians, for Calgarians! We like Calgary – have you heard?

All jokes aside, we have some mad love for this big little city of ours. It’s full of dreamers, doers and ambitious humans who hustle hard and together make up the vibrant pulse that Calgary is known and loved for. With this energy on a constant high, it makes people passionate, encouraging authenticity and a deliberate mandate to be true to yourself.

Being a part of this incredible community is what makes our big (little) town somewhere that you can not only dream, but also become a part of something bigger than yourself. Our metropolis has been handed a few very large lemons, but time and time again Calgary has managed to turn them into some very delicious lemonade.

One particular person that is a true example of this is Kyle Chow, founder of Recess Shop and Plant, both located in the heart of Calgary’s historic neighbourhood of Inglewood. Kyle is one of the many entrepreneurs and small business owners in Calgary who is genuinely so excited to share their dreams and passion with the rest of the world and this energy is radiated through every vein that runs through both of his businesses. Even if plants or stationary aren’t your thing, they certainly will be after talking to Kyle for a mere 5 minutes tops.

We had the exciting opportunity to sit down for a quick chat with Kyle and we were blown away at the tenacious spirit that drives him to be a small business owner in Calgary day in and day out. Saying that his passion is inspiring is by far an understatement. Take a read below to find out a bit about Kyle’s story, what inspired him to open a stationery shop and some tips for aspiring entrepreneurs in Calgary.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur in the first place?

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, It started with an Iced Tea Wagon that my friend and I set up at our local community college when we were 8 or 9. I’ve always been excited about creating things on my own, and initiating projects I had imagined. I wanted to be an entrepreneur to be in charge of all the decisions and details when running a business. Watching my dad running his own successful company gave me an idea of what it entailed, while revealing that I liked the idea of having the creative control to execute, unhindered by other decision makers.

Was there a specific “aha” moment?

There wasn’t a definitive “aha” moment- more like several over time as you move beyond what you think is sensible or even possible. You find new ways to do things or you come up with a new idea and that can just blow the doors of creativity wide open. It has taken consistent effort on a regular basis to fully realize my ideas, and even then, it’s never done. In all honesty, growth and opening my businesses came out of necessity. Each stage built on what I had created before it.

What motivates you when you wake up in the morning?

I am motivated each morning to constantly evolve my businesses. I strive to make my shops feel new and fresh each time a customer comes through the doors. You may visit every couple of weeks or every few months, but each time you will find new products, new ideas, and a fun, approachable, exciting environment.

Where did the inspiration to open a stationery shop come from?

My inspiration to open a stationery shop stemmed from my early childhood love of pens and paper. I never wanted toys as a kid, I just wanted my desk and all the supplies to fill it. I would sit for hours organizing my books and pencils, practicing my printing and handwriting. My love of tactility grew and grew, before I opened the shops I was a practicing graphic designer for a number of years, so utilizing stationery and collecting notebooks and pens was second nature for me.

What is the concept behind Recess Shop? 

The idea to open Recess came when I could only get my inspiration and products mostly outside of Calgary. I wanted to create a place where you could find, discover and enjoy the really unique, beautiful, and functional things that I’d only seen while visiting other cities. It’s such a joy to find small ways of contributing to the evolving culture here in Calgary, and being part of a small business community that helps make Calgary a great place to visit, and an even better place to live.

What is the premise behind Recess? Shop

We spend so much time in the digital realm, and I really think there is just so much value in slowing down, and literally putting a pen to paper. I know for me it helps me map out ideas and think more creatively, and I think there are a lot of people out there who feel the same. There is something so simple about it, so accessible. You don’t need anything fancy to get a good idea going: just a simple pen and paper will do the trick.

What has been your largest struggle since starting your own business?

Demands on your time as an entrepreneur are challenging. For a long time, my wife and I (and some wonderful friends and family members) WERE the business, and there were times when you burned out because it takes so much time and energy just making it work. As the business has grown and expanded, roles have shifted and that comes with different demands, including setting up processes to explain to others the things that have been buzzing around in my own head for years. To make explicit the things that you just do without thinking is a real challenge, so you need a great team to help you translate it and put it into action. We’re fortunate to have a talented and dedicated crew that does just that. If I’m being totally honest, my biggest struggle is living up to my own expectations. It’s always a work in progress.

What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneurs? Where do you recommend that you start?

My advice is to start with your interests, the things that you spend your time reading about, follow on social media, where you put your energy in your free time. Then from there get excited and gather information. Inform yourself about what others are doing: as inspiration, as a jumping off point for your own ideas, as a way to find out what is and isn’t being done already. Find gaps in the market, and find your own take- the things that will set you apart.

If you have not had the opportunity to check out this beautiful stationary shop, we highly recommend it. However, prepare yourself for some serious stationary envy!

Missed catching the Recess Shop being featured on Homes and Lifestyles? Check it out here!

Top Five Things You Need to Do in Canmore

By | Calgary, Design, Dining, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Vacation | No Comments

Just a short hour-long drive from Calgary’s western city limits resides the beautiful Canmore Kananaskis area. Aptly named Calgary’s “local backyard,” this conveniently located gem has all you need for a quick weekend getaway. In our Mountain Living episode, we teamed up with Andrew Shepherd, general manager at Blackstone Mountain Lodge and Board of Directors Chair with Tourism Canmore Kananaskis, to share five things you need to experience on your next trip out to Calgary’s local backyard.

Take a Cave Tour

Year-round, rain or shine, Canmore Cave Tours has you covered. This uniquely Albertan experience proves exciting for even the most expert mountain goer. Join one of their passionate cavers on a tour through Rat’s Nest Cave – a wild, undeveloped cave under Grotto Mountain. They suit all levels of adventurers – from the bold and extreme, to those who like taking the scenic route – every caver has the opportunity to enjoy the cave in their own special way. And hey, if you really love it, they offer courses for those looking to take their caving adventures to the next level.

Snowshoe Tour 

Take in the last of winter (it is still winter, right?) with a snowshoeing tour complete with breathtaking views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Snowshoeing is a fun, easy winter activity for all ages and it requires no technical skills. Check out our host, Kim, on a tour with Claude from Kananaskis Outfitters – she makes it look easy. Easy to book and with tours leaving right from Canmore and the Kananaskis Village Centre beside the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Claude and his team have you covered. We also recommend White Mountain Adventures. With tours leaving from Banff, Canmore, and Kananaskis, you’re sure to find a tour that suits your needs.

Float Down the River

Winter won’t last (we repeat; winter won’t last) and when it gives way to warmer weather, book yourself in for a unique water tour with Canmore River Adventures. Operating from June to September, bring your large or small group out for a guided tour down the Bow River. These family friendly tours are perfect for nature lovers of all ages. If you need pick up from your Canmore hotel, no problem, complimentary pick up is available. Conversely, the boat launch is a quick 5-10 minute walk from downtown Canmore.

The Iron Goat Pub & Grill

With two elevated patios overlooking the majestic Three Sisters mountain range, the Iron Goat Pub & Grill is a great place to end your busy day. Kick back with delicious food and drinks, while you experience mountain dining in a memorable setting. This place has history too. Inspired by Canmore’s rich railway heritage, the name comes from a memorable train engine named “The Iron Goat,” which hauled coal throughout the first half of the 1900’s. The Iron Goat has since been retired to Calgary’s own Heritage Park.

Stay at the Blackstone Mountain Lodge

Finish your busy, action-packed day with a relaxing stay at the Blackstone Mountain Lodge in Canmore. Raising the bar for luxury in the Rocky Mountains, guests are treated to a wide offering of on-site amenities. Equipped with outdoor hot tubs, a heated outdoor pool, on-site spa treatments, a games room, and a fully equipped fitness centre, relaxing is not problem here. From hotel rooms to one, two, or three bedroom suites, the Blackstone can accommodate couples on a weekend getaway or families looking for an adventure in the mountains. You can even test out the four bedroom penthouse suite for 2,100 square feet of living and entertaining bliss, complete with mountain views off of the enclosed balcony.

We’d love to hear from you. Please share some of your favourite things to do out in Canmore and Kananaskis.

The Blackstone Mountain Lodge was featured on the first episode of Homes & Lifestyles season two, airing March 28th, 2018 on CTV Two at 8:30 a.m. Miss it? Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to catch it.