Day 13: Thursday, September 26

A Day In Calgary

We got up a little late today (about 8:30), so we were too late to catch the included breakfast at the hotel. With the aid of trusty Google Maps, Vince found a breakfast place called OEB Breakfast Co. (222 5 Ave SW), a few blocks walk from the hotel. We decided to check it out and, despite it being VERY crowded, were pleasantly surprised by the quality and portions of breakfast. Very trendy/hip place here with mostly 20-somethings in attendance. Great service too. Delicious food.

After breakfast we wandered around the neighbourhood a bit to try and get familiar with it. At 10:45 we were scheduled for a walking tour with CalgaryWalks & Bus Tours, so we made our way to the meeting place, which was to be “by the horses” at the Municipal Building (City Hall). We had trouble finding the place and wound up in the Olympic Plaza. I called the CalgaryWalks office and they directed us to the Municipal Building. There we met our host Judy and we began the “Downtown Intro Walking Tour”, which lasted 2.5 (almost 3) hours. Judy was an amazing host and really knew her stuff. We shared the walk with a couple visiting from Dallas, Texas who were amazingly knowledgeable with regard to Canadian politics and culture. Fantastic tour.

We finished the tour at about 1:10 on Stephen Avenue Walk, which is a bustling and interesting pedestrian street also known as 8th Avenue SW. It had been slightly cold, windy and damp on our walking tour so we stopped in at a coffee house called Rosso to take off the chill. To warm up, I ordered a hot chocolate. When it came it was a thing of beauty:

Fully warmed up, we ventured back out on the street to explore some more of Stephen Avenue Walk in downtown Calgary:

It was time for lunch so we went to the CORE shopping centre as there was sure to be a food court and/or restaurant there. Before we ate, though, we paid a visit to the beautiful Devonian Gardens, which is on the top floor of the CORE mall:

We had a quick lunch in the food court at the CORE shopping centre. While we were eating we looked up and saw this:

Looking through the glass ceiling of the CORE shopping centre

Earlier in the day during our walk with CalgaryWalks, Judy had taken us through the Chinese Cultural Centre in Calgary’s Chinatown. After lunch Vince and I returned there to take shots of the magnificent ceiling in the Centre:

Calgary’s Chinese Cultural Centre, with its traditional architecture and decor, is styled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing:

From the Chinese Cultural Centre we wandered through Chinatown in the intermittent light rain for quite a while:

From Chinatown we wandered back to Olympic Plaza and the Municipal Building, but stopped on our way to admire the once-controversial Family of Man sculptures:

“The Family of Man” was created by Spanish artist Mario Armengol as part of the British Pavilion for the Montreal Expo in 1967. After Expo was over, the sculptures were put up for auction and subsequently purchased by Maxwell Cummings & Sons who then donated the pieces to the City of Calgary for tax purposes.

Moving on, we then stopped at the Olympic Plaza:

The plaza was built in 1988 for the Olympic Winter Games and has the only refrigerated outdoor ice surface in the city.

On the one side of Olympic Plaza there was a wall of colourful Ground Squirrels:

Apparently each ground squirrel is painted in one of the official colours of the Canada 150 logo, and are located at various parks and cemeteries throughout Calgary.

It was getting late and the weather was threatening a rainstorm in earnest, so we made one last stop at the Calgary Municipal Building to take a few shots:

Our feet were aching and and a rainstorm was pending, so we headed back to the hotel to rest and regroup.

We were tired and didn’t feel like going to a crowded, noisy restaurant, so for our dinner tonight we bought sandwiches, drinks, etc. from the Circle K beside the hotel, and ate in our room. Off to bed at about 10:00, exhausted from another busy day. All this fresh prairie air is exhausting us!

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