The first week of August we left Bozeman, Montana, behind. Our next destination - Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In order to break up the drive a bit we chose a slower scenic pace with many stops along the way. We spent the night in little Shelby, Montana after we drove all through the streets of Montana’s capitol, Helena, and had an early dinner in Great Falls. The following day we crossed the border into Canada through wide-open wheat fields and prairies as far as the eye could see running into the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the west. Our approach to Calgary was somewhat of a culture shock as we merged into the traffic (Bozeman’s population is around fifty thousand, the city of Calgary is over one million). While Bozeman has its own traffic issues within the city at times, Calgary is like any big city with freeways in all directions.
We moved into our Airbnb home for the week at the Riversong Mansions. The 1912 mansions consist of two grand brick buildings along the Bow River near the Peace Bridge leading into the downtown core of the city. There are 14 apartments in all with long-term as well as short-term rentals. The apartments retain original woodwork on the floors and molding throughout, and also include lovely leaded-glass windows. The location was perfect for hopping on the extensive trail system, wandering into downtown, or heading out into the many neighborhoods.
While in Calgary, we had a mix of sunshine and almost daily rain storms move through in the afternoons. Some of the rainstorms brought hail! This time of the year the rain and sun create a bit of humidity and mosquito issues. Fortunately, it's not a bad one for those little buggers. Although, they found me as I am a known mosquito magnet. I didn’t appreciate the 2” welts they left. I now have added an arsenal of mosquito repellant to my travel case. Ah, life on the prairie next to the Rocky Mountains.
We enjoyed walking downtown Calgary and noticed an abundance of parks of all sizes. Each park had a different layout and theme and many combined aspects of water creating an escape from the hustle, bustle of the city - office workers seemed to enjoy their lunch in these spaces. The trail system here may be one of the most extensive we have seen in a city of this size. Calgary boasts of having 500 miles of trails in and around the city and they are some of the best maintained we have seen. D enjoyed the bike riding far and wide while I enjoyed running the trails along the Bow river.
Public art is scattered throughout the city. Wonderland, or what D and I called the Big Head, is a 39 ft. tall 3-D sculpture and an impressive sight. The Family of Man was a delightful surprise as it had not been noted in the visitor info we had looked at. It was my favorite public art piece and it just made me smile and feel happy standing with the 21 ft. figures. Murals are found all over and even on the bridge abutments where one might normally see graffiti.
Home of the big rodeo The Calgary Stampede (held in July each year) one would think there were cowboys running hither, thither, and yon, but that’s not the case. At least one doesn’t notice a sea of cowboy hats; as a matter of fact, you would be hard-pressed to find even one. D and I figure we’ll be back through here at times as we travel Canada on future trips, and we wouldn’t hesitate to stay in this cosmopolitan city of culture and great food.
Thanks for joining us on our journey.