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Calgary

10 Easter Events In and Around Calgary

By AGATHA ZARZYCKI

The "Hoppy" Easter display at the Fairmont Palliser hotel. (Photo: courtesy Fairmont Palliser)

The “Hoppy” Easter display at the Fairmont Palliser hotel. (Photo: courtesy Fairmont Palliser)

Easter is fast approaching, and there’s plenty of traditional and less conventional celebrations planned. Check out these ten Easter events in and around Calgary:

The Great Legendary Easter Egg Hunt
March 28 – 29, April 3 – 4
Prepare your egg hunting skills before Easter at Butterfield Acres, located on Rocky Ridge Road. The Great Legendary Easter Hunts commence at the Birthday Barn, where children hear the legend of the Easter bunny and what items he needs. As the children find the Easter bunny’s treasures, they send them down through tunnels that lead to his secret workshop. Later it’s off to Prairie Palace to plant seeds and the Farmyard to greet the baby animals. On the way out, children receive their earlier transported treasures as Easter eggs—the Easter bunny worked some magic! Recommended for children six and under. Tickets must be pre-purchased: adult $13.99, child $11.99 (tickets include farm admission).

Bee Kingdom Glass Spring Open House
March 28 – 29
Can’t wait until Easter? Check out Bee Kingdom Glass, a collaborative studio collective owned by three Alberta College of Art and Design graduates. They specialize in unique vibrant glassworks that have been featured in galleries, museums and festivals in Athens, Berlin, Turkey, Mexico, and South Korea. Watch glassblowing demonstrations and browse the studio’s sales at their spring open house—you may even come across the perfect Easter present.

Family Easter Crafts & Cookies
April 2
The City of Calgary’s Southland Leisure Centre will provide free Easter-themed crafts and cookies for the whole family at their 227,000-square-foot facility. There are two sessions (two hours long each) and no registration is required. Afterwards, visit the wave pool with slides, gymnasiums, and ice rink for scheduled public skating and shinny hockey. The Easter Crafts & Cookies sessions are free, and admission to the leisure centre is: adult $11.95, child/youth (age 7-17) $6, preschooler (age 2-6) $3, children under two free.

Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs
April 3
Easter isn’t only for the Easter bunny (or people)—allow your furry companion to join in on the fun! National Service Dogs’ Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs occurs every Good Friday in eight cities, and Calgary is one of them. This family event takes place at Calaway Park, where registrants receive two egg cartons. Each egg is filled with a Milk Bone treat and chances to win hundreds of prizes. Let your dog’s nose do the hunting! The highest pledge earner will receive a grand prize.

Easter Eggstravaganza
April 3 – 4
The Calgary Zoo’s annual Easter event celebrates spring with arts, crafts, games, face painting, a photo booth, prizes, rabbit hopping demonstrations, a visit from the Easter bunny himself, and special events for the entire family. Alternate from Easter festivities and visit any of their animal enclosures, like Destination Africa or Penguin Plunge. Admission: general (16-59) $23, senior (60+) $21, child (three-15) $15, children three and under free. Afterwards, join the Calgary Zoo for their buffet-style Easter Holiday Brunch on Sunday, April 5th in the Safari Lodge. Tickets (online): general $39.95, senior $36.95, child $21.95.

Spring Sparktacular
April 3 – 4
TELUS Spark combines spring and science at their new Easter event. Build the town of Bunnybotville, create a structure and test its strength with the egg drop challenge, and construct a storm water collection system with the worms and Green Calgary. The Atrium will have hovercrafts, cloud cannons, and live science demonstrations. Join nutrition specialists from the University of Calgary’s Kinesiology Department in chocolate-themed activities—Cococo Chocolatiers has donated 3,000 pieces of chocolate! Admission: adult $19.95, senior $17.95, youth (13-17) $ 15.95, child (three-12) $12.95

A.A.C.C.A. Easter Weekend Show
April 3 – 4
The Alberta Arms and Cartridge Collectors Association puts on their annual spring show every Easter weekend at the BMO Centre. Visit Canada’s largest antique arms show—the organization safely promotes the preservation and historical significance of arms and cartridge collections. They have recently acquired 365 antique firearms from the Royal Ontario Museum. Admission: $12, women and children 12 and under (accompanied by an adult) are free.

“Hoppy” Easter Dining at the Fairmont Palliser
April 5
Calgary’s most venerable hotel, the 101-year-old Fairmont Palliser, celebrates Easter with three bunny-approved festive culinary experiences. First up, Easter Brunch in the Crystal Ballroom features an array of sumptuous food along with a display of sweet treats from the Palliser’s own pastry shop. There will be egg decorating and a candy hunt, as well as live music from a violinist and pianist. Admission: $75, seniors $65, children (6 – 12) $37.50, children five and under free. The Easter Afternoon Tea features dainty finger sandwiches, Easter regalia encouraged! Admission: $35, or $45 with a glass of sparkling Chandon wine. The Easter Dinner Buffet will be a full dinner buffet, including a prime rib carver and Easter-themed desserts. Admission: $50, seniors $40, children (6 – 12) $25, children five and under free.

Easter Sunday Brunch at Heritage Park
April 5
Enjoy a delicious brunch at Heritage Park Historical Village in the old-fashioned Wainwright Hotel, which features a stunning entrance, an authentic saloon, and a classy dining room. From sweet breakfast classics like buttermilk pancakes, cinnamon French toast, and Belgian waffles, to savoury dishes from their custom-made-to-order omelette station and meat carving station to light options such as fresh fruit and berries, Heritage Park has you covered. Afterwards, participate in traditional Easter egg decorating, or visit attractions and exhibits at the recreated prairie railway village. Tickets: adult $31.95, children (12 and under) $21.95, children two and under free.

Norquay Toonie Day
April 8
Hit the slopes for only $2 this Easter break at Mount Norquay Ski Resort in Banff National Park. Alberta residents can ski and snowboard the mountain’s 38 runs—spread over 190 acres—in warm spring conditions. Mount Norquay also has an Easter Sunday brunch at Kika’s Café and an Easter egg hunt, which kicks off at the Cascade Lodge patio on the same day. Easter egg hunt: free for all children. Brunch (excludes beverages): ages 14+: $17, ages six-13: $8.50, children five and under free.

20 Things to Do in Calgary Under $20

By AGATHA ZARZYCKI

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

Glenbow 
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

By BREANNA MROCZEK

superheroes-moseley-titlepost

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

By RACHAEL FREY

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:

SNOWSHOE BUNNIES
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.

TOBOGGAN TIME
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.

JOURNEY CROSS COUNTRY
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

By BREANNA MROCZEK

cookbooks_post

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)

Gatherings:
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

By RACHAEL FREY

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

Boxwood
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.

THE PANELLISTS

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.

A CONTEMPORARY CLASSIC
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.”

WTD_blink1

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.

FAMILIAR FAVOURITES: RUNNERS UP
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.

YEAR OF THE PIG
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.)

NEW AND NOTABLE: RUNNERS UP
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.”

MAISON BIRKS SILVER SPOON AWARD
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

BEST OF THE REST
Our judges’ picks for the top three restaurants in 22 dining categories

BEST FOR BEER
National
Craft Beer Market
Beer Revolution

BEST BRUNCH
Grumans Catering and Delicatessen
Yellow Door Bistro
Monki breakfastclub & bistro

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

BEST FOR BUSINESS LUNCH
Blink Restaurant
CHARCUT Roast House
Catch & the Oyster Bar

BEST CAFE/COFFEE SHOP
Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar
Caffe Rosso
Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters

BEST MULTI-LOCATION RESTAURANT
Redwater Rustic Grille
Earls Kitchen + Bar
Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar

BEST COCKTAILS
Model Milk
Milk Tiger Lounge
Raw Bar by Duncan Ly

BEST DESSERT (RESTAURANT)
Yellow Door Bistro
Blink Restaurant
La Chaumiere Restaurant

BEST DESSERT (TO GO)
Yann Haute Patisserie
Brûlée Patisserie
Jelly Modern Doughnuts

BEST EAST ASIAN
White Elephant Thai Cuisine
Thai Sa-on Royal Thai Cuisine
The Himalayan

BEST EUROPEAN
Avec Bistro
Wurst Überkitchen
Cassis Bistro

BEST FAMILY DINING
Diner Deluxe
Cibo
Kinjo Sushi & Grill

BEST INDIAN
Namskar Restaurant
Clay Oven
Moti Mahal

BEST ITALIAN
Bonterra Trattoria
Il Sogno
Scopa Neighbourhood Italian

BEST FOR LOCAL INGREDIENTS
Rouge Restaurant
River Café
downtownfood

BEST PIZZA
Posto Pizzeria & Bar
Double Zero
Without Papers Pizza

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

BEST VEGETARIAN FOOD
The Coup
Boxwood Café
Namskar Restaurant

BEST FOR WINE
Divino Wine and Cheese Bistro
Vin Room
Wine-Ohs

*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.

Warm Cocktail Recipes to Heat Up Your Holidays

By RACHAEL FREY

Photo: Viktor Hanacek  / picjumbo.com

Photo: Viktor Hanacek / picjumbo.com

Calgary is notorious for its cold, blustery winters. While you might set out for the night in the mood for a cocktail, by the time you arrive at your destination a cold drink is the last thing on your mind. Luckily, Calgary’s savvy mixologists are on the case, creating delicious cocktails that are served warm enough to defrost your fingers and heat you from the inside out. And, if you get snowed in, they’ve kindly provided the recipes so you can re-create their inventions at home.

Nouvella Picante (Photo: courtesy Candela Lounge)

Nouvella Picante (Photo: courtesy Candela Lounge)

Nouvella Picante at Candela Lounge
The bar dominates the centre of the room at the elegant and exotic Candela Lounge. The menu reflects its global flair with a focus on small plates with a Latin twist, such as bison chorizo with caramelized onions, tomato and melted cheese curds or “Russian roulette”—six oyster shots, one of which is extra hot. That playful sense of flavour extends to the cocktail menu as well. Created by mixologist Darren Fabian on a frosty December night, the Nouvella Picante is a warm, sweet, rich drink that can be paired with dessert or just replace it entirely. As an added bonus, the espresso component will keep you dancing all night.
• 2 parts Amaretto
• 1 part Frangelico
• 1 part Zanin pepperocino
Add:
• 2 parts hot espresso in room temperature martini glass
Shake 1 oz vanilla syrup and 4 parts whipping cream over ice and double strain on top of liquid in glass to float. Garnish with coffee beans.
♦ 1919 – 4 St SW, 403-719-0049, candelalounge.com

Read more…

6 Places for Gourmet Gifts to Go in Calgary

By STEPHANIE ARSENAULT

Macaron cakes by Yann Haute Patisserie (Photo: Blair Hill)

Yann Haute Patisserie (Photo: Blair Hill)

‘Tis the season for dinner parties, holiday get-togethers, and festivities galore, which also means you’ll be picking up host and hostess gifts on the regular. If your go-to gift is a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers, it may be time to change up your game plan and opt for something just a little more delicious—and ready to eat—for your foodie friends. Here are six spectacular spots for gourmet gifts this season:

YANN HAUTE PATISSERIE
You can’t go wrong with chocolate, and the Five Ways Chocolate Tart from Yann Haute Patisserie features chocolate short bread dough, passion fruit and dark chocolate baked custard, chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, and chocolate glaze. It must be ordered in advance, but it’s perfect for a small dinner party or to give to your host to enjoy on their own. Day-of, try a selection of macarons like the Black Forest Macaron: chocolate mousse and black cherry jelly, kirsch bavaroise, and amaretto cherries. Délicieux, non?
• 329 – 23 Ave SW, 403-244-8091, yannboutique.com

Red Tree Catering (Photo: Blair Hill, courtesy Red Tree Catering)

Red Tree Catering (Photo: Blair Hill, courtesy Red Tree Catering)

RED TREE CATERING
Marda Loop’s Red Tree Catering creates seasonal bites that manage to have both a sophisticated and homemade appeal. Choose from individual desserts, like cheesecakes, petite cakes, and crème brûlée; or, pick up a cake or pie that serves eight to ten people. The folks over at Red Tree generally prefer that orders are made 48 hours in advance, but they do have ready-to-go goodies in store so you can certainly just pop in to pick up your gift en route.
• 2129 – 33 Ave SW, 403-242-3246, www.redtreecatering.com

Janice Beaton Fine Cheese (Photo: courtesy Janice Beaton Fine Cheese)

Janice Beaton Fine Cheese (Photo: courtesy Janice Beaton Fine Cheese)

JANICE BEATON FINE CHEESE
Janice Beaton Fine Cheese has a ton of great gift baskets, like the Trio Burlap Bag—a simple-but-delicious package of three gourmet cheeses and Paris Toast crackers or Savoury Crisps. Or, go all out and opt for the Simply Abundant basket, which includes nine cheeses, two types of crackers, a house-made condiment, almonds, dried fruits, and a cheese knife for $150. Can’t decide? Get creative and pick out some cheeses and preserves for a delicious DIY gift.
• 1017 – 16 Ave SW, 403-229-0900, www.jbfinecheese.com

Ohh La La Patisserie (Photo: Stephanie Arsenault)

Ohh La La Patisserie (Photo: Stephanie Arsenault)

OHH LA LA PATISSERIE
Ohh La La Patisserie serves an assortment of traditional French desserts and pastries, including their to-die-for macarons. Choose from flavours like lychee and raspberry, pistachio, lavender and milk chocolate, lemon velvet, and blackberry—or try out one of their seasonal flavours. Macarons can be purchased individually or in boxes of six or 12. Or, keep it simple and bring some of Ohh La La’s famed maple croissants for your host to enjoy with coffee the next morning.
• 8561 – 8A Ave SW, 587-353-0111, ohhlalapatisserie.com

Wilde Grainz Artisan Bakery (Photo: courtesy Wilde Grainz Artisan Bakery)

Wilde Grainz Artisan Bakery (Photo: courtesy Wilde Grainz Artisan Bakery)

WILDE GRAINZ ARTISAN BAKERY
At Inglewood’s Wilde Grainz, you’ll find fresh, seasonal ingredients incorporated into some of the best artisan baking in the city. Opt for one of their cakes or tarts if you’re bringing something to serve, or simply pick up a handful of individual treats as a sweet gift to your host or hostess. Don’t forget to grab one for yourself while you’re at it! Plan ahead by visiting their website and checking out their pastry schedule so you know what’s available.
• 1218 – 9 Ave SE, 403-767-9006, wildegrainz.com

Mercato (Photo: Stephanie Arsenault)

Mercato (Photo: Stephanie Arsenault)

MERCATO
A visit to Mercato’s Market is like a trip to Italy for your taste buds, but without the long flight. Choose from delicious Italian treats like biscotti, tiramisu, or cannoli, or, opt for something savoury like an assortment of olives, cheeses, and meats. If you want to go all out, pick up a fresly-baked baguette, a container of bruschetta, a bottle of olive oil, and some vine-ripened cherry tomatoes imported from Sicily.
• 2224 4 St SW, 403-263-5535, www.mercatogourmet.com
• 873 85 St SW, 403-685-0460

20 Holiday Things to Do in Calgary Under $20

Zoolights 2

Zoolights at Calgary Zoo is one of the many holiday activities to enjoy in Calgary.

You don’t have to be a Scrooge this Christmas: get in the holiday spirit with these 20 holiday activities in Calgary that each cost less than $20! Enjoy!

1. Christmas in Inglewood
When: December 6, 13, 20
Where: Community of Inglewood
Cost: Free!
Enjoy special events, free parking, festive window displays, an holiday lights as you shop the unique boutiques in Inglewood for creative gift ideas. Be sure to check out new-to-Inglewood businesses The Nash Restaurant & Bar and Lauren Bagliore Concept Shop.
More Info: calgary-inglewood.com/events

2. Spruce Meadows Christmas Market
When: November 21-23, 28-30
Where: Spruce Meadows
Cost: $10; Seniors and Children 12 and under are Free
A reindeer petting zoo, elaborate light displays, hot chocolate and international food kiosks, fire pits, live music, and holiday entertainment make a visit to this shopping market fun for everyone.
More Info: sprucemeadows.com/christmas_market.jsp

3. Zoolights
When: November 21 – January 3, 6 pm – 9 pm
Where: Calgary Zoo
Cost: $14 General Admission; $11 Child (3-15)
See some unique animals at the Calgary Zoo… ones made out of coloured lights! Bundle up and stroll the elaborate outdoor light displays while enjoying ice skating, a visit with Santa, children’s activities, and carols.
More Info: calgaryzoo.com/events-activities/special-events/zoolights 

4. Once Upon a Christmas
When: Weekends November 22 – December 21, 9:30 am – 4 pm
Where: Heritage Park Historical Village
Cost: $8.50 Adult; $7.50 Senior; $6.50 Youth (7-14); $5.50 Child (3-6)
Nothing feels more traditional than a day at Heritage Park for Christmas and Hanukkah crafts and activities, gift shopping, antique photos, sleigh rides, theatre, and homemade treats.
More Info: heritagepark.ca

5. Christmas Art & Craft Shows
When: Weekends November 27 – December 21
Where: Various Venues
Cost: Free – $7 per Adult
Shop for unique, locally-made gifts at Calgary’s art and craft shows including the Festival of Crafts (Nov 27 – 30), Eau Claire Winter Market (Nov 29 – 30), A Merry Market Collective (Dec 5-7, 12-14, 19-21), The Vixens of Vintage Market (Dec 6), and A Merry Makers Market (Dec 6-7).
More Info: where.ca/alberta/calgary/shop-calgary-seasonal-markets-craft-shows

6. ‘Twas the Night
When: Thursday, November 27, 6:30 pm – 10 pm
Where: The CORE
Cost: Free! Donations to the YMCA are accepted.
Shop ’til you drop and get a head start on Black Friday sales at this after-hours shopping party. TV personality Tanya Kim hosts the red carpet and there will be festive music performed by jazz musician Matt Dusk. Stores will offer one-night-only specials and discounts so you can shop for everyone on your list. Plus… valet parking is even free!
More Info: coreshopping.ca/events/core-twas-the-night-2014

7. Christmas in Kensington
When: November 29, December 6, December 13, December 20
Where: Various Venues in Kensington
Cost: Free! (Except for some movies at Plaza Theatre)
Christmas festivities abound in this eclectic Calgary neighbourhood: Enjoy a pancake breakfast, hay wagon rides, tree lightening ceremony, carollers, and a visit from Santa on November 29; A petting zoo, photos with Santa, and a screening of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at Plaza Theatre (FREE!) on December 6; Late night shopping, shopping tours, and a visit from Santa on December 13; Christmas tree karaoke, Ugly Sweater Red Carpet Event and a screening of Love Actually at Plaza Theatre ($15 for both).
More Info: visitkensington.com

8. Hawkers Holiday Feast
When: November 29, 6 pm – 12 am
Where: Test Kitchen, 1436-8th St SW
Cost: $10
The food-and-drink party returns to Calgary for a seasonal edition in support of the Calgary Food Bank. Music, beer, food trucks, and a whole lot of fun. The focus is on the food as you get to sample an assortment of vendors’ most popular dishes as well as some limited-edition seasonal offerings.
More Info: hawkersmarket.com

9. Lions Festival of Lights
When: November 29 – January 8, 6 pm – 12 am
Where:  14 St NW, South of 24th Ave
Cost: Free!
Where: Calgary’s beautiful Confederation Park is covered in light displays that are free to view. Walk or drive by.
More Info:lionsfestivaloflights.ca

10. With Bells On
When: December 1 – 24
Where: Lunchbox Theatre
Cost: $25 Adult; $20 Senior; $20 Student
When an uptight, recently divorced accountant and a drag queen dressed as a Christmas tree get stuck in an elevator together, they forge an unlikely friendship in this hysterical, heart-warming play.
More Info: lunchboxtheatre.com

11. Lougheed House Christmas
When: November 28 – December 21
Where: Lougheed House
Cost: $8.50 Adult; $6.50 Student/Senior; $5 Child; $25 Family
Enjoy a traditional Christmas at this beautiful historic site with live music, crafts, holiday lights, complimentary hot cider and homemade cookies, a gingerbread house competition, and a visit from Victorian Santa. In honour of the WWI Centennial this year, there will be WWI-themed activities the weekends.
More Info: lougheedhouse.com

12. Christmas Cooking Classes
When: December 4, 11, 18, 12 pm – 1 pm
Where: ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen
Cost: $20
These lunch-and-learn sessions include lunch, a demonstration on how to make the dish, and a take-home recipe. December’s classes include a course on how to make Holiday brunch using holiday dinner leftovers, Holiday Hors d’ouvres, and Christmas dinner alternatives to turkey and mashed potatoes.
More Info: atcoblueflamekitchen.com

13. A Merry Market Collective
When: December 5 – 7, 12 – 14, 19 – 21
Where: Chinese Cultural Centre, 197 – 1 St SW
Cost: $5; Free for children (12 and under)
This isn’t your typical craft fair! Here, Calgary’s crafty DIY crowd sells handmade, Pinterest-perfect and Instagram-worthy creations. Shop for gift ideas and holiday decor, and take a break to enjoy food trucks, gift wrapping, and Market Collective’s popular photo booth.
More Info: marketcollective.ca

14. Family Christmas Movies
When: December 6, 13, 20, 11 am
Where: Cineplex Theatres
Cost: $2.50
Enjoy some classic holiday films on the big screen that will put you in the Christmas spirit with laughter and whimsy. Movies in this series are: A Christmas Story, The Polar Express, and Fred Claus.
More Info: cineplex.com/Events/FamilyFavourites

15. Festival Chorus: Christmas in Venice
When: December 6, 8 pm
Where: Knox United Church
Cost: $22 Adult; $18 Senior; $18 Student; $12 Child
We all know that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loudly for all to hear! Experience the magic and glory of the Christmas season from historic Venice with rhythmic and memorable melodies by Vivaldi, Palestrina, and Schubert, as well as some Italian folk carols. Plus, the audience sing-a-long will include classic holiday favourites.
More Info: epcorcentre.org

16. Teddy Bear Toss
When: December 7, 4 pm
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome
Cost: $17.50 – $22.50
The Calgary Hitmen WHL team host the Moose Jaw Warriors for this annual spectacle. When the Hitmen score their first goal, the audience showers the ice with teddy bears which are then donated to children’s hospitals and charities. Even Jimmy Kimmel gave some attention to last year’s game!
More Info: hitmenhockey.com

17. Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
When: December 12, 6 pm
Where: ​9511 Horton Rd SW, Gravel Parking Lot on Horton Rd behind The Brick & Schanks
Cost: Free! Food bank donations accepted.
The Holiday Train is coming through town! The 1,000 foot long train has 14 rail cars brightly decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and holiday designs.When the train stops, there is a half-hour performance of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs by Odds (you’ll recognize their song “Happy Place” from Corner Gas) and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy.
More Info: cpr.ca/en/community/holiday-train

18. Christmas Sleigh Rides
When: December 20 – January 1, 10 am – 4 pm
Where: Horsin’ Around Trail Rides
Cost: $10 Adult; $8 Children
Go dashing through the snow in a cozy horse drawn sleigh with Horsin’ Around Trail Rides. When you’re done your ride, enjoy a pony ride, petting zoo, and tobogganing.
More Info: horsinaround.ca

19. Christmas with New West
When: December 20, 7:30 pm
Where: Jack Singer Concert Hall
Cost: $16.05 – $22.10
New West Symphony and Chorus, a 100-member choir and orchestra, presents an upbeat and moving performance of new and classic Christmas songs. Sing along and enjoy the sounds of the season!
More Info: epcorcentre.org

20. It’s a Wonderful Life
When: December 20, 22, 24
Where: Cineplex Odeon Crowfoot Crossing
Cost: $6
This classic, heartwarming holiday movie is a holiday tradition for many—now see it in all it’s glory on the big screen! You know the plot: an angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.
More Info: cineplex.com/Events/ClassicFilmSeries

5 Dim Sum Restaurants in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY

Shumai (front) and chiu-chao fan guo at Silver Dragon Restaurant. (Photo: Laura Johnston)

Shumai (front) and chiu-chao fan guo at Silver Dragon Restaurant. (Photo: Laura Johnston)

Steaming pots of tea, the chatter of happy diners, and carts groaning under the weight of mouth-watering foods—dim sum is a dining experience unlike any other.

For the uninitiated, here’s how it typically works: diners are seated at an already set table with a pot of tea. Servers circulate throughout the room with wheeled carts loaded with different types of dishes and stop at each table. If you see something you want, they’ll leave it on your table and check it off on your order slip. It pays to be adventurous with your selections! The restaurants listed below are some of the best places in Calgary to indulge in a traditional Chinese dim sum feast.

Tips for Enjoying Dim Sum

• The dishes are meant to be shared by the whole table family-style rather than each individual ordering their own.

• Each place setting gets a small bowl and a small plate. The bowl is for eating out of and the plate is for discarding bones or other stuff you don’t want to eat.

• While chopsticks are standard, it’s okay to ask for a fork if needed.

• When the teapot is empty, turn the lid upside down and place the pot near the edge of the table to signal that you need a refill.

• If you spot something you want on a cart across the room, it’s acceptable to walk over to the cart to be served rather than waiting for it to come to you.

• If you want something particular and don’t see it on the carts, just ask—most places are willing to have the kitchen make it for you.

• It’s fine to ask for a to-go container for leftovers. Diners will often order quite a bit more than they can eat with the intention of taking the extras home.

Silver Dragon Restaurant
Arrive before noon, as the dining room fills up quickly and the line to get in to this second-storey restaurant can go all the way downstairs to the street. They have the standard dim sum offerings such as ha gow (a shrimp-filled dumpling with a translucent wheat starch wrapper) and shumai (an open-topped dumpling filled with pork), as well as some less common options like hatosi, a small piece of toast coated with minced shrimp and deep-fried.
• 106 – 3 Ave SE, 403-264-5326

A server dishes up steaming packets of sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves at Silver Dragon Restaurant. (Photo: Laura Johnston)

A server dishes up steaming packets of sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves at Silver Dragon Restaurant. (Photo: Laura Johnston)

U & Me Restaurant
If you’re struck by a sudden dim sum craving at 2 am, head straight to U & Me. Open from 8 am to 4 am, it’s one of the few places in Calgary to get any meal that late, let alone dim sum. Don’t miss the deep-fried shrimp dumplings served with a dollop of mayonnaise or the zhaliang, fried dough wrapped in a flat sheet of rice noodle.
• 223 Centre St S, 403-264-5988, www.uandmerestaurant.ca

Dragon Chinese Restaurant
This relative newcomer to Calgary’s restaurant scene opened in 2013. The décor is impressive, with plenty of red, gold and—naturally—dragons. Rather than choosing from carts, customers simply check off the dishes they want on a list and servers bring it out from the kitchen. Try the steamed buns stuffed with crabmeat paste, and for dessert, the “wolfberry jello” made with goji berries and lychee.
• 200, 118 – 5 Ave SE, 403-718-0088, dragonchinese.wordpress.com

Regency Palace
Located on the upper floor of the Dragon City Mall, this large dining room serves up dim sum from the traditional carts as well as buffet style. If you’re tired of waiting for the carts to come around, just go up to the buffet and pick out what you want (remember to bring your order slip so the buffet attendant can check off your selections).
• 335, 328 Centre Street S, 403-777-2288, www.regencypalacerestaurant.com

Ginger Beef Bistro House
Don’t let the name fool you—the dim sum is authentic here. The clean, contemporary restaurant also offers an additional perk in that you can watch the chefs at work in the kitchen through a large window. They’re known for their ginger beef (of course), Peking duck, and xiaolongbao, a difficult-to-make Shanghai style dumpling filled with soup.
• 400, 388 Country Hills Blvd NE, 403-265-1616, www.gingerbeef.com
• 9629 Macleod Tr SW, 403-271-2233

Guide to Holiday Entertainment in Calgary

By BREANNA MROCZEK, Illustrations By AMANDA SCHUTZ

holiday_post

There is never any shortage of things to do in Calgary, and the winter months are no exception—seasonal shows and holiday-themed events abound! Here are 25 seasonal highlights to enjoy:

1Jake’s Gift Until Nov 22
This charming play honours the spirit of Remembrance Day with a story about a Canadian veteran’s return to Normandy to reconcile his brother’s war-time death.

2Liberation Days Until Nov 9
A community in the Netherlands struggles to return to their “normal” lives post-WWII in this inspiring drama by a Canadian playwright.

3Vanishing Ice Until Jan 4
Explore frozen frontiers and the North Pole—indoors—in this Glenbow exhibition that explores how artists’ interpretations of the arctic have changed over the centuries.

Winte4r Bobsleigh Starting Dec 26
Soar down an Olympic bobsleigh track—piloted by a pro—through 14 twists and turns at 120 km/hr.

5Ice Skating at Olympic Plaza November – March
Bring your skates and go for a glide amidst twinkling, lighted trees in the heart of the city on this outdoor ice rink.

Silent Night No6v 8 – 14
Calgary Opera commemorates the centennial of WWI with the moving story of a truce between troops on Christmas Eve 1914 to celebrate the holiday and bury their dead.

7Spruce Meadows Christmas Market Nov 14 – 30
Reindeer games, light displays, hot chocolate, fire pits, live music, and shopping in the vendor marketplace: make a visit to this market a family affair.

Once Upon a Ch8ristmas Nov 22 – Dec 21
Nothing feels more traditional than a day at Heritage Park for Christmas and Hanukkah activities, gift shopping, antique photos, sleigh rides, and homemade treats.

9Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite Nov 23
The charming bunny siblings from the children’s TV show perform a kid-friendly version of the holiday classic with upbeat music and storytelling.

10Bach for the Holidays Nov 30
The Calgary Civic Symphony and Cantaré Children’s Choir perform classical holiday music as well as tracks from holiday movies like Home Alone and The Polar Express.

11‘Twas the Night Nov 27
This after-hours shopping party at The Core is a red-carpet affair with host Tanya Kim and festive music performed by jazz musician Matt Dusk.

12Deck the Walls! Nov 25 – Dec 24
An art show you can shop! The walls of Newzones gallery are decked out in various sizes and styles of artwork that are perfect to give as gifts.

13A Christmas Carol Nov 27 – Dec 24
It just wouldn’t be Christmas in Calgary without Theatre Calgary’s heartwarming annual production of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story.

14Zoolights Nov 21 – Jan 4
See some unique animals at the Calgary Zoo… ones made out of coloured lights! Bundle up and stroll the elaborate outdoor light displays.

15With Bells On Dec 1 – 24
This hilarious, contemporary holiday play conveys the heartwarming spirit of the season.

16Christmas at the Opera Dec 4 – 7
Calgary Opera’s emerging artists and a live music ensemble perform delightful sounds of the season.

17Stuart McLean Vinyl Café Christmas Dec 4 – 5
Stuart McLean shares stories—joined by musical guest Chic Gamine—in the live holiday-themed version of his popular CBC Radio show.

18A Merry Little Pops Dec 6
Sing along to carols and jolly holiday songs with The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, a choir, and Santa himself.

19Handel’s Messiah Dec 6
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus perform this grandiose classical score that has become synonymous with the Advent season.

20Trailer Park Boys: Dear Santa Claus Tour Dec 14
Enjoy some Christmas chaos with the boys as Bubbles’ good-hearted holiday plans are thwarted by Julian’s scheming and Ricky’s pursuit to meet Santa.

21Sleigh Rides Dec 20 – Jan 1
Go dashing through the snow in a cozy horse drawn sleigh with Horsin Around Trail Rides.

22Lions’ Festival of Lights Nov 30 – Jan 8
Calgary’s beautiful Confederation Park is covered in light displays that are free to view.

23Country Christmas Dec 17
Canadian country music superstar George Canyon performs holiday music with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra—and a meet-and-greet reception is available.

24The Nutcracker Dec 18 – 24
The Alberta Ballet presents the whimsical story of Clara and her Nutcracker with dazzling choreography, detailed costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s timeless musical score.

25Celebrate!
We hope you have a festive holiday season full of fun, health, and happiness as you spend time with family and friends exploring our wonderful city!