If there is one city where I would rather skip the lounge beers and instead walk around, it has to be Calgary.
Having learnt about Banff from a Canadian manager, I’ve always been fascinated about Alberta. After couple of my friends from Torono visited Banff last year, this place has been at the very top of my travel list. If Google had an office here, I’d move to this beautiful city in the blink of an eye.
I haven’t been to Alberta before, but today I got a chance to stop by in Calgary for a few hours on a layover. After sleeping through practically the whole time on my inbound flight from Tokyo, I was fully charged for a walk. With practically empty airport, in 5 minutes from stepping out of the plane, I was through with immigration and customs and was on a bus ready to explore the city on this bright sunny Monday morning.
After a 30 minute ride, I am here in this scenic Princess Island Park right in downtown.
This park was constructed during restoration, after the city was flooded in 2013, the park has a wide variety of flora. Being a weekday, I expected the trails to be mostly empty with maybe only retired people on walks, but I was mistaken. Princess Island was full of people walking, running with their pets, jogging, stretching, playing soccer, smiling and celebrating the outdoor life on a Monday morning at 11am. There was something about this vibe of this city that made me fall in love instantly. It is place where people live a healthy outdoor lifestyle caring about their fitness (and being Canadians, also about each other). Where people smile and say hi when you walk past them, instead of playing video games and texting on their phones. Being a bike lover, I couldn’t help look for boards in the park about biking infrastructure, and I came across this sign: this small city has 500km of trails for biking. Now this reminds me of Amsterdam.
After walking around for an hour and, taking a break to sit on a bench and write a draft of this post, I picked up my bagpack and headed to 8th ave which is the most artsy area in the city consisting of an amalgamation of high rise buildings and architectural marvels reflecting the art from 1900s when Calgary was thriving the most.
After taking a picture of the iconic Calgary tower, I continued walking east to the Olympic Park to visit the 5 statues.
Following that, I was ready to head back to the bus stop for the airport, sip a Canadian whiskey and head to my next layover for the day, Vancouver.