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Wordfest in Calgary: The Power of Story

By KARRY TAYLOR wordfest_post There are many ways to tell stories. Wordfest, one of Canada’s largest literary festivals, celebrates the diversity and power of storytelling with over 65 unique events from October 14 -19. With 70 writers taking part in literary and current event panels, book readings, spoken word performances, workshops, and even a Literary Death Match, there is something for every type of reader. Embracing the power of storytelling as an art, the festival’s programming often incorporates music, visuals, digital technology and other alterative presentation formats. While a complete listing of the festival’s events can be found at www.wordfest.com, here are a few of this year’s highlights: Read more…

Fashion Calgary Portrait Gala Highlights Local Art, Music, and Community

Dave Kelly, Fashion Calgary Portrait Campaign Ambassador 2012. Courtesy Fashion Calgary.

Dave Kelly, Fashion Calgary Portrait Campaign Ambassador 2012. Courtesy Fashion Calgary.

When Calgary was named the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2012, Fashion Calgary co-founder Ania Basak thought there should be an all-encompassing event in Calgary that would highlight the importance of culture in our lives and in the local community.

Inspired, she started the Fashion Calgary Portrait Campaign to celebrate and recognize city ambassadors who promote Calgary culture in every area—from sports to media, food to fashion, to music to theatre. 2012 and 2013 ambassadors included James McIntyre, CEO of Calgary Philharmonic Orhestra; Heather Klimchuk, former Minister of Culture; Tara Nelson and Daryl Janz, CTV anchors; and Michelle Cameron Coulter, Olympic gold medalist.

This year, 25 new cultural ambassadors will be introduced, including Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser, Chef Paul Rogaiski, CPO conductor Adam Johnson, chocolatier Bernard Callebaut; Stampede chuckwagon racer Jason Glass, and Global anchor Linda Olsen. They will join Portrait Campaign alumni and other culture-savvy guests for an evening of food, drinks, music, fashion, and art in celebration and support of arts and culture in Calgary. Proceeds from the campaign will support the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s Musical Camps for Kids to provide educational music programming to families and children in need, ensuring that expression and creativity continue to be fostered in our city. 

The campaign aims to encourage Calgarians to discover and take part in the arts and cultural activities that the city has to offer. After all, there is so much good food to savour at local restaurants, art to admire, and venues to enjoy talented live music and theatre at—Calgary is a cultural hub!

The 2014 Fashion Calgary Portrait Gala is on Thursday, November 6 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. For more information and to see video interviews with some of the 2014 Portrait Campaign ambassadors, visit fashioncalgary.ca/portrait-campaign-2014.

Frightful Nights: Halloween Events in Calgary


Ghoul's Night Out at Heritage Park is spooky fun for little ghosts and goblins. (Photo: courtesy Heritage Park)

Ghoul’s Night Out at Heritage Park is spooky fun for little ghosts and goblins. (Photo: courtesy Heritage Park)

Witches and zombies and ghosts, oh my! Get scared silly at these events in the spirit of Halloween.

Get Lost
Oct 3, 10, 17
Navigate The Calgary Corn Maze after dark with just a flashlight—and watch out for things that go bump in the night.
• 284022 Township Road 224, Rockyview, 403-648-2719, calgarycornmaze.com

Run for Your Life
Oct 4
A 5k race like no other, Zombie Evasion will have participants on the run through North Glenmore Park trying to outlast and outwit a pack of vengeful zombies. Fortunately, the runners will have a slight head start over their pursuers.
• North Glenmore Park, 7305 Crowchild Tr SW, zombieevasion.ca

Ghostly “Spirits”
Oct 25
Get up close and personal with some of Calgary’s “spirits” on this excursion to three of the city’s most haunted pubs. Follow a lantern carrying-guide from Calgary Ghost Tours to each location where you will have an opportunity to enjoy a beverage while enjoying intoxicating tales of that pub’s horrific history.
• Tickets available at calgaryghosttours.com

Thrilling Feat
Oct 25
Fans of Halloween, zombies, and Michael Jackson will come together for Thrill the World, an attempt to set a world record for the largest simultaneous dance to the horror anthem “Thriller”. Dress like a zombie, learn the Thriller dance, and join the flash mob.
• Southcentre Mall, 100 Anderson Road SE, thrillcalgary.com

Dine if You Dare
Oct 29 – 31
Enjoy a frightfully delicious dinner followed by a ghost tour through the dark and deserted streets of Heritage Park Historical Village during Ghosts and Gourmet. Little ones will enjoy Ghouls’ Night Out, Oct 23-26, where it’s less “tricks” and more “treats.”
• Heritage Park Historical Village, 1900 Heritage Dr SW, 403-268-8500, heritagepark.ab.ca

Murderous Mystery
Oct 31
Unleash your inner sleuth and search for clues to solve a homicide at Fort Calgary’s murder mystery dinner theatre performance of Act 1, Murder 2: Night of the Living Dead. Choose to be a zombie or a hero because when blood starts to splatter, it will be your job to pick sides and get to the cold heart of it all.
• 750 – 9 Ave SE, 403-290-1875, fortcalgary.com

Lift a Stein at Calgary Oktoberfest


Calgary's Oktoberfest is Sep 26 - 27 at the BMO Centre. (Photo: courtesy Calgary Oktoberfest)

Calgary’s Oktoberfest is Sep 26 – 27 at the BMO Centre. (Photo: courtesy Calgary Oktoberfest)

*** We’re giving away Calgary Oktoberfest tickets! Keep an eye on our Twitter feed—there will be a chance to win every day. ***

Get ready to party like the Germans do! Calgary Oktoberfest returns September 26 – 27. You don’t have to don lederhosen or a dirndl to get the full experience (though costumes are certainly welcome). There will be plenty of beer, food, music, dancing, and socializing to re-create the festival atmosphere.


Royal Roots: The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 as a celebration of King Ludwig’s marriage. The main event featured horse races, but over the years the celebrations of food and beer became more prominent.

Main Attraction: Over six million people attend the official Munich Oktoberfest every year, making it the biggest beer festival in the world.

German Greeting: “Prost!” is the equivalent of “cheers,” exclaimed before enjoying a drink.

Similar to the original Munich festival, which is a celebration of local beers, Calgary Oktoberfest continues that tradition by celebrating Alberta’s great locally brewed beers. Of course, beers from authentic Bavarian breweries, like Maisel’s Weisse, will be flowing, too for a taste of what those in Munich are enjoying.

Tickets are $19 in advance online or $25 at the door. Call 403-520-5433 or visit calgaryoktoberfest.com for more information.


It’s an official rule in Munich that beers served in Oktoberfest tents must be from a local brewery. For a taste of Calgary’s diverse local beer scene, look for suds from these breweries when you’re out enjoying Calgary restaurants or visit the breweries themselves for tours and drinks:

villageVillage Brewery
A little local brewery operating only in Calgary, Village offers lovingly crafted golden, black and white wheat ales. Brewery tours, tastings and event space rentals are available.
• 5000 – 12A St SE, 403-243-3327, villagebrewery.com

bigrockBig Rock Brewery
This popular local brewery is known for its Traditional Ale, Grasshöpper Wheat Ale and Honey Brown Lager. Brewery tours can be arranged, including a beer tasting at Big Rock Grill and a glass to take home. Call ahead for reservations.
• 5555 – 76 Ave SE, 403-720-3239, bigrockbeer.com

wildroseWild Rose Brewery
The stars of this Calgary brewery include WRaspberry Ale, Velvet Fog, India Pale Ale, Alberta Crude Stout, WRed Wheat and SOB (Special Old Bitter). Also available is the Party Pig, a take-home mini keg.
• 2, 4580 Quesnay Wood Dr SW, 403-720-2733, www.wildrosebrewery.com

toolshedTool Shed Brewing Company
Relatively new to the Calgary craft beer scene, this brewery features Star Cheek, a balanced India Pale Ale; Red Rage, a dark red ale; and People Skills, a “patio-friendly” cream ale.
• Not open to the public, 403-775-1749, toolshedbrewing.com

Nordstrom’s Grand Entrance in Calgary


(Image: courtesy Nordstrom, Inc)

(Image: courtesy Nordstrom, Inc)

Make room in your closet for fall fashion! The iconic fashion retailer Nordstrom makes its Canadian debut in Calgary at Chinook Centre on September 19, with doors opening at 9:30 am.

Nordstrom is certainly making its arrival into Canada a grand entrance: before you even get to the fashion, there’s eBar coffee bar, Bazille full-service restaurant, a beauty boutique, free wifi, and personal stylists to consult. Once you make your way to the racks of covetable clothing, you’ll find exclusive brands and high-end statement pieces right alongside modestly priced everyday wear.

Read more…

Curtains Up: What’s On Stage in Calgary


Kevin Corey stars in Theatre Calgary's One Man, Two Guvnors. (Photo: courtesy Theatre Calgary)

Kevin Corey stars in Theatre Calgary’s One Man, Two Guvnors. (Photo: courtesy Theatre Calgary)

Theatre season is just revving up in Calgary, making this the perfect time to catch a hilarious or heart-wrenching production. Here is a guide to what’s hitting the stage in September and October, from the tantalizing to the enchanting.

One Man, Two Guvnors
Sep 2 – 28
In 1960s England, a down-on-his-luck and slightly befuddled Francis Henshall is desperate to find employment. Fortunately he’s able to secure not one but two separate jobs—and unfortunately he must keep his two employers from finding out about each other, which turns out to be a much bigger headache than he ever imagined. Read more…

Calgary Can’t-Miss Events in September


Beakerhead is "a smash up of art, science and engineering." (Photo: Neil Zeller, courtesy Beakerhead)

Beakerhead is “a smash up of art, science and engineering.” (Photo: Neil Zeller, courtesy Beakerhead)

Festival season is still going strong throughout September with major events like Beakerhead and the Calgary International Film Fest hitting the stage. That’s not all that’s hitting the stage—several major comedians are coming to town this month, with and without YYComedy Festival. Oktoberfest is on its way too, with bratwurst, oompa and, of course, beer. Prost!

Honens International Piano Competition
Sep 4 – 7
Some of the world’s best piano players will be performing at this competition. Music lovers will enjoy intimate recitals, late night gigs in Calgary clubs and pubs, open-air concerts, family-friendly performances and music-based films and lectures.
• Various venues, 403-299-0130, www.honens.com

ZooGala is the Calgary Zoo's annual fundraising event. (Photo: courtesy Calgary Zoo)

ZooGala is the Calgary Zoo’s annual fundraising event. (Photo: courtesy Calgary Zoo)

Sep 5
One of the Calgary Zoo’s most important annual fundraisers offers an evening of wine, food, live music and behind-the-scene views to many of the zoo’s wild critters and creatures. New for this year is Roaming Among the Wild, a cutting edge fashion show for those with a wild sense of style.
• 1300 Zoo Rd NE, 403-232-9300, www.calgaryzoo.com

Calgary Mini Maker Faire
Sep 6 – 7
A festival of creativity and resourcefulness focused on the maker movement, which is comprised of amateur inventors and hobbyists who invent, design, create and build things by employing DIY (Do It Yourself) techniques. The event celebrates innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft with hands-on demonstrations and lectures.
• TELUS Spark, 220 St Georges Dr NE, 403-817-6800, www.makerfaireyyc.ca

Jann Arden
Sep 9
The Canadian songstress is back with a cross-Canada tour and a new album, Everything Almost.
• Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 – 14 Ave NW, 403-777-0000, www.ticketmaster.ca

Sep 10 – 14
Beakerhead’s tagline is “a smash up of art, science and engineering,” and there really is no better way to describe it. The zany five-day festival turns all of Calgary into a mad scientist’s laboratory with interactive installations and performances for all ages. Flying robots join forces with humanoids in electric stage shows, scientists hit the streets with live experiments, roving art installations are engineered with eye-popping effects and restaurants create delicious gastro-science eats. Most events are free.
• Various venues, 587-351-7787, beakerhead.org

The 'Masters' tournament is Spruce Meadows biggest event of the year. (Photo: courtesy Spruce Meadows)

The ‘Masters’ tournament is Spruce Meadows’ biggest event of the year. (Photo: courtesy Spruce Meadows)

Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament
Sep 10-14
The best athletes from the world’s top show jumping nations will be at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, one of the world’s premiere equestrian events, to compete for over $2 million in prize money. Off the track, enjoy family entertainment and an international shopping bazaar.
• 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, 403-974-4200, www.sprucemeadows.com

Calgary Bridal Expo
Sep 16
Watch fashion shows, sample products, shop for wedding dresses, and talk to vendors about everything you need for the big day.
• BMO Centre, 1409 Olympic Way SE, 403-660-0166, www.bridalexpo.ca

The Imagination Movers star in a Disney TV show. (Photo: courtesy Imagination Movers)

The Imagination Movers star in their own Disney TV show. (Photo: courtesy Imagination Movers)

Imagination Movers: Back in Blue
Sep 16
The stars of the popular, kid-friendly Disney TV show hit Calgary for a concert and meet-and-greet.
• Epcor Centre, 205 – 8 Ave SE, 403-294-9494, www.epcorcentre.org

The Walrus Talks Philanthropy
Sep 16
A lively and thought-provoking discussion on the state of philanthropy featuring Blackfoot elder and spiritual advisor Casey Eagle Speaker, Free the Children’s Craig Kielburger, former NHL player and child advocate Sheldon Kennedy and others.
• Theatre Junction Grand, 608 – 1 St SW, thewalrus.ca/the-walrus-talks-philanthropy-2014

Calgary International Film Fest
Sep 18 – 28
An 11-day showcase of international and Canadian cinema with over 200 film screenings.
• Various venues, 403-283-1490, www.calgaryfilm.com

Calgary Home + Design Show
Sep 18 – 21
Get products and advice for your home renovations and meet HGTV star Bryan Baeumler.
• BMO Centre, 1409 Olympic Way SE, 403-253-1177, www.calgaryhds.com

50 Years of James Bond
Sep 19
Suspense, mystery and drama abound as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra plays soundtrack highlights from the blockbuster 007 films. Re-live the secret agent’s most thrilling moments with classic Bond theme songs and memorable film scores from Dr. No, Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only and the Oscar-winning song Skyfall.
• Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 – 8 Ave SE, 403-571-0849, www.cpo-live.com

Jerry Seinfeld is performing four standup comedy shows in Calgary. (Photo: courtesy JS Touring)

Jerry Seinfeld is performing four standup comedy shows in Calgary. (Photo: courtesy JS Touring)

Comedy Stars
Sep 19, 20, 27
Three major comedians are hitting Calgary in September. Fresh off his appearance as a judge on Last Comic Standing, Russell Peters returns to the stage with all new material for his Almost Famous World Tour on September 19. Next up is Jerry Seinfeld—the popular sitcom star is bringing his standup act with humorous observations about every day life to Calgary for four shows on September 19 and 20. Bob Saget finishes off the month. The former star of Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos is in town on September 27 to promote his new book Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian.
• Tickets available at Ticketmaster: 403-777-0000, www.ticketmaster.ca

NMC Out Loud Gala
Sep 20
A fundraiser for the National Music Centre, the gala is a one-a one-of-a-kind musical experience featuring elegant cuisine, interactive exhibitions and an evening of live music, including a special performance by Juno and Canadian Country Music Awards winning artist Johnny Reid.
• Uniquities, 2501 – Alyth Rd SE, 403-543-5115, nmcoutloud.ca

The Calgary International Flamenco Festival is a week-long celebration of music and dance. (Photo: courtesy Calgary International Flamenco Festival)

The Calgary International Flamenco Festival is a week-long celebration of music and dance. (Photo: courtesy Calgary International Flamenco Festival)

International Flamenco Festival
Sep 20 – 27
Enjoy a week of passionate and innovative music, as well as dance workshops and concerts featuring top flamenco artists from Canada and Spain.
• Various venues, www.calgaryflamencofestival.com

Calgary Oktoberfest
Sep 26 -27
You don’t need to travel to Germany to enjoy Oktoberfest. Celebrate Bavarian culture Calgary-style with beer, food, games and an authentic oompa band.
• Big Four Building, 1410 Olympic Way SE, 403-520-5433, calgaryoktoberfest.com

Alberta Culture Days
Sep 26 – 28
Ninety organizations across the province will celebrate Canadian arts and cultural life with free activities, performances, and workshops. As part of the festivities Fort Calgary, the city’s birthplace, will host family-friendly live stage performances, historical displays and movies as well as face painting and craft-making.
• Various venues, 403-290-1875, culture.alberta.ca/culturedays

Ziggy Marley is touring his latest album, Fly Rasta. (Photo: courtesy Ziggy Marley)

Ziggy Marley is touring his latest album, Fly Rasta. (Photo: courtesy Ziggy Marley)

Ziggy Marley
Sep 29
As a young child Ziggy Marley sat in on the recording sessions of his famous father, reggae master Bob Marley.  For the past 25 years, he has established his own musical name with 12 albums, six Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award.
• Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 – 8 Ave SE, 403-294-9494, www.epcorcentre.org

YYComedy Festival
Sept 29-Oct 4
This fall, YYComedy Festival will be hosting 22 events that are guaranteed to tickle your funnybone. The lineup includes a variety of standup and sketch comedy performances, including headliners Harland Williams and Brian Posehn and a live taping of CBC Radio One’s The Irrelevant Show.
• Various venues, 403-614-6818, yycomedy.ca

You Gotta Eat Here in Calgary


Comedian John Catucci hosts Food Network's You Gotta Eat Here. (Photo: courtesy Shaw Media)

Comedian John Catucci hosts Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here. (Photo: courtesy Shaw Media)

From posh urban eateries to down-home country diners, Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here showcases beloved Canadian restaurants, with host John Catucci sampling the most outrageous and mouth-watering dishes the nation’s chefs can concoct.

Fans of the show don’t have to just sit at home and drool, though. Head over to one of the 15 Calgary restaurants featured on the past three seasons and eat what John ate, or discover a hidden gem on the menu. You Gotta Eat Here airs Fridays at 7 pm on the Food Network.

Premium beer and wood-fired, thin crust pizza are served at this unpretentious rock ’n’ roll bar. The 24 draft lines change several times per week with a focus on breweries outside the mainstream. Try the Blazing Saddle Pizza with blackened steak, banana peppers, white cheddar, mozzarella, crispy onions, cajun remoulade, seasoned arugula and horseradish aioli.
What John Ate: Pizza Spring Rolls — crispy, deep-fried rolls filled with pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, basil, mozzarella and spicy marinara sauce.
1080 – 8 St SW, 403-264-2739, beerrevolution.ca

Read more…

Where to Golf in Calgary: Top 10 Local Public Courses

Blue Devil Golf Club is Calgary's newest course. (Photo: courtesy Blue Devil Golf Club)

Blue Devil Golf Club is Calgary’s newest course. (Photo: courtesy Blue Devil Golf Club)

Fooooore! Whether you’re looking to sharpen your game or just get in a few relaxing swings, Calgary has everything a golfer could desire—challenging courses, well-maintained greens and stunningly beautiful views. Here are Where Calgary publisher Brian French’s picks for the best public golf courses in the city and surrounding area.

1. Heritage Pointe Golf Course
Located 20 minutes south of the downtown area in Pine Creek Valley, this 27-hole facility is surrounded by scenic forested area, cliffs and beautiful flowing water. Heritage Pointe is among the best-maintained courses in the city and features the quickest greens. Green fees $55 to $118.
• 1 Heritage Pointe Dr, DeWinton, 403-256-2002, www.heritagepointe.com
Map and reviews

2. Silvertip Golf Course
Silvertip is perched on the benchlands of Mount Lady MacDonald in Canmore, 50 minutes west of Calgary. It’s a little further away from the city, but most definitely worth the drive. It seems like each of the 18 holes on this championship layout are signature holes, many with breathtaking elevations. Green fees $95 to $165.
• 2000 Silvertip Tr, Canmore, 1-877-877-5444, www.silvertipresort.com

Read more…

Calgary Can’t-Miss Events in August


GlobalFest is an international fireworks competition, featuring entrants from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and France (Photo: courtesy Travel Alberta)

GlobalFest is an international fireworks competition with entrants from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and France (Photo: courtesy Travel Alberta)

It’s the height of summer in Calgary and fun is in full swing. August is bursting with sports, performances and festivals. Check out our roster of can’t-miss dates for this month.

Read more…

6 Local Celebrations of Global Culture


Dancers spin and twirl at Calgary's Expo Latino. (Photo: Ken Mann)

Calgary’s Expo Latino is the largest Latin festival in Western Canada (Photo: Ken Mann)

Calgary is proud of its diverse cultural heritage, and August is packed with festivals celebrating the music, food and culture of the city’s international communities.

Aug 6 – 9
American Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group Arrested Development headlines the festival’s closing-night concert. The four-day celebration of African music and cultural identity also features lightning-fingered Congolese guitarist Diblo Dibala and Zimbabwe’s Mokoomba, an energetic, afro-fusion band.

Read more…

Reelin’ In the Fun: Fly-Fishing on the Bow River


Out Fly Fishing guide Naoto Aoki prepares to release a freshly caught Bow River brown trout. (Photo: courtesy Josh Nugent)

Out Fly Fishing guide Naoto Aoki prepares to release a freshly caught Bow River brown trout. (Photo: courtesy Josh Nugent)

Fly-fishing outfitter and guide Josh Nugent loves his work. A day at the office involves wading and/or floating along the Bow River. Practicing catch-and-release fishing, Nugent and his team of seasoned guides help clients match wits with the river’s world-famous trout.

What kind of fishing experience do you offer clients?
We offer a really large variety of trips. The first question our guides ask customers in the morning is what do you want out of this day?

Read more…