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Alberta

The Fringe Festival: Calgary’s Celebration of the Theatre

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By JANET DAVIE

Take a break from going to the movies this week and instead head to the Calgary Fringe Festival, Calgary’s premier celebration of the theatre. Originating in Edinburgh, Scotland, “fringe festivals” have become some of the largest art festivals in the world, and the Calgary chapter has taken root in Inglewood. There truly is something for everyone at the festival, as genres include drama, comedy, improv, and more.

With over 160 diverse performances of over 20 productions spanning the nine days of Calgary Fringe (with show times slotted for both afternoons and evenings) there is plenty of time to check out a new favourite show. Here are some we’re excited to check out:

A Picasso is a dramatic tale that takes place in Paris during the 1940s when the beautiful and mysterious Miss Fischer summons iconic artist Pablo Picasso to a private vault. There, Picasso must attest to the authenticity of confiscated paintings. When Picasso finds the real reason of the verification, tensions rise and negotiations come into play.

Oscar buffs won’t want to miss Best Picture, a wild comedy in which all previous films that have scored the most coveted Oscar award are lampooned in 60 minutes.

A man takes his partner to meet his crazy trailer-park family in Tales Too Tall for Trailers, in which songs, shadow puppetry, and strange stories come together to tell a heartwarming tale.

Along with the plays, the Inglewood SunFest, happening August 1st, is a family-friendly outdoor event and a collaboration that includes street performers, vendors, dancers, and a bouncy castle for the kids.

The Fringe Festival runs from July 31 – August 8 at various  venues in Inglewood. www.calgaryfringe.ca 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 40 Years of Heritage Fest Fun!

linfordj_Heritagedays-35 2The Servus Heritage Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and is amping up for a huge celebration! Five new countries have been added to the festival this year — Haiti, Lebanon, Morocco, Rwanda, and South Sudan — joining more than 80 other countries in showcasing their culture through food, performance, crafts, clothing, and artwork.

New this year, a large Heritage History Tent will join the 60+ pavilions in Hawrelak Park to offer a visual look back on how the festival grew into its renowned three-day celebration of Canada’s vibrant multicultural heritage.

 

The kids’ area, full of face painting, games, monster murals, a sandbox, and Jumpy Things has been expanded, and now includes a Let’s Talk Science display by the University of Alberta Outreach program.

Let’s not forget the food — this year adds over 60 new dishes for you to sample! And in the spirit of the festival’s 40th year, select food items will be 40% off during specific time periods. So watch out for special pavilion signs and Twitter posts!

Entrance to the festival is free, however food and cash donations to the Edmonton Food Bank are encouraged.

Visit the website for more information.

—Georgia Ashworth

Swanky Sippin’

One18 Empire boasts an impressive whiskey menu and delectable dining.

By JANET DAVIE

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One18 Empire knows a thing or two about whiskey. Not only do they have a thoughtfully curated and constantly updated cocktail menu (focusing on whiskey, of course) but they also offer over 100 whiskeys, scotches, bourbons, and ryes to choose from. Whiskey fans will be able to sample from all over the world including Taiwan, India, Austria, and Japan. If you’re hoping to stick to tradition, there are plenty of choices from Kentucky and Tennessee as well. Interestingly, One18 Empire carries a selection of some of the finest single cask, single malt whiskey, bottled by the world famous Scotch Malt Whiskey Society. Due to the unique bottling process and the limited amount of bottles available, this whiskey is incredibly rare, and members of the club receive a 25% discount on the selection. Non-members typically do not have access to this exclusive selection of whiskey, however at One18 Empire, anyone can be part of the club for an evening. I ended up on the Mint Julep, a refreshing, summery drink with a bit of a kick.

 

The enticing dinner menu features food that is hearty and locally inspired. The maple bacon- wrapped dates are small morsels that, with the sweetness of the date and the smoky bacon, pack a mighty punch. The large soft pretzel (which I smothered in their whipped peanut butter) was warm and comforting, while the short ribs were juicy and full of flavor. The fried chicken board, the shining star of the meal, was pulled off to perfection, with tender meat nestled down under a crispy and well-seasoned shell.

 

One18 Empire also serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and late-night dining.

 

3 Challenging Golf Courses in Edmonton

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Photo courtesy of City of Edmonton.

Whether you’re looking for a stunning natural backdrop for your golf game or a unique challenge at a skill-testing course, one of these courses in Edmonton will fit your needs!

1. First developed in 1896 (before the city was even founded), Victoria Golf Course is the oldest city-run course. Featuring over 61 stalls on its driving range, this picturesque course is ideal for beginners to mid-handicap players, and will treat them to a gorgeous backdrop of the river valley, Alberta Legislature, and University of Alberta buildings.
Victoria Golf Course | 12130 River Rd. | 780-496-4710

2. Nestled along the North Saskatchewan River, The Quarry has 27 holes of championship golf with long yardages, ranging from 5,100 to 7,600 yards!
The Quarry | 945-167 Ave. | 780-477-8437

3. At Jägare Ridge in the Whitemud Creek Valley, the natural setting has dictated the design of each hole, preserving the secluded and mature valley. You’ll be testing your skills at this championship-level course, while you also admire the stunning scenery.
Jägare Ridge | 14921 Ellerslie Rd. SW | 780-432-4030

—Matthew Stepanic

Sweat It Out on Edmonton Stairs

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Photo by Jennifer Linford.

Summer is stair season in Edmonton — whether you top off a trail run with a single steep sprint or dedicate an entire workout to walking, running or lunging up multiple flights, conquering a river valley staircase is the ultimate way to get your sweat on in this city! Maybe it’s the scenic views of the North Saskatchewan that have turned these simple, wooden staircases into fitness hotspots — or maybe it’s the thrill that only a heart-pounding, muscle-burning workout can bring. Either way, E-town loves its stairs. Here’s the skinny on four sweat-inducing sets.

Glenora Stairs
View: An amazing view of the High Level Bridge and Edmonton’s south-of-the-river skyline.
Stair count: 202
Location: Ezio Faraone Park, 11004-97 Ave.
Insider Tip: This staircase is usually busy, and the park at the top of the stairs is also a hub for fitness-minded locals, so bring a yoga mat to stretch, or grab a bench to do tricep dips or step-ups.

Grandview Stairs
View: A true 360-degree view of the picturesque river valley scenery among a large cluster of trees-turned-works-of-art after being draped in colourful yarn by a “knit-bombing” artist.
Stair count: 242
Location: Whitemud Park, 13204 Fox Dr.
Insider Tip: These stairs have perks — public washrooms, water fountains, and ample parking. Plus, the green space at their base is ideal terrain for hill sprints.

Hotel Macdonald Stairs
View: A lovely look at the Low Level Bridge and Muttart Conservatory going down; a nice peek at the historic Hotel Mac (and some downtown office towers) going up.
Stair count: 201
Location: Behind The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, 10065-100 St.
Insider Tip: This centrally located staircase is perfect for a quick-yet-intense weekday lunch-hour workout.

Wolf Willow Stairs
View: A tranquil, bird’s-eye view of the Fort Edmonton Footbridge and dense Wolf Willow Ravine.
Stair count: 200
Location: Access from Westridge Park (off Wolf Willow Crescent) or from Fort Edmonton Park (take the footbridge across the river and head north up the path).
Insider Tip: Beware! These stairs are infamous for being the steepest in the city.

—Shawna Dirksen

Tour Downtown Edmonton with the Core Crew

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Core Crew tour guide. Photo by Georgia Ashworth.

When I met the trio of red-jacketed tour guides in a pocket park on 104 St. and Jasper Ave. for a free, 90-minute walking tour of downtown, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After the chipper guides of the Downtown Business Association’s Core Crew led some introductions, we began a brief, but informative look at what Edmonton’s downtown has to offer.

With a lot of ground to cover, the tour gave a quick taste of some Edmonton landmarks, while still mentioning many others for you to discover on your own time. Each stop gave us a good vantage point, and a flurry of facts.

Among these were architectural insights, such as how Churchill Square’s design mimics the Alberta landscape or that the inspiration behind the Art Gallery of Alberta’s distinctive design was the North Saskatchewan River, farmers’ fields, the Northern Lights, and the city’s grid-like street system. Glancing at some of Edmonton’s oldest buildings, the tour was also a reminder that Edmonton contains quite a few historic architectural styles.

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Edmonton Journal building. Photo by Georgia Ashworth.

As an Edmontonian, I was surprised by how much I still had to learn about my city and was proud of Edmonton’s distinguishing achievements. Did you know that the Edmonton Journal won a Pulitzer Prize for their defence of freedom of the press? Or, that the Edmonton Public Library was given the top honour of being named the Library of the Year last year?

I was proud of the people of Edmonton, as the guides spoke of the original auctioned-off furniture that was donated back to the Hotel Macdonald upon its reopening, and the enormous donations that made the Winspear Centre and its concert organ possible.

Running Mon – Thu at 1 pm and Fri at 10 am, the tour is great for visitors who want to get a feel for Edmonton or locals who want a greater appreciation of downtown on the cusp of its promised renaissance. Get a gorgeous view of the River Valley, find the fossils in the limestone at City Hall (and peek up at Don Iveson’s office), take a look at Churchill Square’s latest event (currently: Taste of Edmonton), and take a moment to appreciate our beautiful city!

Pro Tips:

  • Wear comfortable shoes to avoid sore feet on this 3.7 km tour.
  • Treat yourself to a latte at Credo Coffee (10134-104 St.), or a delicious pastry at Dauphine Bakery (10129-104 St.), by the tour’s meeting place.
  • Dress for the weather; the tour is mostly outside.
  • Get more information about the city at the Edmonton Welcome Centre, where the tour ends, and pick up the latest issue of Where Edmonton Magazine.

—Georgia Ashworth

Happy Hour in Calgary: Summer 2015

By Janet Davie

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Photo courtesy of Tourism Calgary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t worry, get happy! We’re in the middle of summer in Calgary, and what better way to spend summer than on a patio? Better yet, go for Happy Hour, a magical time of the day when drink and food specials will make soaking up some rays all the more sweeter. Here are some of our favourite Happy Hour spots in the city:

The Ship and Anchor
With one of the largest patios in the city and on a prime spot on busy 17th Ave, the Happy Hour at the Ship and Anchor is a great place to be every Monday through Friday from 4-7PM. Happy Hour includes a $5 can of Mexican Tecate beer and $5 tacos (2 beef or 2 shrimp, with salsa). 534 – 17 Ave SW  www.shipandanchor.com

National on 17th
Show up to National’s 17th Ave patio and indulge in $5 pints and cocktails from 3 – 6PM Monday through Friday. We recommend the Strawberry Lemonade—it’s like summer in a glass. 550 – 17 Ave SW ntnl.ca

Mango Shiva
Take a trip to India without leaving the city by visiting Mango Shiva on Stephen Ave from 3-6PM every day of the week. Happy Hour includes a $5 beer and wine list, as well as $2 off all cocktails (including their summer staple the coconut mojito!) Select appetizers are also on for $5 bucks. 218 – 8 Ave SW www.mangoshiva.com

Cibo
Pizza lovers should hurry down to Cibo on the weekdays from 3 – 6PM for half off pizza pies. Flavours include Wild Boar Bacon and Smoked Scamorza. 1012 – 17 Ave SW www.cibocalgary.com

Local 510
Swing by this trendy hotspot on 17th Ave and enjoy non-important draughts, highballs, and wine all for $5.10, Monday through Friday. 510 – 17 Ave SW www.localtavern.ca

Anjeo
Get ready to party during Anejo’s ‘Halfy-Hour’, with half priced tacos, tequila, margaritas and Mexican beer from 3-5PM every day of the week. 2116 – 4 St SW  www.anejo.ca

Wurst
From 3-5PM, guests can enjoy half-off appetizers (a hot and buttery pretzel, anyone?) from Monday to Friday along with $5 draft beers and special prices on wine. 2437 – 4 St SW  www.wurst.ca

Catch Oyster Bar
Swim up to this oyster bar between 1-5PM, Monday to Friday, and enjoy $6 feature wine, beer, and caesars. All of their daily food specials are available as well. 100 – 8 Ave SE  www.catchrestaurant.ca

The Yardhouse
Perfect for people watching in Kensington, the Yardhouse patio offers $4 off appetizers, $4 highballs and domestic bottles, and $5 import bottles and wine. 1136 Kensington Rd NW  www.yardhouse.ca

Buchanan’s
Take a seat in the bar and enjoy an 18oz ground sirloin burger with a side of golden fries for only $12 from 3-6PM. 738 – 3 Ave SW  www.buchanans.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Fashion Comes Early at Nordstrom’s Annual Sale

By JANET DAVIE

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Though it’s only July, a fashionista must always think a season ahead. The Nordstrom Annual Sale, which is held both in-stores across North America and online, is especially significant for Calgary’s location, as they are celebrating their One Year Anniversary since opening their doors in September 2014.

As we arrived at Nordstrom in Chinook Mall, we were promptly paired up with a stylist, who had thoughtfully pre-picked out some options already hanging up in the dressing room. After an initial brief tour through the racks of clothing I got an education on what is expected to be hot as the weather cools. Expect to see a large wave of 70s nostalgia as the disco decade gets a modern makeover for 2015 with plenty of knits, flared pants, and floral prints. Crop tops will still be in, but paired with long skirts rather than denim cutoffs. Chunky is a theme too, from heels to jewelry and jackets.

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed—Nordstrom has a flock of styling experts, who’s services are free of charge, to help you stay true to what you like while incorporating trendy pieces. With many of the sales hiked up to as much as 40 percent off on brand-new merchandise, there is no better time to give your autumn wardrobe a fashionable boost.

The Nordstrom Annual Sale ends August 3rd 2015.

3 Edmonton Fests for Unique Eats

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A yummy portion of butter chicken at Taste of Edmonton. Photo by Pedro Escobar.

1. Taste of Edmonton | July 16 – 25
Sir Winston Churchill Sq. | 102 Ave. & 100 St.

Take a large bite out of Edmonton’s food culture with a visit to foodie heaven: Taste of Edmonton! This is the best way to enjoy a wide variety of tasty offerings from dozens of Edmonton’s best chefs and restaurants, as each serves up a sample-sized portion of their most popular dishes for two to four tickets. This foodie fest remains open to hungry patrons from lunch until late in the evening, at which time you’ll be treated to live music performances.

New this year to the festival is the Taste of Edmonton app for iPhones and Android phones, which can help you plan what to eat, drink, and see! During the festival, you can also take part in the DT Scavenger Hunt on the app for a chance to win $1,000 in restaurant gift cards. The best part: Churchill Square has FREE Wi-Fi, so you can use the app as you wander from booth to booth!

2. Canadian Food Championships | July 21 – 25
Sir Winston Churchill Sq. | 102 Ave. & 100 St.

This delicious competition will determine who will be a part of Team Canada at the World Food Championships in November! Judges will enjoy food in six different categories: bacon, burger, dessert, pasta, sandwich, and seafood. When you’re not cheering on the skilled amateur and professional chefs, you can visit Sizzle Street, where food vendors will have their cool cooking wares on display to help you add some flare to your meals!

3. K-Days | July 16 – 26
Northlands | 7300-116 Ave.

A lobster corn dog, french fries drizzled with nutella, and a grilled cheese sandwich made with glazed donuts—those are just a few of the new eccentric treats that you can try at K-Days this year! There’s many a food adventure for even the most experienced foodie to take on! View a complete list of new foods (plus pictures!) on the website.

This lively carnival also kicks off with a parade on July 17 and follows with a fun-filled week of live entertainment, midway games, thrilling rides, unique food, chuck-wagon races, and extravagant nightly fireworks. Phillip Phillips, Lights, Theory of a Deadman, and other musical acts are part of this year’s free concert series at K-Days.
— Matthew Stepanic

20 Things to Do in Calgary Under $20: Summer 2015 Edition

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Float down the Elbow River on a hot and sunny day. Photo: courtesy of Tourism Calgary

You don’t have to spend a lot to have a good time! Here are 20 seasonal activities that you can do this summer in Calgary for under $20:

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Re:Grub Burgers are Made with Serious Love

By JANET DAVIE

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Since Calgary is known as a beef town, one is always looking for the next great burger in the city. Enter Re:Grub Burger Bar, a new restaurant that recently opened its doors on 11th Avenue. There are 13 burger options on the menu including three breakfast burgers, as well as a selection of salads and sides, and all of them look as mouthwatering as they sound. I ordered the “Andale” burger and quickly realized that I had made an excellent choice. The succulent beef patty, layered with queso fresco and a bright pico de gallo within a toasty house made bun, had me swooning. A unique feature of Re:Grub is the Venezuelan influences that are evident in the ingredients, such as the tangy pickled cactus and fried tortilla chip wedged into my burger, and other toppings including pickled pineapple, fried plantain, and torched asiago. I decided to also indulge my sweet tooth and opted for a creamy, sweet Peanut Butter and Honey shake on the side, made with gelato from local favourite Fiasco Gelato. If you are hoping for something a little stronger, you can always order an alcohol-infused milkshake, or choose from their list of craft beers and sangria.

The décor of Re:Grub is bright and a bit quirky, with plenty of seating for a casual meal. Take a seat on their sunny patio if you want to enjoy some beautiful weather or, alternatively, take your meal to go. Don’t fret if you cannot make it here for lunch, as it is opened early during the week for breakfast and stays open late into the night from Thursday to Saturday for a satisfying meal after a night on the town.

• 625 — 11th Avenue www.regrub.ca

The Lion King Returns to Edmonton

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Photo by Joan Marcus.

Back by popular demand, Disney’s The Lion King returns to Edmonton for four weeks of laughter, incredible music, and stunning stage effects. In its 18th year, this Tony Award–winning show is one of the most popular stage musicals in the world and has been translated into seven different languages! It’s currently the top-earning title in box office history for stage productions and films! The Broadway score features favourite songs from the animated film like “Circle of Life”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” by Elton John and Tim Rice, as well as new material that is a fusion of Western pop and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa. Be prepared to be wowed!

July 14 – August 9
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave.
$41.35–$113; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit ticketmaster.ca for tickets.