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10 Cozy Spots in Calgary

The edible display at The Fairmont Palliser.

The edible display at The Fairmont Palliser.

Now that the snow has fallen in Calgary, it’s nice to know that there are several cozy spots to warm up in the city. Below are some of our favourites:

Higher Ground

Snuggle up the fireplace with a few friends in this Kensington hot spot and enjoy one of their delicious beverage creations. Warm comfort food dishes are also available, like their mac n’ cheese and vegan chili.

1126 Kensington Rd SE, 403-270-3780, www.hgcafe.com

Memorial Park Library

Located in Central Memorial Park in Calgary’s Beltline district, this quaint historic library is a great place to browse for your next great read. Have some homework to do? Computers and worktables are available.

1221 – 2 St SW, 403-260-2600, www.calgarylibrary.ca

River Café

Nestled in Prince’s Island Park, this Calgary fine-dining institution serves exquisite rustic food in a cozy and warm environment. Warm up as you sit near the fireplace and eat from their curated holiday menu this season.

25 Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670, www.river-café.com

The Fairmont Palliser Hotel

For decades (upon decades!) the Fairmont Palliser has been a must-see destination in Calgary. From twinkling chandeliers to grand floral arrangements, the Palliser has luxury down. Visit over the holidays to see their gorgeous Christmas decorations including their edible holiday display. Have dinner at The Rimrock restaurant by the flaming fireplace for a lavish cozy experience.

133 – 9 Ave SW, 403-262-1234, www.fairmont.com

Devonian Gardens

Getting tired of winter already? You don’t need to book a flight to experience something tropical. Head to the Devonian Gardens situated in the top tier of The Core Shopping Centre. Entrance is free, and you’ll be able to enjoy over 550 tropical palm trees in 18 species.

400, 317 – 7 Ave SW, 403-268-2489, www.coreshopping.ca

Pages Bookstore

This Kensington bookstore is the perfect spot for literature lovers to spend an afternoon browsing the heaps and piles of new titles and older, hard to find books. Comic books are also available, as well as books on virtually any topic including art science, philosophy, and art and design. Head downstairs to the basement, a cozy spot perfect that hosts tones of books on sale.

135 Kensington Rd NW, 403-283-6655, www.pageskensington.com

Lolita’s Lounge

Travel back to the 1940s as you enter this stylish and intimate venue in Inglewood. Lolita’s Lounge hosts many talented songwriters, comedians, and performers in Calgary, including the popular drag show Carley’s Angels. Visit their event calander for the latest updates.

1413 -9 Ave SE, 403-265-5739, www.lolitaslounge.ca

Off Cut Bar in The Nash

Taking cues from the prohibition period, The Nash’s Off Cut Bar is whiskey based, and is the epitome of classic, from the décor to the cocktails served. Sit in their lush booths and order a custom old fashioned, made from one of several house-made syrups. If you’re feeling something hot, try the Dolce Vita, an intoxicating hot coffee drink made with ingredients including house made dolce de leche and torched whiskey.

925 – 11 St SE, 403-984-3365, www.thenashyyc.com

The Lougheed House

Get out of the cold and into the Lougheed House. Built in 1891 (and enlarged in 1907), this old home has been perfectly preserved and is a great place to take in some of Calgary’s history. Visit it in December to see it dressed up in garland (featuring several stunning Christmas trees!) and take part in their family activities during the weekends.

707 – 13 Ave SW, 403-244-6333, www.lougheedhouse.com 

The Bourbon Room

Tucked away upstairs in National on 10th behind a thick velvet curtain, this cozy spot focuses on –you guessed it- bourbon. Order a beautifully crafted cocktail, or, if you’re feeling adventurous (and are with a group of people), order up the Absinthe Fountain, a stunning contraption with four spouts so you and your friends can sip on this unique spirit.

341b – 10 Ave SW, www.bourbonroom.ca


An Edmonton Holiday Tradition


Photo by Epic Photography.

Don’t be a Scrooge! Embrace the holiday spirit with the rich characters and dazzling special effects of this stage show based on the unforgettable story by Charles Dickens. Follow humbug-grumbler Ebenezer Scrooge as he transforms from a miserable, heartless grinch to a loving, holiday cheerleader. If the performance has put you in the giving spirit, throw some spare change in the donation buckets after the show. In its 16-year run, A Christmas Carol has raised over $750,000 for the Edmonton Food Bank simply by collecting change after the show! —Lindsay Shapka 

A Christmas Carol | November 28 – December 23
Citadel Theatre | 9828-101A Ave. | 780-425-1820

5 Restaurant Chains that Started in Edmonton


Photo by Pedro Escobar.

Many of these chains serve their famous food across the country now, but they had their big break here! Visit one of their Edmonton locations to taste where it all started.

1. The very first Earls Kitchen + Bar was opened in 1982 on Jasper Avenue by Leroy Earl “Bus” Fuller and his son Stanley Earl Fuller.
2. Famoso, with its delicious thin-crust Neopolitian pizzas, was started by Jason Allard and Christian Bullock in 2007.
3. Booster Juice was opened in Sherwood Park in November of 1999 by Dale Wishewan.
4. The hugely successful Boston Pizza franchise was founded in Edmonton in 1964 by Gus Agioritis.
5. The Sawmill Prime Rib & Steak House was established by Tom Goodchild in November of 1976.

—Lindsay Shapka

Artist Profile: Juliana Rempel


Photo courtesy of Juliana Rempel.

Juliana Rempel moved to Saskatoon with the intentions of doing a pharmacy degree. However, a painting class changed her direction. “I returned to Medicine Hat, the city I was born and raised in, and enrolled in the Visual Communications course at the college. I soon transferred to Emily Carr in Vancouver with the intentions of taking Industrial Design. I decided to take a ceramics course quite literally to fill a spot and quickly became obsessed with the medium.”

Rempel admires artists who consider the concept of space within their work. Some of her influences include Richard Serra, Anders Ruhwald, Clare Twomey, and Edmund De Waal. She spends countless hours learning to throw pots, trimming pots, glazing and firing — and enjoying every minute.

The pieces in her November show at the Art Gallery of St. Albert are all influenced by everyday objects as well as the traditions of still life. They explore the relationships between familiarity and ambiguity; these silent objects look to find a voice within their frame.

Rempel is currently an instructor in the ceramics department at ACAD, maintaining a studio practice, and is a mom of two little girls. “It’s always a struggle to balance spending, making, showing, selling, teaching, and a family, but it’s all part of the process.”


Photo courtesy of Juliana Rempel.

Right now, she is working with a fellow ceramic artist and friend Marianne Chenard to put together a new exhibition, which makes her think there will be more collaboration in her future. Learn more on her website. —Fabian Flintoff

See Rempel’s work at:
Posed and Poised | Through November 28
In this double-billed exhibit, photographer Andrzej Maciejewski and ceramicist Julian Rempel’s work comments on the irony of engineered and flawless foods of today’s industry.
Art Gallery of St. Albert | 19 Perron St., St. Albert | 780-460-4310

Calgary Does Gin


‘The Last Word’ gin cocktail at The Derrick Gin Mill and Restaurant. Photo Courtesy The Derrick.


Whether you are already a fanatic or want to dabble in its waters, Calgary has some great places to drink and learn about gin. Below are some of our favourites, including some unique gins available in the city:


Ask the Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (November/December 2015)


Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studio.

We asked Edmonton expert and Les Clefs d’Or Concierge Nella Mirante at The Westin Edmonton for her advice about holiday and winter activities in the city!

1. Where would you recommend people go for after-work drinks?
My fave little place is North 53! I love sitting comfortably at the table top bar watching the mixologists create fabulous cocktails. I really enjoy the Rosey Cheeks, with actual rose petals sprinkled on top, and the incredible Smoke & Oak Fashioned. The cocktails are the perfect pairing for their famous popcorn chicken.

2. What about a great spot to hold an office holiday party?
LUX has it all — atmosphere, excellent attentive service, and a great menu with so many options to cater to any dietary needs. They even have a private dining room too!

3. Is there a local shop that you would recommend for finding stocking stuffers?
For the women in my life, I love to shop at LUX Beauty Boutique. There are always unique, affordable gift options there. For the men, I love buying classic movies or small electronic accessories from Best Buy, and for the kids, books, or stuffed bunnies form Indigo are always great!

4. What’s a great way to spend a November evening?
I like to meet up with my friends at Credo on 124 Street, have some fantastic coffee, indulge in some of their baked goods, and chat about our plans for the holiday season!

5. Are there any seasonal shows or festivals that you think are must-sees?
A family tradition, and an absolute classic — A Christmas Carol at the Citadel!

Les Clefs d’Or Concierges have been opening doors for hotel guests in Canada since 1976, and today there are more than 150 members from coast to coast and more than 3,500 members worldwide!

20 Holiday Activities in Edmonton Under $20 in 2015

Celebrate the season throughout December at the Alberta Legislature!

1. Celebrate the Season
Cost: Free!
Where: Alberta Legislature Building, 10800-97 Ave.
When: December 3 – 23
About: The first day of this month-long event features a choir performance and the Premier’s ceremonial turning on of the colourful lights outside the Legislature buildings. During the rest of the month, guests can enjoy afternoon and evening choir performances when visiting the Legislature rotunda.
More info here!

2. All Is Bright Festival
Cost: Free!
Where: 124 St. between 102 Ave. & 108 Ave.
When: Saturday, November 21, 3 pm – 8 pm
About: Celebrate the coming of winter with a stunning showcase of fashion, food, and entertainment on 124 St. Enjoy holiday-themed storefront displays, hot holiday drinks and food truck specialties, live music, sleigh rides, and a pop-up Christmas market to start your holiday shopping!
More info here!

3. Christmas on the Square Holiday Light Up
Cost: Free!
Where: Churchill Sq. Downtown
When: Saturday, November 16
About: Kick off the festive season with activities and entertainment for the whole family, including free balloon artists and face painting, stilt walkers, mascots and carollers, singers and musicians. Santa himself will be around to light up the majestic 72-foot tree adorned with more than 14,000 LED lights, cascading snowflakes and stars, followed by an impressive fireworks display.
More info here!

4. Luminaria
Cost: $13.50 Adult; $9.75 Senior; Children 7-12 $6.25; Children 6 and under are FREE
When: December 5 & 6, 5 – 9 pm
Where: Devonian Botanic Garden, 5 kms north of Devon on Hwy 60
About: Thousands of hand-lit candles sparkle along the paths of the Kurimoto Japanese Garden. Strolling singers, ice sculptures, hot apple cider at the bonfires, illuminated Snow Sprites. An enchanting display! Call for tickets 780-987-3054 ext. 2223 to avoid lineups or order them online.
More info here!

5. Festival of Light
Cost: $7.50 Adult; $5 Child
When: December 4 – 13, 5 – 10 pm
Where: Edmonton Valley Zoo
About: The Festival of Light will stage a spectacular exhibition of artistic light installations, live music, dancers, skating, and animal encounters within the unique setting of the zoo. Be sure to check out the gift shoppe, cafe, zoo school, multi-purpose room, and The Wander pathway.
More info here!

6. Cory Christopher Christmas Market & Holiday Workshops
Cost: Free to browse the market; prices vary for workshops and special events
When: November 5 – December 20
Hours: Fri – Sun 10 am – 5 pm; Sat – Sun 10 am – 5 pm
Where: 10914-105 Ave. (alley entrance)
About: A treasure trove of yuletide delights awaits shoppers, showcasing the talents of local and Canadian artists and designers. Enjoy freshly brewed apple cider as you find the perfect holiday gifts, accents for your home, and of course something special just for you! Special events and creative workshops take place throughout the market; get creative and get in the spirit of the season!
More info here!

7. Santa’s Parade of Lights
Cost: Free!
When: November 21
Where: Jasper Ave. & 99 St.
About: Santa’s coming to town! Celebrate the wonders of winter at this festive parade with the jolly old man. Don’t forget to bring your letters for Santa—you can meet him at the end of the parade in Churchill Square! View a map of the parade route to find the best viewing spot here.

8. Candy Cane Lane
Cost: Free, though donations for the Edmonton Food Bank are accepted and appreciated. Extra fee for sleigh rides.
When: December 11 – January 3
Where: 148 St. between 100 Ave. & 92 Ave.
About: Grab a hot chocolate and take a stroll down Candy Cane Lane — a ten-block stretch of impressive residential displays of colourful Christmas lights and decorations. Or, see the sights while taking a festive sleigh ride!
More info here!

9. Festival of Trees
Cost: $10 Adult, $5 Senior (65+), $5 Youth (13-17), $2 Children (2-12), Infants under 2 are free
When: November 26 – 29
Where: Shaw Conference Centre, 9797 Jasper Ave.
About: The University Hospital Foundation’s annual fundraiser is a family-friendly event with magnificently decorated trees, festive displays, uniquely decorated cakes, and the most intricate gingerbread houses you have ever seen! Enjoy family scavenger hunts, live entertainment, and a special visit from Santa.
More info here!

10. Amahl & the Night Visitors
Cost: $10 – $22
When: December 18 – 19
Where: South Pointe Community Centre, 11520 Ellerslie Rd.
About: In this English opera, a young boy offers his only possession — a crutch — as a gift for the three wise men to take with them for Jesus. This traditional holiday tale will renew your spirits and remind you of the special gifts each of us have to offer in the holiday season.
More info here!

11. Santa’s Arrival at West Edmonton Mall
Cost: Free
When: November 14, 10 am – 8 pm
Where: North Pole Place, West Edmonton Mall, 8882-170 St.
About: Come and welcome Santa to his home-away-from-home for the holiday season! Exciting entertainment includes a magician, face painters, and a balloon artist!
More info here!

12. Crafters Christmas Sale
Cost: Free!
When: November 27 – 29
Where: Devonian Botanic Garden, 5 kms north of Devon on Hwy 60
About: Shop for seasonal handmade crafts like wreaths, centrepieces, dried floral arrangements, potpourri, candles, cards, unique gifts, cookbooks, and much more. Products are handmade by members of the Devonian Botanic Garden’s Crafters Association, many with materials harvested at the garden.
More info here!

13. Winterfest
Cost: Free to browse!
When: December 5 – 6
Where: Snow Valley Ski Club, 119 St., one block south of Whitemud Dr.
About: Kick off the new skiing season with fun activities for the whole family! Try your hand at a special obstacle course, learn some helpful tips at a Winter Safety Carnival, and enjoy a pancake breakfast.
More info here!

14. Snowflake Sunday
Cost: $12.25 Adult; $10.50 Senior (65+); $10.50 Youth (13-17); $6.50 Child (2-12): Children under 2 are free.
When: Sunday, December 13, 12 pm – 4 pm
Where: Muttart Conservatory, 9626 – 96A St.
About: The Muttart Conservatory is throwing an event to get you into a festive mood! Activities include a snowflake craft, face painting, and Christmas cactus planting! Be sure to visit the feature pyramid, which will have winter scenes on display. You can even pick up a Muttart Conservatory–grown poinsettia!
More info here!

15. Print Affair: Bows & Stripes
Cost: $20 for members; $30 General
When: Saturday, December 5, 8 pm
Where: SNAP Gallery, 10123 121 St.
About: Enjoy a fun and elegant evening of holiday cheer with a community of members, volunteers, artists and art patrons. Enjoy great music from local DJs, wonderful food, exquisite drinks and, of course, high-caliber contemporary print art. This event focuses on the sale of contemporary print works at all price ranges and the Edmonton community is encouraged to support local arts and culture by purchasing art as gifts this holiday season.
More info here!

16. Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair
Cost: $3; Kids get in free!
When: November 27 – 29 & December 4 – 6
Where: Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, 8426 Gateway Blvd.
About: Browse the beautiful boutique-like displays from local, independent vendors selling unique handmade clothing, jewellery, accessories, artwork, toys, and zines. This is the perfect fair to find a speciality, hand-made holiday gift!The fair has expanded and now welcomes all that is weird and eclectic from across western Canada!
More info here!

17. A Prairie Christmas
Cost: $10; Children under 2 are FREE
When: December 12 & 13
Where: Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm, 56311 Lily Lake Rd., Bon Accord, 25 km north of Edmonton
About: Bundle up and enjoy some seasonal family fun at the cozy, rustic setting of Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm. Decorate cookies with the elves, ride the magical Polar Express, get a family photo with Santa, make ornaments and gifts at the craft station, and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen.
More info here!

18. Whyte Christmas Sleigh Ride Shuttle
Cost: Rides by donation in support of the Rotary Club of Edmonton
When: December 5, 12, 19; 1 pm – 5 pm
Where: Old Strathcona
About: Experience the sights and sounds of the holidays along Whyte Ave. in Old Strathcona with a sleigh ride! And watch carefully because you may spot Santa roaming around Old Strathcona one of those days!
More info here!

19. Edmonton Oil Kings “Sing for Santa”
Cost: Tickets start at $19
When: Saturday, December 5, 7 pm
Where: Rexall Place
About: Watch WHL hockey teams Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Swift Current Broncos and enjoy special holiday-themed entertainment, such as the Teddy Bear Toss on to the ice.
More info here!

20. Christmas Reflections
Cost: Adults $19; Seniors (65+) $17; Student (6-17) $17; Child (2-5) $14
When: December 11 – 30
Where: Fort Edmonton Park, 7000-143 St.
About: Step back in time to learn how Edmontonians hosted each other and celebrated the holiday season over a century ago! On top of hearing stories of Christmases past, you can also enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides around the park.
More info here!

— Matthew Stepanic

Stretch Your Brain at Beyond Rubik’s Cube in Edmonton

BRC_Exhibit_8Are you one of those people who has spent hours trying to line up those tiny coloured squares on a Rubik’s Cube? Do you stare in awe at the people who can do it in mere minutes? Then the TELUS World of Science’s newest exhibition, Beyond Rubik’s Cube, is for you! Edmonton is the first, and currently only, stop in Canada for this exciting exhibit.

But you don’t have to be obsessed with these frustrating cubes to enjoy yourself. This exhibition is for Cube enthusiasts and newbies alike, as it covers pretty much everything in its three interactive areas: Invent, Play, and Inspire.

Check out the Tessellation Maker in the Invent zone, where you move and manipulate squares, diamonds, triangles, and more to create your own patterns on an interactive touch table. There are 14 Easter eggs that unlock if you can create a pattern that exists in the real world, like a chessboard or honeycomb. Not even the staff know them all yet—be the first to discover a new one!

Stretch your brain even further in the Play zone, which includes mind-bending puzzles other than Rubik’s Cubes. Challenge your friends to a battle of wits, and if they turn out not to be much of a challenge, square off against the speedcubing robot in the Inspire zone (or just watch it solve any scrambled cube in seconds and do its sassy victory dance).

BRC_Exhibit_10They even have the world’s most expensive toy on display! This 18-karat gold, jewel-encrusted, fully functional Rubik’s Cube has an estimated worth of $2.5 million. Though, you can enjoy this beauty only from behind a heavily alarmed glass case (in case you get any funny ideas).

Beyond Rubik’s Cube will be open daily (excluding Christmas Day) until February 15, 2016. Check out the TELUS World of Science website for more information.

—Tamara Aschenbrenner


25 Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas under $25

It’s not too early to think about stuffing those stockings come Christmas! We’ve gathered 25 great ideas for everyone on your list, all for under $25:


Holiday Things to Do in Calgary Under $25

Zoolights 2

Zoolights at Calgary Zoo is just one of the many holiday activities in Calgary that costs less than $25.

Get in the holiday spirit with these holiday activities in Calgary for 2015 that each cost less than $25. Enjoy!

By Breanna Mroczek


War Memorials in Edmonton


Photo courtesy of Musée Héritage Museum.

Over 100 years have passed since the beginning of the First World War, and remembering the sacrifices of past Canadians is as significant an action as ever. If you’re looking to pay your respects privately on Remembrance Day, you can visit one of these memorials in Edmonton to have a moment of silence or place some flowers to honour all the brave lives we’ve lost during times of war.

Edmonton Cenotaph | City Hall | 1 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.
Unveiled Aug. 13, 1936, the cenotaph stands 23 feet high, weighs more than 100 tonnes, and was constructed from B.C. marble, concrete, and steel. The memorial represents the tombs of approximately 3,000 veterans from the Edmonton area who died in WWI.

Aboriginal Veterans’ Monument | Legislature Building Grounds | 10820-98 Ave.
Placed in 2004, this plaque honours the aboriginal veterans of Alberta who have served in Canada’s military.

Korean War MemorialLegislature Building Grounds | 10820-98 Ave.
This cairn is in memory of the Albertans killed in action during the Korean War (1950-1953).

Albertans in the Canadian Naval Service PlaqueLegislature Building Grounds | 10820-98 Ave.
Placed in 1985, this plaque honours all Albertans who served in the Canadian Navy.

Canadian Merchant Navy PlaqueLegislature Building Grounds | 10820-98 Ave.
Unveiled in 1996, this plaque commemorates the Canadian Merchant Navy and was placed on the 52nd anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

War Memorial Pipe Organ | U of A Convocation Hall | 116 St. & 85 Ave.
Erected in 1925 by Casavant Frères, a Canadian pipe organ company, the organ is in memory of the 80 University of Alberta comrades who gave up their lives during WWI. There are also tablets near the entrance of the hall with the names of the students, staff, and alumni who did not return from the First and Second World Wars.

— Matthew Stepanic

Q&A with Comedian Gerry Dee


Courtesy of Just for Laughs.

Now in its 15th year, the Just For Laughs Comedy Tour is making a stop at Edmonton’s Winspear Centre on Saturday, November 14. This exciting show features the talented and hilarious stand-up of comedians Gerry Dee, Robert Kelly, Cristela Alonzo, and Graham Chittenden. We caught up with Canadian comedian Gerry Dee, star and co-creator of the hit CBC sitcom, Mr. D, to talk about the tour and his favourite spots in the city.

WHERE: What is your favourite part about touring with groups like Just For Laughs?
Gerry Dee: I usually tour alone, so it’s fun to get out with other headlining comics who are all very strong and very successful and get to see their acts. Basically, it takes me back to the days when I didn’t have a family and I would tour the road with other comics. It’s been a while since I’ve done it.

W: Will you be spending any leisure time in Edmonton?
GD: We generally lay low. It’s pretty hectic, all the travel. I would try to get to a sporting event, if there’s one on in the day, because obviously we work at night too. I always check for that stuff, and take in a restaurant or lunch. Generally, I work in my room. I get a lot of writing I can always do, so I always try to stay on top of that.

W: What are some of your favourite sites or restaurants in the area?
GD: I generally hit up The Keg when I go to any town. I hear Edmonton has a Keg. I also try to pop into West Edmonton Mall if I can. I’ve got three young kids who are always asking me if there’s anything I can bring them back. I like to bring them back little treats. Usually I’ll save all my shopping for West Edmonton Mall on these tours.

W: You have a new sitcom, My Scottish Family, that you’re currently developing with CBC. What can viewers expect?
GD: It is in development. It’s exciting. It’s really kind of a family sitcom with a bit of an edge, a bit of a cross between Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family. Those are two really great, big, successful sitcoms, so hopefully we can even come close to one of them.

W: You also have a stand-up tour in the works for 2016. Will you be coming back to Edmonton?
GD: Not sure. It’s still in the early stages of planning. I’ve only got three cities planned right now. So it’s very possible. If I’m not there next year, I will 100% be there the year after.

W: Who are some of your favourite comedians at the moment?
GD: There’s a guy named Brian Regan that I really like out of the States. I love his style. I like Louis C.K. Those are two that come to mind. There’s a lot to choose from. I generally don’t really get a chance to watch a lot of stand-up. I’m really enjoying the three comics [on this tour]. One of them I know very well — I really enjoy [Graham Chittenden’s] stand-up. It’s the first time I’ve seen Cristela [Alonzo] and Robert [Kelly], and they’re both very strong and fun to watch.

To catch Gerry Dee at the Just For Laughs Tour or to learn more about the show, visit the Winspear Centre’s website.

WHERE Edmonton is giving away a pair of tickets to the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour on November 14! To enter to win a pair of tickets, follow us on Twitter (@whereedmonton) and watch for tweets about the contest. The tickets will be drawn for on Thursday, November 12, at 3:00 pm.

—Interview by Tamara Aschenbrenner