I went to Calgary last week on business. The trip came up with little notice and I wasn’t able to stay over for the weekend. Next time I am going to have to try and do that and perhaps try to make it out to Lake Louise. Stayed downtown and don’t need to rent a car. Cab fare from the airport to the downtown Sheraton at the Eau Claire Market was $36. Cabbie got into a fight with the airport traffic cop (?) and reeked of cigarette smoke. A town car was also an option at a cost of $46.

Last time I stayed at the Westin, which is a very nice hotel and right across the street from the Shell building. The Sheraton is two blocks further but is near the river and the Eau Claire Market area, which has a number of restaurants. It is also next to Prince’s Island, which has jogging trails, a sculpture garden and a wetlands restoration area. One evening a local company had put on two Shakespeare plays. It didn’t get dark until after 9 pm and a lot of people were out and about.

There was a Gold’s Gym in the Eau Claire Market, which was across the street from the hotel and YMCA, which was next door. The Gold’s Gym was 24 hours and it showed. Pretty dirty and run down. However, I got a week’s pass to Gold’s from the hotel. Don’t think the hotel normally does that, the front desk clerk I spoke with happened to have a few passes. Went to Gold’s a couple of times and one evening went jogging on Prince’s Island.

Several restaurants in the area. All of them causal dining and as far as I can recall, all had patio seating, which was normally packed. In addition, the Market had several fast food restaurants. Had drinks and appetizers at Barley Mill. Lunch at something Tomato’s and Malcom’s. Burger at Tomato’s was good. Steak at The Keg, which is connected to the Westin, was great. People in Calgary are very proud of their Alberta beef. There are a lot of Starbuck’s and other local coffee shops around downtown. However, with one exception all of them seem to close down by 7 pm. The one exception, Tim Horton’s. The two Tim Horton’s I came across after 7 one evening were both packed. Tried one. Donut was ok, the coffee was bad.

The weather was just beautiful. People said that it had rained the previous week and it rained one of the nights but, otherwise, the weather was perfect. Calgary is a small town. Very friendly people. People are polite. People obey the traffic laws. They actually stopped at yellow and noticed and stopped for pedestrians. And pedestrians, including the bums, obeyed the no walk signs. I actually got some strange looks for crossing the street when I had the “Do Not Walk” sign.

Calgary has light rail. Did not try it but the closest station was about seven blocks from the hotel. There is supposed to be a entertainment street with restaurants and bars about 8 blocks from the hotel but did not make it there. The big news story last week was the opening of a brand new mall. The first one in several decades. Didn’t make it to the opening.


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