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Shopping

Bound to Please: Calgary’s Best Indie Bookstores

By RACHAEL FREY

Pages on Kensington is located in the building that once housed Calgary's first library branch (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Pages on Kensington is located in the building that once housed Calgary’s first library branch (Photo: Jason Dziver)

The massive online book retailer Amazon.ca recently dubbed Calgary the second most well-read city in Canada, based on print and e-book sales from its website. But, this statistic doesn’t account for the many bibliophiles who loyally frequent the city’s independent bookshops to hold the books in their hands and riffle through non-digital pages.

Calgary is home to a small handful of indie bookstores, each offering its own carefully curated selection. JoAnn McCaig, owner of Shelf Life Books, is not threatened by online book sales or e-books. “The ambience and sense of community found in a bookstore can’t be duplicated by Amazon,” she says.

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Hot Shopping: Editors Pick – Top 5 Gourmand Go-To’s

Korean-BBQTravelling foodsters know that the way into the heart of a city is through its stomach. And while eating on vacation can be memorable, gourmet items you can take home help recreate those experiences.

If you’ve tried one of the hottest dining trends, Korean BBQ, head to Bosch Kitchen Appliance Centre to pick up a plug-in electric Korean BBQ of your own (pictured). Set the bar with an interactive dinner party your guests won’t forget! 105-2800 Pembina Hwy, 204-275-2617

Sticking to a regime while on the road is tough, which makes the availability of everyday organic at specialty spot Organza a blessing. Stock up on local products such as Whiteshell Dairy cheese, or start the day right at its in-house juice bar. 230 Osborne St #2A 204-453-6266

Cooking at home may not yield Top Chef results, if the kitchen is full of clutter! For Space Sake carries a wide variety of kitchen organizers that are functional and eye catching. 1824 Grant Ave,
204-488-2633

Local Meats and Frozen Treats is passionate about gourmet gleans. It stocks everything from local sausages to flavoured creamed honey. Manitoba’s best products line the shelves and freezer walls. 1604 St Mary’s Rd, 204-255-2172

Before catching a flight or hitting the road, stop by Humboldt’s Legacy to pick up some last minute travel snacks. Locally made Gorp Energy Bars taste great and pack a nutritional punch. 887 Westminster Ave, (204) 772-140

8 Luxurious Calgary Spas

Luxe atmosphere at Sante Spa. Courtesy: Sante Spa

Luxe atmosphere at Sante Spa. Courtesy: Sante Spa

By JENNI O’NYONS and RACHAEL FREY

Pamper yourself at one of these luxurious Calgary spas, where you’ll soak in stylish surroundings and enjoy first-class treatment.

Stillwater Spa
Located in the downtown Hyatt Regency hotel, the spa’s historic sandstone construction and luxury amenities give it a resort retreat feel. The facility features steam rooms, whirlpools and even a nap lounge. Group, individual and couples treatments are available. (more…)

Hot Shopping: Get Fresh at Whistler Farmers’ Market

It doesn't get much fresher than this. Photo by Toshi Kawano courtesy Tourism BC

It doesn’t get much fresher than this. Photo by Toshi Kawano courtesy Tourism BC

For a shopping stop that always bears fruit, visit the Whistler Farmers’ Market. Find fresh fruit and veggies, made-from-scratch baked goods, preserves and plenty of handmade jewellery, art and products for pampering. Purchase an impromptu picnic or pick up a keepsake and immerse yourself in the local flavour.—Jill Von Sprecken

Hot Shopping: Shop Till You Drop

Spend some time in the shops around Whistler Village. Photo by Chad Chomlack courtesy Tourism Whistler

Spend some time in the shops around Whistler Village. Photo by Chad Chomlack courtesy Tourism Whistler

After working up a sweat outside, give your wallet a workout inside. Pick up a new shirt at Aritzia, stylish yoga pants at Lululemon and a nifty cap at Lids. Then grab an ice cream cone from Cows Whistler, sunscreen from Rexall Drug Store and a summertime read from Armchair Books, and you’re ready to relax in the sunshine—and give your wallet a breather, too.—Sheri Radford

Hot Shopping: Vancouver’s Miz Mooz Boutique

Miz Mooz Shoes at Vancouver's Miz Mooz Boutique

Miz Mooz Shoes at Vancouver’s Miz Mooz Boutique

Think fashion and comfort can’t coexist? Think again. At Miz Mooz Boutique on West 4th, tootsies get pampered in shoes just as comfy as they are fun. Find a huge selection of Miz Mooz (pictured)—including ones difficult to get elsewhere in Canada—as well as show-stopping footwear by Lola Ramona, plus Orthaheel’s podiatrist-designed shoes and sandals that look nothing like orthotics. And to go with your funky new footwear: chic handbags by Melie Bianco.—Sheri Radford

Hot Shopping: Personal Shoppers Scout Topshop’s Top Trends

Personal shoppers at Topshop pull chic clothes to suit your style

Personal shoppers at Topshop pull chic clothes to suit your style

Want to be on-trend but don’t know where to start? Make a free appointment with Topshop’s personal shoppers in The Bay downtown. After an interview to find out your fashion goals, they’ll pull together an array of head-to-toe outfits in your size for you to try on. The shoppers know all the fashion gems hidden in the 3,700 sq m (40,000 sq ft) of floor space—the second-largest Topshop in the world—and they’re ready to share their sartorial secrets.—Sheri Radford

Hot Shopping: Spruce Your Space with Crate & Barrel

Salud barware and Chevron Tray at Crate & Barrel

Salud barware and Chevron Tray at Crate & Barrel

Once your spring cleaning is done, spruce up your digs with some new furnishings and accessories. Head to Crate & Barrel, which recently opened its first Vancouver location. But before you set foot in the store, be warned: you may wind up wondering where your day went. You can go big (patio pieces and dining room decor) or go small (barware and bedding), but you definitely won’t go home empty-handed.—Rachel Dunlop

Hot Shopping: Be Crafty

The Loop Craft Cafe

The Loop Craft Cafe

Visit The Loop Craft Café on Barrington Street and pick your favourite colourful yarns from the shelves. This spot has a large selection of wool, crochet hooks, knitting needles, embroidery kits, colourful thread, patterns and more. Local products include spindles, glass buttons and needle felted animal sculptures.

For a creative spin, drop by Dartmouth Yarns. Located on Queen Street in Dartmouth, this store has the knitting tools you need, whether you’re a beginner or pro. Choose from a wide selection of yarns, knitting needles and more. Looking to start a new project or hobby? They also have kits for making bangles, yoga socks, silk purses, scarves and hats.

Hot Shopping Halifax: Sugar Fix

Sugar Shok Candy Boutique

If you’re craving sweets, check out Sugar Shok Candy Boutique. Located on Portland Street in Dartmouth, this funky spot opened last fall. It features a large assortment of classic candies, bubble gum, cake pops, chocolate and more. For something a little different, treat yourself and try the ChocoBacon (yes, chocolate dipped bacon). The store also has party accessories, funny greeting cards, neat knick-knacks, gifts and candy bouquets.

Susie’s Shortbreads is the place to be for cake and cookie fans. Located on Dresden Row and Bayers Lake, this sweet spot has a daily cupcake menu jam-packed with flavour. Try the lemon zinger, white chocolate raspberry or peppermint patty, to name a few. The red velvet is only on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so plan your week accordingly. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available. Prefer a cookie? Bite into a toffee chocolate chip or coconut vanilla.

For a quirky candy store experience, check out Freak Lunchbox. First founded in Halifax in 2001, this popular shop can be found on Barrington Street and the Bedford Highway. With circus-themed décor and colours galore, it’s a great place for kids—and kids at heart.

Hot Shopping: Baby Bonanza at Hip Baby

Simply Merino keeps little ones cute and comfy

Infant gowns by Simply Merino keeps little ones cute and comfy

Playful parents and their cool kids can’t resist Hip Baby, a colourful Kitsilano shop overflowing with quirky toys, clothing and books for tots and tykes. Owners Michael Ziff and Jen MacCormack share a strong sense of social responsibility and a passion for creative, imaginative products, especially those that are practical, organic, made locally, or otherwise easy on the environment. Some of the most covetable items include hand puppets by Cate + Levi, sleepers by Fig, boots by Kamik and clothing by Vancouver company Simply Merino. The crowning glory of the carefully curated store is the Great Wall of Diapers, which is crammed full of everything required to start cloth diapering your bouncing baby. Feeling overwhelmed by all the options? Sign up for one of Ziff’s cloth diapering workshops, which sell out every month, and you’ll be raising eco-friendly offspring in no time.—Sheri Radford

Hot Shopping: Scene in the City: Winnipeg’s Meeting Place

The Forks, the scenic spot where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet, is one of Winnipeg’s biggest tourist draws. Rich with history and culture, the former fur-trading post is also a major shopping destination. Begin in The Forks Market and pop into Fenton’s Gourmet Foods for mouthwatering patés (think liver and port wine or smoked salmon and dill) and tempting cheeses. Generation Green is a go-to for eco-friendly skincare and food products like confectionery flax oils (pictured). Stroll across The Forks Market Plaza to the Johnston Terminal, and pore over treasures from the past at Johnston Terminal Antique Mall. A twist on the traditional souvenir, Pulse Gallery showcases works for sale by Manitoba artists such as photographer Garry Budyk and painter Gail Sawatzky. No visit to The Forks is complete without a stop at Global Connections, an eclectic fair-trade boutique that stocks everything from hand-blown Mexican glassware to Indonesian mosaic bowls.