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10 Calgary Expo Themed Activities


(Photo: Neil Zeller)

(Photo: Neil Zeller)

The sold-out Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo celebrates ten years this April, and whether you’ve scored tickets or not, Calgary’s Expo related events reach beyond the BMO Centre. Here are ten Expo themed activities in and around the city (at the same time!):

Comic Book Fun
Check out April arrivals at one of Canada’s largest comic book stores. Another Dimension Comics in Kensington has received new comic book additions, such as Convergence Aquaman #1 and Archie vs. Predator #1, as well as restocks and new Hot Toys. Celebrate the appearances of Arrow star Stephen Amell and Captain America star Hayley Atwell at the Expo with the Arrow Action Figure and the Retro Captain America Action Figure Set.

Cosplay Costumes
The Costume Shoppe carries over 15,000 women’s, men’s, and children’s (and pet!) costumes and accessories perfect for cosplay fun and the Calgary Expo’s two separate costume contests. Located on Blackfoot Trail and 42 Avenue SE, the shop remains open year-round and its featured attire includes the Classic Superman DC Comics Men’s Costume, the Harley Quinn Super Villain Ladies Costume, and the Anakin Deluxe Star Wars Costume. They also offer costume rentals (an appointment is recommended).

Parties and Games
Dickens downtown pub and music venue has a gamer-friendly vibe, casual pub fare, and Calgary Expo celebrations. On April 17, Kabuki Guns Burlesque presents Nerdlesque with KGB girls and special guests. For a more low-key event, check out Gamer Sundays. Play online and offline recreational and competitive games, from board and card games to barcraft—complete with all day breakfast.

Shop Til You Drop
If you’re seeking a little retail therapy, Chinook Centre makes for the ideal retreat with over 250 stores. Get into the expo spirit with video game and pop culture collectibles from EB Games or superhero, Star Wars, and elf figurines from the Lego Store, and unwind from a day at the Expo at the movie theatre, its adjacent arcade area, or at the Chinook Bowladrome.

A Fairy Tale Production
Calgary Expo guest Lana Parrilla plays the Evil Queen from TV series Once Upon A Time, but she isn’t the only Snow White inspired character near Calgary. DuffleBag Theatre, an interactive theatre that retells fairy tales and Shakespearean classics with a twist for the whole family, puts on their theatre adaptation of Snow White at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre in Okotoks on April 18 at 7 pm.

(Almost) Midnight at the Movies
In commemoration of Stan Lee—co-creator of Marvel’s comic book superhero Thor—and his near-appearance at the Expo (Lee had to cancel at the last minute), check out the Calgary Underground Film Festival’s screening of I Am Thor at The Palomino (April 18, 9:30 pm). No, they’re not the same character, but ’70s and ’80s rock star and body builder Jon Miki Thor will entice you with a similar powerful God-like demeanour. Afterwards, watch Thor: The Rock Warrior Live in Concert with the Outlaws of Ravenhurt & the Ultimate Power Duo at 11 pm.

Fables & Super Shows
Get in a little extra superhero and fable time at Loose Moose Theatre. The popular improvisational theatre in the historic Inglewood neighbourhood presents weekly shows and performances. On the week of the Expo, watch their new Super Scene (April 18), an elimination round where audience members vote for their favourite performers who direct a hilarious scene. On April 18 and 19, Loose Moose puts on their Fabulous Fables show for children aged four to 10.

Pre and Post Expo Eats
Although Poutine Week—an event where select Calgary restaurants feature delicious and unique poutine for people to try on their own schedule—doesn’t directly relate to the Expo, they both overlap on April 18 and 19 and many restaurants are walking distance from the BMO Centre. Host restaurants on 17th Avenue include Anju Restaurant, Bar C, Cleaver, The Coup, National, and the Ship & Anchor.

Magic Tournaments
There’s magic in the air—and not just at the Expo. Join Broken City, a laid-back pub and music venue with a rooftop patio on 11 Avenue SW, for their free standard tournament of the trading card game Magic: The Gathering every Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon. Whether you’re a Magic enthusiast or not, Broken City is a perfect summer spot to enjoy the sun, drink specials, as well as a food menu that offers pub favourites, vegan-friendly dishes, and all-day breakfast.

The Last Hurrah
The official Calgary Expo after party, Cowboys’ Land of Legends, kicks off on April 18, 8 pm, at the Cowboys Dancehall and Casino. Dress in costume, receive prizes, and party at the permanent multiplex location of Cowboys Nightclub. All Calgary Expo ticket holders receive free entry with their passes before 9 pm!

10 Things To Do in Edmonton Before the End of April


1. Gallery Walk This Saturday, April 18 from 10–5 and Sunday from 12–4, the art galleries on 124 Street will be showcasing incredible works and will also feature drinks, snacks, entertainment, and even a chance to meet the artists themselves!

2. Enjoy an Evening at the Opera The Edmonton Opera is closing out their stage season with the haunting, tragic opera Lucia di Lammermoor that takes place in the Scottish hillside. Performances are on April 18, 21, and 23.

3. Go House Hunting… but not in the traditional sense. Next week, U of A design students will be installing three tree houses in Churchill Sq. as part of a public art installation called Impose. They are going to look like actual mini houses that can be found in our neighbourhoods.

4. Edmonton Poetry Fest kicks off on April 19 and will feature 8 days packed with events such as slam poetry, vintage poetry, and even a night that pairs poetry with whisky!

5. The California Wine Fair is on April 22 at the Citadel Theatre and it is your chance to try more than 400 different wines from the region.

6. For the sports fans, the always-entertaining Harlem Globetrotters are in town from April 24–25.

7. Movie fans will LOVE the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Bond & Beyond on April 25 that will feature hit songs from James Bond movies.

8. Try the Frickin’ Delights Vegan Donuts from the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market. They are locally made, and are the some of the best donuts we have ever tasted!

9. Avenue Q opens on April 25 at the Citadel. This is a hilarious coming-of-age musical that includes human actors and puppets. Don’t let the puppets fool you though — this is an adult-only show.

10. Lastly, it’s time to update your look for spring! Local blogger Kira Paron of Northern Style Exposure helped us out with some fashion tips this issue like recommending that both men and women pick up something gingham to refresh their look.

—Lindsay Shapka

Poetry Moves at Edmonton Poetry Festival

Iman Mersal Photo credit Randall Edwards

Poet Iman Mersal reading at last year’s Edmonton Poetry Festival. Photo by Randall Edwards.

Poetry is so much more than the dreadful rhymes your teacher forced on you in grade school. This sundry art form includes engaging styles such as spoken word in which poets focus as much on the performance of the piece as they do on the actual words, adding in clever word play and storytelling. When you hear poetry live, you connect with new ideas and perspectives through the poet’s use of images and metaphors to
convey their message.

Edmonton Poetry Festival returns to the city every April (or National Poetry Month as in-the-know beatniks call it) to bring poetry to the people over 8 days of unique events with music, dance, food, and anything that lifts words off the page. Founded in 2006 with the principle that poetry is a source of energy, entertainment, and joy shared by all societies, the festival aims to celebrate those elements with audiences across the city.

This year, Edmonton is welcoming a star-studded guest list of local and national poets, including the current World Poetry Slam Champion Ikenna Onyegbula and the Parliamentary Poet Laureate Michel Pleau. Another must-catch performer Taqralik Partridge blends in throat singing with her readings, while her work explores issues of Aboriginal rights. If you want to sample any of these poets’ words, head to YouTube to watch some of their live performances! (Warning: You may lose track of time as you jump from video to video.)

If you’ve never considered yourself a poetry fan, Executive Director Rayanne Doucet says the festival will have many surprises for you. “You never know when you are going to fall in love with words,” she says. “Poetry has a way of hooking you. You just need that one experience where someone touches you with their language.”

One of the festival’s goals is to highlight electrifying poets that you can only hear in Edmonton. “We have an amazing depth of spoken word talent in this city,” says Doucet. Programming for this year includes a Bring Your Own Venue Day on April 19, which showcases the skills of local poets who’ve organized their own unique events.

For an eclectic experience of the poetry scene, head to the Saturday night poetry party, “Poetry Meets” on April 25. At this eccentric event, poets will collaborate with a range of artists, including musicians and burlesque dancers, to bring their words to life through sound and movement. Or, attend “Whisky and Words from Wise Women” on April 22 to sample both whisky and the wisdom from four exceptionally talented female poets from across Canada.

“The Gala: Bouffant Poetry” (ou en français: «poésie décoiffante») on April 24 is a fantastic gala at the Pavillon Lacerte that embraces Canada’s two official languages. The night will merge New Orleans and Parisian culture, and you’ll want to show off your chicest fashions as you mingle and have your breath taken away by the evening’s performers.

No matter what event you catch at the festival, Doucet says, “I hope that audiences are struck breathless by a new poetic voice we introduce them to, and I hope they search for even more voices after seeing how our visiting poets move them.”

When you encounter “two roads diverged in a yellow wood”, don’t be sorry you could not travel both — follow the one that leads to Edmonton Poetry Festival! For full details on events and tickets, visit the website.

Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS enthralls Calgary audiences


Mr. Microcosmos (Karl L'Écuyer) and his "intuitive side," Mini Lili (Antanina Satsura). (Photo: courtesy Cirque du Soleil)

Mr. Microcosmos (Karl L’Écuyer) and his “intuitive side,” Mini Lili (Antanina Satsura). (Photo: courtesy Cirque du Soleil)

Travel into the not-so-distant past in a reality that’s both bizarrely alien and completely familiar with Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities. Since its debut in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has become well known and loved for its animal-free circuses that rely on the incredible skill of their performers to entrance audiences around the world, and its 35th production KURIOS is no exception.

The steampunk-themed show delves into the larger-than-life curio cabinet of the Seeker, who sees a collection of otherworldly characters come to life in his makeshift laboratory. They are led by Mr. Microcosmos, a technology-obsessed individual whose unconscious mind is carried inside his rotund mechanical overcoat in the form of Mini Lili, a warm artist and poetess who represents his intuitive self (Mini Lili is played by actress Antanina Satsura who, at 3.2 feet tall and 39 pounds, is one of the 10 smallest people in the world).

The intense characters pave the way for jaw-dropping feats of athletic talent in which performers go far beyond the standard acrobatic stunts. In one act, four contortionists embody electric eels, executing a series of human pyramids at a breakneck pace. In another, dinner guests watch in delight as one of their party climbs a stack of chairs to reach the chandelier—only to discover that their exact doubles are performing the same act upside down above their heads.

With not a single second of downtime, KURIOS is a feast for the senses that will delight audience members of all ages. The show is visiting Calgary until May 24 under its own big top tent on the Stampede Grounds—tickets are available at www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/kurios/tickets/calgary.aspx

In The Know: Speakeasies Make a Modern Comeback in Calgary


Milk Tiger Lounge's co-owner Nathan Head mixes up a Vieux Carre, a classic New Orleans prohibition-era cocktail. (Photo: Marnie Persaud)

Milk Tiger Lounge’s co-owner Nathan Head mixes up a Vieux Carre, a classic New Orleans prohibition-era cocktail. (Photo: Marnie Persaud)

In the Prohibition era of the early twentieth century, going out for a night on the town was a clandestine affair. Bar patrons would quickly glance around for the coppers before slipping into an alley and rapping out a secret knock on an unmarked door to be admitted into a speakeasy for a glass or three of bootlegged moonshine.

Now that alcohol is as legal as apple pie, there’s no need for stealth. But, the impact that Prohibition speakeasies had on social diversity, operating practices, and even cocktail recipes still reverberates through drinking establishments nearly 100 years later.

Over the last few years, modern speakeasies have been popping up all over North America—genteel bars with a vintage or retro vibe, nattily dressed bartenders, and a focus on classically inspired and crafted cocktails. Don your fedoras and flapper dresses (or whatever kids are wearing these days) and check out Calgary’s contemporary interpretations of the speakeasy—secret knock not required. (more…)

5 Spots for Pho in Edmonton


We’re still a few weeks away from a “true Spring” in Edmonton, so stop by one of these great spots for a warm bowl of pho if the weather’s giving you a chill!

1. Hoang Long Casual Fare follows in the footsteps of traditional Asian street vendors in making their pho as fresh and healthy as possible, while still making it convenient for the grab-and-go crowd.
10037-109 St., 780-486-6998

2. A family-run restaurant, King Noodle House serves up a side of character — particularly in its friendly and charismatic owner Moustache Man — with its family pho recipe.
10613-97 St., 780-428-8983

3. Doan’s Vietnamese Restaurant prides itself on making authentic Vietnamese cuisine, especially with its flavourful beef pho.
10130-107 St., 780-424-3034 & 7909-104 St., 780-434-4448

4. With hearty bowls of pho featuring tasty options of satay or spicy beef at Pho King, you’ll quickly discover why this restaurant considers itself a royal in the pho kingdom!
9103-118 Ave., 780-757-7277

5. Delicious Pho offers dozens of choices for toppings, including brisket, flank, and tripe in steaming bowls of pho with a balanced flavour.
10418-124 St., 780-488-9943

10 Things To Do in Edmonton in March


The Book of Mormon. Photo courtesy of Broadway Across Canada.


To celebrate the first day of spring, here is a list of 10 things to do before the end of March!

1. It is International Macaron Day today! (Yes, that is a thing.) It started, of course, in Paris and cities around the world have started picking up on it over the last few years. If you haven’t before, we challenge you to head to Duchess Bake Shop (10720-124 St.) on 124 Street, and give these delicious treats a try!

2. There are still limited tickets available for the Book of Mormon that is at the Jubilee Auditorium from March 24–29 — the show is supposed to be thoroughly entertaining.

3. Western Canada Fashion Week is from March 26 – April 4. If you have never been to a runway show, this is your chance! The event is a lot of fun and the talent that we have in this city is incredible.

4. Why not eat like they do in Barcelona, and head to a tapas bar for small plates and wine? We featured Bodega (10220-103 St.), Tzin (10115-104 St.) and the new Tapa Vino (11011 Jasper Ave.) in the recent issue of the magazine — all three are fantastic and have really great old-world atmospheres.

5. For those of you who haven’t yet, check out Mother’s Market (10251-109 St.) this weekend for some local fresh food and vegetables. It’s a really cool space, and is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10-5.

6. If an entertaining lunch is more your style, I suggest taking a lunch tour of the Winspear on March 25. The tour will take you backstage and provide lunch and beverages. There is no charge, but you have to RSVP — check their website for details.

7. Pick up University of Alberta Professor Ted Bishop’s book, The Social Life of Ink. We featured it in the magazine this issue, and it looks at how ink has shaped and changed culture, history and the way we connect with other people. It’s a really great read, and you’re supporting an Edmonton author!

8. Spend an hour flipping through the vintage vinyl at the Old Strathcona Antique Mall (10323-78 Ave.). They have a huge collection, and for those of you who just recently jumped on the vinyl train, it is a great place to start building your own library.

9. Check out the stars in our clear spring skies at the University of Alberta Observatory, or the observatory at the TELUS World of Science. Both are free and have regular public viewing hours.

10. Take a walk through the Legislature Grounds and over the High Level Bridge while it is all lit up at night. It is a really cool experience, and a lovely walk!

Are you doing something fun in the city? Tweet to us about it @whereedmonton for a change to have your tweet featured in our next issue!

20 Things to Do in Calgary Under $20


The Calgary Tower offers a bird's eye view of downtown. (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

The Calgary Tower offers a bird’s eye view of downtown. (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

You don’t have to break to bank to experience Calgary’s hallmark attractions! Here are 20 activities in Calgary for under $20:

Calgary Tower
The iconic Calgary Tower opened in 1968 and is a staggering 190.8 meters high (626 feet). Don’t worry, you don’t have to climb its 762 steps—two 25-passenger, high-speed elevators soar to the top in 62 seconds. Once there, stand on the glass floor observation terrace for a bird’s eye view of the Rocky Mountains and iconic Calgary landmarks. An audio guide is available in 4 different languages, and will explain interesting trivia about some of the notable art and architecture in your view. Check out the visitor information centre and souvenir shop at the tower’s base, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on the second floor, and revolving restaurant Sky 360 at the top. Admission: adult $18, senior $16, child (4-12) $9, children three and under are free. www.calgarytower.com

Western Canada’s largest museum and gallery features 20 galleries with permanent exhibitions on Western and Indigenous cultures, military history, Asian artifacts, and a rotating selection of visiting exhibitions. Their current Cabinets of Curiosity interactive showcase mimics a 17th century wonder-room, with small collections of extraordinary objects from Edmonton artist Lyndal Osborne’s travels to the Australian coast and through the Alberta prairies. Admission: adult $15, senior $10, youth (7-17) $9, children six and under are free. www.glenbow.org

Loose Moose Theatre
Located on the second floor of the Crossroads Market in the historic Inglewood neighbourhood, this theatre company presents weekly improvised comedy shows. Their Maestro Improv show on Friday nights features elimination rounds, where audience members rate performers chosen at random until one performer wins the ‘maestro improviser’ title, going on to direct shows during Gorilla Theatre on Saturday nights. Every show is different, but they’re always very funny. Tickets: general admisison $15, student $12. www.loosemoose.com

TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre
The science centre houses four exhibit galleries, movies, planetarium shows in Calgary’s only HD Digital Dome Theatre, interactive activities in the Creative Kids Museum, live science demonstrations, and more. The new Brainasium outdoor park features an interactive play area where children learn momentum and teamwork on the five ton spinning rock, explore simple physics on the teeter-totter built for six, slide their hands along the musical railing and climb the netting tower to the 63 foot slide—the largest stainless steel slide in Canada. Adults and children alike will have fun visiting travelling exhibitions and building structures with real tools at the Open Studio Drop-In Workshops. The second Thursday night of every month is Adults Only Night, where the venue is open only to adults to enjoy unique programming, an open bar, workshops and presentations, and kid-free play. Admission: adult $19.95, senior $17.95, youth (13-17) $15.95, child 3-12) $12.95, children three and under are free. www.sparkscience.ca

The Plaza Theatre
The Plaza plays alternative films and functions as a first-run art house cinema. Watch timeless classics or new indie flicks in their 370 seat auditorium. Movie prices vary and usually cost under $10. Every Wednesday night the theatre hosts Late Night at the Plaza—a variety show with a selection of entertainment by talented local musicians, artists, comedians, media, dancers, performers, and more. www.theplaza.ca

Heritage Park Historical Village
This living history museum features more than 180 attractions and exhibits that re-create Western Canadian history from the 1860s to the 1950s. Interact with costumed interpreters, explore pioneer homes and businesses, ride a steam train, board a paddlewheeler on the Glenmore Reservoir, try antique rides and games, and enjoy Western Canadian cuisine at Selkirk Grille. While the park is open seasonally May through October, year-round daily attractions include dining at Selkirk Grille and Railway Café, Haskayne Mercantile Block—a collection of one-of-a-kind boutiques and an antique shop—the Big Rock Interpretive Brewery, and the Gasoline Alley Museum of vintage cars. Access to Heritage Town Square (located before the gates) is free. Park admission: adult $25.75*; senior (65+) $20.25 youth (7-14) $18.50; child ($13.25). www.heritagepark.ca (*Adult admission during the summer season is more than $20, but overall most of their offerings are under $20. And, even at $25.75, it’s still very much worth a visit.)

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
Located at Canada Olympic Park, this attraction showcases the stories and memorabilia of Canada’s sporting legends. Interactive exhibits include shadow boxing with world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, 3D hockey and baseball, simulated rowing, wheelchair racing, and more. Admission: general $12, seniors $10, youth (4-18) $8, children three and under are free. www.sportshall.ca

Olympic Oval
The world-class, high performance atmosphere of the Olympic Oval skating rink is not just for professional athletes. Located at the University of Calgary, the 450 meter oval ice surface is open to the public, with equipment rentals available at the Skate Shop. The facility also houses artwork that fosters a connection between artists and athletes—it’s worth checking out. Admission: adult $6.75, child/youth/senior (55+) $4.50, family $18, special needs (with assistant) $5. www.oval.ucalgary.ca

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory
Located on a hilltop in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, The University of Calgary hosts public events and open houses that offer perfect occasions to star gaze. These outdoor gatherings provide opportunities to look through the telescopes to see constellations and other celestial events, and the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory has one of the three largest telescopes in Canada. Admission: $10 per person. www.ucalgary.ca/rao

Lougheed House
The former home of senator James Lougheed and his family is a public heritage centre that features permanent and temporary art and historic exhibits, and is a designated National and Provincial Historic Site. Explore this 1891 Victorian sandstone mansion on your own or with an interpreter for a guided tour. Relax in the Beaulieu Gardens, pick up an antique souvenir in the Lougheed House Museum Shop, or go for tea and a light meal in The Restaurant at Lougheed House. Admission: adult $8.50, senior/student $6.50, child (six-12) $5, children under six are free.  www.lougheedhouse.com

The Military Museum of Calgary
Uncover the triumphs, misfortunes and sacrifices of the Canadian Forces at the second largest military museum in Canada. Their eight museums and galleries include the Army, Naval, and Air Force Museums of Alberta. Walk through a World War I trench, enter the wheelhouse of a World War II ship model, and visit exhibits at The Founders’ Gallery. Their new exhibit The Maple Leaf and the Tulip: The Liberation of Holland in the Second World War opens in May, 2015. Admission: adult $10, senior $5, student and youth $4, children 7 and under free. www.themilitarymuseums.ca

City of Calgary Leisure Centres
Get active at The City of Calgary’s two leisure centres. Admission includes access to the wave pool and slides, fitness centre, gymnasiums, exercise and aquafit classes, as well as scheduled public skating and shinny hockey. The recreation areas also each have their own unique qualities—the 5.5 acre Village Square Leisure Centre, located in the northeast, boasts its own safari-themed waterpark, while the Southland Leisure Centre, located in the southwest, spans 227, 000 square feet and its pool features a rope swing. Admission: adult $11.95, child/youth (age 7-17) $6, preschooler (age 2-6) $3, under two free. www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Recreation/Pages/Leisure-centres/Home.aspx

Aerospace Museum of Calgary
Originally used as a drill hall for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in 1941, the space later turned into the first aviation museum in Calgary. Visit over 20 exhibits that commemorate Canadian flight history, from the first jet combat aircraft to the world’s first certified helicopter. Their ASMAC Movie Nights feature aerospace-themed films the second Thursday of each month from October to May. Admission: adult $10, senior (60+)/youth/students $7, child (age 6-11) $5, children 5 and under are free. www.asmac.ab.ca

Chinese Cultural Centre
The largest stand-alone cultural centre in Canada at 70, 000 square feet, its central dome, the Dr. Henry Fok Cultural Hall, contains four hand-decorated columns with genuine gold and a 70 foot high ceiling patterned after the Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing. Admire beautiful blue tiles imported from China and the 561 hand painted dragons and 40 phoenixes. The Chinese Artifacts Museum holds an award-winning exhibition hall: Our Chosen Land: 100 years of development of the Chinese community in Calgary. Read books about Chinese culture at the Orrin & Clara Christie Might Library, browse the Chinese arts and crafts store, and dine at the Chinese restaurant. Cultural Centre: free. Museum: adult $5, senior/student/child $3, children 5 and under are free. www.culturalcentre.ca

Art Classes
The community-based Grasby Art Studio, located in the Northwest, offers more than just art supplies—they also teach art classes and paint night events, as well as host several art shows a year. Their drop-in open studio offers instructed art classes from 10 am to 4 pm daily. Whether you’re a novice newbie or an advanced artist, choose your medium or genre and work closely with an art connoisseur. All students learn a five-step drawing strategy and the six fundamental principles for professional art production. $15/hour includes instruction and supplies. www.grasbyartstudio.com

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
This archaeological UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved buffalo jumps in the world. Learn the traditional ways of the Plains People, who relied on the buffalo hunt, at the interpretive centre. Watch drumming and dancing demonstrations every Wednesday in July and August and hike to the drive lanes with Blackfoot guides on the first Saturday of every month from May to October. While it’s not in Calgary, this historical site is well worth the drive. Admission: adult $11, senior $9, youth (seven-17) $5, children 6 and under are free. www.history.alberta.ca/headsmashedin

Fish Creek Provincial Park
One of the largest urban parks in North America, and the largest in Canada, Fish Creek features the Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Centre, Environmental Learning Centre, and a seasonal interpretive program and Sikome Aquatic Facility—the manmade beach and lake make for the perfect summer spot. Bird watch, fish, bike, and hike through trails in the riverine forest location. Afterwards, take a break to dine at the casual Annie’s Café, the upscale Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, or pack your own meal and take advantage of the picnic tables and shelters complete with a fire ring and charcoal grill. Whether it’s winter or summer, Fish Creek’s beautiful scenic environment is free and enjoyable year-round. www.albertaparks.ca/fish-creek

Fort Calgary
The North West Mounted Police built this National Historic Site in 1875. Located on a 40 acre riverside park where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet, Fort Calgary features exhibits, an interpretive centre, and recreations of the fort’s 1875 palisade and 1888 barracks. Learn stories about Calgary’s past, try on an authentic RCMP uniform, stand behind bars in the jail cell, treat yourself to vintage goodies at the Museum Shop, and visit their Community Garden. Admission: adult $12, senior/post-secondary students $11, youth (ages 7-17) $7, child (ages 3-6) $5, children 2 and under are free. www.fortcalgary.com

Dance Classes
Put on your dancing shoes and join Alberta Dancesport for a beginner dance class and party every Friday. Their professional instructors, many who have represented Canada at world championship dance events and starred on film and television, lead the one-hour class at 8:15 pm. Each week features a different dance, workshops range from salsa and the waltz to polka, two-step and the East Coast swing. Afterwards, dance to your heart’s content at their dance party, complete with a DJ until midnight. Tickets: $8 per person, no partner or registration required. Looking for something more advanced? Drop in to the first class of any session (expert level included) for free. www.albertadancesport.com

Butterfield Acres
Enjoy an authentic farm experience from April to October at Butterfield Acres, located on Rocky Ridge Road. Toddlers can play at the Nursery Rhyme Park, while children can enjoy public pony rides and tractor pulled wagon rides through woodlands and over hilltops. Pet and feed old farm friends and new baby arrivals at the Farm Corral, from chicks and bunnies to piglets and donkeys—you can even learn how to milk a goat! Admission: adult $13.99, senior $12.99, child $10.99. www.butterfieldacres.com

Catch the Chilling Conclusion to Crashed Ice in Edmonton


Photo by Sebastian Marko, courtesy of Red Bull Crashed Ice.

For three exciting days from March 12 – 14, tough athletes from across the country and around the globe will hurtle down an ice track at breakneck speeds reaching 55 km/h. Their goal? To beat out the other racers and win Red Bull Crashed Ice!

The skaters will push, slide, and sprint down the longest track of the 2015 season, which measures over 415 m in length. The track is built with massive drops — the biggest vertical drop is 45 m! — gaps, steps, and hairpin turns. The field of 64 riders will be whittled down to four athletes in the exhilarating final run on March 14.

To prepare the frozen track, 20 cases of crushed ice (each weighing 1,700 lbs.) are dumped onto the track, and water is then sprayed to create the first frozen layer, and then sprayed again and again over the week it takes to prep the ice and ensure it’s perfect.

One of the brave athletes, Ben Hilborn — who’s an Edmonton resident — wasn’t expecting to make it to the final, but was “pretty pumped” when he heard he’d made the cut. Hilborn mentions that though there’s no special training he went through to prepare him for this type of sporting feat, he’s played hockey for his whole life, so he plans on drawing from many of the skills he’s learnt while playing.

To face such a steep and slippery slope, you need a strategy, and Hilborn has prepared one. “There are lots of experienced guys running it,” he says, “and I’ll watch how they perform for any tips and strategies.” He’s feeling mixed emotions about the event, but overall he’s pretty excited. “I’m nervous about doing it in front of 100,000 people,” he says, “but hopefully I’m prepared.”

The event is free for all spectators to take in, and you can also stream the event live from the website if you’re not feeling brave enough to brace the weather. For tips on where best to watch the event and more information, please visit the website.

—Matthew Stepanic

Where Calgary’s Comic Book Photo Shoot



Makeup artist Lianne Moseley poses with the characters she painted for Where Calgary’s March/April 2015 issue. Models (left to right): Felix Burton (Royals Management); Matthew Davis (Mode Models); Kaitlyn Phillips (Mode Models); Grace Okeny (Royals Management).

In November 2014, I saw Lianne Moseley’s post on Facebook that she had turned herself into animated character Sterling Archer. The 2D makeup effects were uncanny, and in the weeks that followed she painted herself up as She-Hulk and Green Arrow. Impressed by Lianne’s work, I was inspired to create a comic book-themed photo shoot for Where Calgary‘s March/April 2015 issue in celebration of Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo’s 10th Anniversary, April 16-19, 2015.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click the thumbnails to see photos from the shoot and behind the scenes.

Lianne is a self-taught makeup artist, with no professional schooling or training. “I was always interested in regular beauty makeup,” Lianne says, “even if it was making mistakes with blue eyeshadow or goth eyeliner in junior high.” For the last seven years she’s worked various retail cosmetic jobs and has been doing freelance makeup for weddings for the past three years. “Doing bridal makeup is so rewarding. I love being able to add to someone’s special day, and I love working with customers,” Lianne says.

Moseley's early work, inspired by Ronnie Mena (@rmena). (Photo: Lianne Moseley, Oct 2013)

Moseley’s early work, inspired by Ronnie Mena (@rmena). (Photo: Lianne Moseley, Oct 2013)

Her interest in face painting started in 2013 when she saw the work of Ronnie Mena, a professional face painter in Los Angeles, on Instagram (@rmena). “A lot of his work is what inspired me to start face painting in the first place. A lot of my first creations were re-creations of his work as a means of practice,” Moseley says.

Then Lianne started following the work of Argenis (@argenapeede) on Instagram: “he turned himself into a 2D comic book-like character. It wasn’t a specific character, but I was inspired by it. One day I was with a friend—Scott—and I was feeling creative, so I decided to try it out and I turned him into a 2D character. It worked really well, and minutes after posting it Argenis commented on my photo and said ‘Awe great job! Cute model tooo [sic]’.  That was really motivating to have him like what I did.”

Makeup by Moseley, inspired by (Photo: Lianne Moseley)

Makeup by Moseley, inspired by Argenis (@argenapeede). (Photo: Lianne Moseley)

When Lianne shared Argenis’ feedback with Scott, “he got kind of cocky, saying no one could make a better looking character than he could” she recalls. “So I got competitive and told him ‘I bet I could be better looking than you!’ I knew I couldn’t make myself into a female character because that wouldn’t be an even comparison. I had just finished watching Archer and thought he was the perfect character to try painting—he’s so good looking. So I just played around with my makeup, trying different shading and blending techniques and it just sort of came together… I even painted on the suit and painted my hair black. I posted the photo to my Facebook page, and at that time most of my followers were just friends of mine. So my brother saw the photo and he posted it to Reddit. I kind of forgot about it, but a day later my brother messaged me to say it was getting a lot of positive attention on Reddit. This was exciting, but then I realized no one knew it was me! My name wasn’t on it, there was no link to my Facebook page—the post was called ‘Girl Turns Herself Into Archer,’ and I was just ‘Girl.'”

Lianne certainly doesn’t have that problem now, with publications around the world reporting on her work. Before she started posting her comic book-style makeup, Lianne had 256 fans on her Facebook page. Just two weeks after the first photo from our shoot went viral, her page had 3,930 fans—she gained 1,000 followers in one day after Ashton Kutcher shared her photo. “The experience has been amazing, overwhelming, and outrageous,” Lianne says. My favourite thing is all the love I’ve been getting from my city (Calgary)—locals have been showing me such enormous supportive and I’ve never been more proud to be from Calgary.”

Lianne attributes her skill and her ability to create the comic book looks without any practice to art classes she took in secondary school and as extra-curricular activities—”there’s a lot of overlap between what I learned in art classes and how I’m able to conceptualize the comic book styles now. Creating the 2D look is all about layering, shading, details, and highlights.” “The comic stuff has been pretty successful—so far I’ve done everything in one take with no practice before. I reference the actual comic book art, so I’ll go look at different pictures of the characters in old comics, new comics, and fan art, and I’ll mix all these different takes and create the character with makeup.” Lianne also says Kryolan Cosmetics are one of the reasons why her comic book makeup has turned out so well: “I’ve never used anything else. It’s an artist brand and it just blends and covers well. It doesn’t crack.” Lianne paints all of the details by hand without the use of an airbrush, and it takes her about one and a half hours to paint a half-face character, up to four hours to do a full face and half-body paint.

What’s next for Lianne? She’s going to continue with her comic book creations and eventually wants to hone her skills in special effects and in makeup teaching and training. “As long as I get to be a makeup artist and get to create and have fun and not be limited, that’s the dream.”

Keep an eye out for Lianne at the Calgary Expo—she’s planning to paint herself as Jean Grey.

Comic Book Photo Shoot Credits:
Photographer: Neil Zeller
Photography Assistant: Katie Novak
Makeup Artist: Lianne Moseley
Hair Stylist: April Jones of Diva SalonSpa
Stylist: Tianna Stevenson of Nordstrom and Kierra McIntyre
Models: Matthew Davis of Mode Models; Kaitlyn Phillips of Mode Models
Felix Burton of Royals Management; Grace Okeny of Royals Management
Clothing provided by Nordstrom Chinook Centre and Supreme Men’s Wear
Makeup provided by Kryolan Cosmetics
Location: Calgary Tower
Hair and makeup room provided by: Fairmont Palliser


Outdoor Winter Activities in Calgary


Photo: courtesy Fotolia.com

Photo: courtesy Fotolia.com

Those who are looking for winter fun in Calgary usually head straight to the city’s Olympic facilities at WinSport for downhill skiing, speed skating, bobsleigh, and other high-performance activities. But that’s not all Calgary has to offer for enjoying the snow:

While the beauty of a snow-covered field may inspire you to take an invigorating winter walk, getting through the snow can be tough unless you strap on a pair of snowshoes. A lightweight, latticed frame that straps to your boot, snowshoes ease the struggle of walking in snow by distributing body weight over a larger area, which prevents you from sinking into the snow. A bit of technique is required, but snowshoeing is a beginner-friendly activity that is suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities.
Rentals: The northwest University of Calgary Outdoor Centre rents snowshoes, snow boots, and ski poles. They also offer lectures and courses for beginners along with guided snowshoe day hikes in Kananaskis Country. In the southwest, visit Rapid-Rent to rent snowshoes and other outdoor gear.
Where To Go: Nose Hill park in northwest Calgary has small hills, flat expanses, and is kid and dog friendly. There’s also a spectacular view of the city, and on a clear day you can see all the way to the Rocky Mountains. In south Calgary, head to Fish Creek Park. As one of the largest urban parks in North America it provides a true nature experience within city limits. You’re sure to see winter birds flitting among the trees, and with sharp eyes you may even spot rabbits, deer, and other wildlife.

The thrill of sliding down a snowy hill, mittens clenched tight to your sled, wind in your face—winter just isn’t winter without a good toboggan ride. Calgary has 18 designated sledding hills, chosen for their lack of obstacles and safe run outs. Make sure to dress warmly!
Rentals: There aren’t many places in Calgary to rent a toboggan, but the easiest solution is to stop off at a home store such as Canadian Tire, where you can buy a basic sled or “crazy carpet” for as little as $5.
Where To Go: Calgary’s most popular tobogganing hill is St. Andrew’s Heights in the northwest—and with good reason. It’s the perfect steepness to be thrilling but not terrifying, it’s long enough to make the climb back up to the top worth it, and it’s wide enough to safely accommodate all the sledders who flock there after a big dump of snow. Go to www.calgary.ca and search “tobogganing” for a list of all approved locations.

Cross-country skiing is an ancient form of travel, practiced for thousands of years in Scandinavia and China. Rather than racing downhill and letting gravity do the work, cross-country skiers provide their own locomotion. The difficulty depends on the terrain, but there are several places in Calgary where tracks are set by machine, making grooves in the snow that keep skis straight and make it easier for less experienced skiers.
Rentals: Stop off downtown at Mountain Equipment Co-op to rent a cross-country package, which includes skis, boots, and poles. It’s also the place to be if there’s any other outdoor sporting equipment you need to buy or rent, including winter-appropriate clothing.
Where To Go: During the summer Shaganappi Point Golf Course is devoted to golfers, but in the winter it transforms into a cross-country skier’s paradise. Close to downtown and the 69th Street C-train line (disembark at Shaganappi Point station), there’s plenty of space and the trails are free to use. Visit calgaryskiclub.org to check if trails are open.

5 Spots for Brunch in Edmonton


Photo by Jennifer Linford.


1. Enjoy a side plate of nostalgia (or crispy bacon) with your brunch at the retro Route 99 — a great spot for cheap and hearty eats hot from the skillet.
Route 99 | 8820 99 St. | 780-432-0968

2. Visit Cora for healthy, feel-good food, as its delicate crêpes and scrumptious omelettes are accompanied by a heap of fresh fruit.
South: #111, 2920 Calgary Tr. | 780-465-2672
West: 9977-178 St. | 780-487-8898

3. Artisan Resto Café puts a gourmet touch on brunch by accompanying each farm-fresh egg specialty with straight-from-the-oven artisan bread.
Artisan Resto Café | 10732 Whyte (82) Ave. | 780-413-8045

4. With a wide variety of house-made bagels and decadent toppings — such as smoked goose breast or prosciutto — for its eggs benedict, the cozy New York Bagel Café is a rich treat.
New York Bagel Café | 8430 Gateway Blvd. | 780-432-2003

5. Under the High Wheel partners its comfort food — think waffles under dollops of heavy cream and sweet chocolate drizzle — with seasonal, sustainable, and local ingredients.
Under the High Wheel | 10159 Whyte (82) Ave. | 780-439-4442

— Matthew Stepanic