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Things to Do in Calgary

15 things to do in Calgary in November

By SHAUNA MCGINN

Without the colour-changing leaves or the anticipation of the holiday season, November can get a bad rap for being a lost month. But between the much-awaited opening of the New Central Library, diverse musical performances, and a litany of craft and art shows, November in Calgary is shaping up to be a month worth getting excited about.

Local band Free The Cynics, who are performing at the annual Listen Up! charity event for Calgary’s Distress Centre. Courtesy Free The Cynics.

NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY GRAND OPENING
The much-awaited opening of the architecturally magnificent new library kicks off on November 3, with days of celebrations including live music, crafts, performances, and more.

FLIBBERTIGIBBET’S STORY EXHIBIT
Part of Quest Theatre’s new “Sweet Pea” series, this November 4 show will be a collection of interactive stories and songs for kids aged 3-7 and up.

FESTIVAL OF CRAFTS
From November 1-4, check out one of Canada’s largest holiday craft fairs featuring products from over 250 artisans across the country.

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY ART SALE
Over a thousand pieces of fine crafts and artwork by local artists will fill the historic Leighton Home from November 3-4 and 10-11. There will be free parking, admission, and complimentary holiday treats.

CALGARY EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL
From November 3-11, head out to see some works of art from talented film makers from Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy, and more.

CANADIAN JAZZ FESTIVAL
The Jazz YYC fall series is bringing the best of the genre to Calgary from November 8-11.

EDEN ROBINSON
The Giller Prize-nominated author will discuss her latest novel Trickster Drift. The November 8 event includes an audience Q&A and book signing.

Cécile Doo-Kingué. Photo: Terry Hughes.

CÉCILE DOO-KINGUÉ 
Acclaimed singer, songwriter and guitarist Cécile Doo-Kingué will be on stage on November 9 and 10 at the Arts Commons for a night of music heralded for its ability to be as “soothing and soulful” as it is electrifying. The Montreal-based artist’s latest album, Anybody Listening Part 2, blends blues, jazz, folk and more, and is grounded in inspiration from her Cameroon- American-Canadian heritage. 

MARY AND MAX: A MUSICAL
Don’t miss this story of the unlikely friendship between 10-year-old Mary from Melbourne, and Max, a middle-aged man from New York with Asperger’s, running until November 11.

FLEETWOOD MAC
Four-fifths of the world-famous band — Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood — are making a stop in Calgary on November 12.

TONTO WEEK AT THE NATIONAL MUSIC CENTRE
The NMC will commission one of the most well-known parts of its music and technology collection, The Original New Timbral Orchestra (referred to as TONTO), during TONTO Week from November 14-18. With it, the NMC will host a full week of music programming centred around TONTO, and will feature artists like A Tribe Called Red, who will be the first group to create music with the legendary synthesizer.

DISNEY ON ICE: DARE TO DREAM 
This rendition of the travelling on-ice spectacle will land in Calgary from November 14-18, and features five Disney princesses, each from different eras of the franchise: Moana, Anna from Frozen, Rapunzel, Belle and Cinderella.

LISTEN UP! CALGARY CHARITY CONCERT 
This annual charity concert for Distress Centre Calgary features a mix of local musicians and bands, including Free The Cynics — whose lead singer is a Distress Centre volunteer. Rich Paxton started the concert after seeing firsthand how critical the centre’s services are to Calgarians. Head out and show your support on November 24.

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS AT HERITAGE PARK
Calgary’s beloved Heritage Park will be the place to get into the spirit this year as it transforms into a festive Christmas village, complete with carols, wagon rides, and, of course, a chance to take a photo with Santa. You can visit the family friendly park every weekend starting on November 24, up until the day before Christmas Eve.

THE LUNCHBOX THEATRE’S IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
See this beloved holiday classic that premieres on November 26 at the Lunchbox Theatre, with a cast made up of one of the group’s award-winning ensembles. 

15 things to do in Calgary in October

By KYLEE PEDERSEN AND SHAUNA MCGINN

Autumn in Calgary means the arrival of some cornerstone festivals and events, bringing together the best of the city’s art, culture, food and drink. Read on to find out how to make the most of October!

Photo courtesy Caitie Lawrence.

UNTOLD HISTORIES
There are few platforms in Calgary, let alone in Canada, that allow Indigenous people to tell their own stories. Since 2012, the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society has been making this possible through theatre. KAAHSINNONIKS (our ancestors), running on October 3 and 4, tell the story of what happened during the signing of Treaty 7 in 1877, through the collection and artistic interpretation of oral histories. The group’s second major production, KIITISTSINNONIKS (our mothers) will run from October 24-26.

JOAN DIDION’S THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING PLAY
A decade ago, Didion’s best selling memoir was adapted into a stage play that’s since been revered by audiences worldwide. Don’t miss your chance to see it this week at the Sage Theatre until October 6.

ANTIBALAS
There is nothing quite like the infectious energy of this collective of musicians hailing from Brooklyn. Self-described as music for “intrepid listeners,” the West African-inspired Afrobeat orchestra is here on October 5 to bring you sounds of stylistic funk dappled with political nuance that you may not have experienced before.

DISNEY IN CONCERT: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
A tale as old as time gets a special accompaniment: the CPO will bring the feature film to life on October 5 and 6 with performances of all your favourite songs!

SALOON: A MUSICAL ACROBATIC ADVENTURE
Circus, theatre and live music collide in this western-inspired thrill ride on October 6.

WORDFEST
A celebration of all things literature for writers, readers, and wordsmiths, this festival that runs from October 8-15, boasts multiple events each day, ranging from author Q&As, workshops, book signings and more.

ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
Calgary’s Shakespeare Company are shaking up a classic by casting two women in the title roles. The show runs from October 929.

RODNEY’S CRAB CRACK WITH STEAM WHISTLE BREWING
Rodney’s Oyster House is hosting an evening of messy fun on October 11, with three types of crab served family-style along with a pint of Steam Whistle.

BURTON CUMMINGS
Legendary The Guess Who frontman will rock the stage at Grey Eagle Resort and Casino on October 12.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL
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 favourite sips and bites and vote for the Great Big Taste Awards in two food categories and 14 beverage categories. October 12 and 13.

THE WEATHER STATION
Tamara Lindeman’s cool, feathered voice will coo out the narrative sounds of her fourth EP at Festival Hall on October 14. With her new collection of songs, the Toronto musician will sweep listeners away with unstructured, bold musical storytelling.

CPO: PETER AND THE WOLF
Introducing the perfect performance for young orchestra audiences, this rendition of Prokofiev’s masterpiece accompanied by the ever-charming Saint-Saens’ The Carnival of the Animals is sure to capture the imagination of children and adults alike, as Peter and his animal friends attempt to capture a wolf that is lurking about their village. See it on October 21.

CRAIG FERGUSON
Don’t miss this famed actor, writer and comedian’s newest tour, Hobo Fabulous, on October 21.

ALBERTA BALLET IN THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
A timeless epic at its pinnacle, the whole family will enjoy the story of Princess Aurora set to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score from October 24-27.

CALGARY SCREAMFEST
The 13thand final ScreamFest is on in the Grandstand building at Stampede Park. Come out to get spooked with haunted houses, rides, escape rooms, and more until October 31.

What happens when you clean an Olympic medal with Ajax?

By SILVIA PIKAL 

Photo by Jason Dziver.

1936 OLYMPIC SILVER MEDAL
At Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Helena Deng, manager of exhibits and collections, points out a display with two Olympic medals.

The medals are both the same size, shape, and are imprinted with the words “XI. Olympiade Berlin 1936.” Both medals belonged to Canadian track and field athlete John Wilfrid Loaring, who won a silver medal in 400-metre hurdles at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

But one of these things is not like the other. One is silver and shiny, while the other is discoloured and clearly damaged.

“Unfortunately, my mother cleaned the winner’s silver medal with Ajax Cleanser which badly tarnished it,” Loaring’s son, G. R. John Loaring, said in an email to Where Calgary.

“Ajax is a very, very harsh chemical,” Deng says. “It’s great for sinks, less so for silver medals. By cleaning it with Ajax, she stripped a large portion — if not all — of the silver plating off the medal.”

Many years later, G. R. John Loaring received permission from the International Olympic Committee Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland to obtain a duplicate of the medal.

Luckily, the same German company that made the 1936 Berlin Olympic medals was still in business and able to reproduce the original. The medals are identical aside from a tiny “COPY” stamped along part of the thin round edge. (And the copy is unravaged by Ajax, of course).

In 2015, when Loaring was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, his son shipped his collection of medals to the museum, which included the original and its shiny copy.

“We as Canadians have a very long history of success in athletics,” Deng says. “This medal — to have it displayed — is that impact story.”

A CANADIAN TRACK AND FIELD STAR
Loaring was born in Winnipeg and moved to Windsor in 1926. A rising track and field star, he won several medals in high school and on the Kennedy Collegiate Track Team.

At only 21 years old, Loaring competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in 400-metre hurdles. The very first time he competed in this event was at the Canadian Olympic trials. He was also the youngest finalist in the category, and thus surprised the world by taking home the silver medal. Following his success in the Olympics, he won three gold medals at the 1938 British Empire Games.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, he left Canada for Britain to serve in the Royal Navy. In 1940, as a radar officer on HMS Fiji, Loaring overcame gruelling and challenging circumstances. When the ship was dispatched to pick up civilian survivors of a torpedoed ship, Loaring was able to help resuscitate three children due to his training in Royal Life Saving skills.

During the Battle for Crete, their ship ran out of ammunition and was sunk by a German bomber. Thanks to the strength and stamina Loaring developed as one of the top hurdlers in the world, he survived by clinging to the wreckage for hours until he was rescued. He developed severe oil poisoning due to being in the water for so long, and was put ashore in Africa to recover. Still, less than a year later, he was back to competing in track meets in England.

Back home in Windsor he was an active athlete, worked as a coach and lent his time to a variety of sports organizations.

How To Shop Calgary’s Outlets

By LEAH VAN LOON

Photo courtesy Nordstrom Rack.

Is this really a great deal? Did that come from the mainline store? These tips will help you balance bargains versus style at discount department stores:

Everyone loves getting a good deal so it’s surprise that Calgary has seen some new department store outlets open in the last few years, most notably Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth. Add to it the name recognition of large department stores selling big name designers and the expectations grow even higher. So what should you expect from shopping at a department store outlet?

While the main department stores have a very set program of sale periods and discount promotions, the outlets have new merchandise coming in all the time. They also have their own sale schedule and clearances for even deeper discounts. At first glance the price may seem right, but it pays to remember that designer items sent to the outlet from the main store are not in season, which is one reason you are getting a deal.

Other reasons why you could find a previously regular-priced item at an outlet might be overstock, fit or quality issues, a strange colour, style or print, it was overlooked in a stockroom, or it was altered for a customer and the store ended up with it. Surprisingly, only around 20 percent of items at an outlet are actually goods that were for sale at a mainline store at full price and are now marked down. Many pieces are even made directly by designer brands for the department store outlets using less expensive materials and inferior construction to provide that brand name for less — so if you are seeing a price for you to compare it to, it may not be a sale price versus a regular price so much as a reminder of what the brand’s clothing usually sells for at the main store.

Fear not, you can still find bargains at the outlets, but the best way to get a real deal (and a deal on something real) is to also shop the regular store. Occasionally the clearance opportunities and promotions at the main store will show an even better deal on an item than when you see it at the outlet, so it pays to check in, especially at sale time. If you are familiar with the brands you can learn to recognize a bargain when you see it and even how to spot a made-directly- for-the-outlet item. You can also shop the outlets online and find items not available at your own local brick-and-mortar —just make sure you can still get a refund.

Happy shopping, and remember: it’s only a good deal if it’s something you’ll actually wear!

 

 

5 Places Outside of Calgary to Visit This Summer

By KYLEE PEDERSEN

From awe-inspiring national parks to fascinating historical sites, there is plenty to experience beyond the city limits. Take a quick day drive or plan a weekend away around a visit to one (or all!) of these must-see stops.

Photo courtesy Michael Matt

WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK
Nature has revived the prairies, shorelines and mountainsides of Waterton with new growth since the park was affected by the Kenow Wildfire at the end of summer last year. While some areas of the park remain closed, the Upper, Middle and Lower Waterton lakes, as well as the townsite, entrance road and Chief Mountain Highway, are open and ready to be explored. Camp, canoe, kayak, bike, hike, spot wildlife and take in the incredible natural beauty of the national park. Waterton is a three hour drive due south of Calgary.

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER
See Christopher Reeve’s Superman 3cape and take a seat in Tom Hardy’s Shinzon Captain’s chair at the eccentric Trekcetera museum in Drumheller, just an hour and a half northeast of Calgary. Canada’s only Star Trek museum goes beyond the final frontier to include a plethora of props and costumes from an array of films and artifacts from the Titanic and the U.S. 7th Cavalry. With experience on film sets and insightful anecdotes, the curator of the museum makes the displays at Trekcetera come alive.

Photo courtesy Frank Slide Interpretive Centre

LEITCH COLLIERIES
In 1907 when the Leitch Colliery was opened it was considered the most cutting-edge mining operation in Canada. Although the mine was only in operation for ten years, the stone remains of the mine’s powerhouse invoke a once grand operation. Take a scenic drive south of Calgary along highway 22 to Crowsnest Pass to learn more about the lives of the miners who worked there, the surrounding town, and the untimely demise of the fruitful business.

FATHER LACOMBE CHAPEL
This small wooden chapel is Alberta’s oldest standing building, constructed in 1861 by the Métis community who lived in what is now St. Albert. The chapel was part of the Roman Catholic mission led by Father Albert Lacombe. Make the three-hour trip north of Calgary to get a tour of not only the chapel, but its accompanying crypt, grotto and cemetery.

OKOTOKS ERRATIC
If it’s natural history you’re looking for, don’t miss the geological wonder of the world’s largest known glacial erratic, located just south of Calgary near the city of Okotoks. Here, jutting out of the prairie horizon, sits 16,500 tons of quartzite; a massive rock formation which looks as if it has been dropped from the sky. But in fact, Big Rock got a ride from a glacier thousands of years ago and assumed its final resting place when the ice receded.

 

 

Hot Art Round-Up: Jul 12-15

By HOT ART YYC

THURSDAY, JULY 12 

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

FRIDAY, JULY 13

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

SATURDAY, JULY 14

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

SUNDAY, JULY 15

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

 

 

 

3 ways to get your arts and culture dose in Calgary

By SILVIA PIKAL

WHAT’S NEW AT ESKER FOUNDATION
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.

GET YOUR FIX OF WESTERN CULTURE AT NEWZONES
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.

THE GREAT GRAIN ELEVATOR
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.

Hidden histories: Uncover the secrets of museum artifacts in Calgary

By SILVIA PIKAL

IF THESE ARTIFACTS COULD TALK
There’s hundreds of thousands of artifacts in Calgary museums, many of them stored where you can’t see them, biding their time to be on display whether as part of a new exhibit or to commemorate an occasion. They have histories just waiting to be discovered by the public.

And the ones you do see under glass in Calgary’s museums have stories you could never imagine — from a cigarette tin discovered recently in France that belonged to a solider who travelled from Calgary to Europe to fight in the First World War, to a 35-foot-long theatre organ that was squished into a basement with its pipes bent to fit — we give you a backstage look at the stories behind four artifacts from Calgary museums.

Photo courtesy Glenbow.

On the seventh floor of Glenbow, one of the floors containing the museum’s collections materials, Travis Lutley slips on a pair of archival gloves and picks up a slender cigarette tin. Its exterior is dotted with rust, but it’s in pretty good shape considering it’s been buried in dirt for almost a century.

(more…)

Uncovering hidden treasure from the First World War

By SILVIA PIKAL

Photo courtesy Glenbow.

On the seventh floor of Glenbow, one of the floors containing the museum’s collections materials, Travis Lutley slips on a pair of archival gloves and picks up a slender cigarette tin. Its exterior is dotted with rust, but it’s in pretty good shape considering it’s been buried in dirt for almost a century.

(more…)

The bell that rang when Chuvalo fought Ali

By SILVIA PIKAL

Exhibit in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

The year was 1966.

The place was Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

And the fight was between George Chuvalo and Muhammad Ali.

(more…)

15 things to do in Calgary in June

By RACHAEL FREY

Photo courtesy Monsieur Periné.

MONSIEUR PERINÉ

This Columbian group mixes Latin and European influences in their Afro-Caribbean sound. See them on June 4. (more…)

4 must-see art exhibits in Calgary

By SILVIA PIKAL

May 18, 2018 

Alma Duncan, Self-Portrait With Braids, 1940, Library and Archives Canada.

NOTABLE SELFIES

For those who deride the “selfie” as an obsession of the iPhone-toting, avocado-obsessed millennial, don’t forget that people have been making self-portraits since early homo sapiens carved sketches of themselves into cave walls. (more…)