Popcorn truly is the perfect snack. When watching a movie, you don’t want your snack to be too loud and crunchy as to over power the sound from your TV— popcorn! When having a few beers with friends, you don’t want your snack to be too salty, or you wake up the next morning with swollen fingers and a numb tongue— popcorn! Riding a bicycle, walking down the street, laying in the sun, paddling a canoe, climbing a mountain, holding a baby, soaking in a bath tub— popcorn, popcorn, popcorn!
Poko Popcorn is the newest snack to ‘pop’ up in our city, and to introduce the hippest and coolest new snack food to Calgary, Poko held a tasting event at National on 17th, where six of Poko’s flavours were paired with local brews served by National. I know, a popcorn and beer tasting event— this is what dreams are made of, people. We met Cam, the man with a dream that one day people could buy popcorn that is air popped, tumbled with flavour, and served warm. I could listen to this man talk about popcorn all day. I have never seen anyone more passionate about snacks in my whole life. We tried six flavours, salt and butter, white cheddar, salt & vinegar, cheesy dill pickle, spicy jalapeno cheddar, and salted caramel. They were paired with six beers, that Natasha Pieskar, the brand manager for National, chose for us.
We learned that the word “Poko” doesn’t really mean anything, it is just a radical name that’s easy to remember, and fun to say. All the flavours Poko serves were created by Cam and his team. When deciding on the white cheddar flavours, they tested nearly 40 different kinds of white cheddar. All the flavour decisions were made by friends and families. “What do you guys think?” asked Cam, “I love butter,” said one of the attendees.
The evening was a blur of popcorn, beer, and laughter. Ryan and I ate every last kernel, and drank every last drop. My favourite flavour, the white cheddar, was paired with the delicious Open Road American Brown Ale from Alberta’s own Troubled Monk Brewery. It was like eating a grilled cheese sandwich. “Nothing has the kind of mouth feel this does,” said Cam.
Poko Popcorn has four locations in Calgary and is hoping to expand across the country— just what Canada needs, more popcorn! So next time you’re craving the perfect snack, do yourself a ‘flavour’ and go Poko.
Much to some Calgarian’s dismay, the days in Calgary are beginning to get shorter and shorter. Summer is coming to an end/ended quite abruptly with the snow we had over the weekend, and we must begin to adapt again to living in the dark. One of the things Calgary is really good at, among our incredible patios, our absurd number of festivals, and our beautiful winter markets, is lighting up the dark. And what better way to light up the dark than with beautiful lanterns?!
For the second year in a row, the Calgary Zoo is the host of Illuminasia, Lantern and Garden Festival. The festival showcases authentic Chinese lanterns that are arranged throughout the grounds, and guides visitors through the Four Noble Plants, representing the four seasons. “In Chinese Art, the Four Noble Plants are represented by the orchid, bamboo, the chrysanthemum and the plum blossom. These four plants represent the seasons and how they unfold from one season to another.” — illuminasiacalgaryzoo.com
Our journey began in spring. Snails, blossoms, mushrooms, and various flowers lit up the path. In summer, we found more flowers, and the most colourful animals. We gasped at the colours of the flowers, and the sheer number of lanterns. Autumn colours illuminated the maple trees and the multiple moose lanterns, and the real life bunny that grazed nearby made us laugh. The penguins waved to us from the winter section, and the twinkly trees behind them were captivating. It was all so very magical. So magical, in fact, I had to dust off my thesaurus to find enough synonyms for the word!
As if a spellbinding evening, lit by bewitching lanterns wasn’t enough, the admission to Illuminasia helps to support the Calgary Zoo’s conservation efforts to protect species at risk, here at home and around the world. Illuminasia is on until October 16, so dust off your winter boots, scarves, and toques, invite your family, your friends, your lover(s), and head down to the Calgary Zoo to experience an enchanting evening. Thanks for the beguiling night, Calgary Zoo!
If you’ve ever searched “DIY” on the internet, the results that appear make you think that you have to be a professional ‘arts and crafts-er’ in order to successfully create anything. I have often tried DIY projects myself, following closely the instructions, but what I create is not as much a beautiful DIY craft as it is a mess of paper, pipe cleaners, glue, and often Band-Aids. When I saw that the next Maker YYC workshop was painting marbled mugs, I had little hope for myself. But then I remembered the amazing crafts I have successfully created with Kat and Sarah, the cofounders of Maker YYC, at other workshops, and that I would have nothing to lose if I just went for it.
Cut to a rainy Tuesday evening in Calgary. I head to Home & Away on 17th Ave. SW. to join in on the Marbled Mug workshop. I was so excited to paint my own mug. We began with a bit of an ice breaker, in which we were to draw a portrait of a friend without looking at the paper. It was zany and hilarious. I was quite proud of the portrait I drew of Jennifer, my “blind portrait” partner, and the activity really got me ready for some hardcore crafting!
Kat gave us some quick instructions so we knew what we were actually supposed to be doing, and let us test a few colour combinations and techniques. I, and a few others, struggled with making our test pages take the marbling effect. The lovely lady I sat across from, Michelle, turned out to be the marbling guru, and would give us all pointers. We all watched in awe as she dipped her test pages in her water dish and effortlessly pulled out the most epic marbled designs.
I practiced with a few different colours on a few more test pages, and finally found the combination I liked. I don’t know if it was the little imaginary Kat who sits on my shoulder and encourages me along when I am about to try something creative, or if it was actually Kat as she walked through the tables, “just go for it!”
I created my silver and red concoction, took a deep breath, and took the plunge— literally plunged my mug into the water. I smiled as I pulled it out of the dish. It was painted with a perfectly imperfect silver and red marble design. I sat there and stared at my mug in total shock and awe. Stephanie, another mug maker, congratulated me on my success.
By the end of the workshop, my hands were covered in paint, and we were all a little loopy from the fumes and had big ol’ grins on our faces. After a quick coat of shellac, our mugs and matching saucers were ready to go. I had an excellent time making my mug. I think the Maker YYC experience is one everyone should have. It was a totally rad workshop, and I can’t wait for the next one. Thanks for the mugs, Maker YYC! Thanks for the radical craft night, Calgary!
While sitting on my balcony drinking tea one Wednesday evening, I received a text message from my good friend, Natasha. “Come to the Lougheed House right now,” it said. Without questioning, I put on some shoes, grabbed my keys, and was out the door. For one evening, the Lougheed House was home to ‘Spectral Illuminations’, Emmedia’s site-specific projection project, that illuminated the windows, walls, ceilings, and furniture of the building. A fire place projected onto a window made it look like the outside was burning when standing in the living room, there were eerie metallic bubbles emerging from a light fixture on a wall and disappearing into nothing, and the psychedelic colours being projected on the outside of the house kept us mesmerized.
On Thursday, I went on an art walk with Ryan. We began in East Village, with a relaxing few minutes in Bee Kingdom Glass’ Saturnian, the “inflatable robotic exploratory humpback-narwhal hybrid”. We watched as people followed instructions and cracked the codes at the BASS Ship and created bone-vibrating noises that appeared to be communicating with aliens. The BASS Ship is the first project to come out of the Beakerhead Big Bang Residency Program. We strolled past the Sandbox of Human Ingenuity and watched as people unlocked their imaginations in the sand. Next, we drive down to Inglewood and marvelled at Pedro Estrellas’ and Filthy Luker’s Tentacles reaching out of the McGill Block. I personally think we should have tentacles all year round. Our art walk, as many do, concluded with dinner. We scarfed down a few pizzas from Without Papers in Inglewood and deemed the evening a success.
On Friday afternoon, Ryan and I had high hopes, so to speak, of going up in a hot air balloon at The Sky’s The Limit event on International Avenue. As it turned out, the wind was too strong for the hot air balloon, but to the delight of many Beakerhead-goers, the wind was just strong enough to send their homemade kites soaring! We enjoyed a root beer in the sun, and watched the kids and kids-at-heart fly their kites and stare in amazement.
When we were told the wind was too strong for the balloon, we decided to continue our Beakerhead scavenger hunt, and head downtown to catch the tail end of the Four-to-Six events happening on Stephen Avenue. I held hands with a giant robot, waited for a shark to go by before crossing the street, and waved at the people in the human-sized hamster wheel. We found a crowd of people and stopped. A trough in the middle of the sidewalk, filled with equal parts water and cornstarch, was the main attraction. This mixture is liquid, but when force is applied to it, it acts like a solid— if someone walks slowly they will sink into the water. If they run and stomp quickly, they will walk above it. I took a turn. I looked down, not believing I was about to walk on water. The man nearby told me to just stomp quickly, and counted me down. I did it! I walked across water! It was so rad! After a quick bite to eat at National on 8th, we made our way to Central Memorial Park to see the Nibbles! Big, inflated baby bunnies lit up the park. We laughed at the children all playing with the blow-up carrots and lettuce, and sat in awe as the lights changed colours.
Phew! Not done yet! Saturday night was the grande finale of my Beakerhead experience. I met up with Natasha, Nick, Chad, and Andy, and we head to Bridgeland, where science’s ultimate street party was going down. There were bursts of flame, lasers, LEDs, and actual robots that shot actual fire; what else would you expect from a science street party? We stood, entranced by the LED balloons that glowed and pulsed to the beat of the music filling the field. We stood in awe under the giant inflatable space bear. We laughed as the Science Busters taught us all about combustion and then made the ‘Balls of Science’ explode above our heads. We took in some music at the stage, enjoyed the LED finger lights we bought, and went home with giant, art, engineering, and science loving smiles on our faces.
Thanks for the out of this world weekend, Beakerhead! Thanks for the art, science, and engineering smash up, Calgary!
I love how busy summer is in Calgary. There is a festival every weekend, there are events and activities throughout the week, and there is absolutely no excuse for being bored. What I love about our jam-packed summers is that Calgary’s activities don’t all fit into July and August, so the events continue into September! One of these epic events is Circle the Wagons. BassBus, YYC Food Trucks, and Village Brewery came together to create a carnival of local food, beer, music, art, and performance— the perfect place to find oneself on a beautiful September Saturday.
Ashley, Josh, and I arrived at the University District Park around 1:30, and quickly found a parking spot with the other cars. The park was all buzzing, people with their friends and families wandering around, eating food from the food trucks, taking photos of the costumed performers, and soaking up the beautiful atmosphere. We joined right in. I bought a maple, pepper, and bacon panini from the Hoodoo Foodoo Curbside Cafe truck. That slow cooked, maple-basted bacon is what dreams are made of. We sat at a picnic table, and people-watched while we ate our lunch.
We met up with Andy and Sam and the five of us wandered over to where the wiener dog races were about to begin. Picture this: a huge crowd of people, cheering on costumed wiener dogs, running across a little field to their owners. My personal favourites were the Captain America wiener dog and the wiener dog wearing a skunk outfit. We said hello to the goats, who were mowing the grass nearby, and then did the art walk around the water feature in the park. We met a man who gave us a lesson about crystals and how they effect our energy, we said hello to the people at the tea booth, we cheked out the space where Lululemon set up for yoga classes, and we pondered the works of art on display around the edge of the park. We also admired the beauty of the park. The sky was a brilliant blue with perfectly fluffy clouds scattered around, the mountains could be seen in the distance, and the sun sparkled off the water in the middle of the park.
We wandered over to The Bingo Dome, one of the stages presented by BassBus, and caught the epic set of local DJ, Burchill (Listen Here). The mixes this guy shared were ridiculously fun and not dancing was just an impossibility. It was here people were also playing bingo as they danced, but Andy, Sam, and I chose to just groove to the music, and enjoy the Village Brewery beers for sale.
We realized it was time to eat again. This time, I treated myself to the Lucky Fries from the Taiko Taco food truck. Fries drizzled with a spicy, creamy sauce, piled high with spices, with the most tender, mouth-watering pork belly on top. I was in heaven! We sat for a bit and digested our dinner. The wind began to blow a little chillier, and the sun disappeared behind a cloud. We all donned our warm layers, and then headed to The Big Top Stage, presented by BassBus and Le Cirque de la Nuit. Everybody knows that the best way to warm up on a brisk September evening is to dance! We caught the tail end of Goldfish’s set. These guys would drop a beat, and then play along with it with a saxophone, a flute, and a stand up bass, just to name a few. Totally rad!
J-Pod was next. This local Western Canadian DJ brought the house down. The speakers were shaking the earth around us and the bass dropped. Finishing the evening was Beats Antique. I heard multiple times from multiple people throughout the day that these were the guys to watch. I am glad I waited! While the music swept the crowd off their feet, performers spun hula hoops of fire, danced with batons of fire, and were lifted into the air on rings— you guessed it— of fire. I was speechless. When I wasn’t dancing like a mad woman to the music, I was watching the performers, and picking my jaw up from the floor.
Thanks for dancing with me, Andy and Sam! Thanks for the delicious food, YYCFoodTrucks. Thanks for the music, BassBus. Thanks for the epic carnival, Calgary!
On Thursday September 1st, Theatre Junction continued the tradition, and celebrated their upcoming season with the 8th annual ALLEY PARTY. Really, is there any better way to celebrate a season of contemporary live art than with a giant dance party in a back alley in the middle of downtown Calgary? No, in fact, there is not. I like to think that on a day-to-day basis I am a pretty cool person, but walking into this party made my cool level skyrocket!
My friend, Casey and I could hear the party from a few blocks away and before we entered the theatre, we walked passed a group of onlookers watching the people dance from behind a fence. We walked into the Grand, the oldest theatre in Calgary, and marvelled at the lobby. It’s worth a visit just to see the lobby. We walked under the artfully destroyed ceiling, and the chandelier made from broken bottles lit the way through to the main hall. We ‘paid what we could’ and entered.
The main room was dark and full of sound. The DJ from Hifi spinning when we arrived had everyone grooving. Amongst the grooving were my super hip friends, Tyler, Garrett, and Chris. There was a green space set up on one end of the room, where a bean bag toss and a few games of giant Connect 4, both provided by Home & Away, were set up. Nearby was a makeshift photo booth manned by an enthusiastic photographer whose goal was to make us look even cooler than we felt. Over two separate stints in front of his camera, I think we nearly exhausted him. There was also a bar, with a healthy line of excited people, ready to support local theatre by buying a beer or two.
We walked through a dark hallway and emerged in the back alley. I laughed. When Tyler invited me to a party in a back alley, I had no idea what to expect, and could never in a million years have expected this. It was all glamour and opulence set against a derelict back alley backdrop. Another DJ from Hifi was set up next to the brick wall, and the crowd was dancing all around. The music echoed and reverberated up through the buildings. Everyone was dancing. And how could they not? The beat demanded it. “The bass!!!!” Tyler exclaimed, as his body gave in. We stood in the middle of the crowd and just danced. I couldn’t help but look around at the stunning party-goers surrounding my friends and I. A smile on every face.
The scariest part about attending a party on a weeknight is that you will be out too late and be tired at work the next day. This party ended at 11pm. I love a party like this. The Hifi Club had an after party for those who couldn’t rid their bones of the beat just yet, and I applauded those people as I hailed a cab to take me home. Theatre Junction and The Hifi Club did it again. That party in that back alley is without a doubt on the list of the top ten coolest parties I have ever been to. Thanks for the invite Tyler, thanks for the music Hifi, thanks for the games Home & Away, thanks for the reason to celebrate, Theatre Junction, and thanks for the rad weeknight party, Calgary!
On Thursday, I left work and sped down Highway 22 towards the mountains, the glorious mountains. There are always people who remind you how lucky we are to live so close to them, but even those people forget sometimes. I love the moment when you pass Mt. Baldy on your left and Yamnuska on your right, because now you are in the mountains. I met up with Kate, my sister, at the IGA in Banff to buy a few camping necessities. We were going up to Two Jack Lake to pitch a tent for a few nights, and wanted to be prepared. We drove across the highway and passed Cascade Mountain. The road took us over the dam at the foot of Lake Minnewanka, towards Two Jack Lake. We found our campsite and began to set up, which went very efficiently, if I do say so myself. The tent was pitched, the chairs were out, and the water for pasta was on the stove within minutes. We spent the evening under the stars, eating our veggies and pasta, drinking our tea, chatting about life, and enjoying the smells and sounds of nature. I love camping.
We woke up on Friday morning, a little colder than expected. Oh yeah: we’re in the mountains. We cooked up some tea and enjoyed the overnight oats we prepared yesterday. It was decided that today we would go for a nice mountain walk. Neither of us have hiked up to the Lake Agnes Tea House, so we set off towards Lake Louise with a dream. We arrived and immediately all the calm we felt from waking up to birds whistling, breathing in refreshing forest air, and driving passed majestic AF mountains, disappeared. The parking lot at Lake Louise was a horror show. People were bumper to bumper, honking horns, ignoring signal lights, and pulling in front of each other. Somehow, in the middle of one of the most beautiful places in the world, people became uglier than normal. It was here, in this terribly busy parking lot, that Kate and I succumbed to the ugliness. We became different people— traffic people. The kind of people who roll their eyes at each other’s suggestions and sigh angrily at things the other says. We quickly realized what people – nay, monsters – we had become and decided to get the hell out of there.
Instead of a hike to Lake Agnes, we spent the afternoon at Two Jack Lake. The sun was out, the breeze was cold— er— fresh, and we wanted to enjoy the weather. We laughed at what a Canadian stereotype we were, sitting on the grass, basking in the sun, wearing nothing but swimsuits and goosebumps. Meanwhile, all the other lake-goers walked around us, bundled up in multiple autumn layers.
This evening we would build a fire. We donned our flannel shirts and head to the communal woodpile. Here we collected the finest pieces of kindling and the perfect logs for our fire. I began with a tipi of small logs. I crammed in a few pieces of paper from an old map of the USA Kate had in her car— we used Alabama and Arkansas first. The fire ignited and I used my dinghy foot pump as a bellows. Soon the flames were flying. We sat in the heat of the fire all evening, reading our books.
On Saturday, we decided to try a hike again. Instead of attempting Lake Agnes, we stayed near Lake Minnewanka, and did the C-Level Cirque. This is a moderate hike, with almost 500m in elevation gain over only 7.8km of hiking. The beginning of the trail was steep, so very steep. The incredible incline and the knobby tree roots sticking out of the path made Kate and I walk about as gracefully as a pair of drunk camels. We took a few breaks, but then got our second wind and made it to the very top. What a view. From here, we could see the entire valley. Mt. Rundle in the distance, with Banff in its shadow, the highway snaking along the river, and the endless Alberta sky. It was a great spot for lunch.
It began to rain when we arrived back at camp. It was only drizzling, so our plan to build a fire and cook hot dogs for dinner was still a go. We hopped in the car and drove into Banff to buy some marshmallows, and it began to pour. We arrived downtown, found a parking spot, and thought about what we should do. The rain was sporadic. It would absolutely pour for a few minutes, all hope of a campfire would be lost, and we would be just about to give up when the sun would come out, we would see blue sky, and begin to feel warm, only for the next rain-filled cloud to dump all over us again. What do you do on an evening like this, when the weather is so unpredictable? Sit at a covered table on the Grizzly House patio and spend three hours eating a four course fondue meal. If you like cheese, meat, and chocolate, this is the place for you.
The rain continued as we pulled into our campsite. We had a bit of fire envy as we passed some of the other sites with their fire pits covered by tarps. How lovely though, to sit in a tent, all cozied up in a sleeping bag, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, reading my book. Thanks for camping with me in the mountains, Kate! And thanks for having us, Banff!
A new tradition my extraordinary father and I began last year is attending the Calgary Mini Maker Faire at the Telus Spark Science Centre. The Maker Faire is a place where everyone from robotics engineers to homemade crafters to garage tinkers, come to share their projects and ideas. One of my favourite parts about the Maker Faire is the incredible array of people presenting and attending.
On that note, let me begin by introducing the coolest kid we met, Arpad, the Science Lad. Arpad built a Van de Graaf generator using the battery pack from a bug zapper, a Tesla coil, a few lightbulbs, and a bunch of tinfoil. He was thrilled to tell us all about his creation and how much fun he had building it. He told us about how dangerous this sort of experiment could be if he wasn’t careful. “Kids shouldn’t play with these things,” said the 10 year old. I could have hung out with Arpad all day, but had to move on.
We walked past the wearable LEDs and tried on some glowing accessories. Two sisters, one with the creative design mind, and one with the LED know-how, work together to make really incredible wearables. We stumbled upon a pancake printer. Yes, a printer that prints pancakes into designs right on the pan. The device squirts out the pancake batter onto the pan as it cooks, and as if by magic, but knowing full well it is by science, an Eiffel Tower pancake appeared on the pan.
We learned about Protospace, a space for members to gather and work on their dreams and ideas. One member of Protospace showed us his can crusher. He instructed us to put an empty can in the hole. The can slid into place, sat for a split second, and then a very loud hydraulic press crushed it.
I smiled as I walked around, seeing all of the passionate makers explaining their projects to other passionate makers. It is so cool to see ideas being shared in such an open minded and rad space. The room was all a buzz. Then a kid ran by me ecstatically yelling, “ROBOTS! ROBOTS! MOM! THERE ARE ROBOTS EVERYWHERE!”
Next, I took a turn blowing up asteroids with a Virtual Reality mask. It was fun, but I couldn’t help but think about how crazy I must have looked; spinning around, bending my knees and extending the control— my gun— out in front of me. I was even making shooting and explosion sound effects, that probably didn’t sound like shooting or explosions. Dad just laughed.Dad took a turn shooting an infrared gun at a target. Once he hit the target, a big blast of fire shot out into the air.
I left the Maker Faire with a hand made button made from a comic book, a custom engraved lego piece, and a rekindled appreciation for the incredible people who build and design technology. Thanks for the rad day of art, science, and technology, Calgary!
What could be better than an art party with plant portraits, shadow puppets, poisonous plants, and bees? If you ask me, not much. On August 11, it was time for another Happenings at Arts Commons. Happenings always has a major theme, and Happenings #5 was centred on the theme of plants and nature. As always, there were many free activities that anyone and everyone could enjoy.
I invited my friend Jess to join me. Our evening began with a snow-cone— I got one with root beer flavour, how could I not?— and a wander through the building. I felt all kinds of classy; there I was at an art party, rockin’ my glamourous red lipstick and my rockstar red high heels, slurping back a root beer snow-cone. While we enjoyed our icy treats, we wandered over to the Apiaries and Bees for Communities presentation to learn a bit about bees. Jess confessed to me that she loves bees. We learned about the different nest designs, and how to construct one to attract honey bees to your backyard. Jess is excited.
We ran into Richard, the Communications Manager at Arts Commons. He suggested our next stop be with Alyssa Ellis and her collection of poisonous plants. “Don’t touch or eat them though, because you will die,” said Richard. “No actually. You will die.” We decided that we were too engrossed in our snow cones to be responsible enough around poisonous plants, so we enjoyed them from afar. The plants were gorgeous. Nature is so tricky, making plants that will kill you so beautiful and tempting.
Next stop was the Bizarre Garden of Eden. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, you’re right! It was a place to design and create your own shadow puppets! I wanted more than anything to create a unicorn shadow puppet, but I didn’t know how. I expressed my disappointment to Jess and a woman overheard me. She gave me the fastest unicorn drawing lesson you’ve ever seen. I sketched it out, and really surprised myself. That woman enriched my life. Jess cut out a dancing mushroom and we went behind the sheet to put on a show.
After our shadow puppet debut, we decided to check out some of the art that we were celebrating. On our way to the Ledge Gallery, we walked past artist Trevor Gieske and his potato printing station. We didn’t get the chance to try it out because the table was at capacity pretty much the entire evening- who knew potato printing was so popular! We entered the Ledge Gallery and wandered through the green world created by Natural Real Supreme. Green walls, green plants, green bits and pieces all around, green, green, green. The environment was so very soothing and lovely. It was nice to be above the crowd, too, to escape the noise and walk through a bit of artsy nature.
Our evening ended in the coolest place: We were surrounded by green streamers and ribbons hanging from the ceiling, red and green lights illuminating the space, and the sound of crickets filling the room. Rob Knudsen and Janine Bennet, two artists whose work is in and around Arts Commons took part in a discussion. There were questions written on paper leaves attached to the hanging streamers and the audience had the opportunity to pick a leaf and ask a question. The artists discussed their processes, their beliefs, their dreams and goals; it was really cool. The shroud that often covers the artistic process was pulled back this evening. We had the chance to learn about how art is created, see art being created, and even create our own art!
As always, the Happenings was such a rad time, and don’t worry if you missed it, because Happenings #6 is on October 31. Thanks for the nature art and the chance to create, Calgary!
I remember going to Heritage Park as a kid. My family would make a day of it. I loved the Caterpillar ride and the boat swings, I would eat so many root beer candies from the candy store, and my family toured around the Glenmore reservoir in style on the S.S. Moyie. Going to Heritage park is like traveling back in time. With all the lovely memories I have of the place, you can imagine my total delight when my friend Natasha invited me to spend her birthday with her at Heritage Park!
We began at Gasoline Alley and checked out the cars, the airplane, and all the gasoline pumps from back in the day. Everything looks so beautiful under lights in the display building. We learned about the gas pumps and some of the original companies in Alberta. We wandered around admiring how shiny everything is, and in such good condition, including my obvious favourite, the 1909 McIntyre, Model M, believed to be the only restored example of its type in existence!
The path led us to the Famous Five Centre of Canadian Women, to the Jewish Synagogue, and the Prince House. The buildings are all rebuilt, refurbished, and designed inside to appear the way they would have 100 years ago. The furniture, the wallpaper, the light fixtures, and even the little accessories and toys on dressers and tables are all pieces from the turn of the century. We listened to a bit of the very inspiring speech one of the employees was giving about the Famous Five and the impact their work would have on the lives of women in Canada forever. We had the chance to look into the reimaginings of the bedrooms in the Prince House, and listen to a history lesson of the Jewish Synagogue.
Next stop was the Games of Amusement in the antique midway. Much to my dismay, I discovered that as an adult, I am not permitted to go on what was my favourite ride as a kid— the boat swings. I stood for a moment and enviously watched the six year olds squealing and laughing with joy, before making my way over to the ferris wheel. That wheel spins way faster than I imagined. The wind whipped our hair, the breeze freshened our faces, and at the top of the spin, we could see the whole reservoir. It was a stunning view.
After the ferris wheel, we stopped into the hotel for lunch and delicious root beer, and then made our way down to the water for our boat cruise! The S.S. Moyie in which Heritage Park ferries its passengers is a half-size replica of the original ship built in 1898. From the boat we saw some deer on the shore, lots of birds, and were able to wave to people sitting on the water’s edge. It was also on the boat where we sang the birthday song to Natasha.
We walked through the main street and to the farm area. I stopped for a quick swing in the playground, and overheard a little boy say to his mom, ”Heritage park is now my favourite.” I smiled. It began to rain as we went into the saloon, so we waited out the downpour inside. A few beers, a few rounds of cards, dominos, and Yahtzee, and the rain stopped.
We ran after the train to take us back to the candy store— probably the most important stop of the day. I bought a root beer candy stick, like I always did as a kid. I remember thinking they were so expensive when my only income was my weekly allowance. Even with the rain, Heritage Park was the perfect destination for our Saturday. The ticket price for an adult is $26.25, and once inside the park, the boat, the rides, and the train are all free. A lot of bang for your buck, and way less expensive than what I assume time traveling would cost. Thanks for the rad blast from the past, Calgary!