A September 2002 trip
to Calgary by Drever
Quote: We had the opportunity to visit Calgary in September. It was our first visit to Canada so we didn't know quite what to expect. We found the people very warm and friendly. There was so much to see and do that we had a wonderful time.
Hotel | "The Sandman Hotel"
There was a delay in getting our luggage up to the room for it was difficult for the bus to park. The room itself was a twin bedded room with sette, private bathroom, air conditioning that we couldn't figure out, alarm-clock-radio, coffee maker, hairdryer, iron and board, TV and direct dial telephone. The accommodation was comfortable and clean.
We ate in the on-site Moxie's Classic Grill on two occasions. The service was prompt and polite. The restaurant was a bit noisy and crowded, the meal a bit basic but good value. It was our introduction to the different pattern of meals to that in the UK - a big breakfast which practically makes lunch unnecessary.
On the whole the hotel served our purpose well. It allowed us to settle into our 19 day trip across western Canada.
For further information check out The Sandman Hotel
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 21, 2002
Sandman Hotel Calgary City Centre
888 7th Avenue SW
The junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers was chosen. Some of the men commented, "It's a beautiful spot - it is unforgettable." The rivers and the silver mountains, the Rockies, to the westwards gave an imposing aspect to the site.
Colonel MacLeod, called the fort Fort Calgary after Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull, Scotland which means "bay farm" a name which is strangly fitting. Fort Calgary Historic Park has a replia of the original fort.
The Fort at the time (1875) was described as neat and tidy. It had a barracks block with a kitchen and dining hall; a guardroom with room for 12 prisoners, a blacksmith shop and a hospital that boasted hair mattresses.
At an elevation of 3,500 feet Fort Calgary got extreme and changeable temperatures. The fort also leaked like a sieve. During rain the turf covering the log roofs would absorb the rain but when the rain stopped outside it would start raining inside as the water soaked through.
With law and order and a focus point, immediately pioneers set up a collection of tents, cabins and two stores. The Canadian Pacific Railway advanced its steel ribbon to link this area to the rest of Canada. It arrived in 1883 and with the new accessibility to the town people flooded into the area. By 1892 Calgary became a city. Today the city has around 800,000 inhabitants.
Fort Calgary Historic Park presents all this information. You can visit the leaky old fort,see where the troopers slept, their daily duties, their equipment, their uniforms and the stables.
Elegant Deane House was part of the original site and dates from 1906. Originally it was the home of Superintendent Deane. On visiting the site we had a snack in the restaurant in Deane House before studying its displays, artifacts and historical videos of the fort's history. There are even Mountie uniforms for those who want to look the part for a photo. We then toured the fort. There were plenty of tour guides dressed in period costumes that were delighted to spend time with us to give us an insight of life in the fort. It was evident that the standard of living of the Mounties and the native population differed little at that time.
Admission Rates in Canadian Dollars
$8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors (65+) and $5.00 for youth (7-17). Children 6 and under are free of charge.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 23, 2002
Fort Calgary Historic Park
750 9th Ave SE
Calgary, Alberta T2P 2M5
+1 403 290 1875
The grid system with Avenues running east west and Streets running north south is like New York. It makes it easy for us to find our way around. A light railway, which runs along 7th Avenue before branching out, saves on shoe leather. Travel inthe Downtown area is free on this service.
The weather was in the high 20s when we were there but winter temperatures are often 25 degrees below and the golfing season is only four months long. To cope with the low temperatures the city has heated covered walkways between the skyscraper blocks so that people can move from building to building without getting frozen. A famous feature of the climate is the chinook. Warm, dry winds pour down the eastern mountain slopes and continue across the prairies raising temperatures by as much as 30 degrees in an hour. Although the city contains many trees, both the altitude and chinook winds makes it difficult for them to survive. Trees can mistake chinook winds for the start of summer and start growing just to be killed by frost.
The Canadian Dollar has been losing value for the last 25 years; therefore visitors from countries with a strong currency find the prices in Canada cheap.
Calgary has many fine shopping areas. Visiting the Downtown on 8th district, which encompasses indoor malls from Penny Lane to TD Square to Bankers Hall and beyond will satisfy your entire shopping needs. The city’s largest shopping mall is the Chinook Centre. This is the place you will find Calgary’s largest collection of national chain boutiques. The Eau Claire Festival Market next to the entrance to Prince’s Island Park is worth your while to visit. The market has one-of-a-kind stores, restaurants and the 300-seat IMAX Theatre and Cinescape entertainment centre.
You will find meals are enjoyable as the service is attentive and polite. The city has excellent restaurants. Because it is not a tourist trap prices are lower than towns such as the Rocky Mountain resort of Whistler and around 25% lower than comparable restaurants in the UK. All restaurants I visited produced an excellent meal. Canadians make breakfast one of the main meals of the day so you often don’t need a meal at lunchtime. Restaurants with all culinary tastes are available. Thai restaurants give especially good value. For those who like a taste of Irish washed down with Guinness, Irish pubs are becoming almost as common as McDonalds. The revolving restaurant in the Calgary Tower provides you with an excellent view of the city.
The Social Character of Calgary
Residents often refer to Calgary as "Volunteer City", a title fully earned during the 1988 Winter Olympics as Calgary produced more volunteers than any other Winter Olympics. Many of the participants billed the event the "best Games ever."
The Olympics left Calgary with a rich heritage including a bobsleigh and luge run, three ski jumps and the Olympic Oval built to house the speed skating events. On the Stampede grounds stands the Saddledome, named after its saddle ahaped roof. The hockey events and the figure skating competitions took place there. Today it is also heavily used for large-scale events such as rock concerts. Now people travel from all over to train for winter athletics at Calgary.
Again the world-renowned Calgary Stampede held in early July displays the volunteer spirit. The city transforms into a modern version of a western town. Everybody, even lawyers, dress-up in cowpoke outfits for the occasion and you would probably find yourself taking part in an impromptu square dance in the street with a Calgarian showing you the steps.
It is unlikely the volunteer spirit would have survived so well without a sound system of law and order. Canada’s policy of setting up the rule of law before Calgary became a town by settling the Canadian Mounted Police in a fort paid dividends. The "mounties" earned a reputation not only of always getting their man but also for being trustworthy.
Devonian Gardens is an extraordinary indoor garden. The climate-controlled garden features more than 138 varieties of greenery, including 16,000 Florida tropical plants and 4,000 local plants, flower-banked pathways and tree-decked plazas. Waterfalls, fountains, fish and turtles, as well as beautiful sculptures are also displayed.
Glenbow Museum is western Canada's largest museum, with over 93,000 square feet of exhibition space spreading over three floors. More than 20 galleries are filled with artefacts from Glenbow's collection of over a million objects. The art collection contains some 28,000 works, which date mostly from the 19th century to the present. Glenbow receives historical, modern and present-day works from the northwest of North America, focusing on representing this region and its place in western Canada.
Heritage Park houses Alberta’s past and turn of the century prairie life. It is one of Canada’s largest historical sites and covers 250 acres. Many of the displays are still working. A blacksmith makes shoes for the horses that work in the park. A bakery uses old-fashioned ovens to turn out baked goods that it also sells. A steam locomotive with passenger cars will take you around the park.
Calgary Zoo located on St George’s Island now has a prehistoric park covering eight acres displaying life-size replicas of dinosaurs in their natural habitat. The Botanical Gardens include an arid garden, a rainforest and a butterfly garden.
Ayr, United Kingdom