By Jamey Lo
With the launch of the Whipper Snappers Blog coinciding with summer’s arrival in Calgary (finally), it’s only fitting that our debut topic feature our favourite summer activities in #yyc! However, while I’ve only lived in Calgary for 5 months or so, i’ll do my best to give you a taste of what I’ve experienced in my short time here (so far). So without further adieu…
Imagine the most iconic summer-time activity! It involves a combination of the outdoors, BBQing, and a couple of cold ones. What you have is a recipe for shenanigans and good times! There’s absolutely nothing better than spending an evening sitting on a patio, basking in the sun with a cool breeze at your back, surrounded by friends, with a few wobbly pops in hand. Nothing better! And Calgary is home to some of the most eclectic, vibrant patios around!
- Ship & Anchor Pub – This is Calgary’s quintessential patio! A collection of sun, shade, quality pub food, great beer selection, and an unrivaled view to people watch along 17th Avenue. My first #yyc patio experience came at the Ship last year after a road trip down to see Mumford and Sons and it did not disappoint on a Tuesday night. An eclectic group of young and old, hipsters and soccer fans, the Ship has something to offer for everyone!
- Broken City – Probably my favourite patio in all of Calgary! This rooftop hot-spot is hidden in plain sight along 11th Avenue. Best part is it’s only 1 block away from my apartment! Featuring great live indie bands and graffiti-style art on the walls, Broken City is definitely an absolute-must to check out!
- Earl’s Tin Palace – You can never go wrong with anything founded in Edmonton (including myself) and Earl’s is no exception. The patio here is incredibly comfy, stylish and spacious. Perfect for a casual night out or the prelude to a night of bar-hopping!
- National on 17th – With the demand for craft beer halls surging, National is a no-brainer. Minus the bowling alley and ping pong tables but raise a patio overlooking 17th Avenue and you’ve got yourself a winner!
This is by no means a comprehensive list as there are a number of other patios I still need to try over the next 3 months. These include Cibo (featuring Mumford and Sons-esque garden lights), Julio’s Barrio (sombreros, shade and a rooftop patio overlooking the Bow River), Los Chilitos Taco & Tequilia House (tacos and tequila, say no more!), and The Yardhouse (a neat little pop-up patio in Kensington). All I can say is, it’s going to be a fun summer!
Is there anything more iconic and uniquely tied to a city as the Calgary Stampede is to #yyc? Rhetorical question. “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” attracts over 1 million visitors per year with attractions such as the rodeo, parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, and chuck wagon races over the 10-day event.
I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Calgary Stampede for the past 2 years and have absolutely loved every single minute of it! The way the entire city, even corporate offices, essentially shuts down, adopts a party-like atmosphere, and embraces the cultural event is truly something to marvel at. Past favourites of mine include the Wild Horse Saloon Tent downtown and Cowboys Stampede Tent.
The Calgary Stampede encompasses the true spirit and identity of the city and is unrivaled by any other festival across Canada. In particular, last year’s event, embroiled in the aftermath of the 2013 Alberta Floods, revealed the fierce spirit of Calgarians to come together in support of the community. This unprecedented show of support revealed just how vital the Stampede is to the city, the community and to the consciousness of Calgary.
This year’s edition will be particularly special as it’ll be my first (and quite possibly my last) Stampede as a citizen of Calgary. I have a number of friends heading down to party (and crash at my apartment) in addition to attending both Shania Twain and Keith Urban concerts. Believe me, July 4th cannot come soon enough!
In my opinion, one of the best parts about living in Calgary is the close proximity to the mountains and towns such as Banff. Being able to hop in the car on a whim for an impromptu weekend of hiking, snowboarding and exploring is a huge selling point! It’s actually one of the main reasons why I decided to move to Calgary and take this co-op position! I mean Banff is so nice that a town in Montana actually changed its name to Banff, Alberta, Canada, Montana. Seriously, I’m not joking! Well played Montana, well played!
For example, back in February during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, me and a group of friends decided to drive down to Banff for the weekend and party for the Men’s Ice Hockey Final. Despite having no sleep in between leaving the bar the night before at 3 am and being back at the bar at 4:30 am for the hockey game, it turned out to be one of the greatest weekends of my entire life. Rallying with seemingly the entire nation at 3 am to watch Team Canada defend its gold medal from Vancouver 2010 and you have a recipe for an experience you will never forget for the rest of your life!
Also, and this is completely unrelated to Banff, but me and my girlfriend are also looking forward to checking out the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper sometime this summer. It’s an exciting cliff-edge walk above the heart of the Canadian Rockies and is being touted as an experience like no other. And, with the list I’ve assembled above, it seems like this is going to be a summer like no other!