Last summer I did not do any travelling, as much I hoped I would be, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t get to enjoy many opportunities for adventure and entertainment in my hometown and the nearby area.
Summer is the best time of year in Calgary so I was happy to be home.
June brought the Cirque Du Soleil show “Kurios: Cabinet of Kuriosities” to Calgary, and with the steam-punk look that is trending right now, I was looking forward to getting tickets for my family. We got phenomenal seats, and enjoyed one of the best touring Cirque shows I have ever seen.
One thing I missed last summer and was thrilled to get to do again was sign up for a beach volleyball team. The Calgary Sport and Social Club has games almost every night of the week in the summer, from volleyball to soccer to ultimate frisbee to badminton. It was excellent. I always sign up for the singles team which ends up leading to meeting new people and new friendships, and sometimes, we end up playing together so well we sign up as a team the following season. I have no photos, however, so you’ll have to believe me on this one. 🙂
We also got a lot of barbecuing in this summer, which is definitely my favourite way to cook.
Even walking along the river pathways in town was a regular evening activity in the beautiful summer weather.
The next thing I did was take my kayak out of storage for the first time in three years. I didn’t have anyone to kayak with so I didn’t stray far from home. I spent many days of my summer on the Glenmore Reservoir and wouldn’t have traded that for anything. Next summer I hope to do some river kayaking but hopefully I’ll have company.
I got to work on the Calgary Grandstand Show a the Calgary Stampede for a few days, and if you have ever been to Calgary in July, or live here, you know that the first ten days of the month every year are a big crazy busy mess of international tourists, western gear like boots and cowboy hats, and free pancake breakfasts every day of the week.
The grandstand show has over 100 performers from age 6, up.
A pancake breakfast seems like the closest thing to a “Canadian” meal I can think of, or at least a “Calgarian” tradition that I think is unique to Calgary. You can truly find several free breakfasts all over the city every day of stampede, and likely even the week before it begins. They usually include pancakes, bacon or sausage, sometimes eggs, sometimes hashbrowns. It’s a great way to celebrate community. I moved downtown this summer and got to attend a local breakfast that included live music, good food, and running into old friends that I now know are neighbors!
For the first time, Slide The City came to Calgary. It is three large slip-and-slides set up on a street and you can buy a one-slide, three-slide, or unlimited-slides pass, and you get an inner tube to ride down. I bought a pass and met up with a good friend on the day to try it out. It was a two day event, and we went on the second day. Weather was perfect. We had a great time and I’d happily pay for unlimited slides next time. There’s an art to going fast, and avoiding bad collisions with other, less successful sliders.
Going to the Calgary Folk Festival is one of my favourite weekends of the year and I was sad to miss it in 2014. I tell people that if I am in town for this weekend of the year, I am unavailable unless they come down to Prince’s Island Park. I volunteer all four days, and plan my schedule to catch as many different artists as possible. There are multiple stages and dozens of artists. My favourite parts of the day are the ‘workshops’; where several artists perform together. Every year I discover new groups and musicians that I love.
And the following weekend: another festival!
Something I haven’t attended since I was in university is the South Country Fair.
It’s located in Fort Macleod (about 90 minutes south of Calgary) and the best way to experience it is to camp there.
We drove down on the Friday morning in grey cloudy rain-stormy weather. It was a damp set up of our campsite, with nothing more than our tent and our car nestled between dozens of other tents, trailers, and vehicles. I have never seen closer, cosier camping than at this festival. It’s at a park, not an official campground, so there are no designated spots. Bring your earplugs if you want to guarantee sleep…
There was live music Friday night, all afternoon and evening Saturday, and then Sunday afternoon. The weather cleared up by Friday night and the last band started playing after midnight, so we understood why no events really got started until noon on Saturday and Sunday.
The other crazy thing is, the site is on a riverbed and the acoustics are crazy good, so we heard the music at our tent almost as clearly as on the field directly in front of it.
There were people attending that didn’t even leave their campsites because they could hear the music from their campfire. There were lots of families and little kids, and it really felt just like we went camping with a huge group of friends and some of them play music. We will definitely be doing it again!
We even tried out hooping, and it turns out my mom is a natural! It took me several tries, but once I got the hang of it, we got a good core workout for a little while!
My hiking partner and I had very different schedules this summer and she only had weekends free to hike with me, while I had booked up my weekends with travel and festivals.
We did get one hike in on a hot and sunny afternoon in August. We went out to Running Rain Lake, which is in Kananaskis, about a ten minute drive past the very popular Ptarmigan Cirque and Pocaterra Tarn hikes.
I love the mountains, and don’t even have to be hiking them to enjoy them.
I took a drive out to Canmore with one of my best friends, got some coffee, and wandered the pathways in town, exploring the local shops and then just sitting by the river appreciating how incredible nature is.
At the end of the summer, okay, truly this was in the fall, I spend a weekend at a cabin with friends just north of Calgary on Burnt Stick Lake.
I always thought that beautiful cottage locations were only found in BC or Ontario, but to my delight this is a hidden gem less than two hours away from home.
We did everything from roast hot dogs and make s’mores, to setting off fireworks on the shore and playing cards by a roaring fireplace. It was just one night away but it reminds me how much I love the idea of owning a cottage property in my future.
Other local autumn-season things included my first experience at the Calgary International Film Festival! I saw the intense and incredible story of Room, the heart-stopping thrilling mountain-climbing story of Meru, and the charming tale of Brooklyn. I highly recommend all three!
Overall it was an excellent summer at home, appreciating the best of my city and events nearby! Hopefully my next summer entry will again be across the pond!