Calgary Reconsidered

Another great piece in The Walrus by Chris Turner looking at Calgary’s history, mythology and current culture.

It touches on many of the things Shea and I experienced when we lived in Calgary – from the youthful energy that pervades the city to the embracing of the redneck stereotype (both ironically and otherwise) by Cowtown’s citizens to the unique joys of everything from floating down the Bow with a beer cooler tied to your raft to the wonder of a winter Chinook.

It’s been a LONG time since I did a list so let’s go…

1. Falafel King.
The irony is that the first time I tried this downtown institution, I mis-read their sign and thought it was a Burger King!  But I got so hooked on their chicken schwarmas – the messiest, spiciest, drippingest ones I’ve ever had that I went there nearly every Friday for lunch after I discovered them!

2. Calgary Flames Games
I couldn’t afford to go often and mostly went through the generosity of various other family members who also lived in Calgary.  But I always loved the whole experience of going to an NHL game, something that I only got to experience twice in my life before moving to Calgary – once in Winnipeg and one pre-season exhibition game in Regina as a kid.

3. The Skyline
Because Calgary’s downtown is built in a low area around the river and there are numerous hills nearby that the city spreads outwards towards and over, I always loved how you could be walking or driving, come over a rise, and see the city laid out before you – whether driving down Elbow Drive, 17th Ave from the west, Scotsman’s Hill or so on.

4. The Arts Community
Having worked for the Writers Guild of Alberta, I’m biased.  But my biggest shock upon moving to Calgary was the strong-beating artistic heart that lie just beneath the city’s conservative, pro-business surface.  And the pro-environment folks.  And the highly educated folks.  And the strong tech folks.  And that’s why Calgary surprised the world by electing Canada’s (and North America’s?) first Muslim mayor of a major city.

5. Hop In Brew Pub
The single best pub I’ve ever been to in my life – yes, better than Bushwakkers!  (Okay, maybe not quite that good.  Let’s not get blasphemous here!)

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