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Things To Do

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.


15 things to do in Calgary in June


Photo courtesy Monsieur Periné.


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

Review: Topdog/Underdog

January 2018

By Sheri Radford

Luc Roderique and Michael Blake. Set design by Shizuoka Kai, costume design by Carmen Alatorre, and lighting design by Itai Erdal. Photo by David Cooper.

“Watch me close, watch me close now. Who see the red card, who see the red card? I see the red card. The red card is the winner. Pick the red card, you pick a winner. Pick a black card, you pick a loser.” So begins Topdog/Underdog, with a card-hustle chant that repeats and echoes throughout the play, underscoring the theme of winners and losers.

Lincoln (Michael Blake) and Booth (Luc Roderique) are brothers whose father, in a sick but seemingly prescient joke, named them after Abraham Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Blake and Roderique both turn in powerhouse performances as the constantly sparring brothers.

Michael Blake and Luc Roderique. Set design by Shizuoka Kai, costume design by Carmen Alatorre, and lighting design by Itai Erdal. Photo by David Cooper.

Lincoln used to be the king of three-card Monte, but he left the game after tragedy struck. For years he followed the rules, making a living by portraying Honest Abe—in white face, no less—for tourists pretending to be John Wilkes Booth and firing blanks at the president. But then his wife booted him out and now he lives with his brother in a shabby rooming house.

Unemployed Booth shoplifts to survive. He practises his three-card Monte patter and pines for his on-again-off-again girlfriend Grace (who’s never seen onstage) while begging Lincoln to teach him the cards.

Who will emerge as top dog in their turbulent relationship and who will be the underdog? And can a black man ever truly be top dog in a world rigged towards whites? Those are just a few of the questions this Pulitzer Prize–winning play explores. See it until Feb. 11 at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.

Michael Blake and Luc Roderique. Set design by Shizuoka Kai, costume design by Carmen Alatorre, and lighting design by Itai Erdal. Photo by David Cooper.

Weekend Market Round Up: December 14-17


Adult’s Only Night at TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre. (Photo courtesy of TELUS Spark.)

This weekend’s art gallery, museum and market round up offers the last instalment of 2017’s Adult’s Only Night series at the TELUS Spark, a downtown art gallery that involves your smartphone in the magic, and—as you might expect 12 days before Christmas—an unprecedented number of holiday craft markets for those gift shopping procrastinators among you. Happy exploring! (more…)

7 things to do in Calgary this week: Nov 27 to Dec 3



Enjoy $4 Alberta Draft, house wine and highballs at Craft Beer Market during the week, Monday to Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Craft Beer Market, 345 – 10 Ave SW, craftbeermarket.ca (more…)

Review: Thanks for Giving


Oct. 2017

Caacumh – Aaron M. Wells, Tom McBeath, Deneh’Cho Thompson, Leslie Dos Remedies, Tai Amy Grumman and Margo Kane in Thanks for Giving. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Like many Thanksgiving feasts, this one is stuffed a bit too full for comfort, though it does ultimately satisfy. Written and directed by Governor General’s Award–winner Kevin Loring, Thanks for Giving tells the story of Nan (Margo Kane) and her family. Nan is a First Nations woman whose second husband, Clifford (Tom McBeath), is a white man and avid hunter who never even attempts to understand the issues facing Indigenous people. Nan’s daughter, Sue (Andrea Menard), battles addiction and pain of both the physical and physiological varieties. Nan’s grandchildren John (caacumhi – Aaron M. Wells), Clayton (Deneh’Cho Thompson) and Marie (Tai Amy Grauman) each have their own demons to face. Also taking a place at the strife-filled Thanksgiving table is Sam (Leslie Dos Remedios), Marie’s lesbian lover who is posing as her roommate.

Shyama-Priya and Tom McBeath in Thanks for Giving. Photo by Emily Cooper.

The action kicks off with Clifford shooting a bear, an act that has repercussions both in the family and in the greater world, as Clifford ultimately faces prison time and a fine substantial enough to bankrupt the family. The first act takes place during one long Thanksgiving dinner full of drama and revealed secrets, while the second act skips through the following years. Throughout the two-hour run time, the play examines issues relating to the treatment of Indigenous people, Native storytelling traditions, the lingering effects of intergenerational trauma, homosexuality, family secrets, addiction, violence, colonialism and more—a lot to swallow, indeed. Thanks for Giving is at its best when showing small, relatable family interactions, especially involving the stellar Margo Kane, whose deadpan delivery garners huge laughs, and her on-stage husband, Tom McBeath. But the play falters when it veers into lecture territory, in particular one long diatribe delivered by Tai Amy Grauman over the dinner table, which feels like it was lifted directly from a university textbook. Despite these flaws, the play is such an enjoyable meal overall that it might even be worth a second helping.

Margo Kane and Tom McBeath in Thanks for Giving. Photo by Emily Cooper.

The world premiere of Thanks for Giving runs until Nov. 4 on the Granville Island Stage.

What to Pack for a Day Hike in the Canadian Rockies

By Kaitlyn Forde

Step one: Find a trustworthy backpack to carry essentials.

Step one: Find a trustworthy backpack to carry essentials.

I came to Banff clad in Lululemon leggings, a blanket scarf, Sperries and no expectations. A recent university graduate, I planned to have one easygoing summer in the mountains before returning to my city-girl Toronto lifestyle. When I first arrived, I questioned the difference between a canoe and a kayak, didn’t understand the semantics of bear spray – let alone understood the possibility of seeing an actual bear – and had a pair of fashionable (not very functional) Nikes. Although athletic, I was the farthest thing from outdoorsy, and everyone let me know it.


Summer Bucketlist: Top 10 Mountain Musts

By Kaitlyn Forde

Don’t have a bucket list for summer in the Canadian Rockies? Borrow ours!

1: Reach new heights: Ride Banff Gondola, Mount Norquay Chairlift, Lake Louise Gondola and Jasper Skytram for easy access to unbeatable views.

2. Snap a selfie at an iconic lake: Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Bow Lake and Maligne Lake.

Time to update your profile photo with a glacier-blue background. Photo by Travel Alberta

Time to update your profile photo with a glacier-blue background. Photo by Travel Alberta


Fun For Free

Sep. 2, 2016
By Afton Aikens

Exploring the Bow Valley doesn’t have to drain your wallet. There’s plenty of things to do that let you see the best of the area without costing a cent.

Take your bike on a scenic cycle path or go for a swim at a beautiful lake beach. Wander through local markets, historical sites and viewpoints and entertain the kids with activity packs and shows. Let the free fun commence!

Bow Valley, things to do for free (more…)

Top Things to Do in the Bow Valley

Aug. 30, 2016
By Where writers

The Bow Valley has tons of things to do. From hiking trails with quaint tea houses to fishing, watersports and visiting cute husky puppies there’s something of everyone.

Bow Valley Things to Do

Photo credit: Paul Zizka


Hot Dates

 Leonard Cohen is on the Avenue

Oak Bay’s Avenue Gallery celebrates spring with its second exclusive showing of artwork by legendary Canadian singer, writer and artist Leonard Cohen. The exhibition and sale will feature a select grouping of the many pieces that make up Leonard Cohen: Art Work collection.

This visual record of 40 years is an exhibit of works from Cohen’s archive of drawings and journals. The artist has maintained a visual art practice since his early days in Montreal and Hydra. Until now, his drawings have been private visual records of things, places and people captured in his sure and modest hand. Later, these drawings found their way onto CD covers and most recently into the pages of Book of Longing.

The exhibit runs from March 1 to 9, with an opening reception planned for March 1 from 5 to 7pm.

Fans also have the chance to see Cohen live this spring when he brings his Old Ideas World Tour to the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre March 6.  For details, visit www.saveonfoodsmemorialcentre.com


 Stage Struck

Langham Court Theatre brings two popular productions to its storied stage this spring, beginning with the classic 39 Steps, March 7 to 23. Walking in the footsteps of author John Buchan and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, this is sure to be an audience favourite.

The playhouse continues in the vein of dark comedies in April with its production of George F. Walker’s Better Living, April 25 to May 11. Joining Nora as she jackhammers her way to a safe haven in the basement of her eccentric Toronto home, theatre-goers will wonder “what next?” at every plot turn of this action-packed farce.

Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre adds a little star power to Victoria’s spring theatre scene, welcoming Canadian stars Bruce Greenwood and Janet Wright to star in A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama Love Letters.

Greenwood is known for his appearances in Star Trek, Double Jeopardy, The Core, Thirteen Days (in which he played president John F. Kennedy), Capote, and, most recently, alongside Denzel Washington in Flight. He will be joined by Wright, a stage, TV and film star whose resume includes Ontario’s Stratford Festival, her successful wonderful portrayal of Emma Leroy on CTV’s Corner Gas, Robert Altman’s film McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Bordertown Cafe, and A Perfect Storm, starring George Clooney.

Love Letters runs for seven performances only at the McPherson Playhouse from March 26 to 30.


Great Big Sea makes a great big sound

East Coast folk-pop favourite Great Big Sea returns to Victoria for a March 9 concert at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.

This East Coast powerhouse rocked the arena last time they played the Capital Region and as they return in support of their recent “best of” album, XX, long-time fans and new converts alike are sure to find this musical kitchen party is the place to be.


 Making music – Francophone style

From Quebec to BC comes Le Vent du Nord, bringing traditional Francophone folk music mixed with swing, Cajun, Celtic, Irish and jazz to Hermann’s Jazz Club April 6 and 7.

The Juno Award-winning band has become one of the most-loved Quebec folk outfits in the world, with songs ranging from traditional folk to original compositions. These four friends light up the stage, sharing their energy and enthusiasm with audiences. Le Vend du Nord know how to deliver music that will move any crowd – to their feet and in their hearts!


 Funny  Stuff

Canadian-born Jeremy Hotz, a veteran of Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival who sold out across Canada in 2009 and 2010, returns to Victoria this spring with his all-new Magical Misery Tour.

The critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning  comic performs at the McPherson Playhouse  March 20.


Dance, Victoria!

Dance Victoria welcomes New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company, Black Grace, to the Royal Theatre March 15 and 16. Fusing Samoan ritual dances with modern dance to create an extraordinarily dynamic form, Black Grace occupies a unique position on the world stage, celebrated for its artistry, creative excellence and innovation. Percussive, masculine, powerful…like thunder rolling across the sky.