Tag Archives: Calgary

Chill Out And Go Rafting In Calgary, Canada Next Summer!

The Elbow River is a great place to Go Rafting In CalgaryRafters float down the Elbow River in Calgary, with nary a care in the world…

In Calgary, summer is a short season. In a part of the world where snow has fallen on the city in August, a warm day is not wasted, nor taken for granted. With its close proximity to the Canadian Rockies, interest in outdoor recreation is much higher than many other urban centres in Canada. As such, one of the favorite activities of locals over the years has been to take a raft, blow it up, and set sail one one of two rivers that flow through the metropolitan area (The Bow and Elbow Rivers) and float along for several hours with friends and family, eventually arriving in the downtown area, where drinks and food are had before packing up and heading home.

If you want to go rafting in Calgary next summer, while making new local friends in the process, follow the steps below, and hopefully, we’ll see you join the Pirates of the Bow/Elbow next season!

1) Tell Your Friends – If you are living in the area and you want to go rafting in Calgary, let your friends know that you are interested in doing this. Usually, many people wait for someone to assume the mantle of organizer, rather than try to take the “responsibility” of doing it themselves. If they don’t glom on like you hoped, or if you are traveling in the area and don’t know anybody, and your hostel mates barely look up from their phone/laptop, then it’s time to get on the internet. Fire up meetup.com and search for groups that get together regularly to go on river rafting trips, like this one. Alternatively, you could also head over to Craigslist Calgary and post an inquiry on the community forum.  Yeah!

poe_rafonsho

2) Get The Gear – Next, you need a raft (probably bigger than the one pictured above if you got friends with you 🙂 ).  To fix this essential problem, there are many sports gear shops in Calgary that rent out rafts and associated gear for the day.  The times I have gone on the river, I didn’t deal directly with the retailer, but this Google search should get you started 😉

3) Get The Raft To The River – This is a two parter if you can swing it.  Ideally, get a friend to park a car at your take out point (a popular place is Prince’s Island Park downtown) so you can have easy transit back to where you started your adventure.  DON’T INFLATE THE RAFT UNTIL YOU GET THERE.  Seems obvious in retrospect, but it makes things easier, trust me! 🙂 If you don’t have two cars, a taxi will suffice, despite the added cost.

poe_parrafcalcanCredit: cuppojoe_trips (flickr.com)

4) Blow Up The Raft, And Go Rafting In Calgary – Get out on the river and have fun!  Just don’t be stupid like the folks above and forget to bring or wear life jackets!  The water of the Bow can be shallow in places, leading to a false sense of security.  It is always ice-cold, so if you get swept away by the current and can’t swim, you’ll be in serious danger of either drowning or succumbing to hypothermia.  Bear in mind that alcohol is also officially banned (as is all open alcohol in public) on the river, and police boats actively patrol looking for lawbreakers.  If you decide to bring some adult pops with you, exercise discretion and don’t draw attention to yourself, again, like these guys (I’m sure they are awesome people otherwise 🙂 )

Calgary is a city that worships the summer when it arrives, as the other 8 months of the year often feature winter weather in part or full effect.  If you want to go rafting in Calgary, just do it – join the locals in making the most of the bright and warm days out on the waters of the Bow and Elbow Rivers!

Have you ever rafted some awesome rivers in your neck of the woods?  Do they have the scene that Calgary does?  Let us know about it all below!

A Must For Sports Enthusiasts In Calgary: Canada Olympic Park

Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaCalgary’s Canada Olympic Park – a place of celebration of Canada’s first Winter Olympics. 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the 1988 Games.

25 years ago, Calgary hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in Canadian history. It seems so long ago, when as a seven-year-old, I watched the world’s best athletes compete against each other in a sporting and competitive manner … in my pajamas, seated on the floor of my living room. It was to ignite a nascent interest in sport for me, which was vital to an adulthood filled with physical activity, seeing how I was raised in a household where athletic activity wasn’t emphasized.

Fast forward almost a generation later, after Canada hosted one of the most successful Olympics ever in Vancouver, and seeing how I was currently living in Calgary, it would be a travesty to leave this city in the future with seeing one of my countries’ most prized pieces of sports history.

After a scramble down a ravine, crossing the Bow River on a pedestrian bridge and a wander through the neighbourhood of Bowness, there I was on the doorstep of Canada Olympic Park. Let’s take a look around, shall we?

Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaThe slopes of Canada Olympic Park, used then and now for skiing events (not the downhill alpine races, though, those were held in the Rockies, 1 hour to the West). Nowadays, in the summertime, mountain bikers tear down the steep pistes of the Bow River Valley.

Trampolines, Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaGot kids? Set’em loose on the bungee trampolines. Kids love trampolines!

Ski Jumps, Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaA close-up shot of the ski jumps, which can be seen at many points throughout Calgary’s NW. Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, a British skier became known forever for his heroic, yet very short jumps here, becoming a legend and inspiration to underdogs the world over!

Hockey Canada training centre, Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaNew construction has popped up at Canada Olympic Park since the conclusion of the 1988 Olympics, as a new arena complex was constructed to play host to Team Canada’s operations in hockey. Here, a practice session for elite girl hockey players is in session on the ice below.

Hockey Canada training centre, Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaThe view of the new arena complex from the outside, as the afternoon wears on, evidenced by the lowering sun.

Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIn 1988, we hosted the world. What I would have given to have been there!

After remembering the excitement that unfolded 25 years ago, and seeing the tremendous Games put on in Vancouver just 3 1/2 short years ago, it stokes my fire to attend at least one Olympic Games in my lifetime.

What about you? Have you ever attended an Olympic Games in person? If you have, tell us all about in the comments, will ya?

In Motion: Family Fun At The Calgary Stampede

There are plenty of ways to have some good old fashioned family fun at the Calgary Stampede

While there are attractions for people of all ages at the Calgary Stampede, it is a wonderland of excitement for the little people in your life. If you’re a family looking for an ideal place to visit that provides a balance of things that interest adults, as well as your young ones, visiting Calgary during the Stampede is a no-brainer. Just be sure to book accommodations well in advance, because as we mentioned before, you aren’t the only people thinking the same thing.

There are many ways to enjoy some family fun at the Calgary Stampede … for a sample of check out Today’s In Motion below!

A Day In The Life Of The Calgary Stampede, The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth

The sun sets on yet another day in the life of the Calgary StampedeDowntown Calgary as viewed from the Elbow River, in the SW neighbourhood of Mission. Located near the Stampede Grounds, this part of town, along with Downtown and the Beltline, are ground zero for folks partaking and celebrating the Calgary Stampede.

For tourists visiting Alberta from outside Canada, when Calgary is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is its most famous festival, the Stampede. For over 100 years, this event, starting out simply as a rodeo, has come to define the city, to the chagrin of some. Despite the mixed feelings that some people have for this event, it is still one heck of a party and deserving of the moniker “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth”. Here’s what a day in the life of the Calgary Stampede looks like…

Calgary Stampede front gatesStanding in line for Stampede Tickets … as of 2013, ticket prices cost $16 for admission, a good portion of which goes to charity…

Teepee Village @ the Calgary Stampede The Teepee Village, showing how the First Nations people that resided in this area before us lived.

Walking around the Calgary Stampede Throngs of people stroll the Stampede Grounds, eating the food, enjoying the rides, and taking in the musical acts. Just over 1,000,000 people go through the turnstiles every year, testifying to the popularity of this well-loved festival.

Concession stands @ the Calgary Stampede Just a small slice of the food on offer at the Stampede. So wrong for your waistline, but go on. The Stampede only happens for 10 days a year. Spoil yerself!

Midway Games at the Calgary Stampede Step up. Try your luck. Win a prize.

As if all these traditional trappings of a fair weren’t enough to elevate your excitement level, how about … a wandering marching band? This is the Stampede, remember…

Had enough of the outdoors, or maybe the weather isn’t playing nice? Come indoors and sample some of the attractions located inside the many building on the Stampede Grounds. Like country music? Head to Nashville North, where a nonstop cast of musicians roll on and off stage every day (and beer never stops flowing…) Wanna sample some fine food? Head over to Western Oasis, where you’ll find plenty of elevated treats, along with some excellent wines that pair perfectly with them!

Or, if you are fortunate enough to witness this spectacle as I did during the 2012 Stampede, slap some board shorts on, get wet, and ride some waves more than 1,000 kilometres from the sea on the Flowrider…

After all that activity, it gets better still. Many of Canada’s leading and up and coming acts are attracted to the Stampede’s free stage every year, so you can find yourself a spot on the lawn and listen to the musical stylings of bands such as The Trews for $0 (well, it’s included in the price of your ticket but c’mon … keep up the illusion here!) 😛

After all this, if you still have the energy, head off the grounds and partake of the many offsite parties throughout urban Calgary that are all well-attended by the locals. Even during the week. Seriously. Many people get little or no work done during these ten days, as the city grinds to a near halt. The Stampede is that big of an event, guys. If you attend one festival during your time in Western Canada, make time for the Stampede.

Just be sure to book well in advance, as places as far as an hour outside the city can disappear months before the event.

After you tie up all your loose ends, pack your ten-gallon hat, your Alberta-sized belt buckle, and start practicing your Yahoo! … you’re headed to one of the greatest public celebrations in Canada!

Have you ever been to the Stampede? Share your experiences below!

Isolation In The Midst Of A Big City: Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Canada

Optimized-DSCN2269An entrance to Nose Hill Park in Calgary, Canada, accessible off John Laurie Blvd.

After travelling Southeast Asia a second time in the winter of 2012, I decided to settle down in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta for a while. My motivations were twofold. One, to spend some quality time with my sister’s family, who I felt I hadn’t been seeing enough during my time in the mountains and travelling overseas. And two, to give myself time to save up some badly needed cash while considering my next move.

Being a lover of the outdoors, it took me little time to seek out the many expansive parks that this city has to offer. Nose Hill Park in Northwest Calgary is chief among them. It is one of the largest parks in North America, and features undulating buttes, pocket valleys with tight, thick brush, and killer views of downtown Calgary, and the Rocky Mountains.

Optimized-DSCN2271The wide open grassy plains that comprise most of Nose Hill – yes, you are the middle of a city of 1 million people … but you’d never know it here.

Optimized-DSCN2306The long, lonely path leads you through a land of sweetgrass, puffy clouds, and nobody else to keep you company but your own soul (except in popular areas, where you will encounter dog-walkers and joggers 😛 )

Optimized-DSCN2281Looking Northwest, we see the low density of suburban Calgary, and the beginning of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Calgary is within visual range of the Rockies, but sometimes, it can be hard to see, depending on atmospheric conditions. Strain your eyes, and you might see the silhouette of them in the distance 😛

But it is by walking around to the south side of the park, that views of Calgary’s formidable skyline of gleaming glass skyscrapers can be had in abundance…

Optimized-DSCN2309Seemingly sprouting out of a field of daisies, Calgary’s urban core stands in stark contrast to the nature that will surround you on your meaderings through Nose Hill Park. It makes for a killer photo opp though, so bring along your telephoto lenses and snap a much better pic than I did (NOTE TO SELF: Get a DLSR ASAP!)

How do you get here? If you have a rental car, drive north on 14th Street until you’re in the N.W. The park should be unmissable, rolling up on your left after driving approximately five minutes north of the downtown core.

For those without a car, you could take the train to Brentwood station and either walk along Charleswood Drive until you reach the park, or then catch the #72 bus, and then get off as soon as you cross 14th Street N.W. From there, it is a short walk to the park near the Calgary Winter Club.

Have an urban park that you are dying to share with the world? Tell us about it below!

Photo: The Calgary Skyline, As Viewed From Scotchman’s Hill

Calgary skyline Downtown Calgary, as viewed from Scotchman’s Hill

More Philippines will be coming on the blog later this week, but first, let’s pay homage to the city I’m about to leave in 3 1/2 weeks. Calgary, the largest city in Alberta, home of the 10 day Calgary Stampede (one of Canada’s best known festivals), and one of the wealthiest cities in all of North America, has been my home for the past year.

I took this time to save some green, see my sister and her young family, and plot my next move (teaching English in South Korea, May 2013!).

In between these main preoccupations, I did a fair bit of exploring, being the uncurable traveller that I am. The picture above is the highlight of one of these outings … a view of the Calgary skyline from the Southeast side, taken atop Scotchman’s Hill.

Want to capture this shot for yourself? Take 12th Ave east out of Downtown Calgary, until you come to a steel bridge. Turn onto it and cross the Elbow River. Once across, turn night at Pop’s Dairy Bar (and grab an ice cream and a hot dog while you’re at it!) onto Bellevue Ave. Proceed up the hill until you come to Salisbury Ave on the right. Turn onto this last street, and once you round the corner ahead, you should be graced with the view of the Stampede grounds directly below in the foreground, and the forest of steel and glass that is Corporate Calgary in the background.

It is an excellent place for a picnic lunch on a fine summer day, and the jaunt through the neighbourhood of Ramsay on your way to the top of Scotchman’s affords excellent views of unique, stylish, and well-kept homes, just a stone’s throw from the centre of the city, making it a treat for urbanites and nature lovers alike!

Got a killer view of your hometown/city? Share a link to it in the comments below!