Tag Archives: calgary

On the Ship and Anchor Patio

Calgarians are indeed a unique kind of Canadian. Some might say we are crazy for living through such long, cold winters. I say, by virtue of our mid-winter respites, we are a bunch of neighbourly optimists. Would we let a few measly days, weeks, or months of below 20 degree temperatures spoil our hopeful and positive disposition? Well, we might if it was months of constant below 20. But no! No matter how cold and icy it gets, no matter how chilly that wind blows, we know that right around the corner is another glorious Chinook to thaw our fair city. Or, that tomorrow the sun will shine so brightly against a clear blue sky, that the temperature will not even matter. And on that day, what will we do? Flock to the streets and drink on patios!

On Saturday, February 6, Joe and I decided to take full advantage of the balmy, 11 degree weather we were having. We donned our lighter, but still super warm, winter coats and head to a Calgary institution, the Ship and Anchor, on 17th ave. We joined the three other groups on the patio, sat at a picnic table directly in the sun, and ordered our first patio beers of 2016. The Ship is a place of no judgement, so I ordered my patio fave — a Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboy with a side of clamato juice. Heaven. I’m in heaven. One very beautiful thing about a day like this is that while the sun shines and warms your face, the weather is just cold enough to keep your beer perfectly chilled. Just glorious.

Tim Huss played some tunes for a packed house inside the bar, and Joe and I were lucky enough to hear his sweet Canadian songs through the speakers. Between the song about the Heinz Ketchup factory and the song called C-A-N-A-D-A, I felt that my day couldn’t be better.

The sun began to disappear behind one of those great, 17th Ave trees, and without that direct sunlight, it was too cold, so we changed picnic tables. Twice. Then the wind began to blow. We started shivering. The server asked if we needed anything. We asked for the bill. She laughed and said, “yeah, it isn’t warm.” I think she was impressed by our dedication. Joe decided it was actually our denial that kept us out there for so long. I think it was our Calgary spirit. The optimists! The neighbourly! The sun-loving, beer-drinking, patio lovers who have been kept inside for far too many months. Thanks for the patio beer, Calgary!

At the Little Prince: The Musical

At 7:00 on Thursday evening, my friend Joe and I were walking down Stephen Avenue, on our way to Arts Commons. We were heading to Theatre Calgary’s world premiere of The Little Prince: The Musical. We entered the bustling lobby amidst the other theatre-goers, checked out The Little Prince merchandise table — (The Little Prince jewellery anyone?) and promptly found our seats. I was excited! The world premiere! It was sure to be unforgettable. Dennis Garnhum, the Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary, who was clearly just as excited as I was, prepared us for the spectacle we were about to see.

In many stories themed around magic and believing in something fantastical, it often turns out that the grown ups in the story don’t understand everything because they just do not believe in magic anymore. For example, in The Polar Express, the parents can’t hear the bell because they no longer believe in Christmas magic, or in Hook when adult Peter returns to Neverland and is unable to fly because he knows it’s something humans should not be able to do. Whenever I read or hear a story like this, the same thing always happens: I think, “Challenge accepted!” I refuse to be one of those grown ups that doesn’t believe in magic. From the first scene in The Little Prince: The Musical, I was captivated. I believed! With each sensational and wondrous set change, each incredible costume that was introduced, each enchanting song, and each stunning lighting trick, my breath was taken away. Theatre Calgary have created a world in which anything and everything is possible. A world in which everyone belongs. I sat in the audience and I was the kid who was ringing The Polar Express bell and listening to its sweet, sweet sound. I was the kid who was flying high above Never Neverland with my best friend, Tinkerbell. With laughter, and surprise, and with tears of pure joy filling my eyes, The Little Prince taught me that “the essential is invisible.” Believing in magic was the easiest thing I did all day.

The Little Prince: The Musical runs at Theatre Calgary until February 28. Now, in the words of the Prince himself, “draw me a sheep”.

Skating at Olympic Plaza

On December 23, my two friends and I bundled up in our -15 best and head downtown. We walked down Stephen Ave, towards Olympic Plaza. We said hello to the Famous Five, gave them each a quick, but meaningful high five for fighting for our right to vote, and then found the skate rental building perched next to the rink. We walked up and told the man we needed to rent skates! He asked if we just needed three? I said, “well, we need two each…” and smiled. The man burst into raucous laughter! Woah! Do jokes get you a discount? He asked for our foot sizes. I lowered my voice and whispered to him my embarrassing, ogre-like foot size, 11. He gasped and shook his head. “We don’t have skates that big.” Story of my life. As I took the size 8 hockey skates the man handed me, images of all the falling I would inevitably do flashed through my mind. We paid our $12 each (the joke did not get me a discount) and walked to the ice just as the Zamboni began its rounds. The view was perfect, the ice fresh and slick from the Zamboni, the icicle lights twinkling over the rink, and the Calgary Tower silhouetted against a sky of classic, Calgary blue. Lacing skates is hard. Lacing hockey skates is hard. Lacing hockey skates in -15 is hard. We were already very cold by the time the Zamboni finished.

With trepidation, I stood on the ice, getting a feel for the clunky shoes underneath my feet. Then a 5-year old girl, helmet off-kilter, hot pink snowpants wet with snow, and mittens on idiot strings, skate/walked by me at a snail’s pace and screamed to her dad, “catch me if you can!” She giggled as she went by, seemingly not even moving, she was going so slowly. Fearless she was! I took her lead and pushed off. I wasn’t really skating, I was walking on skates, but I was doing a damn fine job of that. I sped up with each lap I did, feeling more and more comfortable. As I turned each corner, I stretched my arms out like an airplane and made zooming sound effects. I am 26. I’m an airplane. Only one speaker around the rink was working, so each time I flew past, I heard a snippet of a Christmas song and it filled me with Christmas cheer. An hour on the ice, over 30 skating selfies, only one toe with any feeling whatsoever, and not a single fall, we triumphantly returned our skates and walked back to the car. Thanks for the skate, Calgary!