Seven Reasons to Visit Calgary (Besides the Stampede)

Situated in the foothills east of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is home to beautiful scenery, festivals, and a variety of fun and interesting activities. The city is also famous for the Calgary Stampede, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors during the month of July but while the Calgary Stampede is a great time to visit, there’s plenty of other things to do in Calgary that aren’t the stampede.

Whether you’re looking for museums, parks, or excitement, here are seven reasons to visit Calgary (besides the Calgary Stampede); [Read more…]

The Calgary International Salsa Congress

Salsa Congress Calgary

Calgary might be known as a “cowtown” but the “salsa dancing fever” is very hot as well. With all sorts of latin-style festivals happening throughout the year as well as various dance schools teaching locals how to move, Calgary is a great place to learn and dance a variety of styles including salsa, bachata, tango, and more.

Since Karla and I love latin music (Karla is Mexican after all), we decided to take dance classes and finally learn the proper footwork and to be able to enjoy dancing a lot more. Then, our dance instructor mentioned the Calgary International Salsa Congress, which is now in its 10th year. We couldn’t miss it.

With performers from all over the world, the Calgary International Salsa Congress is the place to be if you want to see incredible dance performances ranging from salsa, bachata, tango, and even burlesque. With both amateurs and pros competing for awards, the shows go on all night. Starting around 6:30 PM and not ending until almost midnight, there’s a whole lot of entertainment for you to enjoy. [Read more…]

Review: The Saltlik Restaurant in Calgary, Alberta

Saltlik Calgary

The Saltlik is a rare steakhouse restaurant located on Stephen Avenue in the heart of downtown Calgary. In a province known for its beef, an experience to Calgary is not complete without a deliciously well-prepared steak.

Upon entering the Saltlik, you’ll be served a small glass of champagne as you’re shown to your table. Since we arrived during happy hour, we started with some cocktails including a cold pint of Village Wit and a perfectly mixed cocktail called the Stampede Sour. As someone who likes a good rye-based drink, this might just be my new favourite drink. Consisting of Dark Horse Rye, Amaretto, fresh lemon, and egg whites, it’s so good that I ended up having three of them. [Read more…]

Review: The Belvedere Restaurant in Calgary, Alberta

The Belvedere Calgary

Wow. Just wow. My wife and I have a new

Just…wow. My wife and I have a new favourite restaurant in Calgary.

The Belvedere.

Located on beautiful Stephen Avenue (8th Ave) in the heart of downtown Calgary, The Belvedere provides delicious gourmet food that’s bound to delight your senses. From the moment we walked in, we knew we were in for a treat. We both loved the ambiance of the place and as we were the first to arrive, I managed to snap some good pictures of our first impression. There’s something about the modernized look splashed over the old brick interior that makes the place both sophisticated and relaxing. [Read more…]

Winter Hiking to Johnston Canyon’s Frozen Waterfalls

Johnston Canyon Upper Fall

  • Attraction: Johnston Canyon
  • Location: Banff National Park
  • Walking distance: 5.2km (3.2 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 135m (443 feet)
  • Cost: Free

Like a scene from the Chronicles of Narnia, the Johnston Canyon frozen waterfalls are truly remarkable. It’s like standing beneath a giant rock-cake with icing sugar running down the sides. The views are simply breathtaking and if you’re visiting Banff National Park in the winter, this is a must-do experience.

Hiking to Johnston Canyon during the winter is usually quite easy. From the car park, it’s only a two or three-hour return trip. You’ll want to hike the entire 5.2-kilometer return trip so that you see both the Upper and Lower Falls. Although you don’t need snowshoes, you may want to bring ice cleats to put on the bottom of your hiking shoes as it can get icy in spots. My family wore regular hiking shoes without ice cleats and although it was quite slippery in some areas, we made it there and back just fine. Sometimes it depends on the weather. [Read more…]

Three Days in Jasper National Park

Driving the Icefields Parkway

Driving the Icefields Parkway

Our trip began under a blanket of clouds but it wasn’t long before they opened up to reveal the mighty peaks that make the Icefields Parkway so famous.

Known as one of the world’s most scenic drives, it didn’t take long to understand why. Snow-capped mountains, deep valleys of pine trees, sparkling glaciers, and turquoise-coloured lakes are just some of the attractions that make the drive so spectacular.

Although the drive between Lake Louise and Jasper only takes three hours, you’ll want to double that for the many scenic stops you’ll be making along the way. While it’s incredibly easy to keep busy for weeks in Canada’s first national park (Banff NP), we only had three days and decided to pack them with as much activities and scenery as possible. [Read more…]

Exploring Wainwright | Small Town Alberta

Wainwright is not normally a town I’d pass through. Situated in east-central Alberta, it’s quite far from the typical star attractions such as Banff National Park, Jasper, and Calgary. However, in the last few years, I’ve acted in a couple of live military role play training exercises, which just so happen to be at the Wainwright military base. Since I was going to be in the area anyways, I thought I’d take the opportunity to explore the town deeper and to really experience a piece of small town Alberta.

Exploring Wainwright, Alberta

Wainwright Trestle Bridge

Normally I research, plan and book my trips myself but this time I decided to contact the town of Wainwright who put me in touch with the Buffalo National Park Foundation. This lead me to Nichole Leitheiser, the executive director of the foundation, who graciously offered to show my wife and I around. This worked out great because when it comes to small towns, it’s often the people who make the place special.

[Read more…]

Professional Sports in Edmonton: A Local Experience

Whether you’re visiting Edmonton, Canada, for business or for pleasure, one of the best ways to experience the local vibe of the city is to watch one of its various professional sports teams in action. With an array of sports including hockey, football, and lacrosse, there’s something to match anyone’s interests.

The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League

Although the Edmonton Oilers aren’t as famous as they were in the 1980s, they’re still an exciting team to watch. Considering the love that Canadians have for hockey, it’s one of the best sports to watch in the country.  Known for having the best ice in the National Hockey League as well as loud and passionate fans, watching a game in Edmonton will likely become one of the highlights of your trip.

The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League

If you’ve never seen a Canadian football team in action, you’re in for a surprise. With only three downs instead of four, it’s known as being faster than American football. The Edmonton Eskimos are the most successful Canadian football franchise in the modern era and have won a total of 13 championships. If you have any interest in the sport, Edmonton is one of the best cities to not only see it in action, but also to experience it like a local. Get to the game early, join a tailgate party, and cheer on the team by singing the Edmonton Eskimos Fight Song during every game.

The Edmonton Rush of the National Lacrosse League

If your trip to Edmonton doesn’t coincide with an Edmonton Oilers game, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to watch an Edmonton Rush game at the same arena. Even though hockey is Canada’s most passionate sport, lacrosse is technically the national sport and a very exciting one to see. With hard hits, fights, and fast speed, a game of lacrosse is sure to put you on the edge of your seat.

Go Skating at West Edmonton Mall

For a little bit of exercise and fun, visit West Edmonton Mall’s ice rink where you can rent some skates and carve up the ice in front of a small audience. The Edmonton Oilers once used the rink during practice so fans could watch them prepare for upcoming games. The best part about skating at West Edmonton Mall is that when you’re done you can enjoy one of the world’s biggest waterparks, a rollercoaster, mini-golf, and a number of restaurants.

With so many sports teams in Edmonton, there’s entertainment for everyone. Although the teams mentioned above represent the most popular leagues, there are many other professional sports teams as well, including the Edmonton Energy of the International Basketball League and the FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League. Whether you visit Edmonton during the summer months or the winter months, get a cheap hotel in Edmonton and make your way to one of the many sports facilities for a night of entertainment.

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This article was written as part of the hipmunk #citylove project. As a paid writer for some city guide articles, I have written about such Canadian cities as Vancouver, Victoria and Edmonton.

Five Reasons to Travel to Edmonton

Although Edmonton might not come to mind when one thinks of visiting Canada, there are actually a lot of things to do in Canada’s northernmost major city. From world-class shopping to world-class festivals to beautiful snow-capped mountains just a few hours away, Edmonton has something for everyone and this guide will help you get the most out of your trip. [Read more…]

Top Nine Cheap Hotels in Edmonton

Known as Canada’s gateway to the North, Edmonton is a great place to visit both for business and for pleasure. Whether you’re coming to negotiate a deal or ride the rollercoaster at West Edmonton Mall, finding a place to sleep doesn’t have to break the bank. In this article, you’ll find the top nine cheap hotels in Edmonton so you can save your money for the plethora of activities available throughout the city. [Read more…]