Friday, June 17, 2016

2016 Father’s Day Events in Calgary

It is June and we all know what that means—it’s coming up to the day we celebrate our dads and grandads, or any other influential male in our lives, it’s Father’s Day!
Father’s Day originated back in 1909 when a young lady was in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and thought that dads should be celebrated as well. Although it is celebrated on different days around the world, the most popular day for this occasion is the third Sunday in June, which this year is June 19th. The day is not only used to thank our dads for all they do for us throughout the year, but also to reflect on the influence of dads in our society and how they help shape the leaders of tomorrow.
Dads come in all shapes and sizes and have different tastes. Fortunately in and around Calgary this year, there are a lot of different things to do to celebrate the day, and something sure to please all dads:

Is your dad a plane enthusiast? If so you’ll want to take him to the 5th Annual Wings and Wheels event this Father’s Day weekend at the Aero Space Museum of Calgary located at 4629 McCall Way in the NE. Dads get free admission when being accompanied by a paid admission and can check out the vintage vehicles, the open cockpits and even take a helicopter tour of the city (with an extra charge).  There are fun activities for the kids too of course, and the fun goes both weekend days from 10-3.

Is your dad an amusement park aficionado? If so, you’ll want to head on over to Calgary’s own Calaway Park where dads (and granddads) can enjoy free admission when they show up with a kid (or two!) It is Rad Dad day on Father’s Day at the park, so enjoy the rides, the shows and all the games and food you can handle, all day from 10-7.

Does your dad adore horses? If the answer is a resounding yes, you’ll want to go to Spruce Meadows this Father’s Day or any day between June 15-19 for the Continental. Admission is free and once there you can watch professional show jumping in a relaxed environment, tour the grounds, shop and eat and let the kids play on the playground equipment, take a pony ride and/or have their face painted, all in the family friendly atmosphere.

If your dad loves trains, and you want a little Sunday drive to boot, you won’t want to miss Train Days at AspenCrossing in Mossleigh (around 40 miles SE of Calgary on Highway 24). The fun takes over both days this weekend from 10-4 both days and not only can dad take in the sights of the model train displays which feature G scale trains, but you can also take him on a full size train for an hour ride through Aspen Crossing. There is also a pancake breakfast from 9-12 noon, and a Father’s Day brunch offered on an 1887 Pullman Dining Car with seatings that can be booked anytime from 9am-3pm for your convenience. General admission is $20 for adults and $10 for kids, and there is a charge of $25 for adults and $15 for kids for the train tour. The buffet is $22.95 for adults and there is also a charge for the pancake breakfast.

Is dad an avid runner? If so there are several runs and walks taking place on Father’s Day weekend. One such run is the Trico Father’s Day Walk on June 19th from 1-2:30pm. It is a 4K walk that the family can enjoy together and you can even try out walking poles if you’d like to see how they feel. This is a free event that is sponsored by #GetMovingYYC and it all starts at the Trico Center for Family Wellness which is located at 11150 Bonaventure Drive in the SE.
Another run is the Do it for Dad event to benefit prostate cancer. This is a 5K run/walk that starts at Eau Claire Market with registration at 8am and the run/walk commencing at 10am this Father’s Day, June 19.

Is your dad your hero? If so, take him to the Calgary Farmer’s Market this Saturday, June 18th for the SuperDad Lounge. He can enjoy a free massage, grab a snack pack and watch the kids as they create and then present their very own craft just for him. There is also going to be prize draws and a family photo opportunity. Everything is free but for the family photo, a donation to the Calgary Food Bank is gladly accepted.

Does dad love the great outdoors? If so, take him to Ralph Klein Park this Father’s Day for free activities which all gets under way at 1pm. There will be guided nature walks, pond dipping, face painting for the kids and nature crafts plus a whole lot more. Best of all, dad can enjoy being outside not only with nature but the whole family too.

If dad or granddad loves loud music and marching bands then McMahon Stadium is the place to be on June 19th starting at 2pm.  For $10 general admission you can take dad to celebrate music, marching bands and the performing arts as you listen to the Calgary Round Up Band, and the Calgary Stetson Show Band perform. It is a Celebration of Sound that is fun for all.

Does dad love history? If so, he can take a cemetery tour on Sunday between 2-3pm. This tour will explain the history and life of some of Calgary’s founding individuals and is billed as a walk through time. It takes place at Union Cemetery in the SE, but starts at the Galloway House just across the street.

Is your dad one with a daddy’s girl? Then a trip to Airdrie is in order this Saturday, July 18 so daddy and daughter can have some fun while dad learns how to do simple pony tails and braids in his daughter’s hair. The fun starts at 11 and there is also a barbeque, face painting and other activities, all with donations to Airdrie Angel, a community group that quietly gives those in need a little help. It happens at the CIBC in Sierra Springs.

What do dads want for Father’s Day? Fancy car, nice trip, yet another tie? Well, yes, probably, but all kidding aside, dads just want to enjoy their day with the ones that matter the most—their family. Whatever you choose to do with dad this weekend have fun and make lots of memories along the way!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lots to Look Forward to in Calgary, Alberta for 2015

Happy New Year! As we turn the page on 2014 with its festivals, annual events, celebrations and family fun having being turned into wonderful memories, we can look forward to another jam packed year of amazing things to see and do in the city of Calgary. The annual events like the Stampede are already getting ready for their chance to shine, and other events, like the Tim Horton’s Brier is making Calgary home for another year of curling excellence. As usual, the city will host something for everyone this coming year, with plenty of things to see and do for the entire family to enjoy together and perfect date night opportunities to boot. 2015 is poised to be another great year to get out and have fun in the city.

First up is the Tim Horton’s Brier, running from February 28-March 8 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. This is the first time since 2009 that the men’s curling championship will be hosted in the city, that year the rink representing Alberta won it all. Will it be a repeat this time around? Tickets go on sale later in January for this event, and are available in multiple draw packages so you can see even more of the action.

(Photo credit:

Attention all you foodies out there, the Calgary Dining Festival is taking place this year from March 6-March 15 at various restaurants around the city. This is the festival that is specially designed for your taste buds, as you can partake in lunch, dinner or gourmet meals, attend tastings, buffets, and enjoy flexible menus as the foodies take over the downtown and bring with them their world class cuisine.

The Western Canadian Ringette Championship comes to town in March at Canada Olympic Park’s Markin MacPhail Center. Here you can watch the provincial winners of four different age groups compete for bragging rights in Western Canada. Teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Manitoba are featured in this championship event.

Since 2006, the Calgary Comic andEntertainment Expo has been growing, gaining in popularity and adding to its attendance numbers each and every year. Today it is the largest event of its kind in western Canada, with attendees showing up in droves to take in the many different elements of pop culture and entertainment. 

This year, the expo runs from April 16-19th at the Stampede Grounds and is home to everything from the sci-fi, anime, gaming, animation, fantasy and horror genres that you can imagine. The festival also features special guests, tutorials, talks, booths and the opportunity to dress up as your favourite character and meet people with the same interests all in a family friendly and wildly entertaining venue. The guests for this year’s installment are yet to be announced, but if last year’s event was any indication, the 2015 version will be bigger and better than ever.

The Calgary International Children’sFestival is being held this year May 20-23. This festival is all about the little ones and is billed as something that will ‘inspire, delight and surprise’ both children and their families alike as you join local, national and international artists in this family friendly event. Watch shows, visit the many booths, dance and wiggle and just have a great time being young… this is what the Children’s Festival is all about.

Who doesn’t love to laugh? Well, from May 28-June 7th you can do just that when you check out Funnyfest—the Calgary Comedy Festival. Take part in eleven days and nights of funny with over seventy performers, and eleven themes. Tickets go on sale soon and the Funnyfest is at various locations throughout the city.

The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is of course back, right where it belongs, this year running from July 3-July 12. TheCalgary Stampede has long been one of the city’s premier events and brings people from all over the world to the city for pancake breakfasts, the parade, the world class rodeo events and all of the fun of the midway, the foods, the rides, the games and the world class entertainment. This year, Miranda Lambert (July 9), Jason Aldean (July 11) and Blake Shelton (July 10) are just a few of the artists that are already scheduled to appear.

Last year, the Stampede outdid itself with the food offerings that included some, shall we say, different ideas so it is always fun to find out what will be included in this year’s menus. The folks are busy planning away and soon all will be revealed but you can bet this year will be all about making Stampede 2015 the best yet!

Summer is all about family outings, picnics and fireworks. Alberta’s ‘most explosive festival’ is GlobalFest and it is the biggest annual pyromusical festival in town. It runs this year from August 20-29th at Elliston Park and features fireworks from China, Spain, Vietnam and the Philippines along with twenty cultural pavilions, 12 ethnic food booths and three stages. There is also a Tipi Village and an international night market to enjoy as well as adult and children’s entertainment. If you plan to attend, take your own lawn chairs and blankets to sit on and make a night of it out under the stars.

This August 28-September 7th are the dates for Calgary Pride, this year marking twenty five years of pride in the city! The numerous activities, the festival and parade are all aimed at supporting diversity and inclusiveness of everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual preference or religion. Calgary Pride is held at Shaw Millennium Park and includes entertainment stages, beer gardens and a family zone.

The 13th Annual CalgaryInternational Film Festival is an eleven day showcase of films from Canada and forty countries around the world. This year, the fest runs from September 18-28th and offers gala events, screenings, awards and presentations, not to mention question and answer periods and panels and film talks that are open to the public. Tickets will go on sale and more information will become available come the summer of 2015.

Of course 2015 is also sprinkled with the annual summer festivals that we have come to enjoy that highlight cultures, countries or neighbourhoods. There is the every entertaining Shakespeare in the Park, the growing Calgary Folk Festival, and many shows and events throughout the year around town to keep us all entertained. Then we have the fall months that are busy with pumpkin carving, corn mazes, petting zoos, hay rides and ScreamFest, and they will once again lead us into the busy Christmas season.

The New Year of 2015 is shaping up to be a great one, again, in the city of Calgary. Whether you like to laugh, watch live sports or concerts or enjoy getting out with the family and learning something new, there is something for you to enjoy this coming year.

Friday, October 31, 2014

What can we do this Weekend in Calgary


It has been a fun ride leading up to the big night of Halloween. There were pumpkin patches to visit, scares from a wide variety of venues, plays, special events at many of the family oriented parks and attractions around town and of course plenty of time to come up with that perfect costume for trick or treating.

Now November is upon us and it is a more sombre month as we remember the men and women who lost their lives to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. This Remembrance Day and indeed November will be extra important as we also remember the tragedy that took place in Ottawa just last month. With that in mind, this ‘what to do in Calgary’ post has a couple of things to take in that have a more muted tone, but there is always plenty of fun to be had as a family in the city too.

We will start with the family friendly Weekend at the Museum, happing this Saturday and Sunday at the Glenbow Museum. Admission is just $32 for the whole family, and includes two adults and up to four children. This weekend’s events center on everything cold (quite fitting when you think winter is mere weeks away) from creating art featuring arctic animals to taking in polar animal facts at the touch table to freezing things we see and use every day using dry ice. The weekend is put on by the Glenbow Museum as well as the Calgary Zoo and the scientists at TELUS Spark so all activities are safe and led by the experts on hand. Kids will like to test their skills at Tip of the Iceberg a hands on activity that explores how icebergs behave and what they look like besides what you can see on the surface, and even the littlest ones will enjoy hearing about the many arctic animals we share the planet with. There are also First Nations Gallery Tours to take part in and plenty of other things to do as a family. The museum is located at 130 9th Avenue in the SE, right in the heart of downtown.

November is a month for remembrance so why not take in a play or two to see the inspiring stories unfold for yourself? Jake’s Gift is being put on by the Lunch Box Theatre and runs now through November 22. It is the story of a Canadian World War II veteran who goes back to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. Who he meets there leads to the story of how he conquers his demons and comes to terms with what happened to him and his comrades in those fateful days. Tickets are $20 and $25 and shows run Monday-Saturday at 12:10pm with extra performances on Thursdays and Fridays starting at 6:10pm.

Liberation Days is another play that focusses on the Second World War, only this time the story is set in the war and explores the liberation of the Netherlands by the Canadian troops, freeing them from the domineering Germans. The central characters are a Dutch woman and a Canadian soldier who try to live their lives amid the liberation and beyond. This play is by a local playwright and is billed as an inspiring World War Two drama that is a sweeping saga of love and perseverance. Liberation Days runs through November 9th at the Max Bell Theatre at EPCOR Center. Tickets are from $35-$125 and can be purchased in advance online.

Still running through the end of November are the Calgary Ghost Tours and lectures about the spooky places in the city, for those of you who aren’t quite ready to give up on the Halloween fun just yet. Information on them can be found online at, cost is $15 for adults for the walks that take place in the downtown, Inglewood, Kensington, Beltline and other communities around town. And there is still time to get to that pumpkin patch or corn maze before the season ends.

Whatever you do, keep safe and have fun! Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Building Permits and Housing Starts on the Rise

The line from the famous movie is “if you build it, they will come” but it seems these days in the city of Calgary, it is more like ‘they are here so you have to build it’. Doesn’t have quite the same ring as the original line, and it’s probably not going to catch on anytime soon, but it is ringing true to the builders and developers all over the city and surrounding areas. With net migration on the increase, low rental vacancy rates and house prices continuing their upward trend, there is no wonder developers are looking for more and more permits to have in place for their many new construction projects.  In reports recently released, both building permits and housing starts using those permits are on the rise, not just in Calgary proper but in the whole province of Alberta as well.

Alberta and Calgary led the nation in growth for total value of building permits in August of this year. Year over year, this past Augusts saw 44% more building permits granted than in August of 2013. The Calgary metro area saw gains of 44.3% in the permits, with $803 million registered while the province itself saw an increase of 31.4% with a total registered total of $1.8 billion.

Further broken down, residential permits for the city itself totalled $473 million while non-residential permits totalled $330.3 million. These residential permits rose 32.34% from August of 2013 and 16.59% from July of 2014. On the non-residential side, the permits were up 65.76% from August 2013 and up 1.04% from July of this year.

Looking at all of Alberta, residential permits were up 34.4% to $1 billion and non-residential were up 27.3% to $727 million.

Across the country, total building permits in August were up just 2.4% from this time last year and totalled $6.7 billion. The residential part of the equation in all of Canada was up 4.3% from August of 2013 to $4.2 billion while the non- residential part was up just half a percent to $2.5 billion. They may be building all across our great nation, but the figures don’t lie—they are doing a heck of a lot more building in Alberta and particularly Calgary, which is great news for the real estate market as more and more properties are going up both in the single family and multi -family category.

In fact, it is the multi-family part of the equation that is pushing housing starts to their new higher levels, especially in the city itself. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s new report shows that there were 1,042 multi-family starts in the Calgary metro area in September of 2014. This is up from 309 units just last year. What a difference a year makes! Total housing starts were up to 1,528 for the month of September which is up from just 904 in September 2013. With the multi-family market picking up steam, it has taken over from the single detached market, which saw a decrease from 595 starts in September of 2013, but only 486 this past September. The low volume of complete units coupled with the low vacancy rental rates across the city are both factors that supports multi-family dwelling construction. Right now in the city, there are several big projects that are in the construction phase that when completed hope to house thousands of new residents each.

Year to date numbers show that total housing starts-- those across all genres-- are up 8,833 to 13,803 from the same time last year. The multi-family sector is up to 8,731 units from 4,010 year to date last year while the single detached sector is up 5,072 units from 4,823 units last year. Total starts in the city of Calgary are at 18,504 units in September while August of this year saw 18,939 starts.

If you build it they will come, and they will keep coming to the great province of Alberta and the wonderful city of Calgary for years to come. And in the near future, when these projects are completed and more approved, they will all have plenty of choice in where to call home.