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…]

Skyline Luge | Calgary’s Newest Attraction

Calgary Skyline Luge

Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park has always been the City’s top place for exciting activities. They offer North America’s fastest zip-line, inner-city skiing and snowboarding, downhill mountain biking and the chance to experience a 100 Km/h 4-person bobsleigh in the winter months. It’s always a fun time and the summer months just got more exciting with the addition of Skyline Luge.

I’ve actually tried Skyline Luge on Singapore’s Sentosa island before but Calgary’s track is three times longer. It’s tons of fun speeding down the hill, sitting in a plastic car with gravity taking you down the track.

[Read more…]

Flying High Over the Canadian Rocky Mountains

“Look to your right” the Pilot said as we passed some mountain sheep resting high up on the cliff. It was amazing to fly so close to the mountain peak and witness these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. They were basically resting on the peak of a mountain! I fell in love with helicopters as we soared up high and over some of the most magical scenery in the world.

Helicopter Tour Rocky Mountains

It was only a few minutes prior that I was sitting in the office of Alpine Helicopter Tours, listening to a quick safety video and anticipating the adventure ahead. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and sunny weather. It’s incredible how quickly you can go from being at the base to being above the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

[Read more…]

WhiteWater Rafting on the Kicking Horse River

There are many ways to see the Canadian Rockies. You can ride a bike, fly over them in a helicopter, drive the scenic highways, go for a hike, take a gondola ride, ski down them or sit on a patio drinking a beer with the mountains as your backdrop. I’ve done all of them. But another great way to see the jaw-dropping scenery with a dose of adrenaline is to go whitewater rafting. There are a number of rivers one could raft but the most popular is no doubt the Kicking Horse. As you can imagine from the rivers name, it packs a punch or well, a kick. Though I probably should have been resting after a 6-day horseback riding trip in the backcountry, we decided to add a rafting trip with Alpine rafting in Golden, British Columbia.

[Read more…]

Become a Cowboy or Cowgirl Amidst the Beautiful Backdrop of the Canadian Rockies

horseback riding canadian rockies

I honestly thought that I knew everything about the Canadian Rockies. Okay, maybe not everything, but after living in Calgary for the last 10 years, I’ve had my fair share of Rocky Mountain experiences. I’ve spent a lot of time camping near beautiful mountain lakes, enjoying world-class skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, hiking, and even riding in a helicopter for a birds eye view of one of the most incredible places on earth. I really did think I had experienced everything the rockies had to offer. That is, until I heard about Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies. This non-profit group, which has been around for more than 90 years, takes customers for six-day journey’s on horseback through the backcountry of the Rockies. [Read more…]

A Magical Time at Lake Louise

Skiing at Lake Louise is always an amazing experience but when the Ice Magic Festival is in town, the experience becomes, we’ll, magical.

Ice carvers from all around the world gather outside the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on Friday morning where they compete for 34 hours to create a stunning piece of ice art. With the olympics taking place in Sochi this year, the theme for the Ice Magic Festival was “Freeze the Olympics”.

Ice Magic Festival Lake Louise First Place Winner

First Place Winner at the Ice Magic Festival

We arrived on saturday morning to half-finished ice sculptures. It was really cool to see the carvers mid-way through their masterpieces and see the extremely hard work that is involved. With the average block of ice weighing in at 300 pounds, these artists have to balance physical exertion with artistic finesse. Add freezing cold temperature to the mix and you can imagine how dedicated these artists must be.

[Read more…]