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Take a Calgary Stay-cation: Summer 2015

Stephen Avenue, Calgary Downtown. Photo courtesy Travel Alberta.

This summer, downtown Calgary is the place to be. A lot of Calgary’s best events and festivals are taking place in and around downtown, and many of the city’s hot new restaurants have opened downtown, too. Making stay-cation plans and staying downtown is a fun an easy way to access everything going on—you’re within walking or C-Train transit distance of a lot of  activities, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

Just some of the events taking place downtown and around this summer include: Calgary Folk Fest, Calgary Stampede, and Sled Island Music Festival. Exciting new restaurant and bar openings including Beltliner, Pigeonhole, National on 10th’s rooftop patio, and Pr%f. On a hot summer night, walking around the downtown core and Beltline area to explore is a wonderful activity that can lead to patios, live music, and some of the best food and drink discoveries—you’ll see why Calgary is becoming a dining destination city. Downtown Calgary is also keeping things lively in the core with free pop-up picnics, live music, street vendors, and food trucks throughout the week during their Soundtown Calgary event.

Downtown Accommodations
The Fairmont Palliser Hotel, at 101 years old, is Calgary’s oldest luxury hotel—it was built for guests travelling through Calgary on their journey aboard the glamorous Canadian Pacific Railway. They’ve been practicing western hospitality for a long time! Today that show of genuine western hospitality continues in their services and amenities, making a stay at the Fairmont Palliser perfect for visitors to Calgary and local stay-cationers alike. The friendly concierges can answer any questions you may have and are more than happy to provide personalized recommendations for things to see and do and places to eat, drink, and shop at in the area—they’re in the know!

Gold Floor suite at the Fairmont Palliser

Gold Floor suite at the Fairmont Palliser

Palliser Perks
Staying on the Gold Floor is a wonderful way to step up your stay-cation experience. The luxury rooms on floors 7 and 8, as well as the penthouse lounge, were re-opened in 2011 and in May 2015, guestrooms on floors 3, 4, and 5 were re-opened, making for a total of 407 renovated guestrooms. Staying on the Gold Floor provides you with access to a private concierge and check-in desk, custom coffee or tea delivery in the morning, lounge access with appetizers, drinks, coffee, espresso, tea, flavoured water, and treats throughout the day, a nightly happy hour, and a full hot breakfast buffet in the morning. The breakfast isn’t your typical bagel-and-cereal bar; you can select from offerings of baked goods, mini charcuterie plates, granola with a variety of toppings including chia seeds and coconut, and a variety of hot dishes including eggs benedict, vegetables, sausages, and brioche French toast. All these amenities make it so you can have a very comfortable time without ever having to go to far from your room. But if you are really committed to staying in your room, Fairmont Palliser also offers In-Room Dining 24/7 with an exceptional variety of items from their Rimrock and Oak Room restaurants. In true Fairmont fashion, the kitchen staff are very accommodating—want breakfast at 11 pm? They’re happy to accommodate late night snack cravings (waffles, anyone?).

Gold Lounge

The Gold Floor lounge at the Fairmont Palliser with complimentary food and drink amenities.

The comfortable rooms at the Fairmont Palliser include comfortable amenities including robes, an espresso machine, and silky Rose 31 bath products—suites include a spacious sitting area and desk, with a TV in the sitting area and bedroom.

No matter what time of year you stay, personalized greetings and goodies will await you in your room. Special requests can be made if you’re celebrating a special occasion or event, and to celebrate Calgary Stampede the Fairmont Palliser has some extra-special treats in store. You might just arrive to something like this cute candy greeting—a true show of western hospitality!

photo 2 (1)

A personalized western chocolate and candy greeting at Fairmont Palliser.


A customized greeting of western chocolates and candies, champagne, and of course a handy copy of Where Calgary magazine!

A customized greeting of western chocolates and candies, champagne, and of course a handy copy of Where Calgary magazine!


Celebrate Stampede in Style
Fairmont Palliser is ideally situated downtown for you to enjoy all the Calgary Stampede action—it’s a short 15-minute walk to Stampede Park or two-minute walk to the C-Train LRT which will take you directly to Victoria Park and Earlton stations (both are directly connected to Stampede Park). Taking the same walk or train will take you to Cowboys Dance Hall and Scotiabank Saddledome for some of the hottest country music concerts—Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Alan Jackson are all performing during Stampede. It’s also within walking distance of Stampede hotspots Wildhorse Saloon and Flames Central for dancing, drinking, and live music, and a laid-back smoked meat and barbecue restaurant—The Palomino.

For an extra special Calgary Stampede experience, the Fairmont Palliser is offering a luxury Calgary Stampede Package with all-in-one-fun including accommodations and Stampede admission ticket. For the ultimate experience of western hospitality luxury, their F-scape to Calgary packages offers personalized experiences at some of Calgary’s best historic and western attractions.

Enjoy your stay-cation!

Step Back in Time with Calgary’s New Dinosaur Exhibits


(Photo: Cynthia Radford, Courtesy TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre)

Dinosaurs in Motion at TELUS Spark (Photo: Cynthia Radford, Courtesy TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre)

Triceratops, pterodactyls, and tyrannosaurus rex—oh my! The dinosaurs are alive again in the latest installment of the Jurassic Park film franchise—Jurassic World—which roars into theatres in June. A visit to Calgary can have you starring in your own dinosaur adventure with all the dinosaur attractions in and around the city.

Until June 28, 2015
Art and science combine in this multi-media exhibit with interactive activities and large-scale art installations that are replicas of dinosaur skeletons. “When guests view the exhibit, they’ll be learning about components of history by reading about the era of the dinosaurs, and the artistic process used to create the sculptures,” says Devon Hamilton, VP of Exhibits at TELUS Spark. Don’t forget to check out the castings of Alberta dinosaurs on loan from the Royal Tyrell museum.
• 220 St Georges Dr NE, 403-817-6800, www.sparkscience.ca

Until October 31, 2015
The plot of Jurassic World revolves around a dinosaur theme park, which is what you can experience in the larger-than-life and recently updated Prehistoric Park at Calgary Zoo. Seventeen lifelike moving and roaring lifelike animatronic dinosaurs accompany fun programming and activities that will immerse you in the Jurassic era. Unlike in the movies, though, you don’t have to worry about the dinosaurs running rampant. Some of the dinosaurs will even listen to your commands with interactive consoles let you control when the dinosaurs move, roar, and breathe.
• 1300 Zoo Rd NE, 403-232-9300, www.calgaryzoo.com

Dinosaurs Alive! at Calgary Zoo (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Dinosaurs Alive! at Calgary Zoo (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Though not in the city, the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller (an hour and a half northeast of Calgary) and Dinosaur Provincial Park (two and a half hours east of Calgary) are well worth the drive for dinosaur enthusiasts!

FOSSILS IN FOCUS at Royal Tyrrell Museum
The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s new Fossils in Focus exhibit opened May 16 and showcases recent fossil discoveries, exciting new research, and fossils from the vault of Canada’s largest fossil collection. The displays in this exhibit will change frequently to allow guests to see different fossil finds each time they visit. The exhibit highlights more of the museum’s most remarkable and scientifically significant fossils, as well as specimens that reflect current research as the science of palaeontology moves forward. Plus, the museum’s usual displays of dinosaur skeletons, hands-on activities, the fossil preparation lab, and exhibit galleries offer up close and personal insight into the days of the dinosaurs.
• North Dinosaur Tr, Drumheller, 403-823-7707, www.tyrrellmuseum.com

Besides time travel, a dinosaur experience doesn’t get more authentic than this! This Badlands site holds the world’s largest deposit of dinosaur bones and fossils. For the most surreal Jurassic Park-like experience, sign up for a Dinosaur Dig and join an excavation led by a professional paleontological technician to uncover fossils. In order to avoid a situation like the scarier scenes in Jurassic Park, it is recommended to book a tour to fully experience the park at its best. Reserve a bus tour, enjoy a customized program, go for a hike, take a photography tour at sunset, or camp out. If you prefer to explore on your own, self-guided trails are available for hiking.
• 48 km northeast of Brooks, 403-378-4342 Ext 235, www.albertaparks.ca/dinosaur

Calgary Summer Festival Guide 2015


Brazilian Association of Calgary dancers Paula Regehr (left) and Marie Benoit rehearse for GlobalFest's 2013 One World Festival. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Brazilian Association of Calgary dancers Paula Regehr (left) and Marie Benoit rehearse for GlobalFest’s 2013 One World Festival. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

It’s festival time, Calgary! From culture to music to food, there’s a festival to suit every taste this summer—check out this handy guide and get ready to celebrate.



Calgary International Children’s Festival
May 20 – 23
A feast for the brain, this child-oriented fest includes award-winning theatre, interactive activities, and free, outdoor performances.

Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival
May 22 – 30
A film fest that celebrates queer culture across the LGBT spectrum, from hilariously campy to heart-wrenchingly poignant.

Read more…

Spring Into Action: 6 Fun Family Attractions in May


Calaway Park's Vortex roller coaster. (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Calaway Park’s Vortex roller coaster. (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Got some energy to spare after a winter indoors? Trade cabin fever for spring fever in May, when Calgary’s seasonal family-friendly attractions throw open their gates and invite kids (and the young-at-heart) in to stretch their legs and minds.

Opening Weekend: May 16 – 18
Thrill seekers, get ready for heart-pounding, scream-inducing fun when western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park opens for the season. From the rockin’ rollin’ Mind Blaster to the twisty-turny, upside-down loopy Vortex rollercoaster, Calaway Park features more than 30 rip-roaring rides. While some are for experienced riders only, there’s plenty of fun for younger kids on rides like the spinning Berry Go-Round and the Mini Express rollercoaster. Need a break from all the zooming and zipping? Check out exciting stage shows ranging from song and dance to magic shows, or head to the air-conditioned theatre for a 3D movie. The Park also features fun games of skill and chance, as well as three walk-up food concessions and two restaurants.
• 245033 Range Road 33, 403-240-3822, www.calawaypark.com

Opening Weekend: May 16 – 18
Travel back in time and interact with nearly 100 years of Alberta’s history at Calgary’s living history museum. Don’t let the word “museum” fool you, though—an entire re-created village sits outdoors on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir. Hitch a ride on a horse-drawn wagon, feast on a fresh cheese bun, get your kicks on the antique midway, take a photo with costumed interpreters, or hop aboard the thundering steam train. On opening weekend, the first 500 guests who arrive before 10 am will be treated to a complimentary pancake breakfast. On May 23 and 24, Heritage Park hosts the 20th Annual Festival of Quilts with hundreds of beautiful, handmade quilts on display throughout the park.
• 1900 Heritage Dr SW, 403-268-8500, www.heritagepark.ca

Mountie Day: May 18
Located at the junction of the Bow and Elbow rivers, where the first building in Calgary was erected, the National Historic Site features a colourful interpretive centre. See what it was like on both sides of the law by trying on a blazing red Mountie uniform and spending a little time in the antique jail. Celebrate the founding of the North West Mounted Police on May 18 with special activities, games, and birthday cake for Mountie Day.
• 750 – 9 Ave SE, 403-290-1875, www.fortcalgary.com

Festival Dates: May 20 – 23
Every year, 50,000 people gather to expand their imagination, creative thought, and cultural understanding at the Calgary International Children’s Festival, one of the most prominent festivals of its kind in Canada and the largest presenter of theatre for young audiences in Calgary. A feast for the brain, it features performances on a free outdoor stage in Olympic Plaza, interactive activities of all sorts, and award-winning theatre on the next-door Arts Commons stages. This year’s exciting line-up includes Quebec theatre company Tout à Trac’s twist on Alice in Wonderland, the comedic percussion group BAM, and the eye-popping spectacle of SQUONK, a wild act that uses music to activate air-filled costumes—it has to be seen to be believed!
• Olympic Plaza and Arts Commons, 205 – 8 Ave SE, 403-294-7414, calgarykidsfest.ca

The most expansive trampoline park in Canada recently opened in Calgary, with a staggering 42,000 square feet of interlocking trampolines enclosed in trampoline walls. Extreme Air Park allows jumpers to catch some serious air on the two main courts, or bounce down a 50-foot trampoline half pipe into a huge pit of soft foam. You’ve probably played basketball and dodgeball before, but they take on a whole new dimension when you’re springing off a trampoline court to make a slam dunk or rebounding off of a trampoline wall to dodge incoming missiles. Friday and Saturday nights feature cool themes, black lights, music, games, and competitions. Trampoline gymnastics and aerobics classes are also available. Everything’s indoors, so a rainy spring day is no problem for a fun time here.
• 1411 – 33 St NE, 403-265-2733, calgary.extremeairpark.com

Thanks to some unseasonably (but welcome!) warm weather, Shakers Fun Centre opened their outdoor go-kart track and mini-golf course early this year. Putt-putt your way through 18 fun and challenging mini holes on the golf course, or test your driving skills on Calgary’s newest go-kart track. Inside, there’s something to suit fun seekers of all ages with a lazer tag arena, a video game arcade, a climbing tower and an indoor playground.
• 9900 Venture Ave SE, 403-236-2213, shakerscalgary.com

Made in the Shade: Calgary Summer Patio Guide


Watch the Fourth Street passers-by from Vin Room's rooftop patio. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Watch the Fourth Street passers-by from Vin Room’s rooftop patio. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

At the first sign of warm weather, Calgarians head to restaurant patios, even while wearing shorts, sandals—and a parka. While there are far too many excellent outdoor favourites to mention, here are a few great options for…


Ox & Angela: See and be seen at this authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, which is beloved for its expertly prepared menu and cocktails.
528 – 17 Ave SW, 403-457-1432, oxandangela.com

Vin Room: All sorts of fascinating people hang out in Mission, and you can watch them parade past from Vin Room’s rooftop patio while sampling 100 wines by taste.
2310 – 4 St SW, 403-457-5522, www.vinroom.com

Murrieta’s Bar & Grill: Get a bird’s eye view of downtown Calgary’s busiest pedestrian walk along with fresh, creative West Coast dishes.
808 – 1 St SW, 403-269-7707, www.murrietas.ca


Bonterra Trattoria: You’ll forget you’re not in Tuscany when you step into this rustic, vine-covered courtyard and taste the sophisticated Italian fare.
1016 – 8 St SW, 403-262-8480, bonterra.ca

Alloy: Sample Mediterranean and Asian flavours in the dappled sunlight on Alloy’s lush and peaceful patio (there’s plenty of parking space too).
220 – 42 Ave SE, 403-287-9255, www.alloydining.com

Raw Bar by Duncan Ly: Luxurious, poolside dining is a reality in downtown Calgary, elevated by Chef Ly’s award-winning “Vietmodern” cuisine.
119 – 12 Ave SW, 403-206-9565, www.rawbaryyc.ca


Oak Tree Tavern: This friendly pub has an excellent rooftop view overlooking the Kensington neighbourhood, the Bow River, and the downtown skyline.
124 – 10 St NW, 403-270-3347, www.oaktreetavern.com

Boxwood Café: The beautifully landscaped, Victorian-style Central Memorial Park is home to this modern café featuring rotisserie meats.
340 – 13 Ave SW, 403-265-4006, www.boxwoodcafe.ca

The Lake House: The patio juts out over the glassy surface of Lake Bonavista, and the sights coming out of the kitchen are just as appealing.
747 Lake Bonavista Drive SE, 403-225-3939, lakehousecalgary.com


Wild Rose Brewery: Go straight to the source at this small-batch, Alberta-exclusive brewery, which also boasts a large, sunny patio and tasty menu.
4580 Quesnay Wood Dr SW, 403-720-2733, www.wildrosebrewery.com

National on 17th: Everyone from hip artists to oil execs hangs out on the National patio, and not just for the large selection of North American craft brews.
550 – 17 Ave SW, 403-229-0226, ntnl.ca

1410 World Bier Haus: Look down on the commoners from their rooftop perch while sampling unusual beers from all over the world.
1410 – 17 Ave SW, 403-229-1410, www.1410bierhaus.ca


La Chaumière: The elegance of the classic French menu pairs perfectly with the beautiful patio, not to mention a wine list of over 800 vintages.
139 – 17 Ave SW, 403-228-5690, www.lachaumiere.ca

River Café: The only restaurant on Prince’s Island in the heart of downtown serves world-renowned cuisine with a focus on exquisite local ingredients.
25 Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670, www.river-cafe.com

Rouge Restaurant: Situated in a vast, verdant lawn, patio diners can enjoy inventive dishes prepared with ingredients grown in the garden right beside the tables.
1240 – 8 Ave SE, 403-531-2767, www.rougecalgary.com


Cibo: The menu at this bright, modern Italian restaurant manages to be both kid and adult-friendly, and the trellised patio has a lush garden vibe.
1012 – 17 Ave SW, 403-984-4755, cibocalgary.com

Dairy Lane Café: A fixture since 1950, this little diner with a streetside patio uses organic ingredients and features a special menu of kid’s favourites.
319 – 19 St NW, 403-283-2497, www.dairylanecafe.ca

Los Chilitos Taco & Tequila House: With a two-tier patio overlooking 17th Avenue SW and a menu of authentic Mexican food, there’s plenty of food and good views for everyone to love.
1309 – 17 Ave SW, 403-228-5528, www.loschilitos.ca

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. Read more…

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

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.

Read It and Eat: Calgary Cookbooks



Bring a taste of Calgary home with these four new cookbooks.

Calgary Cooks Edited by Gail Norton and Karen Ralph (Photo: courtesy Figure 1 Publishing)

Calgary Cooks (Photo: courtesy Figure 1 Publishing)

Calgary Cooks
Edited by Gail Norton and Karen Ralph
Re-create that memorable dining experience from one of Calgary’s notable restuarants at home with Calgary Cooks, a perfect souvenir of Calgary’s vibrant dining scene. The recipes for some delectable dishes from popular restaurants—Jelly Modern’s Sticky Toffee Doughnuts! CHARCUT Roast House’s Lemon and Thyme Poached Tuna Conserva!—are revealed with easy-to-follow directions.


Pucker (Photo: courtesy Whitecap Books)

Pucker (Photo: courtesy Whitecap Books)

Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers
By Gwendolyn Richards
The Calgary Herald’s food writer has done something a little different for her latest project: she’s written about how to make food instead reviewing what it tastes like. You need this on your cookbook shelf: there are simple yet delicious “I never even thought about that!” recipes for side dishes and snacks, as well as entrée and dessert recipes that will become your go-to dishes (grapefruit ginger scones and spaghetti a limone are already favourites of mine). The infusion of citrus into each dish adds an inescapable taste of summer to dishes in the winter months. The easy-to-follow recipes won’t leave a sour taste in your mouth—the ingredients are all very accessible—and your creations will earn you a good review by anyone who’s invited to taste your dish.

Gatherings: Bring People Together with Food (Photo: courtesy Whitecap Books)

Gatherings: Bring People Together with Food (Photo: courtesy Whitecap Books)

Bringing People Together with Food
By Julie Van Rosendaal and Jan Scott
The easy-to-make recipes (with inexpensive ingredients) in this collection are grouped together by category for common occasions—backyard barbecues, weekend brunch, showers, date night, board game night—will inspire you to connect more often with friends and family over food. And, simple certainly does not mean tasteless—these recipes are foolproof but will make it seem like you’re more Julia Child than Betty Crocker in the kitchen. A personal favourite: chocolate chip and stout chili makes the perfect winter warm-up and livens up a familiar dish.

You Gotta Eat Here Too! (Photo: courtesy Harper Collins Canada)

You Gotta Eat Here Too! (Photo: courtesy Harper Collins Canada)

You Gotta Eat Here Too!
By John Catucci and Michael Vlessides
The crew from the hit show on Food Network Canada continue to travel across Canada looking for the best comfort food spots, and in the meantime have created a second compilation of recipes from some of their most memorable dining experiences. Calgary’s dining scene is always well-represented on the show, and now you can enjoy recipes for Wild Turkey Pie from Big T’s BBQ & Smokehouse, the Mac ‘n’ Cheese Burger from Boogie’s Burgers, and Brown Sugar-Brined Roast Chicken from Boxwood. What could be more cozy than enjoying some of Calgary’s best comfort food in the comfort of your own home?

5 Delectable Cheese Plates in Calgary


The Lake House (Photo: Jason Dziver)

The Cheese Plate at The Lake House Restaurant in Calgary, AB (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Cheese is produced all over the world in hundreds of different varieties. It’s also one of the most deliciously indulgent foods, particularly when it’s made under the watchful eye of an artisan cheesemaker. Here are some of the best places in Calgary to sample rich, creamy (or crumbly) cheeses from around the globe.

The Lake House
Perched over the serene waters of Lake Bonavista in Calgary’s southeast, The Lake House is a rustically elegant restaurant focused on showcasing the regional flavours of western Canada. Appropriately, almost everything on the cheese list is produced in Canada and three are from within the province: a semi-hard, medium sharp gouda from Vital Green Farms in Picture Butte, Alberta; a firm, slightly salty goat cheese from Fairwinds Farm in Fort Macleod, Alberta; and an extra aged gouda with a rich, nutty taste from Sylvan Star Cheese in Red Deer, Alberta.
• 747 Lake Bonavista Dr SE, 403-225-3939, lakehousecalgary.com

Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro
Located in the heart of downtown Calgary, Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro occupies a sandstone building on the busy, historic Stephen Avenue. Well known for an excellent wine list, Divino boasts an equally impressive cheese list with varieties from all over Europe and Canada, from the soft, ripe, buttery L’ Extra Triple Crème of Longueuil, Quebec to the pungent, creamy Stinking Bishop of Glouchestershire, England.
• 113 – 8 Avenue SW, 403-410-5555, www.crmr.com/divino

Blink Restaurant
A focus on the best local products and unexpectedly delicious flavour pairings are two of the reasons Blink won Restaurant of the Year in Where Calgary’s 2014 Where to Dine Awards. While the cheese plate doesn’t come with a list of options, it does feature some interesting tastes such as Etorki, a hard, smooth-textured sheep cheese from France with a subtle burnt caramel taste, and Cambazola, a triple cream blue cheese similar in style to a brie. There’s also an extra little treat on the plate—a piece of real honeycomb from Okotoks, Alberta.
• 111 – 8 Ave SW, 403-263-5330, blinkcalgary.com

Farm Restaurant
Expert cheesemonger Janice Beaton opened Farm to complement her next-door shop, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese. Though there’s more to the locally sourced menu than just cheese, Farm serves as a tasting room for the shop’s most delightful cheese and charcuterie selections. While the list is always evolving, it’s very robust and cheese lovers of all stripes are sure to find their hole-y grail here.
• 1006 – 17 Ave SW, 403-245-2276, farm-restaurant.com

Tucked away in the beautiful, historic Central Memorial Park in Calgary’s Beltline, Boxwood is the little sister of the renowned Teatro. Local, sustainable foods and mouth-watering rotisserie meats take centre stage here, but there’s also a Canadian cheese plate featuring Baluchon, an organic, semi-soft cheese with a taste of hazelnut from Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Quebec, and St. Benoit Blue, a semi-soft blue cheese with a creamy, slightly salty flavour made by monks at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Quebec.
• 340 – 13 Ave SW, 403-265-4006, www.boxwoodcafe.ca

Where To Dine Awards Calgary 2014

Blink Restaurant (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Blink Restaurant (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Every year, some of the city’s top food critics convene to decide who deserves top honours in Calgary’s dining scene. Here are Where Calgary’s selections for 2014.


John Gilchrist is a Calgary restaurant critic, food writer, Where Calgary “Hot Dining” columnist, and author of Calgary and area restaurant review books My Favourite Restaurants and My Favourite Cheap Eats.

Julie Van Rosendaal is a best-selling cookbook author, the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One, and a columnist and freelancer for several publications across Canada.

A. Warren Downs is the Gold Manager and Chef Concierge at the Fairmont Palliser, and the Regional Vice Director of Les Clefs d’Or Canada.

Diana Ng is a digital media strategist by day, and hungry, hungry hippo/food writer by night. She is the co-founder of Eat North, and has written for Culinaire, WestJet’s Up!, and Avenue, as well as other publications like Canadian Living and Fodor’s travel guides.

Dan Clapson is a food writer and columnist in Calgary who helps to chronicle the Canadian food scene for media outlets like Avenue magazine, Food Network Canada, enRoute magazine, and more. He loves London Fogs when it’s minus five or colder.

Where Calgary’s Restaurant of the Year is Blink
No gimmicks, no trends, no themes, no features: Blink Restaurant is just simply good. “Year after year, Blink proves that you don’t need to latch onto what’s “cool” to be one of the top dining destinations in the city,” Clapson says. “The wine list is one of the best you’ll find and Chef Chris Dewling’s menu is all local and all delicious.”


Blink Restaurant (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Blink opened in 2009 and ever since have served up dishes that do an outstanding job of showcasing local ingredients with delicious—and sometimes unexpected—flavour pairings. “One of the best qualities in a good restaurant is consistency,” Van Rosendaal says, “Blink serves a consistently fantastic menu in a beautiful, historic setting.” This is not to say that consistency, where Blink is concerned, is tired or outdated or frumpy—it’s inviting, contemporary, and unpretentious. Blink is just an enjoyable place to be. The exposed brick walls and soft lighting create an ambiance that’s pleasant for any sort of dining experience—date, business lunch, drinks, group get-together—without being distracting. Memorable meals are what Blink serves up, because you’ll remember everything about it from the presentation to the complimentary flavours to how upset you felt when you got to the last morsel on the plate (good thing there’s always dessert). There’s a sugar pumpkin soup with spiced crème that I’d like to have until it disappears from the menu.

Raw Bar by Duncan Ly
“Raw Bar has always been one of Calgary’s hot spots, a superbly designed room with a unique Vietmodern menu by Executive Chef Duncan Ly and Chef de Cuisine Jinhee Lee, and some of the best cocktails in the city created by mixologist Christina Mah,” Van Rosendaal says. “If there’s a bar to be set in terms of Modern Vietnamese cooking, then Chef Duncan Ly has certainly set it. The plates of food here as beautiful to look at as they are to eat,” Clapson says. “Raw Bar pleases both fans of traditional Asian cuisine as well as people who may not be familiar with Asian food, with chefs Duncan Ly’s and Jinhee Lee’s expert hands at combining Asian flavours and ingredients with solid cooking techniques,” Ng says.

Rouge Restaurant
“Rouge is that charming and rare union between sophistication, casualness, polish, and homegrown,” Ng says. The ingredients are as local as possible, and the techniques and style of the food is timeless, all done in a cozy and historical setting.”
You can’t get more local than a place that grows its own produce in the garden just outside the restaurant and sources everything else from Calgary area producers. “Rouge has become a Calgary icon with skilled chefs, a dedication to local ingredients, and attention to detail—not to mention the best garden party venue in the city” Van Rosendaal says.

Calgary’s Best New Restaurant of 2014 is Black Pig Bistro
It was an easy, unanimous decision to award Black Pig Bistro this title: “I’m always hard-pressed to find something wrong with this place,” Clapson says. “Impeccable service, great-looking room, and the food—those pork and beans are one of my favourite dishes in this province.” Pork and beans? Yes! This dish of savoury porchetta topped with green beans, broad beans, and edemame beans is the restaurant’s most popular, co-owner Larry Scammell says. “Black Pig Bistro offers up an inspiring menu with a Spanish edge and dedication to the pig, but they’re far from one-dimensional” says Van Rosendaal. “It’s worth a visit for their small plates, interesting cocktails, and fantastic desserts, all served in a comfortably current space.” Chefs Allison and John Bieber and owners Denise and Larry Scammel opened the restaurant in April 2014, inspired by Allison and John’s travels to Spain.

Black Pig Bistro (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Black Pig Bistro (Photo: Jason Dziver)

The restaurant name refers to the Black Iberian Pig, indigenous to Spain and Portugal, known for its high caliber of flavour. Here, they source their pork from Broek Pork Acres, a family run farm in Coalhurst, AB that raises grain-fed and pasture-dwelling pigs without antibiotics. Beyond tapas and typical pork dishes, the menu at Black Pig Bistro is truly innovative with resulting dishes that will satisfy hungry eaters and don’t just look pretty on the plate (though they do that, too.)

Workshop Kitchen + Culture
Good theatre and good food have always gone together to form the perfect night out. That combination resides under one roof at The Grand, a historic entertainment building that is now home to the contemporary performance company Theatre Junction and the restaurant Workshop Kitchen + Culture. Named for the building’s original theatre group, Workshop 14, the restaurant matches the performances in contemporary innovation with dishes such as gin and juniper cured trout or roasted duck breast with a coriander and espresso glaze. Three, five, and seven course “improv” tasting menus are also available. Workshop even makes its own sodas in flavours such as vanilla maple cream and blackberry cardamom. “Workshop is a little bit of fresh air in a predictable downtown dining scene,” Clapson says. “There’s a lot on the menu here, but it’s all enticing.”

Scopa Neighbourhood Italian
Casual, neighbourhood Italian is the vibe here—and the food is deliciously suited to it. “The setting is part farm house, part Italian rumpus room, and the service is bright and the prices are right,” Gilchrist says. Perfect for families, dates, and friends, Scopa serves up crisp, crusty pizzas, creamy pastas, and authentic Italian desserts. “If you’re looking for a great Italian meal and good drinks without a crowd of hipsters standing in your way at the door, then this is the spot for you,” Clapson says. “Scopa’s inspired take on Italian (especially their polenta bread with pancetta and honey) is worth coming back for again and again.”

Centini Restaurant and Lounge

“All of our hotels have received many great comments back from our guests about the little things the staff at Centini have done to create a memorable dining experience for them; they will hand out cannoli as they are leaving, or let them in on a family recipe. As well as the excellent food, impeccable service, and consistency, they do their best to accommodate our guests when we call in to make a reservation.”
— Cindy Stewart, Chef Concierge Westin Hotel, Les Clefs d’Or Regional Secretary

Our judges’ picks for the top three restaurants in 22 dining categories

Craft Beer Market
Beer Revolution

Grumans Catering and Delicatessen
Yellow Door Bistro
Monki breakfastclub & bistro

Naina’s Kitchen
Buchanan’s Chop House & Whisky Bar
Burger 320

Blink Restaurant
CHARCUT Roast House
Catch & the Oyster Bar

Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar
Caffe Rosso
Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters

Redwater Rustic Grille
Earls Kitchen + Bar
Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar

Model Milk
Milk Tiger Lounge
Raw Bar by Duncan Ly

Yellow Door Bistro
Blink Restaurant
La Chaumiere Restaurant

Yann Haute Patisserie
Brûlée Patisserie
Jelly Modern Doughnuts

White Elephant Thai Cuisine
Thai Sa-on Royal Thai Cuisine
The Himalayan

Avec Bistro
Wurst Überkitchen
Cassis Bistro

Diner Deluxe
Kinjo Sushi & Grill

Namskar Restaurant
Clay Oven
Moti Mahal

Bonterra Trattoria
Il Sogno
Scopa Neighbourhood Italian

Rouge Restaurant
River Café

Posto Pizzeria & Bar
Double Zero
Without Papers Pizza

Vintage Chophouse & Tavern
Wellington’s of Calgary
Rush Ocean Prime

The Coup
Boxwood Café
Namskar Restaurant

Divino Wine and Cheese Bistro
Vin Room

*Note: Only restaurants that opened prior to November 1, 2014 were considered in all categories. Choices were voted on and discussed by the judges, with consideration for the visitor and local markets, which are Where Calgary‘s audience.