Mad Trappers on the Mountain – Sunshine Village Ski Resort Calgary’s favorite ski resort


Nestled smack dab in the base of Sunshine Village Ski Resort 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…


GsimpsonIn 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…

Pat, Jim & Dell Brewster with Austin Standish at Sunshine Ski Resort which they purchased in 1936 for $300.00.
After the Sunshine Village Ski Resort expansion 1937.
The first Ski Instructor at Sunshine was Swiss Mountaineer Bruno Engler.

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!

1175129254-Bruno-Engler-Rappell-Columbia-Icefields-(Photograph)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.


Calgary’s Beautiful Bow Building


I LOVE Architecture!  I mean I LOVE buildings…all buildings from historical to modern…and boy does Calgary have some great ones!  I mean for such a young city, there are gorgeous buildings here…and World Class too!  One of Calgary’s most amazing buildings, is the Bow Building.  The 10th most expensive building ever built-in NORTH AMERICA is the Bow Building. It is a crescent-shaped monolithic glass masterpiece.  It dominates the Calgary skyline and boasts the price tag of 1 billion dollars!

Zeidler Partnership of Calgary world-renowned Foster & Partners from UK designed the Bow. Known for their curvy, rounded, organic glass buildings, the crescent shaped Bow fits in with their distinctive designs throughout the world.

The Bow boasts 58 Stories, 1,700,000 Square Feet and 49 Elevators!

I take a lot of pictures of this beauty…and every angle shows me something new. I hope you like some of these shots and get a chance to go downtown and take your own! The first tubular steel constructed building of this size used 48,000 tonnes of steel to complete the stunning Bow Building.


One of the greatest features of The Bow Building is the art installation of a giant girl’s head called Wonderland by Spain’s great artist Jaume Plesa.  The head greets you at the entrance side of the building and you can walk into the head entering from either side below the ear. Amazing photo ops!


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Jaume Plesa’s has featured other world-famous art installations like the Crown Fountain in Millenium Park in Chicago…which I had the pleasure of seeing on a business trip a few year’s ago…unfortunately my photos don’t show the projected faces spitting water from their mouth through fountain spouts…but an incredible sight in any case.

The Bow building looks different from every angle and creates a new modern vibe that carries on to the newly revitalized East Village project in Calgary.  New venues like the National Music Centre, The Hilton Hotel and multiple gorgeous residential high rise buildings in East Village has transformed a former run down part of the city. Incredible park revitalizations, art installations and a boardwalk on the Bow River have made the East Village a Calgary destination.  I love East Village and know I will be spending more and more time down there attending festivals and dining at my favorite roof top patio Restaurant in Calgary…Charbar, located in the old Simmons Building on the Bow River in East Village!

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No matter where you are in the city, The Bow dominates the skyline, and is now a symbol of the modern city Calgary has become.  A city that is a leader in the energy industry in Canada, a place of boom or bust depending on the value of our precious oil barrel.  A city that is the gateway to the great Canadian Rocky Mountains and some of the most pristine untouched wilderness on this planet.  Voted the cleanest city in the world, Calgary is cool…very, very cool.

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Calgary’s Cool Colonel Kananaskis Day Trip

My hubby at the last remaining Guard Tower at the Camp.

45 Minutes from Calgary…If you like history and hiking…this is it.  The Colonel’s Cabin in Kananaskis is an amazing place. this gorgeous mountain park, the last thing you can imagine is an internment camp full of Nazi’s in Canada.  In 1939 this former employment camp started stringing barb wire, built guards towers, (used to be 8), and started interning German Canadian sympathizers to the Nazi cause, known as the group; Deutsche Bund fur Kanata. they would get propaganda from Germany via The US, (who had not yet entered the war).  This literature was used to gain support and sympathy for Nazi Germany from within Canada, it was rumored to have been authored by Josef Goebbels himself.

Barrier Lake
Kananaskis Hwy 40
Colonel’s Crazy Skies…went from cloudy to sunny as soon as we arrived.

Later on at the camp, radical German Communists were added who had more disdain for the Nazi’s then their British guards. It made for a tense environment among the prisoners.  During the course of WWII, life at this camp, (that grew to 700 prisoners at one point), had held many high ranking prisoners like spies for Herman Goering that were later traded for the release of two English Lords.  In 1941 a group of young Nazi sailors captured in the Pacific Coast were sent here, among them were reported to be Gastapo.


During the war years the Fascist prisoners often started riots, purposely provoking their British guards…in hope someone would get shot and die, then with luck, word would get back to Hitler in Germany so he would know how much they supported him! Another case of history really is…stranger than fiction.

The interpretive hike here at the Barracks is easy and pretty…a little further along from the Barrier turn off of Hwy 40, turn east, (on the other side of the road from Barrier Lake), into the University of Calgary Research Park…huge green sign…hard to miss.  Turn there and you will quickly see signs to the Colonel’s Cabin.

Lieutenant Colonel WH Watson was strict, but also would walk among the prisoners to earn their respect.

The original cabin for the Colonel and one guard tower is all that remains.  There are interpretive signs and commemorative plaques honoring those who served, mostly the gorgeous Kananaskis Country is all around you.

I love taking pictures of insects...and this lovely one posed so nicely for the picture.
I love taking pictures of insects…and this lovely one posed so nicely for the picture.

The History Loop trail is light and relatively easy and you have the option to hook up to the Forestry Loop that is a fabulous hike to Barrier Lake and back.  The trees seem to speak a story about the history of this place, a strange feeling…after all, just about every tree that was cut down to create the trails in the trees were likely cut down by a Nazi!

Best time to go is late June when the flowers are blooming, like these rare orchids.
My hubby leading the way, enjoying the pretty forest walk.


ChiChi at the Calgary Chateau

Every Corner is full of treasures…this store is for Ladies.

What a beautiful, whimsical, gorgoeus presentation of everything girlie…not just girlie, but elegant…and well…I guess ChiChi.  I am forty’ish and almost every morning of my life…since age 13, I have done my hair, make-up, selected jewelry and sometimes a scarf, to go with the outfit I have put together that day.  I try to match the purse and shoes or boots…depending on the occasion, and the weather…and I have always had a little place in my homes to complete my daily ritual. In my current home where I have lived in for 12 years, I have converted a small bedroom into my dressing room or as I like to call it my “nest”, where all my makeup, hair supplies and clothes are located.

Fabulous Vignettes that tell a story to attract you to the all the unique pieces in the store.

I have a 70’s era vanity in maple and a 30’s maple and black leather arm chair, (made in Calgary).  I have my Great Grandmother’s Canadiana Heart Pine Dresser, an Italian Wardrobe and a very rare 1900 arrowback side chair…  The nest also houses all my girlie treasures too.  I have lots of Canadiana treasures like Vintage Birks, figurines that belonged to my dearest Mum in law…treasures from my Mother and Grandmother…all housed in my mid- century, (made in Quebec), side board.

A chandelier hangs over head and my 40’s lamp with gothic, gold swirls and crystals light up my make up mirror from France…it is my eden, my very own place and where I do my best decompressing,  I love my nest!


When I walked into Chateau Country Lace it is like a giant sized nest to me. Basically I love everything in this store! They have such lovely vintage finds, mixed in with new luxury bath and beauty products, accessories, as well as quality garments.  GORGEOUS sweaters, knit ponchos and jewelry galore. This is a ladies paradise.  Nothing trendy here…this store is elegant, traditional and timeless quality. A place to go shopping with you girlfriend, mother, daughter or grandmother! The merchandising is creative genius that has gone into every corner of this store mixing new and vintage pieces together.  The upcycling and artistry is amazing, with museum like presentation.


There is a very keen and talented eye at work, that LOVES what they do.  I could literally feel it as I walked inside.  Every real lady in Calgary should visit this store and spoil yourself with something special from Chateau Country Lace.  There is quite literally no other store in Calgary like it…maybe even Canada?

Best part is there are delicious desserts and coffee across the street at Lazy Loaf and Kettle after you have finished shopping!


Crown, is a Jewel in Calgary’s Inglewood



Crown Surplus is probably the only part store, part museum in Calgary…never mind Canada.  Since 1955 this store, (still operated by the same family), have collected and cultivated this amazing Calgary landmark.  They sell Army Surplus, but mostly they sell really, really  nice men’s outdoor apparel, (and some ladies too).  My husband, brother and father all LOVE everything in this store.  The memorabilia is mind blowing  from a Nazi recruitment poster to anti-aircraft artillery guns in the yard and a half track.


A fully equipped Army issued Jeep inside the store, a triumph motorcycle and part of an airplane adorn the space…countless photos, artifacts, uniforms, medals and everything Military is here.


The camping equipment is unbelievable! Backpacks, sleeping bags, canteens and every thing that is cool outdoor gear is available and reasonably priced.  This is the real deal.  Made to last.  These products fit not only a military mind, but an outdoorsman mind. This is where the ultimate Camping, Hiking, Skiing, Fishing accessories are found.


I LOVE it here and there is not one thing I can wear or use, but some how…I still love it all.  Thankfully I have lots of men in my family to shop for and I always find something for them here.  You have to check out this great store…buy your guy something…support this great family, so they can keep the collection growing!