Calgary Journals

Calgary, Edmonton & Canadian Rockies Circle Tour

An August 1999 trip to Calgary by Jim Rosenberg

Jasper National Park Photo, Calgary, Alberta More Photos
Quote: Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies are well-known locales among the traveling public, but the pleasant surprise is that they are less-crowded and costly than destinations of their genre south of the U.S. border.

Calgary, Edmonton & Canadian Rockies Circle Tour

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Overview

Quote:
Wildlife, glaciers, pristine mountain lakes and rivers and miles of hiking trails await visitors to the Canadian Rockies. Below the mountains, Calgary and Edmonton offer their individual attractions and western Canadian charm.Quick Tips: You can start and finish this circle tour from either end, so check for the best airfare to either Calgary or Edmonton. (We began at Calgary). Lodging in the mountains can be pricey in the high season, but aside from major events such as the Calgary Stampede, rooms in Edmonton and Calgary are reasonable. (Non-Canadian residents: Save your receipts on lodging and retail purchases over to claim a rebate of the General Sales Tax. Be sure to retain proof ...Read More

Hotel Arts and Event Center

Hotel | "Holiday Inn Calgary Downtown"

Hotel Arts and Event Center Photo, Calgary, Alberta
Quote:
The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Calgary, within walking distance to a number of clubs, the tower and the Calgary Stampede grounds. It is comfortable, clean, features full-service hotel amenities, and it is an excellent value. There are several clubs that are literally within "shouting" distance -- something that can have a role if you like to keep your balcony door open at night on a weekend. Best bet: join the fun.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Hotel Arts and Event Center
119 12TH AVENUE SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R0G8
403-266-4611

Mount Robson Inn

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Hotel

Mount Robson Inn Photo, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Quote:
The Mount Robson Inn is unique and homey, with a fabulous mountain view. Elk roam across the median on Connaught Drive and if you walk the trails across the street, you may just find yourself bumping into the animals 'up close and personal,'as we did. (You can check out the Mount Robson at their website: www.mountrobsoninn.com and you will find the descriptions accurate in every respect. The staff is friendly and we liked the personality of the place for a mountain destination, as opposed to a more sterile, city-style chain. We regard Jasper is less pricey and not quite as "overdone" as Banff; both clear advantages to our style.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Mount Robson Inn
902 Connaught Drive
Jasper Alberta T0E 1E0
(780) 852-3327

Edmonton - The Palace (Holiday Inn) Photo, Calgary, Alberta
Quote:
The Palace is a few kilometers from downtown in a rather pedestrian-unfriendly part of town (suburban development: wide streets, fast cars, traffic). That comment aside, it is a more than decent place to stay and it's a decent place to drive to and from. (Our Priority Club got us an upgrade to a junior suite and there is a nice breakfast buffet available.) This is not in the immediate proximity of the West Edmonton Mall, however, it is an easy drive on the perimeter expressway to get there. We're displaying the rates in Canadian dollars and they can vary depending on demand, however, it is an excellent value.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Edmonton - The Palace (Holiday Inn)
4235 Calgary Trail N
Calgary, Alberta
1(800) 565-1222

Cannery Row

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Restaurant

Quote:
Cannery Row features live music and an outstanding selection of fresh seafood, including live lobster and crab. There is a dining room separate from the live music area (we chose to eat with the live band). The food is excellent, the atmosphere is fun and this place should be on your 'A' list for downtown Calgary. (U.S. visitors: prices are expressed in Canadian dollars. This restaurant is an excellent value).

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Cannery Row
317 10th Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 0A5
+1 403 269 8889

Chianti Café and Restaurant

Restaurant | "Chianti Cafe"

Quote:
Wonderful Italian pasta specialties, a nice selection of wines to accompany and an ecclectic atmosphere combine to make this a great choice. The Chianti Cafe is unique and well worth a visit. In addition to a great menu, we always notice the difference in the staff when we are in a university city and the Chianti is no exception -- they have some excellent servers. This is a great dining experience to take your time with.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Chianti Café and Restaurant
1438 17th Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta T2T 0C8
+1 403 229 1600

Keg Steakhouse & Bar

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Restaurant | "The Keg Steakhouse & Bar"

Quote:
While some might hesitate to recommend a chain, we think this one deserves mention -- particularly if you have your eye on a steak. Our experience in Edmonton was wonderful, but you will find versions of 'The Keg' throughout Canada, including two in Banff, three in Calgary and the one we visited in Edmonton. Check out a sample menu for yourself: www.kegsteakhouse.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Keg Steakhouse & Bar
8020 - 105th Street
Calgary, Alberta
(780) 432-7494

Tim Horton's

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Restaurant

Quote:
Okay, I'm half-kidding here -- but ONLY half. Throughout Canada, you will find Tim Horton's donut shops, featuring lunch deals, bagels, donuts, chili and excellent coffee. But Tim Horton's is more than simply a fast-food joint -- it's become a part of modern Canadian culture. Named for the Canadian hockey hero who got it all started (now deceased) and devoting a significant share of its corporate profits to the children's camps that it has developed and supported over the years, Tim Horton's is a Canadian icon. Whether you simply want a cup of coffee or something fast, Tim's is your stop. You'll meet Canada there! (No, I don't have stock; I just can't help liking these familiar places!)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Tim Horton's
Throughout Calgary
Calgary, Alberta
(905) 845-6511

West Edmonton Mall

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Attraction

West Edmonton Mall Photo, Calgary, Alberta
Quote:
I'm not a shopper, but the West Edmonton Mall easily kept me entertained for nine hours with live dolphin shows, a full-sized hockey rink featuring youth hockey games, model boat racing, restaurants, a casino, submarine rides, the world's largest indoor waterpark -- and even a little shopping, too. The place is well worth a visit (and that comes to you from a non-shopper). Non-Canadian Residents: Do pick up an official government rebate brochure at the mall to reclaim the General Sales Tax on retail receipts totalling more than $50 and the tax on your hotel rooms.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

West Edmonton Mall
170th Street
Calgary, Alberta

Jasper National Park

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Attraction | "Banff & Jasper National parks"

Jasper National Park Photo, Calgary, Alberta
Quote:
Whether its marvelling at the irridescent, tourquoise water of Lake Louise, walking on a glacier, or getting a good look at elk, mountain goats and bighorn sheep, a trip to the Canadian Rockies is an outstanding experience. It can be as physical as you'd like: from heavy-duty hiking and whitewater rafting to the solitude of trying to fool a trout on a pristine, high mountain stream. If you've fought the crowds of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon during the vacation season, you'll appreciate the noticeably less-crowded and somewhat more economical conditions north of the border. We give the nod to Jasper, since it seems a little less overworked and pricey than Banff, but it would be hard to find fa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2000

Jasper National Park
Canadian Rockies
Calgary, Alberta T1L 1K2
(403) 762-1550

Changing & Handling Money in Canada

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Story/Tip

Quote:
If you're coming to Canada from the U.S., your transition to Canadian money will be a simple one that does not require much advance planning. Unless you have a bank that really specializes in making Canadian currency exchanges, you are probably better off not bothering to exchange any money prior to your arrival in Canada. The reason is that many banks attach flat fees for currency exchanges and also have a spread between what they sell the currency for and what they will pay to buy it back. Spreads and fees almost invariably add up to far more than ATM fees would for similarly valued transactions and there is simply no reason to pay them if you can avoid it. ATMs are found virtually ...Read More

An easy, do-it-yourself circle tour...

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Story/Tip

Quote:
In looking over some of the prices of package tours to Calgary and the Canadian Rockies, one might think there is something tricky to know about travel in this area. There isn't. Over the past several years, we've found great airfares into Canada -- even during the popular summer months -- by using zone fare coupons from Northwest Airlines. Once you're there, a rental car will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. Banff and Lake Louise are an easy day trip from Calgary, but we opted for a circle tour, staying a night in Calgary, a night in Jasper and two nights in Edmonton. (It's not that Edmonton necessarily deserves more time, but by timing things out, we were abl...Read More