One of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods is home to its most famous event: the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. But Victoria Crossing is also a magnet year-round, with quaint shops, trendy nightclubs and cutting-edge restaurants.
Olives is Italian cuisine with modern flair: their ravioli is filled with parsnips and truffles instead of meat, and their gnocchi is served with braised oxtail ragout. Over at Koi, try Asian fusion with dishes such as maple Shanghai noodles with tiger prawns, portobello mushrooms and spinach.CHOCOLATE PARADISE
In Calgary, Bernard Callebaut is synonymous with gourmet chocolate. He has been making it since 1982, when he emigrated from Belgium to carry on his family’s business in the New World. The flavours are all natural: real ginger, walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios, among others, mixed with subtle, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. We recommend the champagne truffle or strawberry crème fraîche.STAMPEDE PARK
One of Calgary’s busiest entertainment hubs is Stampede Park, and not just for the 10 days in July that it hosts the Stampede. Calgary’s NHL team (the Calgary Flames), junior hockey team (the Calgary Hitmen) and lacrosse team (the Calgary Roughnecks) all play at the park’s Pengrowth Saddledome, as well as big-name acts like Elton John, Kanye West and the Dixie Chicks. Stampede Casino, which moved into a new building last summer, offers 600 slots, 40 table games, 24-hour poker and dining options like Bambu Noodle House.UNIQUE BOUTIQUES
AE3 is an accessories shop with a twist: in addition to purses and jewellery, they offer oddities such as Hook-Her purse hangers that allow you to keep your purse off grimy floors. 100 Wines by David Walker is a wine shop with a unique approach: a rotating roster of 100 hand-picked wines, including a wall of 20 under $20.
If a laid-back pint is your style, head to Ed’s and order a pound of their legendary chicken wings. Over in the Arriva Tower, Zia’s Enoteca is a new wine bar with more than 700 bottles and piccoli piatti cuisine—Italian finger food designed to accompany the vino. Calgary’s legendary Cowboys is the place to go if you’re in the mood for exuberant debauchery.QUEBEC ART
The 1200 block of 1 St SW is in the middle of a renaissance, evidenced nowhere better than Thompson Landry Gallery. Housed in a building from the 1940s, this newly built gallery has a winding staircase, cathedral ceiling and wood accents—a sharp contrast to its colourful, innovative exhibits, drawn solely from Quebec’s modern artists.
Victoria Crossing is just south of the downtown core, between 6 St SE and 2 St SW and 10 Ave S and 17 Ave S.—Sally MacKinnon