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Making Treaty 7 is reclaiming history one performance at a time


Courtesy Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society.

As a child, Justin Manyfingers watched his grandparents make berry soup. When I met him, he had just attempted his first batch. “There’s a certain technique used to boil [the berries]”, says Manyfingers, which can be Saskatoon berries or whatever is local to the maker. “Usually you make it in a ceremony.”

The ceremony at hand is Manyfingers’ own  – one to induct him as the new artistic director for Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society, a role he fills at a time of change, expansion and inspiration for the organization. Launched in 2012 by founders Michael Green and Narcisse Blood, the society seeks to tell the history of what happened during the signing of Treaty 7 at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877, and how the impacts of this event manifest today through performance art.

Remembering how to make berry soup ten years after watching his grandparents make it is a testament to the Blackfoot oral tradition; a cornerstone of the culture that is also central to Making Treaty 7’s operations. Understanding that the history of the signing of Treaty 7 had not been told from an Indigenous perspective, and that much of this history was not written down, Green and Blood developed a unique storytelling methodology centered around oral historical storytelling.

“Most productions begin with a script, and then actors and directors go from that script – that’s not how we work,” says Ollie Siska, managing director at Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society. “We put experts, elders and the artists together in a residency and it’s basically a conversation that goes on for days where stories are told and [where] traditional oral history that’s not recorded anywhere is talked about.”

Manyfingers was a part of this process for Making Treaty 7’s first show, which premiered in 2013. Now, he has co-written and directed of a new version of that original production, KAAHSINNONIKS ‘Our Ancestors’, which will be performed at the Jubilee Auditorium on October 3 and 4.

“The goal with this production is that we are still able to give as much information but through more of an artistic lens, where the works in the past had been very presentational,” says Manyfingers. He also notes that the production has been narrowed down to 65 minutes from 12 hours of raw material. “There’s still probably at least 500 years of stories that you could turn into theatre from that [first] show.”

The second production scheduled for this fall, KIIKTISTINNONIKS ‘Our Mothers’, tells the history of the women’s role in the signing of Treaty 7, and how that is linked to present day crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The fully female led and created show aims to depict how women have always been the backbone of Blackfoot culture, contrary to colonial portrayals.

“The professors and the researchers and the people who wrote the books about us, they didn’t want to hear the women’s stories, they wanted to hear the men – the chief, the warrior, the savage, you know, with the western masculinity,” says Manyfingers. “This [production] looks at First Nations, Metis and Inuit women, but it gets more focused into Calgary – it gets more focused into Treaty 7. Even though it is a national voice, it gives so much context to where we live in and what we live in.”

Manyfingers notes that Making Treaty 7 productions and the methodology used to create them has already started to inspire other Treaty nations to tell their own stories through performance art. The shows also have proved to fill a gap in public school curriculum. “When we’re at the jubilee we do matinees for schools only – we basically invite all the CBE schools and all the nation’s schools, so we’ll have 5000 kids coming,” explains Siska. “They fill up every time because there’s such a lack of education. Teachers absolutely love this for discussion purposes – it’s a really important aspect to breach the youth.”

As far as Making Treaty 7’s productions’ role in the Truth and Reconciliation movement, Manyfingers says that they embody every aspect of it. “It’s not even really about getting along, it’s just about understanding each other. I don’t really care if you don’t get along but at least have respect. Without respect you don’t have relations and that is what we’re putting into everything, or trying to push for.”

Calgary’s 9th art Biennial aims to engage audiences of all kinds


The diverse, cutting-edge performative festival known as the art Biennial is entering its third week, with tons more planned until its conclusion on October 7th. Where Calgary asked Desiree Nault, Artistic Director of the Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival Society (M:ST), the group that hosts the event, what’s new and exciting about the 9th Biennial in Calgary.

Courtesy Didier Morelli.

How is this 9th Biennial different than those before it? In this iteration of the biennial we have focused our energy on supporting the creation of new artworks by visiting national and international artists in the form of residencies. The Toronto-based collective Life of a Craphead (the group responsible for the Entertaining Every Second exhibit in early September)will be staying on for the next month doing research in Calgary. The National Music Centre has welcomed Suzanne Kite and Nathan Young for a one-week residency to experiment with the NMC’s collection, and internationally renowned Jin-me Yoon is staying on for two weeks after the biennial to do site visits in and around Tsuu T’ina Nation with the support of local artists Terrance Houle and Seth Dodginghorse.

We were very happy to add the National Music Centre to the list (of partners) this year. New additions also include local outreach organizations HIV Community Link and The Alex Community Food Centre who are helping us present Disclosure Cookbook, an artwork by Mikiki and Jordan Arseneault. This artwork involves making extravagant dinners with people who are HIV positive, and digitally publishing anonymous quotes culled from the dinner conversation in order to question existing HIV stigma and criminalization.

Could you tell our readers a bit more about some of the artists performing at the Biennial and the topics they will seek to explore? Many of the artists take on or challenge settler colonialism, the affective or invisible power of politics over the human body, and the responsibility that comes with inherited histories and familial trauma.

Suzanne Kite and Nathan Young are recording noise from local power stations in order to map and listen to the land. During the live performance they use a variety of instruments and wearable interfaces to weave these sounds into music and visuals. This process is driven by their interest in the divergences in Western and Native American ways of understanding truth.

Adriana Disman and Steve Roggenbuck both perform in the evening on Saturday October 6, and have very different methods for dealing with contemporary politics. In her performance, Adriana Disman investigates the daily invisible violences that are the result of living within large and common systems of power, and the individual unspectacular suffering that results. Roggenbuck is an American poet who became well known on YouTube about five years ago for reading what I would call love poems. He uses pop-culture and language that is common on the internet, that may be over used and commodified, but filters it through his own funny, spontaneous, adoration for the world in a way that feels newly meaningful.

What are you the most excited about for this Biennial in particular? I am very excited about some of the projects that require registration. It takes a bit of extra work to e-mail us and say that you’d like to be involved, but well worth it because of the opportunity to be directly involved in the artist’s process, and in some cases, like Disclosure Cookbook, to even co-author the work. As an example, Jin-me Yoon will be holding two workshops where participants will enter a solitary sensory deprivation tank for 90 minutes at FloatLife, and then will come together over tea to have a facilitated conversation with Jin-me on subjects concerning colonialism.

Meanwhile at Theatre Junction Grand, Emma-Kate will lead the performance workshop possible performance. This will be a meaningful experience for any artist who is interested in performance or the body as it deals with ‘impossibility.’ The workshop asks the question, how does your body react when it encounters actions that are not possible or futile? Can the body create new meaning or futures, even if we don’t yet have the language to identify them?

How does the Biennial serve to bring together the Calgary arts community? I can’t not include that my heart beats faster when I think about all of these incredible minds: academics, artists, performers and our amazing staff, volunteers and board members getting together and sharing their experience. Performance art can seem like a very niche discipline, but it is not really, everyone has a thinking/feeling brain and body that wants to be activated by lived experience.

M:ST seeks to really dive into the works presented at the biennial and we do a lot to make this happen. This year we are working with some very generous faculty at the Alberta College of Art + Design to present the symposium Tempaurality, which unpacks the theme of listening as it occurs in the Biennial.

We also do our best to make our programming as welcoming as possible, free, presented in accessible spaces, and wherever possible have non-gendered washrooms. Our online texts for this biennial are also published in French and English.

What does the Biennial mean for the future of performative art in the city and across the province? This is a great question. I am really interested in the unseen, the experiences in art that are private. I don’t know how to survive the hyper consumption and reflexive culture that I am a part of without saving space for intimacy, privacy, and the potential for co-authorship. Audiences of M:ST have agency in their viewing experience and sometimes even in the artwork itself. This is not uncharacteristic of performative art, but it is uncharacteristic in the face of spectacle.

3 new must-have books from Calgary writers


Courtesy Haley MacLeod.

ROOM 5608 
In February 2016, singer/songwriter Jessie J reposted a poem from Calgary writer Haley MacLeod on Instagram. MacLeod was woken at 2 am thanks to multiple messages from friends asking if she saw the post from one of her favourite singers. The post got more than 28,000 likes and hundreds of positive comments, which MacLeod says was a confirmation that sharing her poetry with others is her calling. At the time she was well underway in writing her debut poetry book, Room 5608, which she self-published this spring. It’s 100 per cent her vision, from the poetry to the formatting and book design. She says the book was a major part of helping her cope with the trauma, grief and depression she went through at a young age.

“I lost my father to addiction and suicide,” MacLeod says. “That was a defining moment in my life where I realized I needed to use my voice to shed light on the conversations and feelings most people shy away from.”

She says she never had grand dreams of being a poet: “Poetry found me. She gave me a pen and told me, ‘Write until the pain brings you back home to yourself.’ For five years I wrote everyday, nine hours a day, until Room 5608 came into fruition. I’m sure every Starbucks in this city knows what I drink.” The poems follow a free verse and minimalistic style, and touch on heartbreak, grief, mental illness and recovery, with the goal of bringing healing to herself and the people around her. Room 5608 is available at Pages on Kensington, Shelf Life Books on 4th Street SW, select Chapters/Indigo locations and through Amazon.

Courtesy Touchwood Editions.

In the summer of 2017, Karen Anderson and Matilde Sanchez-Turri travelled around the province to compile a snapshot of Alberta’s diverse culinary scene. The result is Food Artisans of Alberta, a helpful travel guide that shines a spotlight on the province’s locally crafted fare. The book includes profiles of the Alberta’s food artisans — farmers, ranchers, brewers, cheesemakers and more — along with recommended farmers’ markets and watering holes to visit. In the Calgary section, you’ll read about some of the people behind Charcut, River Café, Rouge and others who elevate Alberta’s food scene and reputation. Find it at Shelf Life Books, Pages, Owl’s Nest in Britannia Plaza, and Chapters/Indigo locations around the city.

Courtesy Freehand Books.

Independent publisher Freehand Books is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, and The Figgs marks their 50th book! In this funny and endearing story written by Calgary-based author Ali Bryan, the Figg family navigates rebellious teens, unexpected pregnancy, aging, adoption and more with humour, wit and (occasional) grace. The memorable characters and non-stop shenanigans keep the pages turning. Pick up a copy at Shelf Life Books, Owl’s Nest Books, and Chapters/Indigo locations in Calgary.

From bubble tea to ramen: 3 must-try eats in YYC


Courtesy Pixabay.

The Japanese capital boats some of the best cuisine in the world, and trendy Tokyo Street Market is committed to bringing that atmosphere and flavour home to Calgary. With a menu of “fresh-fast food” like ramen, yakitori and takoyaki, it’s designed for those looking to grab a quick lunch, or throw back some beer or sake after work. The space is also family friendly.

Courtesy Burwood Distillery.

There’s a little jewel tucked away in northeast Calgary where you can sit at the bar and sample small-batch spirits while watching the distillery at work in the next room. Burwood Distillery lovingly crafts gin, vodka, honey eau de vie and medica (an incredible eastern European honey liqueur) and is now offering a menu that perfectly complements their hand-crafted beverages. Pair the vodka with their house pickles and gin-cured salmon, or try the honey eau de vie with charbroiled octopus and prawns, and polish it off with medica trifle topped with vodka-macerated berries. Don’t forget to take a bottle home — Burwood’s spirits are also available in local shops and Alberta-wide at Co-op Wine & Spirits and Sobeys Liquor.

If you need more bubble tea in your life, Presotea has you covered. Located on 17th Avenue, this new tea time hangout is exclusive to Calgary as the only location in Alberta. The Taiwanese chain uses espresso machine technology to press each cup of tea, maximizing the flavour. Choose from an array of milk tea and fruit slush before customizing your drink by choosing the temperature, sweetness, and toppings such as panda pearls or basil seeds. There are tons of options that allow you to find your perfect combo, though you may need to conduct a few experiments.

Hot Art Round-Up: Sep 13 – 15



Jackie Anderson: What Comes Around Reception
cSPACE: Blackboard Gallery, 5 – 8 pm

Tyler Bright Hilton: Minmei Madelynne Pryor on the Trail of a Liar
VIVIANEART, 6 – 9 pm

Hack It | Adults Only Night
TELUS Spark 6 – 10 pm



Inglewood Night Market
Inglewood, 5 – 11 pm

Jeff Nachtigall / Peripatetic Allegories
Jarvis Hall Gallery, 5 – 8 pm

Lisa Brawn Mumsho
Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, 5 – 9 pm and 2 – 5 pm (Saturday)

Laura Peturson – Wasteland/Wanderland
Alberta Printmakers, 7 – 9 pm

Wnoondwaamin – we hear them
Stride Gallery, 8 pm – midnight



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

Calgary ArtWalk Festival 2018
Saturday and Sunday, hours dependent on location

Calgary Artwalk and the Webster Galleries Grand Re-Opening
Webster Galleries, 10 am – 6 pm (Saturday and Sunday)

East Side Studio Crawl
Burns Visual Arts Society, 11 am – 5 pm

Open House & Pottery Sale – East Side Studio Crawl
Workshop Studios, 11 am – 5 pm

Out of the Studio: ArtWalk 2018 at Masters Gallery
Masters Gallery, 11 am – 4 pm

Art Therapy
Imageseekers Urban Concept Gallery, 11 am – 4 pm (Saturday and Sunday)

Guided ArtWalk tour with Art Proctor
Esker Foundation, 11:45 am – 4:30 pm

Ulrich Panzer : Frequencies
Christine Klassen Gallery, 1 – 4 pm

Unveiling: New Manhole Cover Art Celebration
Prince’s Island Park, 1 – 5 pm

Scot Bullick & Joan Dunkley: New Order
The Edge Gallery, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Jesse Stilwell
Paul Kuhn Gallery, 2 – 5 pm

Fall Exhibitions Opening! Bradley Harms and Samantha Walrod
Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2 – 4 pm

Apik Art Gallery: 35th annual ART WALK
Apik Art Gallery, 5 pm –

Inglewood Night Market
Inglewood, 5 – 11 pm

Historic King Eddy returns to Calgary Music Mile


Photo courtesy Glenbow Archives.

When Ellen McIlwaine first started playing Calgary’s “home of the blues” in 1982, it was packed full of low-hanging cigarette smoke, melodic chords and a crowd dancing just a few feet from her guitar.

She started coming to the historic King Edward Hotel while travelling through a North American blues circuit. Originally based in the U.S., she never missed a chance to stop in, and eventually relocated to Calgary in the early ’90s. On an average Saturday, she’d host the jam at the King Edward Hotel all afternoon and then play three sets into the night. Looking back, she laughs and says the crowd was always a “mixed bag” — from bikers to police to blue collar to white collar.

“Everyone was there,” she says. “And everyone was there because of the music.”

The venue affectionately called the King Eddy closed its doors in 2004 after falling into disrepair, and soon faced demolition. But Calgary’s National Music Centre opted to restore the building in 2008 — taking it apart and rebuilding the exterior brick-by-brick — officially reopening the live music venue on July 20, 2018. That weekend, McIlwaine took the stage in front of a buzzing crowd once again at her old stomping grounds.

Photo by Brenna Pladsen.

The newly rejuvenated King Eddy is now the western pillar of Calgary’s new music district: the Music Mile.

Stretching all the way from the King Eddy to The Blues Can along 9th Avenue, the Music Mile Society is a non-profit collective of venues, businesses and organizations working to bring more live music to the city. There’s a minimum of 25 live shows along the mile every weekend, with many found in unexpected places like Charbar and The Nash.

“Think of it like the python that swallows the pig,” laughs Music Mile organizer Meg Van Rosendaal. “The spine of the mile is along 9th Avenue, but it spreads out on both sides into Inglewood and East Village. What gives the Music Mile the chance to be something wonderful is that it connects two neighbourhoods — it’s not just one attraction, it creates a destination.”

With beloved venues like The Blues Can, Ironwood and Festival Hall already in the area, as well as the promise of the King Eddy returning, Van Rosendaal says the area was already a music mile, “but it didn’t have a name.” So, along with musician and friend Bob Chartier, she helped put together a steering committee and officially launched the Music Mile Society in January 2016.

The launch coincided with the opening of Studio Bell’s National Music Centre’s (NMC) new location built around the King Eddy. Andrew Mosker, president of the NMC, says “the history and the lore” of the King Eddy was what drove them to build around it, essentially making it the biggest piece of their collection. Members of the Music Mile Society reached out to Mosker early on to join the grassroots initiative, and he said the NMC immediately jumped at supporting the cause.

“For Calgary, it’s important for us as a community to support local artists,” adds Mosker. “Venues are closing all over Canada, so we want everyone along the Music Mile to benefit from having more venues to (create) a destination. I think that’s what’s going to make Calgary a real music city.”

Calgary music venues have seen multiple closures over the past year, such as downtown’s Nite Owl. Chartier, known as the “Mayor” of the Music Mile Society, says that many other venues are struggling, and added that their initiative is to foster a creative community.

“We’re here to support venues and artists,” he says. “What we want to do with the Mile is make live music sustainable in Calgary.”

After Chartier retired in 2014, he went on a musical pilgrimage through the States where he says he fell in love with music cities. From Austin to New Orleans to Memphis to Nashville, he returned home craving a musical hub. He and Van Rosendaal walked along 9th Avenue shortly after his return, and says the impetus of the Music Mile Society blossomed.

They talked to businesses along the strip, and found an “overwhelmingly” enthusiastic response. Before long, even retail businesses were embracing the title by hanging guitars up in their windows, while cafés and restaurants launched open mic nights.

Before the Music Mile Society was even fully created, Chartier, Van Rosendaal and their team held meetings with the community to test the waters. Kate Stevens was only 15 years old when she went to the first meeting. At the time, all the venues along the mile were 18+, which meant no youth could perform or experience live music. So she stood up in the meeting and asked what could be done for underage musicians.

“They said, ‘I don’t know, what do you think?’” she laughs. A year later, she was a part of launching a youth organization with the society called the Youth Musicians of Music Mile Alliance (YO MOMMA).

“It’s a community,” she says. “It’s nurtured so many young artists over the past two years and launched so many careers.”

Now at 18, Stevens has been nominated for the Female Artist of the Year for the YYCMusicAwards and has spurred youth nights at venues like The Blues Can. She also played in front of an audience of more than 2,000 people at the NMC this spring.

Chartier says the Music Mile Society is just starting, but if they can continue to foster talent and bring in the next generation of artists, the mission will be a success.

“If one of my grandkids said to their friend, ‘Let’s go down to the Music Mile and see what’s happening,’ I’ll feel pretty good about that,” he says. “That’s the thing I think about the most in terms of the work that we’ve done — if our grandkids and the next generation see it as we imagined.”

As a venue, the King Eddy now plays more than just the blues, but Mosker says the spirit of bringing people together through music remains the same.

“It had to reflect Canada’s music,” Mosker says. “Very few audiences nowadays listen to just one type of music, so we wanted to tap into that history of bringing so many walks of life together. Even though it doesn’t look how it did when it was built in 1905, people still feel the spirit of the King Eddy. You don’t lose history like that, you just build on it.”

And that sentiment rings true to McIlwaine, as she recalls taking up her old post during the July launch.

“It felt really good to be back up there again,” she says. “It was packed, just like it always was, so the band went to town. It’s so wonderful that they restored the Eddy and kept the tradition going. The audience felt like a bunch of old friends.”

Hot Art Round-Up: Sep 6 – 9



Free First Thursday Night
Glenbow Museum, 5 – 9 pm

HELLO – Portfolio Show
cSPACE, Ad Rodeo: 5 – 9 pm



Stephane La Rue: certain things occur in a (n) other
Christian Eckart (in the Viewing Room)
TrepanierBaer, 5 – 7:30 pm

Alchemical ART Extravaganza
Motion Gallery, 6 – 9 pm

Calgary Film 2018: Free Trailer Party at Globe Cinema
Globe Cinema, 6:30 – 9:30 pm

Life of a Craphead / Entertaining Every Second
TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary, M:ST Performative Art Festival: 7 – 11 pm



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

Lab Coat Lab
Beakerhead, 10 am – noon

Circle – The Traveling Food, Beer & Music Carnival
Shaw Millennium Park, 11 am – 11 pm

Live Painting Party & Exhibition
National on 17th, noon – 8 pm

The Legacy of Alex Janvier & the PNIAI
Glenbow Museum, 1:30 – 3 pm



Comic and Toy Expo
McMahon Stadium, Calgary Red and White Club, 10 am – 5 pm

Theatre Calgary play tells a universal tale


Film and television star Michelle Thrush is directing Honour Beat. Photo courtesy Theatre Calgary.

A play in which two grown sisters face off over their mother’s deathbed. A set design that almost becomes its own character. A story that takes place in a palliative hospital room and inspires deep emotion, yet also makes you laugh. That’s what you should expect from Honour Beat, according to film and television star Michelle Thrush, who is directing the play, and Stafford Arima, artistic director of Theatre Calgary. Thrush says the play is ultimately a human story.

“It’s a story anyone can relate to,” Thrush says. “It’s about family, love, death and betrayal.” She describes the relationship between the sisters as genuine, raw and beautiful.

“I’m an only child so I’m so intrigued by sibling relationships,” Thrush says. “I watch my daughters who are teenagers, and it blows my mind when I watch them argue. I didn’t grow up with that so I always wonder, do I get in there? Or do I let them figure it out because it’s building people skills?”

When Arima went to a reading of Honour Beat last year, while it was part of a new play development program at Theatre Calgary, he instantly fell in love with the story. He lost his own mother 10 years ago, and the play’s exploration of family relationships deeply impacted him.

“I think this story connected with me on a very personal level because on some level it’s a story about family, it’s a story about forgiveness, it’s a story about awakenings and transformations,” Arima says. “I connected with it on that level, and what I found so interesting about the piece was that it also made me laugh.”

He describes it as a family drama that lets you laugh and cry at the same time, and since it explores family relationships and goes to the core of human behaviour, it will also make you think and feel.

Both Arima and Thrush are excited by the voice of Canadian playwright Tara Beagan, who wrote a universal story focusing on the significance of family, with an Indigenous family at its core.

Thrush says the production features a full Indigenous cast, and many on the creative team are Indigenous, which she hopes will further open the doors in the Calgary theatre community for Indigenous artists to tell their own stories.

She says the momentum started with Making Treaty 7, a Calgary theatre production that explores the historical signing of Treaty 7 through the Indigenous perspective. This year her one–woman show, Inner Elder, returns to the stage and takes audiences on a comedic journey through her life as she transforms from young to old using Indigenous clowning.

“I’ve been working in the industry for 30 years now,” Thrush says. “The progression that’s taken place as Indigenous people step forward in the arts community is an absolute revolution.”

Her ultimate hope is that Calgarians will connect with Honour Beat’s universality.

“I think it’s so important right now that for the place we’re in as Indigenous artists that we’re seen as human beings,” Thrush says. “If we have people coming in through the audience watching the show and they can relate to it as a human story, then I’ve done my job. I hope they walk away with an understanding that there’s not as many barriers between us as human beings as sometimes is portrayed — that we all grieve, we all love, we all share kindness and jokes.”

15 free things to do with kids in Calgary


Inside Esker Foundation. Photograph by Elyse Bouvier.

Esker Foundation is a contemporary art gallery located in Inglewood. General admission is free, and they have a reference library with kid’s books to help explore the ideas and themes in each exhibition. They also offer several free public programs throughout the year. Take your little ones to hands-on art classes, treat the whole family to master classes, or bring the stroller/baby carrier for art tours and more.

Visit Glenbow from 5 – 9 pm on the first Thursday of every month for free admission. There are interactive exhibits kids will love to play with – you can see what the inside of a tipi looks like, or feel the crystals lined in a giant mineral.

Each Calgary Public Library location features drop-in storytime for the whole family. You can also experience storytime with Engine 23, a real, decommissioned fire truck that lives at the Central Library.

YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre is a free learning centre with interactive stations, displays featuring the history of the Calgary Police Service and lots of photo opportunities. Investigate your own fingerprints using real-world identification technology, dress up in police uniforms and more. They’re open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays.

Take a stroll through Chinatown and admire the architecture and colourful buildings, and step inside the Chinese Cultural Centre to view the stunning ceiling modeled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing – it has 561 dragons and 40 phoenixes painted into it. Visit St. Patrick’s Island, which has swings, slides and climbing structures, and plenty of areas to spread out a blanket and have a picnic. Wander Devonian Gardens, an indoor garden oasis at The CORE Shopping Centre. Especially inviting during Calgary’s long winters, kids can monkey around on the playground, or clamber up the climbing wall.

Interior of the Chinese Cultural Centre. Photo courtesy Travel Alberta.

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre is a natural environment that spans 36 hectares. It’s a marvellous place to walk and spot migratory birds, and you can stop by the Nature Centre to see their exhibits and learn more about the local wildlife.

Disc golf is free to play in many of Calgary’s courses as long as you have a disc. A new disc golf park opened in Calgary in June 2018 – the David Richardson Memorial Disc Golf Park is a 27-acre, 18-hole course.

Pedal your way across the city by bike. Pre-plan your route around Calgary online, with routes to major attractions like the Calgary Zoo and Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

Spruce Meadows show jumping and equestrian facility is open year-round, and visitors are welcome to walk the beautiful grounds, visit the stables, watch trainers exercise their horses, play in the playground or picnic on the grounds. In December and January, you can drive through the grounds to see the dazzling Christmas lights – a quarter of a million lights blanket the trees and provide an unforgettable holiday sight. Admission and parking is free except for during tournaments and the Christmas market.

When it’s summer in the city, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of Calgary’s free wading pools, spray parks and outdoor pools.

Olympic Plaza. Photo by Adele Brunnhofer.

Practice your skateboard or in-line skating moves at Canada’s largest outdoor free skate park, or visit one of the volleyball courts.

Known as the world’s largest treasure hunt, geocaching is a great way to explore parks and greenspaces in Calgary. All you need is a GPS device or a geocaching app to hunt for small boxes, called geocaches, in natural areas. A geocache box is usually filled with little treasures like toys, magnets or stickers, providing an opportunity to “trade” goodies – you’re welcome take something and leave something behind.

Experience the rush of sledding on one of Calgary’s hills in the winter. Bonus – carrying your toboggan up and down the hill multiple times is great exercise.

The City of Calgary maintains seven outdoor skating rinks in the winter. Olympic Plaza, a downtown rink built for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, is the only refrigerated outdoor ice surface in Calgary and provides a dazzling view of downtown.

No tyke can be expected to stare at furniture for hours, which is why Ikea offers supervised play for a full hour. If you have time to play too, Market Mall offers 30 minutes of play with supervision in their Monkey Around indoor playground, there’s a play area in Southcentre Mall, and a Little Fossil Fun Zone in CrossIron Mills that’s dinosuar-themed.


Calgary Fall Festival Guide 2018


From performance art and science and technology, to film and food, here are our top picks for festivals to fill your calendar this fall in Calgary!

Photo by Didier Morelli.

Experience art in a way you never have before at Mountain Standard Time’s 9th biennial festival, on from September 7 – October 7. Performative artists will seek to transform perspectives as they occupy theatres, galleries and public spaces in the downtown core and engage with themes of technology, politics, the body and territory.

On September 8, check out this delicious gathering of over 12 food trucks, live entertainment and local vendors!

Circle: The Travelling Food, Beer and Music Carnival is returning for its fifth year in Calgary on September 8. Expect the musical stylings of local bands and international DJs on multiple stages, a Bingo Dome, more than 14 food trucks, stunning live circus performers, a 30,000-ball pit for kids and adults alike, kid’s playland with a dedicated kid’s stage, circus school, a wiener dog race and lots more.

Hosted at the historical Theatre Junction Grand from September 9 – 11, CAMP is a festival on the forefront of technology, art and design, seeking to celebrate creativity and connect peers within the quickly changing digital landscape. Artists, students and professionals all take part in a variety of workshops and storytelling events aimed to educate and inspire. 

Photo courtesy of Beakerhead.

From September 19 – 23 this city-wide spectacle brings together the fields of art, science and engineering and bridges the gap between the creative and the technical, often through fascinating, bizzare and quirky means. Various installations and interactive exhibits will dot the inner-city, culminating at Beakernight, science’s biggest garden party complete with  fire, lasers, light, music and even a rumoured UFO!

For film and art lovers alike, the Calgary International Film Festival is the place to be. The 12-day festival from September 19 – 30 will showcase up to 200 films submitted from Canada and 50 other countries, of multiple genres and lengths. In addition to screenings, there will also be gala events, presentations, panels, film talks and interactive Q&A periods.

Photo by Caitie Lawrence.

If the title of this festival isn’t enough to convince you to attend, its menu will. On the docket for 2018? Over 40 different food selections from the city’s best restaurants and vendors, to be paired with an extensive list of global wines, beers and spirits. You’ll also be able to share your favorite sips and bites and vote for the People’s Choice Awards in two food categories and 14 beverage categories. From October 12 – 14

This annual October readers’ festival brings Calgarians and visitors countless events to fulfill their every literary dream. Readings, presentations, storytelling events, trivia nights, an adult spelling bee and poetry cabarets are to be expected. From October 8 – 14

Hot Art Round-Up: Aug 30 – Sept 2


BUMP Festival Artist Talk: Geometry, Wavelength and Pattern
McHugh House, 8 – 10 pm

Neil Zeller’s Fifth Annual Photowalk
Eau Claire, 6 – 9 pm

Tiffany Shaw-Collinge: untitled community garden
Untitled Art Society, 11 am – 4 pm

Calgary Night Market
Bridgeland Riverside Community Association, 5 – 11 pm

Pride in Vic Park: Arts Night & Outliers Screening
Memorial Park Library, 6 – 9 pm

Julia Kansas – “Leisure” at lily
The lily contemporary project space, 7 – 11 pm

BUMP Festival Artist Talk: New Beginnings in the Surreal
McHugh House, 8 – 10 pm

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

BUMP Festival Alley Party
Beltline Urban Murals Project, 2 – 10 pm

Jessie St Clair Art Exhibition
The Dandelion, 6 – 9 pm

The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Calgary Pride
Globe Cinema, 11:30 pm – 2 am

Taste the Rainbow: Must-try treats for Calgary Pride


The rainbow flag will be soaring in Calgary during the city’s annual Calgary Pride festivities from August 24 to September 3. Many local businesses are celebrating by serving up unique menu offerings to wet whistles and please palettes in support of the LGBT community, and a number of them are donating a portion of the proceeds to a variety of charities, including Camp fYrefly. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the delicious offerings and collaborations you’ll see during Calgary Pride!

Back by popular demand, Ollia Macarons & Tea will once again offer the wildberry pride macaron as well as two new unicorn macarons with mane colours to mimic the classic pride rainbow flag colours and the pink and blue of the transgender flag. A portion of sales from the macarons will go to Camp fYrefly.

Photo courtesy Ollia Macarons and Tea.

Available by pre-order only starting August 27, to be picked up August 31, you’ll be able to brighten up your mornings with Bagelino’s vibrant rainbow bagels. Don’t forget to pick up a tub of their limited edition vanilla cream cheese spread filled with colourful confetti!

Photo courtesy Bagelino’s. 

Calgary’s iconic Crave Cupcakes, creatively decorated with vanilla buttercream rainbows and unicorns, will be available for 6-pack pre-order throughout pride week and individually in stores on parade day, September 2.

Photo courtesy Crave Cupcakes. 

Gelato lovers have spoken, and this year will see the return of an award-winning Pride Collaboration Gelato to Fiasco Gelato. The vanilla based “Leather Daddy” combines daddy’s soft side of fluffy housemade marshmallows with his dark side of licorice-flavoured jawbreakers. (Editor’s Note: Ryan Massel, aka local blogger Mr. Fabulous, created the Leather Daddy flavour in collaboration with Fiasco Gelato!)

Photo courtesy Fiasco Gelato. 

This traditional bread-like dough pastry straight from the streets of Budapest is baked in a way that gives it a crunchy caramel texture on the outside, keeping it soft and fluffy on the inside. It will be rolled in rainbow sprinkles, filled with vanilla soft serve, topped with Fruit Loops and boldly named “I am Proud ‘n Loud” at UTCA Chimney Cakes.

Photo courtesy UTCA. 

You’ll have some extra pep in your step after snacking on these artfully decorated sugar cookies topped with royal icing and colourful sugar sprinkles or rainbows at Sweet Relief Pastries. Proceeds go to Camp fYrefly.

Photo courtesy Sweet Relief. 


Keep cool this pride with Wild Tea Kombucha’s small batch offering “Spill the Tea.” Brewed by hand, using pressed juice for bold flavours, this limited-edition kombucha (fermented tea) will offer a mix of fruity flavours and is perfect to enjoy alone or as a base for your pride-inspired cocktail. Now that’s the tea (wildteakombucha.com)!

Photo courtesy Wild Tea Kombucha.