Calgary has a huge love of Asian inspired Soup Houses, and I would confidently say some of the best on the world. From King’s legendary Cantonese inspired Wor Won Ton with outlets all over the city, to Vietnamese Pho, (noodle soup), at every corner of this town. We now have Japan represented here in Calgary with Goro + Gun. Unique, delicious thick and silky broths…mine was pork…De-Lish! Filled with rich meats, smoked eggs, fish and Ramen noodles, that is so good and filling. If Sake is your thing, there is over 30 varities to choose from featuring varieties and regions from where they are brewed. I love the taster menu, where you get 3 X 1 ounce to try. Weekday Happy Hour is $5 Sushi and Sake! For all you Sushi crazed Calgarians..the Sushi here is KILLER! Mouth Watering, traditional to trendy chef inspired combos, that are works of art combined with fresh, quality ingredients. The head Chef Tomo Mitsuno spent 7 years working at a Michelin starred restaurant in Osaka, and belongs to an elite group of chefs certified to prepare a deadly blowfish called fugu. Yikes!
The hip interior and Japanese trends are on point here…this place is both fun, and reasonably priced. Located in the Core, it is a welcome end to a great day walking or shopping down town for some comfort food and drink. If you are grabbing a quick lunch, they have a stand up noodle bar that offers a $10 Bowl any time of the day. There is not many places where you feel so welcome either…with their tradition of every staff member shouting out welcome as soon as you arrive! Fun! I love Goro + Gun! Okawari Oishii!
In Calgary, Inglewood is my fave…cause it is the real deal…original Calgary…old Atlantic Avenue, now 9th! The Best Calgary Breakfast at Bite is Bliss!!!! Absolutely delish; Manns local farm eggs prepared in a Breakfast Sandwich or Burrito with some fresh fruit on the side…for $6.49! Not only do I love the price…I love the number…get it? Bite is amazing!…part restaurant, part deli, part bakery, part specialty grocery store…and it is all delicious! Bite resides in the new chic, Atlantic Art Block with an amazing interior dedicated to art. The building is unique in the fact that it houses the only non commercial, Contemporary Art Gallery in Calgary. The Esker Foundation, (free admission) Contemporary Art Galley…who my Art student daughter claims to be a unique and amazing concept for new artists!…holds three collections a year; Fall, Winter and Spring/Summer! The building’s retail and office rental revenue pays for the modern art gallery’s 15,000 square foot space…not only does this building have an art gallery in it, but it is also an art gallery unto itself. Each floor boasts a uniquely designed mezzanine that houses art on display from the personal collection of Jim and Susan Hill. This was the couple of visionaries who proved how business and philanthropy can work together to create cultural innovation in this hip urban community. Well done in every way…
Nestled smack dab in the base of Sunshine Village Ski Resort https://www.skibanff.com/ is The Old Sunshine Lodge…a little cozy log cabin built in 1928! Perfect location for a hearty lunch, after a hard morning skiing! …which is my favorite day…any day skiing at Sunshine! The little log cabin sits among giant, gorgeous, modern timber frame lodges with fine dining and spa facilities mountain side. The Old Sunshine Lodge is less formal as it now houses…Mad Trappers Grill & BBQ! Great Eats! The low log ceilings and historic photographs all over the walls tell the story of Sunshine…how she was born and who made it happen. All while you are feeling the hugs of ski ghosts all around you…it feels so rustic, warm and just right to be in this mountain lodge. Such a testament to this place and such a great vibe for a sublime day skiing! The food and drink menu is awesome, lots of hearty lunches, (salads too), mixed with a great drink and wine list. Try some Chili with a Baked Potato…Minestrone Soup and Bread…yum! Wash it all down with a pint…or try a “Reindeer Games” deliciousness…I love it here…I just love it here. I could not help myself, but to share some of Old Sunshine Lodge’s amazing history…
In 1841 Sir George Simpson, a Governor for the Hudson Bay Company trekked through the Continental Divide, (Mount Assiniboine, BC on one side, Banff National Park on the other), what is now known as Sunshine Village Resort. George, originally from Scotland was a respected businessman who was also known for his love of the outdoors and wilderness. Although he looked the part of any English Lord… underneath his polished exterior and exceptional business acumen lied an adventurer. Known for his remarkable strength and endurance he was noted as the first man to ever circumnavigate the earth by land, (and sea in between), an incredible feat for his time. He was the first non aboriginal to see this incredible region…and to note an oddity during his observation of this area…”hole in the wall mountain”…known today as Goat’s Eye!
The famous Palliser expedition followed in his footsteps in the late 1850’s including geographer’s and botanists to map and examine the region for planning the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway, (which was completed in the late 1880’s.) CP Rail sponsored a lot of special interests groups along the line to promote the railroad company. One of them was; “The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies”. The cabin was built-in 1928 to act as a rest stop for these horse enthusiasts. Then something amazing happened…
In 1934 Jim, Dell and Pat Brewster rented the cabin from CP Rail. Jim and his two brothers as well as Austin Standish had found this perfect location by accident…literally…while exploring in the area, there had been an accident and they had to take refuge in the CP Log Cabin. During their stay in the cabin they noticed how perfect of a location it was for a ski area. They were all avid skiers who had recently got into the sport. They had an idea…to entice Ski Clubs to come to the resort. It worked! Visitors came from all over and would pay $5.00 a day or $30.00 a week for an all-inclusive ski vacation!
Bruno Engler was a handsome, skilled mountaineer. The last of the Swiss Mountain Guides hired by Canadian Pacific Railroad. Bruno arrived in Canada in 1939 at the age of 24 at the beginning of Canadian Mountain Culture. His skills were widely known and soon he was sought after by the Canadian Government to train troops in mountaineering during the time of the Second World War. Later he was hired by the Brewster’s to start-up the Sunshine Village Ski School, he became a legend in the Banff and surrounding area where he lived his life until 2001. Bruno was known for his skiing, guiding and mountaineering skills….he was a pioneer in avalanche safety, as well as world-renowned photographer for high altitude photography. As well as his time acting and story telling… Bruno soon became the Ambassador for Canadian Mountain culture.
Drive 4 1/2 hours due west through the great Canadian Rocky Mountains and you will be skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort from Calgary, Alberta. Ah Yes…Revy is a Dream…so completely beautiful and vast. This is the most beautiful mammoth mountain I have every set a ski upon…true bliss. This resort has sprung out of a Back Country Lodge and the reputation just grew and grew about the perfect, sublime, snow conditions Mount MacKenzie boasts is simply amazing. It is a beast! The largest, tallest ski resort North America at 5620 ft, or rather in Canadian; 1713 meters! It is the only resort where a very long gondola ride is the “lift” to unlimited terrain…topped with a quad to the top of the world…the views are stellar! We arrived with socked in, cloudy skies at the base of Revy, (aka Revelstoke Mountain Resort) http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/, jumped on the gondola and through the clouds we went…to break through to blue bird skies and sunshine! Such a perfect way to start on this incredible mountain. I cannot describe the snow…soft light powder…dry and fluffy, and a TON of it!
Revy is the only resort to offer: Lift, Cat, Heli and Back Country skiing in one resort. The Cat Skiing is particularly popular and books up fast. Cats take you to natural bowls that offer Deep and Steep endless runs. A quick afternoon powder lesson at Revy will prepare you for these great bowls. Cannot be missed!
Back Country Skiing offers a 500,000 acres park of natural terrain. Avalanche Ranch at Revy offers training to prepare for such excursions and offers guided packages as well to those brave, snow fiends. Did you know there is a back pack air bag that will deploy like an air bag in a car? If you are caught in an avalanche, it inflates and the idea is to make a gap around you to breathe…so amazingly cool…even though I will NEVER, EVER need one…It’s a liftie life for me.
Free Mountain Tours are offered to those skiing at Blue and above…great way to learn your way around this enormous resort. If you want to up your game…(I don’t, but Thanks)…you can ride with a pro for a day to push your skills. I am far too old to push any skills…I just need to keep getting out! Yay Me!
The small town of Revelstoke has all the amenities you will ever need and has come a long way in the last ten years from the old, plain rail town it has been for years. They have revitalized the town, spent some money and enhanced the neighborhood close to the mountain with larger timber frame homes, and developments. The mountain village base has a SKI IN/OUT luxury Condominium style Hotel with Day Spa, Cafe and great dining and drinks at the Rockford. There is also the Tavern that offers local micro brews and pub fare that goes down pretty easy after a hard day on the hill! Revy is my ski dream!
One of the best hikes close to Calgary is Big Hill Springs. 30 minutes West of Calgary is my favorite wet hike! Please wear rugged waterproof shoes…and if summer, swim shoes for the kids to play in the water. Early summer brings tons of flowers and exploding springs everywhere! So much fun to listen to the mountain springs rushing and pooling throughout this gentle hike. The diversity is quite amazing in this little pocket of the prairies. It has amazing springs, creeks and brooks…geological deposits and rock formations in the middle of a small wooded valley in the middle of the foothills…quite special.
It is the sound that is amazing…of the rushing water over rocks all around you. Pools here and there to appreciate the perfectly crystal clear water. This area is well visited and I HIGHLY recommend everyone go and see this little slice of heaven, but particularly if you have small children and elderly family members. So many little spots to bring a camp chair and enjoy the nature all around you, as well as some picnic tables and benches. This is a watery playland in the middle of the prairies…like an oasis in the desert…magical. Take 1A West towards Cochrane for 15 mins, then turn right, (north), on #766 for 15 mins to #567, turn left (West) for 5 mins, to the park road on your left. (times approximate, should take no more than 40 minutes from NW Calgary).
One of my favorite attractions at Big Hill Springs are the Tufa mounds…I always appreciate rocks…and these are special. Tufa is limestone that is carbonated from the earth by geothermal springs, forming large porous rocks, in waves…or watery shapes made of stone. Tufa was used by the Romans to build their border walls and early temples, due to it’s enormous strength and versatility to work with and shape. Even more curious is that Tufa is the least understood calcareous landforms on earth, by geological science, and oddly are also found on Mars. Yes Mars… to be exact on the boundary plains, southern region, of circum-Chrysen in the cryosphere…and yes of course I looked that up! You got to check out the Tufa here!
The real treat at Big Hill Springs is the Bugs, Birds and Flowers…so many! The watery oasis creates a perfect micro climate for lots of wildlife. Frankly I would live here too if I could :)…and even in winter when things freeze up…this hike is beautiful. Lots to see at this small Provincial Park. I promise you will be back more than once!