I didn’t think much of Calgary when I first arrived. It looked very industrial, vacant lots, bland office buildings – a very uninviting city centre. Turns out I turned the wrong way when I walked out of my hotel and ended up on the outskirts of the town, not so pretty, but probably vital to business in the region.
But as I kept walking the city quietly grew on me. I was determined to find the river and Prince’s Island – anything with that name has to be pretty, right? So I kept walking and walking. I’ve probably mentioned before that one of my favourite things to do in any city is just to walk and get lost – it helps you discover the real soul of the city and not just the touristy bits.
I finally found the river – a lovely turquoise colour framed with rocks and trees and rewarded myself with a hot chocolate in the local café – Phil and Sebastian’s Café.
As chance would have it the guy who served me was an Australian, from Adelaide who had moved to Canada for love, unfortunately the love didn’t last, but his love for Canada did so he was still here 18 months on.
I followed the river around and came upon Princes Island – a man made island in the middle of the river. It was worth the walk. The island is home to a large number of ducks and other birds, there is a park, café and nature walk.
Crossing the bridge back into the city and I found myself in the Eau Claire area. The contrast between some of the older buildings and the newer, mirrored buildings is quite stark here and it’s worth looking up at the old clock and to see the city buildings reflected in each other. I took a walk along the Barclay Mall, the main thoroughfare, and Stephen Ave Walk, which links the entertainment district and the cultural district.
Calgary is an easy city to walk around and it has a lovely feel to it. You can take the skywalk one floor above the city centre to avoid the roads, but I chose to walk at ground level to better take in the city.
Don’t miss the various food trucks throughout the city and take a walk along the river.
It’s also well worth checking out the Big Head sculpture outside the Bow Building and the Famous Five statue which commemorates the five women who sought to have women legally recognised as people in the Constitution, so that women could be appointed to the Senate.
Calgary is famous for its Stampede – perhaps the world’s most famous rodeo show – and as the home of the 1988 Winter Olympics, which brought us the Jamaican bobsled team and Eddie the Eagle.
You can visit both sites and even sit in the famous bobsled – now stationary.
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#Diane travelled to Canada to host a tour with the awesome travel company Two’s a Crowd.
We stayed at the International Hotel of Calgary.
We were here for two nights.
Was it long enough? We did a bus tour through the city on the second day, which gave us a great overview of the city. Two days was a good amount of time – unless you’re here to see the Stampede!
Highlights: The Big Head sculpture, sitting in the Jamaican bobsled and the Famous Five Statue.
Our tour guide, Russell Morrow, was awesome at bringing the city to life