• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom


Hot Art Round-Up: Jul 19 – 22



Brandon Giessmann / Projections ± Predispositions
TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary, 9 – 9 pm

Mitchell Chalifoux / Young Man’s Fancy
Alberta Printmakers, 6 – 7 pm

Jaime McDonald: starting and not necessarily ending
Arts Commons, Untitled Art Society: 6 – 7 pm

Plus 15 Window Gallery Exhibition / Henry Heng Lu
Arts Commons, The New Gallery: 6 – 8 pm

Lusine Manukyan – A Toast
Marion Nicoll Gallery, 6 – 7 pm

“Everything Summer” Artist Reception and Art Sale
Motion Gallery, starts at 6 pm

RAW Calgary: Connect
Marquee Beer Market & Stage, 7 pm – midnight



BUMP Launch Party – Part II – Updated
Central Memorial Park, 4 – 11 pm

3D Show II Opening Reception
Motion Gallery, 7 – 9 pm



Bee Kingdom Glass Sale and Free BBQ
July 21 & 22, noon – 5 pm

Farmers & Makers Market at cSPACE
cSPACE, 10 am – 3 pm

Five AM Presents Geneva Haley
Five Art & Merchandise, 7 – 10 pm

Public Event: Charlie Chaplin Film Screening/Film Shoot
WRECK CITY, EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society: 7 – 8:30 pm



Rhymes for Young Ghouls: Four Afternoons of Indigenous Cinema
Untitled Art Society, 2 – 4 pm

Your Ultimate Calgary BBQ Guide


You don’t have to head south to get a taste of authentic barbecue — from St. Louis ribs to Carolina-style pulled pork to true-Texas brisket, Calgary chefs are bringing it home.

The true-Texas barbecue at Hayden Block is a labour of perfectly smoked love. Located in the bohemian Kensington neighbourhood with both a street-side patio and a whiskey garden out back, the communal tables and chilled-out vibe set the stage for some downright delicious meat. Best done family- style (so you can taste more stuff), the food is served on old-school metal trays. Even vegetarians profess love for Hayden, with dishes like watermelon mint salad, deep fried pickles and gooey mac ‘n’ cheese gracing the menu. They also make three of their own sauces — don’t miss the espresso version.
Eat: The beef short rib.
Drink: Michter’s American.

Photo courtesy Hayden Block Smoke and Whisky.

When Alec Ferguson and Torin Shuster started Holysmoke BBQ, they recognized a need in the catering market for high-quality, delicious food that wouldn’t break the bank. Shuster, a lover of Southern barbecue, knew it would fit the bill. They opened their flagship location on Manhattan Road in the middle of an industrial park, and people quickly flocked to get a bite of tasty and sizable portions without a hefty price tag. The seating is banquet-style, so you could be rubbing shoulders with people in suits or coveralls and everything in between. “We often get remarks from American visitors that we succeeded in capturing the essence of Southern BBQ — no nonsense surroundings and keeping true to the recipes and methods,” Ferguson says.
Eat: Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich, Kansas City-style ribs, and Chef Shuster’s sweet corn bread.
Drink: Southern sweet tea.

Belle’s tagline is “making barbecue beautiful” and it shows. The welcoming space showcases stylish picnic tables, a pink pig smoker, and the food is exquisitely presented on cookie trays. Wood is stacked neatly in the corner — you may catch staff picking up a piece for the smoker. The menu is full of Southern-inspired dishes and lets you build your own feast, with the ability to pick from multiple snacks, salads and sides. They also offer a vegan main — the grilled cauliflower steak topped with creamy cashew olive remoulade is always a hit.
Eat: The “Daisy Duke” platter which includes Cajun-roasted chicken, 14-hour applewood smoked brisket and St. Louis ribs.
Drink: The Belle peach tea.

Photo courtesy Belle Southern Kitchen and Bar.

Cowboys, punk rockers and suits on their lunch break are all welcome at The Palomino. Western memorabilia is wedged on the walls next to playbills and the iconic poster of Johnny Cash’s angry finger. The popular live music venue has supported many local and touring artists over the years. Food-wise, they specialize in dry rubbed and smoked Texas-style barbecue and have developed their own special Palomino dry rub. “Our goal is to do the best barbecue, showcase the best live music and have the coldest beer,” says Arlen Smith, one of the operating partners of The Palomino. “That’s what we’ve been aiming for and want to keep hitting.”
Eat: Sliced Alberta beef brisket.
Drink: Good, crisp, light, cheap, American-style lager.

Jane Bond BBQ first rolled through Calgary as a food truck before expanding to a barbecue house in 2016 on International Avenue, a cuisine hotspot in the southeast. The space is classy yet comfortable, thanks to black leather, wooden planks and light- up marquee letters that spell out “BBQ.” Jenny Burthwright, owner and chef, says they aim to create an atmosphere where guests feel like they’re in a second home. The menu features some tasty and unique dishes, including croc bites — that’s right, crocodile battered and fried. You can still catch the food truck out and about, and they offer full-service catering too.
Eat: The jerk chicken.
Drink: Tennessee sweet tea.

Photo courtesy Jane Bond.

Bookers is all about Southern style, from the smokehouse barbecue, to the music, to the laidback, welcoming atmosphere in a century-old brick warehouse. It’s also about some epic all-you- can-eat sprees — every Sunday from 4 pm, dine on piles of succulent ribs and crab legs until you can’t possibly take another bite. More than 200 pounds of Alberta chicken, turkey, beef and pork are slow-smoked every single day, and if you’re not into barbecue (why are you even reading this!?) there are other Southern favourites like shrimp po’ boys and jambalaya. This is a place to relax, kick back and let the good times roll.
Eat: The BBQ platter featuring pork ribs, brisket, smokehouse turkey breast, pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw and fries — add crab legs for market price
Drink: The sangria (it’s a secret recipe!)

If you want to chow down on Southern-style barbecue with small-batch craft brews never far from your side, this “brewbecue” is the place for you. For years before he opened the joint, owner Paddy Sorrenti worked with smoked meats in the family catering company. Once he started home brewing, it wasn’t long before he envisioned a barbecue brewery. Nestled in Manchester Industrial Park in a cluster of craft breweries pegged the “Barley Belt,” it’s a casual and family friendly spot. “We want people to feel at home and then do everything at their own pace — take time to enjoy the beer and food,” Sorrenti says.
Eat: The in-house pastrami served only on Thursdays.
Drink: A house lager.

While Big Sky isn’t exactly in Calgary (it’s about a 30-minute drive south), it’s well worth the trip to this massive, no-frills barbecue emporium with indoor and outdoor seating for hundreds. Don’t go alone — bring your hungriest friends to help you defeat the mountains of Texas- style smoked meat, including brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis ribs and chicken thighs. Add sides such as scratch-made cornbread, smoked beans and scalloped cheddar bacon potatoes, plus a giant candied bacon chocolate chip cookie for dessert. You won’t find any fryers, freezers or grills at Big Sky — everything is authentic and made with 100 percent Alberta-grown meat.
Eat: The Whole Pit is made for eight to 10 people and comes with brisket, pulled pork, chicken, pork ribs, beef ribs, house-made sausage, hog spuds (potatoes wrapped and smoked in bacon, drizzled with honey and sour cream) and a tub of beans.
Drink: One of the 12 different Caesars on the menu.

Photo courtesy Big Sky BBQ Pit.



Hot Art Round-Up: Jul 12-15



Second Thursday – Artist Spotlight
cSPACE, Alberta Craft Gallery, 5 – 8 pm


Chroma Summer Group Exhibition
Christine Klassen Gallery, 5 – 7 pm

Inglewood Night Market, 5 – 11 pm

Community Evening at Esker!
Esker Foundation, 6 – 8 pm

Friday the 13th : Kitty Edition : Roman66 + Guests / Fundraiser
EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society, 7:33 – 11:33 pm


Fragments of Time
John Fluevog Shoes, 10 am – 7 pm

Farmers & Makers Market at cSPACE
cSPACE, 10 am – 3 pm

ISO Three-Ways: A Reading + Conversation
Stride Gallery, 2 – 4 pm


Fire Song: Four Afternoons of Indigenous Cinema
Untitled Art Society, 2 – 4 pm




3 ways to get your arts and culture dose in Calgary


Esker Foundation is exhibiting two major solo exhibitions from Canadian artists Vanessa Brown and Anna Torma until September 2. Brown’s The Witching Hour takes the viewer through a series of fantastic scenarios. In one installation you’ll find yourself feeling like Alice after she’s taken the shrinking potion, as you stumble upon a jeweller’s piercing parlour at midnight. You’re surrounded by whimsical and oversized earrings and other accessories that beckon you to a speculative reality where a weary wall clock naps at night.

Photo courtesy Esker Foundation.

Book of Abandoned Details features Anna Torma’s large-scale hand embroidered wall hangings and collages. Torma has more than 40 years of embroidery experience, and this exhibit presents major work produced over the past five years. One work, Carpet of Many Hands, is a stunning collage of found and collected fabrics and original embroideries. Hundreds of textile pieces culminate in a powerful piece that reflects on domestic space, labour and the value of women’s domestic work. Sign up for a free talk, tour or workshop, or download Esker’s free app before you visit.

Check out the “G’ddy Up!” exhibit at Newzones, which will be exhibited until August 25. This annual group show features work that showcases the western iconography we’re all familiar with, and also explores how the “Wild West” is shifting into something more cosmopolitan and vibrant. This exhibit includes photography, painting and sculpture from renowned artists, including Dianne Bos and Cathy Daley.

Explore the world of grain at the Grain Academy and Museum in Stampede Park. Bring the kids to see a 35-metre-long railway model that demonstrates how grain moves out of Western Canada by rail and feeds people all over the world. Browse historic photos, films, replicas, the tools and equipment used by early farmers in Alberta and a working model grain elevator to get a closer look at the structures that transformed the grain industry and remain an iconic part of Canada’s agriculture history. Admission is by donation.

Grandson shakes up Calgary Stampede Coca-Cola Stage


Photo courtesy Warner Music.

Where rock and roll and activism meet, that’s where you’ll find Grandson. The McGill University drop-out who relocated to Los Angeles to pursue music is angry, optimistic and has something to say.

His debut EP, A Modern Tragedy Vol. 1, released last month, is a commentary on corruption, social disenfranchisement and apathy, as much as it is a help line to those grappling with where they stand in the current political climate.

Where Calgary had the chance to catch up with Grandson before his performance on July 10 at the Calgary Stampede Coca-Cola Stage, where he’ll be opening for Our Lady Peace.  

Have you played in Calgary before or is this your first time here? I played in Calgary one time before opening for my dear friends The Glorious Sons; it was one of the first shows that I ever played in Canada where people knew Blood // Water and where there was some familiarity. It was an incredibly exciting time, and with all the support we’ve been getting I can’t wait to come back.

You were born in New Jersey but moved to Toronto when you were quite young. Do you feel Canadian? Or Canadian and American? I absolutely feel a relationship to Canada. To the natural resources there, to the disposition of Canadians; whenever I use the word “out” or “about” in the US I get called out for it. But with everything going on in America I’m proud to be an American. I’m proud to be able to speak on things not just as an outsider but as someone who has the right that every American has to vote, to express their opinions and to be heard.

How did you get started on your music, was it something that you knew you always wanted to pursue? My family are a bunch of musicians, but my sister really excelled academically and I didn’t really know where I fit in. Music just kind of became an outlet for me. At first I would write songs about girls I had a crush on in high school. In [university] I was just going through the motions. Then someone heard a video that had only a couple hundred views and they wanted to bring me down to Los Angeles to try writing for other artists. So within the span of five or six weeks I dropped out of school and found a sublet for my apartment, and all of a sudden I was living on a couch in Los Angeles writing songs.

That seems crazy, to make a decision like that in a span of six weeks. I was 20 at the time and I just really felt like okay, let’s say this doesn’t work, in two years or three years I’ll just go back to school. Grandson for me represented the first time that I was willing to fail at something. I had no money and I was just like, ‘alright, well this is me, this is what I have to say, and if no one likes it well you know f–k ‘em, I like it.’ I think that when you enter a headspace like that in any endeavour in your life, be it a career or a relationship, when you’re really willing to put yourself out there and risk rejection or embarrassment or whatever those uncomfortable feelings are, that’s when I think the universe starts cutting you a break.

What’s the scariest thing about being an artist and making music? The scariest part can be the sense of vertigo as you depart from the safety of normalcy. As I am more public with my opinions, as I am more nomadic in my tour schedule, my life looks so much different than I ever could have imagined it. So of all the scary parts, it’s just the fear of maybe losing yourself in it. 

Your debut EP, A Modern Tragedy Vol. 1 just came out so walk us through the creation of that. What does this body of work mean to you? I actually wrote “6 o’clock” around the time that Trump was elected. I was just sitting on all of this music for a while and I knew that I wanted to make a sort of cohesive state of the union – the union not necessarily being America but just a sort of ‘this is where we’re at’. I feel like there is an incredible gravity to this time. It’s such a critical juncture for democracy and youth culture and for you know, how the f–k are we gonna all learn how to cooperate? And if we’re not then how can we confront these issues without getting too burnt out? Can we escalate and work through some of the systemic failure that is plaguing this society without necessarily burning it all down?

Which is a tough line to walk. It requires a lot of confrontation and humility. You have to be able to listen to everybody’s side. I have a hard time relating to people who feel differently from me and I think that that’s human, but it’s also the sort of problem that plays into the hands of the people who are making decisions that wanna keep us at odds with one another. Songs like “6 o’clock” and “stick up” and even “blood // water” touch on some of those failures and some of those conditions, and then songs like “overdose” and “despicable” talk about the the apathy and the escapism that I think this environment can encourage. For me that was what this process represented, it was a lens into the world that I’m writing in.

You mentioned that these topics can be exhausting to dwell on – what gives you hope? One of the things about touring that I love most is that I get to be confronted by people who are really passionate and who are working on the front lines of issues. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to activists and community organizers and teachers that have been through school shootings. I’ve talked to recovering addicts, I’ve talked to people that are recovering from self-harm, and those sorts of things give me hope and optimism. I think that the young people in this society both in Canada and the United States are more engaged than our parents were. I think that they are more connected to one another and that there are more systems in place for them to organize and mobilize. When I think big in the kind of change I want to make and when I see people respond well to that, that makes me pretty f–king stoked. I think that there is a change coming.

Hot Art Round-Up: Jul 5 – 7



Free First Thursday Night
Glenbow Museum, 5 – 9 pm

Artpoint Gallery Summer Invitational
ArtPoint Gallery and Studios Society, 5 – 9 pm



Gala opening night Queen B is back
John Fluevog Shoes, 5-7 pm

Comic Launch and Exhibition
Dandy Brewery (Artist in Residence program) 7 – 10 pm



Artist-Run Pancake Breakfast | Connections 2018 Closing
Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, 9:30 – 11:30 am

Farmers & Makers Market at cspace
cSPACE, 10 am – 3 pm

Locally-Made Market
Bloomfield Garden Centre, 10 am – 3 pm

Summer Exhibitions Opening at Newzones!
Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2 – 4 pm

Calgary Ultimate Summer Festival Guide


Are you all about the tunes? Focused on food? Looking for new experiences? Calgary’s summer festivals have it all!

Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary


From July 26-29, over 70 folk music artists from 14 countries perform, including Neko Case, Rhye, Stars, Lee Ann Womack and Clinton St. John. Many performers participate in collaborative sessions, improvising and riffing music never heard before or again.

Not in the mood for sunny skies? From July 27 – 29, head underground to Terminus, a festival specializing in dark electronic, synth and industrial music. Performers are coming from all over the world, among them TR/ST, Mesh, Leaether Strip, iVardensphere, Boy Harsher and Die Scum Inc.

From July 30-August 5, enjoy non-stop music including nightly dance parties — world-class blues music reigns supreme at this fest, featuring artists such as Dawn Tyler Watson, Popa Chubby and BB King’s Blues Band.

From August 4-5, Martin Garrix and DJ Snake are headlining at this year’s Chasing Summer, western Canada’s biggest EDM festival, and they’ll be joined by many more. The festival is 18+ due to a site-wide alcohol license.

Ready the bandanas and cowboy hats for this country music bonanza from August 17-19. This huge outdoor festival features headliners Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Eric Church and other big names.

Photo: courtesy Taste of Calgary


From August 3-11, expect the unexpected at this uncensored, non-juried theatre festival. See more than 160 performances over nine days — performing artists receive 100 per cent of the ticket revenue. Located in Inglewood, all theatres are within walking distance of each other.

There are activities for all ages at this warm-weather fest on August 4, from bouncy castles to summer patios to street performers to a Show and Shine, as well as more than 200 vendors. Take the opportunity to check out some of Calgary’s hottest boutiques and eateries.

Discover the global cuisines of Calgary from Cajun to Indian from August 9-12, with dozens of eateries selling samples of their most mouth-watering food and drinks. There’s also a music stage and a foodies stage with cooking demos.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll on August 12 at this free, New Orleans-themed street festival featuring cultural performers, dance and music, and outdoor activities. This family-friendly fest has a kids area, unique shopping and lots of tasty food.

The skies are set ablaze with a jaw-dropping, five-night international fireworks competition reflected in the placid water of Elliston Lake. On the ground, enjoy food vendors, a night market, live performances and cultural heritage pavilions. From August 16-25.

Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary


Take in the culture, cuisine, music and folklore of Mexico at Mexifest from July 6-7. The entertainment will include authentic luchadores from Mexico City, a 12-piece mariachi band called Mariachi Internacional Sol Azteca and more.

Latin American culture is at the centre of this free, multicultural arts and entertainment festival from July 20-22, featuring plenty of music and dance, brightly coloured costumes, food and shopping vendors and more.

An omatsuri is a traditional Japanese festival, and Calgary’s version on August 11 features traditional music and dance, martial arts demonstrations, arts and crafts, food and sake tasting.

Dragon boat racing is an ancient tradition that encourages comradery, teamwork and inspiration. With more than 4,000 spectators and 1,850 competitors, the dragon boat race is a can’t-miss spectacle combined with cultural entertainment, food and activities. From August 11-12.

Arriba! Presented by the Hispanic Arts Society, this outdoor festival on Prince’s Island Park from August 17-19 features world-class music, dancing, a food fair, a beer garden and an arts market.

The festival kicks off with a spectacular parade that pays homage to the splendour of Caribbean masquerade, followed by a whirlwind of music, dance, food and crafts celebrating the culture and diaspora of the Caribbean. On August 25.

15 Things to do in Calgary in July




Open each weekend during the summer, this innovative shipping container, shopping, and event hub offers lots to love, from retail therapy, workshops, music, and art to food trucks. 


From July 4-8, show-jumping heavyweights from across the Americas will face-off at the third marquee tournament of the world-class Spruce Meadows summer series.


Photo courtesy Sebastian Buzzalino.

If the Calgary Stampede is a beloved tradition, tack on one of the concerts at the historic and newly re-opened King Eddy, which kicks into gear during Stampede from July 6-15 as a pop-up country bar.


Admission to Stampede gets you access to this special event, occurring once daily on July 8, 9, 11, 14 and 15.


Hey soul sister, on July 11 grab a friend and catch this year’s headliner, Grammy award-winning Train, perform alongside fellow rock acts Goo Goo Dolls, The Wallflowers and The Grapes of Wrath.


On July 12 you’ll be in good company when this Canadian folk-bluegrass ensemble comes to town.


This modern day market will be in Inglewood on July 13, hosting over 50 local vendors selling everything from handmade items to vintage clothing, antiques, collectibles and more.


From July 17-22 this award-winning Broadway musical will be performed.

Photo courtesy Matthew Murphy.


On July 18 explore 65 years of art over the course of your lunch hour.


Where the city’s best ribs, barbecue chicken and pulled pork will be cooked, smoked and served up from July 20-22. 


Go cheer on the Stamps on July 21 as they face off against the Montreal Alouettes.


Catch 71 artists from 13 different countries perform from July 26-29. Headliners include A Tribe Called Red, Bahamas, The Barr Brothers and Lee Ann Womack.


Known for his distinct brand of unapologetic comedy and candor Jeffries will be in Calgary on July 27 with The Night Talker Tour.  


This event from July 28-29 will share the richness of Arabian culture through folk dance, traditional music, food, art and more.


Bulldogs race, puppies stampede and our furry friends do some diving at the west coast’s biggest pet festival from July 28-29.


Hot Art Round-Up: Jun 28 – Jul 1



INTI Designs Studio / Launch Party and Open House
Inti Designs, 5 – 11:30 pm



BUMP Launch Party – Part II – Updated
Central Memorial Park, 4:30 – 11:30 pm



Latin American Art Exhibition 2018
cSPACE, June 30 – July 14 (see link for details)

Farmers & Makers Market at cSPACE
cSPACE, 10 am – 3 pm

Summer Craft Market
Montgomery Community Association, 10 am – 4 pm

50th Anniversary Block Party
Calgary Tower, 11 am – 4 pm



Heart for Art
Stephen Avenue, 9 am – 5 pm

Canada Day 2018: Free admission at Studio Bell
National Music Centre, 10 am – 5 pm

Canada Day Block Party Gallery Exhibit
Max Bell Centre, 2 – 11 pm

Our top picks for Calgary Stampede Food


The Calgary Stampede comes but once a year, transforming the city into a 10-day party where pancake breakfasts are free and plenty, jeans become acceptable in even the most conservative offices, and midway foods beckon — delicious concoctions that cover the full spectrum of junk food, from deep fried to smothered in cheese (or both).

The Calgary Stampede announced there are more than 60 new midway foods this year, and we’ve rounded up what the Where Calgary team is most looking forward to trying.

Frozen Chocolate Watermelon Pops

Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

If you’re in the mood for something a little “lighter” this is the treat for you — there’s no deep frying is involved. Juicy watermelon is put on a stick, dipped in milk chocolate, rolled in candy, frozen and served to the masses.

The Hangover Mac & Cheese

Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

How do you one-up the ultimate comfort food — delicious, creamy and gooey macaroni and cheese? Why, you blend it with beer, and top it with potato chips and pretzels, of course!

Kangaroo Pizza

Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

Crust from Avatara Pizza is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil, banana peppers, mushrooms and — the pièce de résistance — cured kangaroo sausage.

Korean BBQ Tater Tots

Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

We love tater tots; we love barbecued meats. Both tasty foods collide in this dish, where tater tots are garnished with kalbi marinated sirloin steak.

Sushi Doughnut

Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

This is exactly what it sounds like — a sushi roll shaped like a doughnut, with layers of smoked salmon or crab meat, fish roe, pickled radish, sesame seeds and avocado mayonnaise.

Szechwan Prawn Wrap

Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

Prawns are teeny and terrifying reminders of the monsters that once roamed our oceans millions and millions of years ago — and so tasty when topped with panko crumbs and fried! Enjoy them in a cone-shaped tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cucumber Szechwan sauce and Sriracha mayonnaise.


Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

A nod to the street food of Tokyo, this watermelon is filled with — you guessed it — watermelon-flavoured ice cream. Cool off from a day in the hot sun with this simple and satisfying dessert.

Wine & Cheese

Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede.

This one is not for the faint of heart. Wine-infused cake is deep fried into bite-sized pieces and paired with fried squeaky cheese curds, and wine jelly for dipping.

Hot Art Round-Up: Jun 21 – 24



Formed by Sand Group Show
Lougheed House, 6 – 7:30 pm

Lauren Walker – TA(I)L(E)S
Herringer Kiss Gallery, 5 – 8 pm



Southcentre Summer Night Markets
June 22 and 23 (5 – 10 pm)

Opening Reception for Gassed Redux and Öde
The Military Museums, 6 – 9 pm



Farmers & Makers Market at cSPACE
cSPACE, 10 am – 3 pm

Parksale 2018 – 10 Year Anniversary
East Village Riverwalk, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm

We Are Not an Island 2018
Royal Canadian Legion #1, Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

Placeholder: It’s your turn to talk! with d.talks
Esker Foundation, 1 – 3 pm

Market Collective x Sled Island Block Party: Vintage Pop-Up
Inglewood (10 Ave SE & 10 St SE), 2 – 7 pm

Exhibition Reception and Talk
CSpace, Alberta Craft Council: 2 – 4 pm

Mark Holliday + Aaron Sidorenko: Field Paintings
Paul Kuhn Gallery, 2 – 5 pm

Paint Night Fundraiser
VCA Canada MacEwan Animal Hospital, 6 – 8 pm



Lucas Beaufort Skateboard Deck Release party
Pinbar, 1 – 6 pm

Fluid- Art Show
Avatara Pizza, 6 – 10 pm

The adventures of Scruffy the Car


Photo courtesy Heritage Park Historical Village.

There’s a Nash 450 sedan sitting in Gasoline Alley in Heritage Park Historical Village, and her name is Scruffy.

She first rolled off the assembly line in 1930 with a shiny coat of paint. Only a few years later she was covered in dents, repairs and rust due to the travels of a Saskatchewan family searching for a better life on the open road.

Like many prairie families in Canada during the Great Depression, they were forced to pack up their belongings, load up the car and leave their devastated farm behind to find work.

Scruffy has room for five people. With no trunk, any extra luggage would be strapped on the roof. The family headed north to Peace River Country, but somewhere in Alberta the worn-out car kicked the bucket.

Sylvia Harnden, the curator at Heritage Park, says the family would have had no choice but to set out on foot while Scruffy was left to fend for herself. Scruffy eventually settled in a barn in Balzac.

About 50 years later, in 1985, a man named Brian McKay showed up looking for Scruffy. The Calgary-born car enthusiast was living in Victoria, restoring antique Nash roasters, and looking for parts, when he heard about the old girl.

“He picked it up for parts, but once he had it in his possession, he started to look at it and fell in love with what it represented — all those thousands of thousands of people who struggled during the depression,” Harnden says. “The Dust Bowl, drought, hail, grasshoppers — it was a terrible time for a lot of people — and to him it represented those hardships.”

After having a hell of a time taking Scruffy to car shows, in 2004, when he was 65 years old, McKay mechanically restored the car and drove 2,000 miles down Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, recreating the journey of many Dust Bowl refugees who headed west hoping to find work.

He shipped Scruffy by flatbed truck to Chicago and travelled by train to meet up with her for the epic, 2000-mile, seven-week journey. McKay mimicked the life of the original displaced farmers with an old bed frame tied on top of Scruffy and a kitchen set-up at the back. He camped roadside or in campgrounds along Route 66 and cooked his own food.

The car has wooden spokes so when driving through drylands in Nevada, at one point he drove into a tributary of the Colorado River to soak his wheels, to swell up the spokes so they would be tight again.

After McKay’s death, Scruffy was donated to Heritage Park in 2010 with the stipulation they could not restore her.

“I think the story of this car is one thing — the indomitable human spirit,” Harnden says. “Brian McKay had it, people who survived the Great Depression had it — they just had to keep on, keepin’ on — and somehow they did.”

Liked this story? Read the full feature in the May/June issue of Where Calgary and uncover the secrets behind five museum artifacts.