A Handmade Travel Guide: Calgary
This summer I had my friend Eli and her friend Nico visiting from Germany for a couple of days. Of course I had big plans to show them Calgary from all different angles with the majestic Rocky Mountains looming in the background. Unfortunately, it was exactly the days when the wild fires in BC and Montana were out of control; everything smelled like smoke and you couldn’t see the mountains or even the skyscrapers in downtown. (Well, I don’t want to complain, it must have been even worse for the people affected by the wild fires.) So we decided to spent a day in the city with shopping, walking and eating deliciously unhealthy foods.
But first – coffee! Literally just around the corner from where I live is the one of the location of local coffee roasters Rosso Coffee. Now I personally don’t like coffee but they also offer the tastiest breakfast sandwich and creamy Chai lattes.
Because my friends like indie shopping areas just as much as I do, our next stop was Inglewood. It’s basically one street full of fun and cool shops like Plant, DaDe Art & Design Lab and the newly opened Calgary location of the Bamboo Ballroom. But the ones I like most are Stash and ReWorks Upcycle Shop.
Stash is a super cute Yarn shop in a turquoise building (!) that also offers classes. I don’t even knit or crochet but every time I go there I am reminded that “learn how to crochet a toque” has been on my to-do-list forever.
I discovered the ReWorks Upcycle Shop a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it and the idea behind it. You can find so many beautiful but also quirky things in there from furniture made from old bathtubs to pillow cases from recycled fabrics (which, ya know, is totally up my alley!). Solita, the owner is a lovely woman and always has time for a chat. Her and ReWorks Upcycle Shop’s mission is “to provide a full range of quality, designed products that are made from recycled materials, are produced in an environmentally-sustainable manner and promote sustainability over the long term”. What is not to love about it?
At this point we were pretty shopped out and decided to take the car to get a Fiasco Gelato. On of the best ice-cream shops in town. They have a little retail space right on their production side which is located in an industrial looking area. We almost didn’t find it until we spotted the Vespa. So cute, so yummy and the gelato for lunch is the best lunch ever anyway!
Our next destination was Kensington, an area which I loved since I first came here in 2010. It has changed a lot in the past 5 years alone because of gentrification. It’s a bit sad but it’s still a super lovely area to hang out in. To walk off that ice-cream we started with a little walk along the Bow River on Memorial Drive. There are beautiful memorials for war veterans all over the place. Even though I am a pacifist, I like these spaces to remember those that died in war. Everybody is somebodies child. Or parent. Or brother. Or sister.
As it was still pretty smoggy, we didn’t want to damage our lungs too much with longs walks so we grabbed a couple of cupcakes at Crave to take home as dessert because they’re Calgary’s best cupcakes and I don’t let anyone visit me here without a cupcake and took a break in the Container Bar.
The Container Bar is this tiny funky space between two buildings that has been turned into a little bar inside a container, hence the name. There’s not a lot of space, so you have to get there early if you want to try one of their brilliant cocktails and snacks. We ended up having a mix of slurpee and beer while snacking on chicken skins. It might sound a little bit weird but oh my, was it ever good!
If you ever come to Calgary and prefer to do what the locals do instead of the old touristy things, I hope this post gave you some inspiration. It’s a lovely city in the Canadian West and definitely worth a visit that last longer than the drive from the airport to the mountains!
With love from the Maple And Oak Diaries,