The Bay Downtown Arches
The Calgary Downtown location of The Bay (Hudson’s Bay Company) was completed in 1913, the first of the “Original Six” flag ship stores in Canada. The beautiful colonnade with polished granite was opened in 1930. It has been a favourite location of newly wed couples to shoot wedding photos for decades.
Learn More About the History of HBC
Devonian Gardens at The Core Downtown
Opened in 1977, you can find the Devonian Gardens on the 4th floor of The Core Shopping Centre (aka TD Square) by the Food Court. It is a free indoor botanical garden and park complete with a living wall and koi pond. I remember going to the Devonian Gardens when I was little visiting from Hong Kong. It’s quite a pleasant surprise to see in the concrete jungle of urban downtowns. This wonderful garden is also a favourite spot for weddings photos and actual weddings.
More about the Devonian Gardens at the City of Calgary
The Lougheed House
Lougheed House (aka Beaulieu) is the former home of Senator James Alexander Lougheed built in 1891 and doesn’t have much if anything to do with former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed. This sandstone mansion was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992. Located in the Beltline Area, it’s a bit tucked away and a stark contrast to its modern neighbours. I know about it, because the wife and I booked it for our wedding photos. We came back for brunch on our 5 year wedding anniversary. The Lougheed House will always be a special place to us.
Learn more about the Lougheed House
CFL Stampeders Game
The Calgary Stampeders are a professional football team in the CFL Canadian Football League. Their home stadium is the McMahon Stadium by the University of Calgary. The CFL season runs from June to November. Their outdoor games are always a good time and a true Canadian experience especially in the snow in -20°C weather. During the Summer, tail gate parties start at around Noon on game day. Parking can be tricky in the area, might be best to park further and walk or take Calgary Transit either bus or C-Train. The official colours are red and white, so wear some red to the game and cheer for the Stamps. Interesting tidbit: Dwayne Johnson as in The Rock briefly played for the Calgary Stampeders.
Learn more about the Calgary Stampeders
NHL Flames Game
Calgary Flames hockey games are probably the hottest ticket in town whenever they’re playing. Just look at the TV broadcasts and see the C of Red every home game. You can usually tell when there’s a game downtown. There will be tons of traffic and people walking around everywhere. Regular NHL season runs from early October to April with playoffs lasting until June.
This photo was taken way back in 2004 after the Flames’ Stanley Cup playoff run. I remember it very well, it was my last year at the University of Calgary and the whole city was just buzzing with excitement. Look on the right, #23 himself Martin Gelinas who should’ve won it for us in Game 6 against Tampa.
Learn more about the Calgary Flames
PGA Tour Champions Shaw Charity Classic Golf Tournament
The Shaw Charity Classic is a golf tournament in Calgary held since 2013 played at the Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club around late August / early September. It is a regular event on the PGA Tour Champions formerly known as the Champions Tour and Senior PGA Tour. It is a charity event for several non-profit organizations mainly relating to children and cancer. Go and see what this level of professional golfers can do.
Learn more about the Shaw Charity Classic
Scotsman’s Hill in the neighbourhood of Ramsay is the iconic postcard view of Calgary downtown with the Calgary Tower and Saddledome in the foreground. This place is amazing for fireworks during the Calgary Stampede. You can’t drive here during those 10 days in July, but you can walk. Well worth it. This photo was taken during the Great Flood of 2013 where all of downtown Calgary was flooded and the power went out. Everything was quiet there that day except for the roaring power of the Elbow River. Just weeks later, Calgarians still put on the Calgary Stampede come hell or high water. I still have that t-shirt kicking around.
St Patrick’s Island
When you think of Calgary, you don’t really think of waterfront usually. We’re not by any great body of water, but Fort Calgary was built at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow River. Go to St. Patrick’s Island by the Calgary Zoo for this somewhat odd view of Downtown Calgary. I especially like this when there is a mix of water and ice. We are in the North after all. I remember finding this spot and taking this photo while testing out the camera on my Samsung Galaxy S7. I was pleasantly surprised by what cell phone cameras could do these days. Especially since it now has image stabilization for shaky people like me.
Tom Campbell’s Hill
There aren’t too many places where you can get a picture of Calgary downtown and have those light streaks from traffic, but there is at least one near the Calgary Zoo on Tom Campbell’s Hill. If the conditions are right, you can probably see the Rocky Mountains in the background too. Pretty much anywhere in Calgary, if you can look West you can see those beautiful mountains.