Who needs Bermuda, Barbados or Bahamas when you have Bowview?

By Richard White, September 4, 2013

When walking to yoga recently, I passed by the Bowview Pool in West Hillhurst. People of all ages were enjoying the water and sunning themselves along the grassy edges.   I was immediately struck by how this scene resembled that of a pool at a swanky hotel in some Caribbean or Mediterranean hotel (ok, so I have a good imagination).

As I continued walking, I began to think of other fun things nearby that would be touristy.  Milkshakes and ice cream are something that I associate with vacations.  Dairy Lane, located just a few blocks away on 19th street has been serving up old fashion milkshakes for over 60 years.  Or I could wander a bit further to Amato Gelato on Kensington Road where I’d have a choice of over 72 different gelato flavours. 


Bowview Pool is a hangout for babes of all ages.  It is a great family spot.  

Dairy Lane has been an institution in the Bowview Pool area for over 60 years.  It is a very popular breakfast spot. 

Amato Gelato is a little bit of Italy in Calgary.  Yum Yum!

Sure, I couldn’t walk a white sand beach in the morning or evening, but I could walk the nearby Bow River with its crystal clear, every changing turquoise water.  In the evening, I could walk along the Bow River Bluff, which offers spectacular views of the river valley and a Downtown skyline that glitters like gold at sunset.  It doesn’t get more romantic than that.  Looking for a hike instead of a walk, the Douglas Fir Trail is an authentic forest trek in the middle of the city.  Yes there are no banana boats or skidoos, but I could go rafting, canoeing or kayaking on the river – there is a rental shop no far away.  I could easily have a river adventure everyday for a week.

And maybe there isn’t a hotel spa nearby, but there is the lovely Bodhi Tree yoga studio that certainly is spa-like. Tennis, a typical tropical vacation activity, is available at the West Hillhurst Recreation Centre.  Deep-sea fishing, common another hotspot vacation activity can be replaced by fly-fishing in the Bow River (one of the best fly-fishing rivers in the world).


Rafting along the Bow River has become a very popular summer activity for Calgarians and tourists.  On a hot summer day hundreds maybe thousands of rafters enjoy one of the world's great urban rivers. 

While parts of the Bow River north-side bluff walk are open offering spectacular views, other places are more forested and offering a more intimate and contemplative space. 

Downtown skyline from the Bow River bluff with the iconic Calgary blue sky. 

People of all ages love to walk and cycle along the Bow River from one end of the City Centre to the other. 

Want to sit and relax with an espresso or latte? Central Blends not only serves up some of the best coffee in the city, but their morning muffins are to die for.  Try the cranberry oatmeal, my favourite.

If seeking some shopping and a little bartering with the locals, the Sunday morning flea market at the Hillhurst community centre is just the ticket. 


Central  Blends has a wonderful tropical feel. It is not hard to imagine this being next to a beach in Mexico.  

So who needs Bermuda, Barbados or Bahamas when you have so many vacation-like things to see and do in and around the Bowview Pool.  If only our summers came earlier and lasted longer. 

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