Everyday Flaneuring Street Photo Fun

Regular readers of the Everyday Tourist blog know that I love to flaneur everyday the streets and alleys wherever I am - be it for 10 minutes or 10 hours.   I also love to flaneur my photos several times a week - it is like a mini vacation.  

Here are some photos from a recent photo flaneur mostly from Calgary, Atlanta and Dublin, but there are a few other places thrown in. Can you tell which city they are from? 

And as they say "every picture tells a story" or "every picture is worth 1,000 words," so have fun making up stories and sharing them with me. 

But, PLEASE no more than 1,000 words. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 7.43.37 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 11.43.16 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 8.25.57 PM.png
E794CB56-78A7-4EDE-BA20-F17A08438231.JPG
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 7.40.19 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 8.06.28 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 7.35.58 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.26.27 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.33.35 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 9.31.22 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.27.30 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.28.12 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.11.31 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.17.16 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 8.16.46 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.17.33 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 8.17.43 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.10.35 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 7.35.01 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 10.29.01 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 10.24.27 PM.png

Last Word

I hope you have enjoyed your flaneur. If you would like to do some more flaneuring check out these links: 

Ten Commandments Of A Flaneur

The Best Flaneur Find Ever!

Flaneuring Fun In Hamilton

 

Mid-Century Urban Ornamentation

I love walking in mid-century neighbourhoods - where the trees are taller than the homes and multiple owners have had a chance to add some ornamentation to personalize the homes.

While many complain about the suburban cookie cutter homes of today, it really isn’t any different from the cookie cutter homes built in the 40s, 50s and 60s. However, over time these mid-century homes have been repainted (probably more than once), physically altered and landscaped to personalize them.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.38.27 PM.png

Charming

Recently, I have become fascinated by the iron railings on the front steps of these middle-age homes. The more I look at them, the more variations I discover. 

I particularly love the abstract shadows they cast on a bright sunny day – winter or summer. 

There is a charm to them that is missing from our modern minimalist homes with their clean, simple lines.  A maple leaf here, a tulip there, a curly-cue in one, an art deco reference in another adds a subtle folksy charm. 

IMG_8950.jpg

Backstory

While we don’t have an ornamental iron railing on our front porch steps, we do have a piece of mid century railing in our garden - rescued from the house across the street when it was being demolished making way for a modern new house.

It goes great with our mid-century playground toys, now garden ornaments we have collected over the years. 

They all make for a great conversation starter for people walking by and for kids being dropped off at the daycare across the street.

Garden ornamentation.

Garden ornamentation.

Last Word

Perhaps, part of the sterility of our modern suburban streets is simply they haven’t had time to age.  Thoughts?

Image-1.jpg
IMG_8941.jpg
IMG_9176.jpg
IMG_9179 2.jpg
IMG_8989.jpg
IMG_8173.jpg
IMG_9184.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 4.04.47 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 7.07.00 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.19.19 PM.png
Image-1 2.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.48.24 PM.png
IMG_3163.jpg
IMG_3157.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.53.12 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.36.38 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.40.49 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 4.04.34 PM.png
IMG_8993.jpg
IMG_9202.JPG
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.34.00 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 4.05.15 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.31.53 PM.png
IMG_9189.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 4.05.34 PM.png
IMG_8953.jpg
IMG_8146.jpg
IMG_8995.jpg
IMG_8946.jpg
IMG_8985.jpg

Railing Art

Just for fun, I thought I'd use the Union app to create some fun artworks using the above photos. Hope you enjoy!

IMG_9098.JPG
IMG_9201.JPG
IMG_9204.JPG
IMG_9096.JPG

Poster Anyone?

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 7.27.00 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 7.26.41 PM.png

 

If you like this blog, you will like these links:

Front Yard Fun!

Sitting On The Porch

Garden Flaneuring: Try It You Might Like It!

 

Frozen Microscopic Artworks

I love it when I stumble upon fun things that catch my eye.  This happened last week in Calgary’s River Park when I was walking Rossi (the dog) one morning and discovered the water from the melting snow had frozen in shallow puddles to create amazing frozen artworks.

As a former biologist (a long, long time ago) they immediately reminded me of some of the images I had seen under the microscope and those taken by electron microscopes.  The more I looked at them, the more intrigued I became.  

Over the next few days, I eagerly wandered the park each morning looking for new frozen microscopic artworks. 

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…. 

IMG_8460.PNG
IMG_8455.jpg
IMG_8450.jpg
IMG_8504.PNG
IMG_8537.jpg
IMG_8545.jpg
IMG_8412.jpg
IMG_8433.jpg
IMG_8424.jpg
IMG_8404.jpg
IMG_8607.jpg
IMG_8419.jpg
IMG_8593.jpg
IMG_8599.jpg
IMG_8568.PNG
IMG_8410.jpg
IMG_8605.jpg
IMG_8631.jpg
IMG_8609.jpg
IMG_8412.jpg
IMG_8601.jpg
IMG_8448.jpg

Last Word

Instead of summary statement, I decided to make a movie from the still images.  I think it adds another dimension to these mysterious images. Let me know what you think. 

Atlanta is fun, funky and quirky!

I must confess Atlanta wasn't on my bucket list of cities to visit.  But when I got an opportunity to go to Augusta, GA for a practice round of The Masters golf tournament via Atlanta, I thought why not. 

I have often said, "I can find interesting things to see and do in any city!"

One of the things I like best about flaneuring is the surprises.  This has to be one of the best surprises I have encountered in a long time.  Note the empty bottle and piece of litter. Indeed every picture tells a story...

One of the things I like best about flaneuring is the surprises.  This has to be one of the best surprises I have encountered in a long time.  Note the empty bottle and piece of litter. Indeed every picture tells a story...

18,000 Step  Program

Everyone I asked about what to see and do in Atlanta said, "You will need a car." As everyday tourist, we loved a challenge.

Brenda and I spent 14 days in Atlanta's City Centre and found lots to see and do either on foot (averaging 18,000 steps a day, highest was 27,000+) or using the MARTA train (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Association).

Brenda found this strange and quirky gravestone at the Oakland Cemetery. 

Brenda found this strange and quirky gravestone at the Oakland Cemetery. 

Game on!

We found great vintage, antique and thriftshops along Chamblee's Antique Row and a great craft brewery HopStix. Living across the street from Piedmont Park (Atlanta's equivalent to NYC's Central Park) was a delight. While Atlanta's City Centre doesn't have any streets with contiguous retail and restaurants we did find some hidden gems. 

We loved the buzz at Ponce City Market a repurposed Sears Roebuck Co. store and distribution centre. It made me rethink, "Why Calgary's Eau Claire Market didn't work? Would it work today?

Atlantic Station a reclaimed steel factory on the other side of the interstate highway from Midtown was also enlightening.  Its grid of mid-rise brick condos with street retail and restaurants mimicking an early 20th century warehouse district was a very pedestrian friendly. It has many of the elements of Calgary's University District and West District. It made me wonder, "if East Village shouldn't of had more midrise buildings with street retail to create a more human scale?"

Beltline was bustling

I was gobsmacked by the number of people strolling Atlanta's Beltline a reclaimed railway line that has become a multi-use trail modelled after NYC's High Line without all the fancy furnishing and finishings.  I bet there were 50,000+ people of all ages strolling the promenade on the 10km stretch that I experienced on a warm Saturday afternoon.

I was surprised they allowed cyclists (probably about 5% of the users) to use the concrete pathway when it was so busy.  I can't believe how aggressive and inconsiderate many of the cyclists were. Brenda headed home early as it was too unpleasant for her liking.  

After spending 14 days in Atlanta's City Centre, I am pleased to say the city was more fun, funky and quirky (FFQ) than I could have hoped for. 

Check out this FFQing photo essay and let me know what you think.  FYI. I have saved the best for last....

Found this strange dude hanging out at the Antique Factory (huge warehouse of mid-century modern artifacts) in Chamblee's Antique Row, which is easy to get to by MARTA (transit train).

Found this strange dude hanging out at the Antique Factory (huge warehouse of mid-century modern artifacts) in Chamblee's Antique Row, which is easy to get to by MARTA (transit train).

Found "Dolly" in the American League thrift store in Chamblee's Antique Row. 

Found "Dolly" in the American League thrift store in Chamblee's Antique Row. 

Everywhere we went we kept running into funky shops like this one. Around the corner was a fun little printing studio.  While Atlanta has no main streets (i.e. streets with continuous shops on both sides of the street), it does have fun off-the-beaten path shops.

Everywhere we went we kept running into funky shops like this one. Around the corner was a fun little printing studio.  While Atlanta has no main streets (i.e. streets with continuous shops on both sides of the street), it does have fun off-the-beaten path shops.

If you are looking for curated funky mid-century modern furnishings and artwork you have to go to   Decades Antiques and Vintage   at 1886 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE.  There are several antique and thriftstores in the area. 

If you are looking for curated funky mid-century modern furnishings and artwork you have to go to Decades Antiques and Vintage at 1886 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE.  There are several antique and thriftstores in the area. 

Little Five Points is like walking into a "magical mystery tour" as all of the building facades are colourful and playful. It reminded us of Berlin.

Little Five Points is like walking into a "magical mystery tour" as all of the building facades are colourful and playful. It reminded us of Berlin.

On Easter Sunday, there were lots of outdoor celebrations like this adult only party that included an egg toss on the front lawn.

On Easter Sunday, there were lots of outdoor celebrations like this adult only party that included an egg toss on the front lawn.

Even the cement trucks are works of art in Atlanta! 

Even the cement trucks are works of art in Atlanta! 

Aren't these folk art portable toilets at the outdoor science fair in Piedmont Park quirky?

Aren't these folk art portable toilets at the outdoor science fair in Piedmont Park quirky?

Thought this was a Claes Oldenburg sculpture in   Centennial Olympic Park  , but it turned out to be an information booth in front of the World of Coca-Cola building.  Too much fun!

Thought this was a Claes Oldenburg sculpture in Centennial Olympic Park, but it turned out to be an information booth in front of the World of Coca-Cola building.  Too much fun!

Another fun, funky, quirky facade...but with a social and political statement. 

Another fun, funky, quirky facade...but with a social and political statement. 

Atlanta is known as a auto-centric city, but we found using transit was a viable option.  This fun sculpture titled "Autoeater" by German artists Julia Venske and Gregor Spanle is located at an intersection that is busy with cars and pedestrians in Midtown

Atlanta is known as a auto-centric city, but we found using transit was a viable option.  This fun sculpture titled "Autoeater" by German artists Julia Venske and Gregor Spanle is located at an intersection that is busy with cars and pedestrians in Midtown

It would have been easy to miss this sun dial at the Inman Middle School in the Virginia/Highland community. It took me two trips to realize it wasn't just a clock.

It would have been easy to miss this sun dial at the Inman Middle School in the Virginia/Highland community. It took me two trips to realize it wasn't just a clock.

Found this Jetson sculpture in the lobby of the luxurious student study hall/library lobby with roof top garden that is on par with what you might find at a luxury urban hotel.  The Starbuck stays open until 2 am Sunday to Thursday!

Found this Jetson sculpture in the lobby of the luxurious student study hall/library lobby with roof top garden that is on par with what you might find at a luxury urban hotel.  The Starbuck stays open until 2 am Sunday to Thursday!

How fun is this three storey bench in the lobby of the Georgia Tech School of Architecture building?

How fun is this three storey bench in the lobby of the Georgia Tech School of Architecture building?

Stairs as sculpture? This quirky staircase it at the King Memorial MARTA Station.  The entire station is an interesting brutalist / modernist design. 

Stairs as sculpture? This quirky staircase it at the King Memorial MARTA Station.  The entire station is an interesting brutalist / modernist design. 

This wall of axes was just part of the fun of exploring the   Highland Woodworking   store at Highland and Virginia.  Think Lee Valley but bigger and totally focused on woodworking tools and material s.   It is a must see for any woodworker....

This wall of axes was just part of the fun of exploring the Highland Woodworking store at Highland and Virginia.  Think Lee Valley but bigger and totally focused on woodworking tools and materials.  It is a must see for any woodworker....

One of my favourite things to do is porch sitting.  Our Airbnb in Atlanta was just across the street from   Piedmont Park   with a lovely big porch.  It was a great place to people watch as there was an endless parade of joggers, dog walkers, cyclist and people just strolling along the edge of the park.  

One of my favourite things to do is porch sitting.  Our Airbnb in Atlanta was just across the street from Piedmont Park with a lovely big porch.  It was a great place to people watch as there was an endless parade of joggers, dog walkers, cyclist and people just strolling along the edge of the park.  

Found these fun doors in various spots in   Ponce City Market,   telling the history of this old Sears Roebuck & Co store and distribution centre.  Who knew Sears used to have an Animal Department that sold a Spider Monkey for $31.39 or 25 day-old Farm Master While Leghorn chicks for $1.90!  They also sold baby alligators but didn't give a cost.   Urban living was very different in the 1940s.

Found these fun doors in various spots in Ponce City Market, telling the history of this old Sears Roebuck & Co store and distribution centre.  Who knew Sears used to have an Animal Department that sold a Spider Monkey for $31.39 or 25 day-old Farm Master While Leghorn chicks for $1.90!  They also sold baby alligators but didn't give a cost. Urban living was very different in the 1940s.

Beltline midweek, with its funky whirligig artworks. 

Beltline midweek, with its funky whirligig artworks. 

No idea who create this troll or why, it is guarded one of the many underpasses along the Beltline.  Kids loved climbing up the hill to the troll.

No idea who create this troll or why, it is guarded one of the many underpasses along the Beltline.  Kids loved climbing up the hill to the troll.

Found this evil winged gargoyle on a post in the front yard or a house behind our Airbnb. I loved it but can't imagine many would. 

Found this evil winged gargoyle on a post in the front yard or a house behind our Airbnb. I loved it but can't imagine many would. 

Several vendors a the City Market offered whole pigs for sale.  How much fun would it be to order a pig from "Porky Pig?" 

Several vendors a the City Market offered whole pigs for sale.  How much fun would it be to order a pig from "Porky Pig?" 

Found this handmade swing on an island space in the middle of a busy intersection.  I had to give it a try.  It was a great way to pass the time waiting for the light to change. 

Found this handmade swing on an island space in the middle of a busy intersection.  I had to give it a try.  It was a great way to pass the time waiting for the light to change. 

Atlantans love bean bag tossing saw these in several locations from parks to outside offices.  I was amazed when Brenda stepped and landed two of her four blue bean bags in the hole from 30 feet. I made none.

Atlantans love bean bag tossing saw these in several locations from parks to outside offices.  I was amazed when Brenda stepped and landed two of her four blue bean bags in the hole from 30 feet. I made none.

Atlanta has lots of funky art, like this piece hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park near the dog park. 

Atlanta has lots of funky art, like this piece hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park near the dog park. 

This piece of art was in the front yard of a modest house. I would love to have one for my garden. It is no wonder we didn't go to the High Art Museum, given all the art along the streets and parks of the city.

This piece of art was in the front yard of a modest house. I would love to have one for my garden. It is no wonder we didn't go to the High Art Museum, given all the art along the streets and parks of the city.

Found these origami pieces lined up on the counter a Java Jive a funky diner with great midcentury furnishings. We were told there were made by a 9-year old customer.  

Found these origami pieces lined up on the counter a Java Jive a funky diner with great midcentury furnishings. We were told there were made by a 9-year old customer.  

You can find the strangest things at antique stores.  This totem was found at Antiques & Beyond a huge antique market on Cheshire Bridge.

You can find the strangest things at antique stores.  This totem was found at Antiques & Beyond a huge antique market on Cheshire Bridge.

I wonder why these New Era scientifically process potato chips aren't still available? Treasure hunting in thrift, vintage and antique shops in Atlanta is just too much fun.

I wonder why these New Era scientifically process potato chips aren't still available? Treasure hunting in thrift, vintage and antique shops in Atlanta is just too much fun.

Paris on Ponce   is an eclectic market with 83 vendors offer mostly vintage treasures.  There is an amazing lounge that they use for special events.  Unfortunately they didn't have any events happening while we were there. This art installation is at the entrance to the lounge. 

Paris on Ponce is an eclectic market with 83 vendors offer mostly vintage treasures.  There is an amazing lounge that they use for special events.  Unfortunately they didn't have any events happening while we were there. This art installation is at the entrance to the lounge. 

One of the first quirky things I notice about the Atlanta streets were all the utility markings on the sidewalk.  It wasn't just one or two streets it was everywhere in the downtown and midtown.  I mean everywhere.  I even ran into a guy who was repainting the lines.  

One of the first quirky things I notice about the Atlanta streets were all the utility markings on the sidewalk.  It wasn't just one or two streets it was everywhere in the downtown and midtown.  I mean everywhere.  I even ran into a guy who was repainting the lines.  

Good food and great chandeliers can be found at   Amelie's Bakery  .  Loved this pots and pans chandelier, but it was only one of a dozen very quirky chandeliers in the store. Note the sign saying "dessert first." This was my happy place.

Good food and great chandeliers can be found at Amelie's Bakery.  Loved this pots and pans chandelier, but it was only one of a dozen very quirky chandeliers in the store. Note the sign saying "dessert first." This was my happy place.

Found these amazing tree shadows on the sidewalk the evening I walked to Blind Willies blues bar on Highland.  This was on my way there, not back and the photo has not been enhanced.

Found these amazing tree shadows on the sidewalk the evening I walked to Blind Willies blues bar on Highland.  This was on my way there, not back and the photo has not been enhanced.

We saw a lot of FFQ work spaces during our Atlanta walkabouts but nothing better than  Matchstic . We were peeking in the doorway when the President happening to be leaving and he invited us in. We commented on how much we like the playful mural and then he showed us a wall of small drawings on small clipboards by staff members similar to the mural. We loved them and he told us to take a couple.  We are now proud owners of three Matchstic drawings! 

We saw a lot of FFQ work spaces during our Atlanta walkabouts but nothing better than Matchstic. We were peeking in the doorway when the President happening to be leaving and he invited us in. We commented on how much we like the playful mural and then he showed us a wall of small drawings on small clipboards by staff members similar to the mural. We loved them and he told us to take a couple.  We are now proud owners of three Matchstic drawings! 

This reflective angular block serves as both an artwork and an ATM machine on the AECOM plaza.  It was a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by even on a Sunday when the building was closed.  Went back the next day to take some more photos of the intriguing artwork in the lobby and was told no photos.  

This reflective angular block serves as both an artwork and an ATM machine on the AECOM plaza.  It was a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by even on a Sunday when the building was closed.  Went back the next day to take some more photos of the intriguing artwork in the lobby and was told no photos.  

We passed by this fun artwork almost everyday. I love it when art is both fun and makes a social statement. 

We passed by this fun artwork almost everyday. I love it when art is both fun and makes a social statement. 

Last Word

As you can imagine Atlanta has been very fruitful when it comes to ideas for blogs. Over the next month you can expect blogs comparing Calgary's City Centre to Atlanta's, a piece on Ponce City Market, Atlantic Station, Piedmont Park, Oakland Cemetery and the Beltline Trail. 

If you liked this blog, you will like: 

FFQing in Montreal

Nelson: Fun, Funky, Quirky

FFQing in Tri-Cities (Kennwick, Pasco, Richland)

 

Seedy Saturday in Calgary

The Seedy Saturday doors at the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Association building opened at 10 am, I arrived at 10:30ish and there was already aBUZZ.  It was like bees at a beehive with people of all ages popping in and out looking at tables filled with small brown envelopes of seeds. 

I was the 287th bee and there were many more right behind me – with more arriving as I left at noon.

Seedy Saturday created a real buzz at the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Centre, Saturday, March 17, 2018.

Seedy Saturday created a real buzz at the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Centre, Saturday, March 17, 2018.

Seedy Saturday was both educational and entertaining...

Seedy Saturday was both educational and entertaining...

It has been a long tough winter in Calgary with record amounts of snowfall (my garden is still under three feet of snow) that shows no signs of quitting.

In fact, there was a snow squall at 9:30 am just before the Seedy Saturday doors opened. However gardeners, especially in Calgary where the average number of frost-free days is only 117 are eternal optimists.

Who knew too that Seedy Saturday is a worldwide event, bringing together regional seed collectors with the public! I wouldn’t have gone had my neighbour not asked me if I was going (as she was going to be away).  I thought, “Why not?”

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 8.41.44 AM.png

What I found….

In addition to the buzz of the “human” bees, there were two gyms at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Centre full of displays, perhaps about half were selling seed (15 or so) others were selling seedlings. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 8.43.24 AM.png

As you would expect, there were also several volunteer organizations like Calgary Horticultural Society, Calgary Rock and Alpine Society, Friends of Reader Rock Garden, Green Calgary, Community Crop and Grow Calgary. 

So too were there a couple of exhibitors selling funky hand-made gardening tools, that were like works of art. 

There was even a seed exchange. Rats I should have collected and brought some of my Joe Pye weed seeds from last fall! Perhaps next year?

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 8.41.09 AM.png
My Joe Pye weed garden....

My Joe Pye weed garden....

Just one of the many seed vendor tables.

Just one of the many seed vendor tables.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 8.42.04 AM.png

Lessons Learned….

  • When I use Miracle Grow fertilizer with high nitrogen content, I am literally feeding the aphids -  they love the free nitrogen. I need to use a slow release fertilizer. 
  • Composting is like rocket science.  Most of the compost you buy at Costco or the hardware stores is dead compost that has been pasteurized.  You want live compost not dead. In addition, I am going to have to rethink my random throw whatever and toss whenever of my composter, as it is definitely not proper composting.
  • Yes you can grow flowers from seeds in Calgary.  I will believe it when I see the beautiful, good sized plants with prolific bloom!
  • Flowers and vegetables love to grow together. 
  • Mushrooms will save bees.  Donna Balzer, Calgary’s guru gardener informed us of new research linking the health of bees to mycelia in mushrooms.  She encouraged us to spread bark in our garden and leave tree branches and leaves to rot.
Donna Balzer was one of several presenters sharing ideas about how to improve your garden this summer.

Donna Balzer was one of several presenters sharing ideas about how to improve your garden this summer.

Hand-made garden tools. 

Hand-made garden tools. 

Armchair Gardener

If you are like me, anxious to get into the garden, I would recommend NetFlix’s Big Dreams, Small Gardens. They It is not just about small gardens, nor is it just about, gardens. The stories about why the people want to create a garden are heart warming, ranging from parents wanting a special space for their special needs children to converting the front yard into a community garden and from two neighbours taking down a fence and combining their yards to a woman wanting to create a garden in memory of her deceased sister.   

Monty Don with two novice gardeners helping them convert their backyard from a place to park their car into an oasis. 

Monty Don with two novice gardeners helping them convert their backyard from a place to park their car into an oasis. 

Last Word

There was even a little ladybug in attendance.

There was even a little ladybug in attendance.

The diversity of human interests and passions continue to amaze me and it is what makes city life so fascinating and fun.

Who knew Calgary had such a vibrant seedy culture? 

I bet Calgary could have a Seedy Saturday every Saturday in March and April and they would all be packed.

My Dad, an avid flower gardener in retirement, used to say he liked to experiment with trying to grow one new flower per year. 

This year, my experiment will be to create a seed garden and add some vegetable plants to my garden.

That is, if the snow ever melts.  As my Mom likes to say, “this too shall pass.”

If you like this blog, you will like:

Garden Flaneuring: Try It You Might Like It!

Silver Springs: Stop And Smell The Flowers

The Art Of Gardening

Yellowknife: Winter Fun & Games

What makes for a quality urban adventure? 

It often starts with an interesting, historic community, a vibrant arts scene, ancient traditions, many small private galleries, character neighbourhoods, colourful architecture, friendly people, fantastic coffee, local craft brewing, wonderful views, and plenty of great, unusual restaurants all within walking distance of your VRBO houseboat?

That sounds good, but it's even better when your houseboat is frozen into the ice beside Old Town in Yellowknife right under the amazing aurora borealis.

(10).jpg
The Aurora Borealis is spectacular, constantly changing and lighting up the night sky. 

The Aurora Borealis is spectacular, constantly changing and lighting up the night sky. 

Too Much Fun

Hockey rink developed and maintained by the houseboat community.

Hockey rink developed and maintained by the houseboat community.

Looking out the window right now there are cross country skiers, kite surfers, a hockey game, many skidoos, kids throwing snowballs, the giant Snowking Ice Castle, along with a parade of colourful neighbouring houseboats that look like a Ted Harrison painting.

A bunch of college kids have built a structure to occupy while they make hot chocolate on an open fire on the ice (together with their six dogs that are rolling and tumbling like the Muddy Waters blues song). The dogs are making big, fluffy, white clouds of snow while the leap in the air, flip, and instantly change direction while falling all over each other.

There are many fat tire bikes on trails crossing ski trails and it's busy. You need to pay attention if you are driving the ice road to Detah.

Bullocks Bistro, one of many quirky eating establishments.

Bullocks Bistro, one of many quirky eating establishments.

Hipsters Fun

Mario's Marvellous Movie Emporium and Coffee Shop. The green flag is up.

Mario's Marvellous Movie Emporium and Coffee Shop. The green flag is up.

The local coffee ship (it really is a ship) and movie emporium is not on Trip Advisor.

They don't advertise because they don't want any more business. It's underground and strictly word of mouth.

It’s just down the snow path on the other side of a little rock island.

When the green flag is up, it’s open. Red flag, it's closed. The barista lives next door and opens when he feels like it.

Last night he was the showing of the 1951 classic; "The Thing From Outer Space" on a snow sculpted screen built by another neighbour. There is free popcorn, and there might also have been a little extra (under the counter) that can be poured into your coffee when you are at the outdoor fire pit on the deck. They know how to celebrate winter in Yellowknife.

Yesterday afternoon we went for a dog sled ride; shared with three polite Asian girls wearing fur hats that look like Hello Kitty animals. Beck's Kennels have 160 dogs and they make so much noise it's understandable why the neighbours are mostly storage depots and industrial supply companies. Their kennels are right next to a lake, which is perfect for a very smooth and incredibly scenic mushing experience.

From our urban houseboat, we can walk to several architectural offices. There could be a happy hour late on a Friday afternoon and then it's just a short walk to local craft brewery - NWT Brewing Co. (circa 2017). Locals told us the brewery started just last year by a few young entrepreneurs and is already an institution.

Mushing with sled dogs on one of the nearby smaller lakes.

Mushing with sled dogs on one of the nearby smaller lakes.

Breaking The Rules Fun

This is a community where everyone seems to know your name within 48 hours. You just might meet the lady who sold you the sheared beaver hand warmers on the deck of the coffee ship the next morning.

Architectural detail from the North West Territories capital building evoke sense of the ice snow and light that creates a unique sense of place in winter. 

Architectural detail from the North West Territories capital building evoke sense of the ice snow and light that creates a unique sense of place in winter. 

The NWT legislature is an amazing building that looks like science fiction, even though it is more than 25 years old.

Designed by Vancouver architect Kiyoshi Matsuzaki in association with FSC architects, the building exhibits characteristics of the Arthur Ericson tradition, with detailing and material treatments that are completely appropriate to this unique northern context.

We couldn't have the normal tour because the guides were all suffering from the flu, but no problem. The receptionist gave us pins and postcards along with the official and unofficial history through a few juicy stories involving some of the colourful politicians represented here.

Did I mention the ice road to Detah?

Joggers on the ice highway.

Joggers on the ice highway.

This is an amazing 150-foot wide, totally slippery, extremely busy thoroughfare right in front of our houseboat.

It is an official, seasonal highway that links Yellowknife to the neighbouring indigenous communities across the bay.

There are joggers, ice fishers, ATV's, cross country skiers, Asian tourists, dozens of big trucks, skidoos, dogs, more Asian tourists; many taking “selfies” with the ice, and even more trucks.

It's fun to do donuts on the ice. It's probably not legal, but this is not a place that cares much about legality. It's more about civility, safety, and being considerate of your neighbours.

Off The Grid Fun

Last night after a house party, we were able to walk home; well after midnight on the airport ice runway enjoying the incredible northern lights for the entire half hour walk.

Living off the grid in a VRBO houseboat frozen into Great Slave Lake.

Living off the grid in a VRBO houseboat frozen into Great Slave Lake.

If you are off the grid, you might need to re-ignite the pilot light in the heater and the separating toilet requires some training before you use it.

One story was told of an unusual freeze cycle a few years ago that saw houseboats freeze at an angle. For the entire winter they could only drink a half a cup of coffee at a time.

Today we enjoyed a three-hour ice fishing adventure with Greg Robertson (Bluefish Services). He picks you up in his Sno-bear specialty caterpillar track van. This has holes in the floor, special fishing seats, and comes with a hands free camera that is dropped below the ice linked to a viewing screen that lets you see the fish biting your hook. Sometimes the camera itself is bitten. It's amazing.

We missed the old time fiddling competition today because we chose fishing. We had previously decided not to do the late night electronica dance party on Friday. There are activities and events going on all the time in the Snowking Winter Festival in March.

The unique sno-bear mobile ice fishing machine.

The unique sno-bear mobile ice fishing machine.

Winter bikers passing the sno-bear.

Winter bikers passing the sno-bear.

We love Yellowknife.

We love Yellowknife.

Last Word

Maybe skip Palm Springs next year and enjoy some real Canadian Northern adventure. Asians are raving about it. They are currently getting 20,000 tourists a year and it's growing.

This is a city with opportunities. We thought the connections were largely to Alberta, but we are meeting mostly easterners. People from Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes love this city.

Western Canadians seem to prefer Palm Springs in the winter, but once you have been to Yellowknife  in March for the Northern Lights Snowking Winter Festival we can't understand why more people don't give this town a try. 

Everyday Tourists: Charles & Leila Olfert

 

If you like this blog, you will like:

Calgarians embrace winter?

Are we winter wusses?

Calgary: Snowman Fun!

Calgary's Coolest Neighbourhoods: Inglewood

Locals and visitors often ask me “what is Calgary’s coolest neighbourhood?”  My reply is, “It depends on what you like to do.” 

Just for fun I thought I would do a series of blogs on what makes Calgary’s City Centre neighbourhoods (Beltline, Bridgeland, East Village, Eau Claire, Downtown West, Downtown Core, Inglewood, Kensington and Mission) all cool depending on your perspective.

You know a neighbourhood is cool when you find kids playing on a mini plaza in front of retail store along its Main Street.    This is 9th Ave aka Atlantic Ave in Inglewood. 

You know a neighbourhood is cool when you find kids playing on a mini plaza in front of retail store along its Main Street.  This is 9th Ave aka Atlantic Ave in Inglewood. 

What makes a cool neighbourhood?

My template of what I think are the key elements of a cool neighbourhood is:

  1. Festivals/Events
  2. Shops
  3. Cafés
  4. Restaurants
  5. Art/Architecture
  6. Parks/Plaza/Pathways
  7. Fitness/Recreation
  8. Pubs/Clubs/Beer
  9. Fun/Funky/Quirky
This is one of two barns that still exist in Inglewood - how cool is that.  

This is one of two barns that still exist in Inglewood - how cool is that. 

Inglewood

Inglewood’s boundaries are difficult to share in words as you can see by this illustration from the City of Calgary’s website.  It is one of Calgary’s oldest communities and was once known as Brewery Flats as it was home to the mammoth Calgary Brewing and Malting Company site which is now closed and waiting for redevelopment. Given the rise in popularity of craft beer around the world, Inglewood might want to use Brewery Flats as part of its branding.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 1.51.20 PM.png

Festivals/Events

Inglewood is home to not one but three signature events every summer.  The Inglewood Night Market will take place on June 8, July 13, August 10 and September 14 this year.  The Calgary Fringe Festival takes place from Aug 3 to 11, while Sunfest happens Saturday August 24.

Shops

Inglewood has an ever-changing array of eclectic shops from exquisite Circa Vintage Art Glass to bibliophile’s Fair’s Fair Books’ with its 7,000 used books. 

Fair's Fair and Galleria share a building on the western edge of Inglewood. 

Fair's Fair and Galleria share a building on the western edge of Inglewood. 

But wait. It gets better.

Two "must visits" are Crown Surplus store where you can find some very interesting outdoor and tactical gear (maybe even a surplus military tent) and Recordland where you can hunt for that elusive vintage record you have always wanted (one of the largest collections of used records in North America.) 

Recordland is a "must visit" for audiophiles.  

Recordland is a "must visit" for audiophiles. 

Tea Trader's has the charm of an old world warehouse.

Tea Trader's has the charm of an old world warehouse.

Teetotallers will want to check out Tea Traders’ large selection of teas that they import directly to Calgary their world headquarters.

Foodies won’t want to miss The Silk Road either for its huge collection of spices, herbs and seasonings from around the world.

Knifewear offers Canada’s largest selection of Japanese knives - $2,500 is their most expensive knife; it is a work of art.  And, Kevin Kent (aka El Presidente) is one of North America’s leading authorities on knives.

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.03.31 AM.png

Kent of Inglewood (El Presidente’s other store) is a walk back in time, as not only is the building over 100 years old, but the products are a “blast from the past.” 

This is a “man’s man” shop where their “passion is classic shaving equipment, cocktails, axes, and all things fantastic.”

It even has an in-house barbershop.

When in Inglewood you must stop in “espy” women and men’s fashion boutique.  They are well known for their selection of denim jeans (1,000 jeans in stock) and for their professional denim fitting i.e. they are 100% honest about what looks good on you and what doesn’t!

The espy experience is not to be missed.
Cira Vintage Art Glass with its mid century modern glass pieces is a one of kind gallery in Canada. It is an engaging kaleidoscope of colour and light.  Great for souvenir or gift shopping. 

Cira Vintage Art Glass with its mid century modern glass pieces is a one of kind gallery in Canada. It is an engaging kaleidoscope of colour and light.  Great for souvenir or gift shopping. 

Now doesn't this look tasty....

Now doesn't this look tasty....

I really wanted this clothes peg bench at Le Belle Arti, but I don't have a house big enough for it.  Wouldn't it be great in a children's playground? 

I really wanted this clothes peg bench at Le Belle Arti, but I don't have a house big enough for it.  Wouldn't it be great in a children's playground? 

Cafés

Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar, opened in 2012, has quickly established itself as the Inglewood hangout spot, not only for the espresso and wine but for its live music featuring local musicians every Friday and Saturday evening. 

The new kid on the block - ROSSO Coffee Roasters, named the ATB Small Business of the Year in 2017, by Calgary Chamber of Commerce is also worth a visit.

IMG_2406.JPG

Restaurants

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.01.12 AM.png

While restaurants come and go, Rouge Restaurant in the historic 1891 Cross House has been rated one of Calgary’s top 10 restaurants since 2001.

In fact, in 2010, it was ranked #60 in the world by San Pellegrino Awards. 

In 2014, Michael Noble (one of Canada’s leading chefs) opened The Nash and Off Cut Bar in the historic National Hotel (1907).   And in 2016, Sal Howell (one of Calgary’s best restaurant owners) reopened the Deane House (1906) next to Fort Calgary complete with an edible garden. 

If you are into dining in historical settings, Inglewood is definitely your place.

If you are looking for an authentic Calgary dining experience, you can’t do much better than Spolumbo’s family restaurant (owned by three former Calgary Stampeders players) using old world family recipes to create the perfect sausages. 

No community can be cool without a “go to” pizza place. In Inglewood’s that would be Without Papers Pizza.

Funny Story: Kevin Kent a former chef started his Japanese knife importing business to sell knives to Calgary chefs our of his backpack.  It become so popular he opened up a store in Inglewood, which also became successful and today he has Knifewear stores in Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver.  Some of the knives are like works of art, that you could hang on the wall, which in fact he as done in Inglewood store. 

Funny Story: Kevin Kent a former chef started his Japanese knife importing business to sell knives to Calgary chefs our of his backpack.  It become so popular he opened up a store in Inglewood, which also became successful and today he has Knifewear stores in Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver.  Some of the knives are like works of art, that you could hang on the wall, which in fact he as done in Inglewood store. 

Art/Architecture

Inglewood is Calgary’s live music district, home to the Blues Can, Ironwood Stage & Grill (both have music 7days a week) and Festival Hall (operated by the Calgary Folk Festival).  

Tim Williams, winner of the 2014 International Blues Competition for best solo/duo and best guitarist, hosts a blues jam every Saturday (no cover) at the Blues Can.

The Blues Can has just the right amount of grit to be an authentic blues bar.

The Blues Can has just the right amount of grit to be an authentic blues bar.

The Garry Theatre aka Ironwood Stage & Grill offers everything from blues jams to Big Band brunches.   

The Garry Theatre aka Ironwood Stage & Grill offers everything from blues jams to Big Band brunches.  

Calgary International Folk Festival's Festival Hall. 

Calgary International Folk Festival's Festival Hall. 

Inglewood is home to the Esker Foundation/Contemporary Art Gallery, a privately funded, non-commercial, free gallery that curates three exhibitions per year – fall, winter and spring/summer. Challenging yet accessible, they are accompanied by educational programs and publications.

It is on the third floor of the Atlantic Avenue Art Block, an architectural work of art in itself with its wavy roof and how it integrates the historic red brick warehouse architecture with contemporary urban design. 

Esker Foundation Art Gallery is a "must see" when you are in Inglewood. (photo credit: screen shot from website)

Esker Foundation Art Gallery is a "must see" when you are in Inglewood. (photo credit: screen shot from website)

Other art galleries in the neighbourhood include Galleria, Van Ginkel Art Gallery, Inglewood Fine Arts and Collector’s Gallery.   And, just a short walk up 12th St SE under the rail tracks lies the Artpoint Gallery and Studios Society with its three galleries and 23 studios.

History buffs will love walking along Inglewood’s New Street and you will discover a charming mix of heritage and contemporary homes.  One of the reasons Calgary’s City Center neighbourhoods are so vibrant is the hundreds of new infill homes being built every year.

Link: Calgary is the Infill Capital of North America

Just a few of the historic homes in Inglewood.

Just a few of the historic homes in Inglewood.

Parks/Plazas/Pathways

With the northern boundary of Inglewood being the Bow River, Inglewood has a lovely walking and cycling pathway to downtown, St. Patrick’s Island, the Calgary Zoo, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Harvie Passage. 

Inglewood is also home to Calgary’s original Main Street, aka 9th Avenue (as it is now called) aka Atlantic Avenue (its original name). The three blocks from 11th St to 14th St SE is a charming collection of early 20th century red brick buildings that house an eclectic array of shops today.   

Inglewood is also home to Bow Passage Overlook artwork by Lorna Jordan located along the Bow River pathway at the Harvie Passage where the Bow River takes a sharp turn south.  This large artwork looks like a typical log jam along the shore of the Bow River, except it has been carefully constructed so you can walk up to the outlook viewing platform or explore and sit amongst the rocks and rectangular man-made logs. 

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a delightful place to meander, reflect and take photos.

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a delightful place to meander, reflect and take photos.

Inglewood is home to a small art park at the corner of 9th Ave & 8th St SE across from the Dean House. 

Inglewood is home to a small art park at the corner of 9th Ave & 8th St SE across from the Dean House. 

Fitness/Recreation

For those looking for adventurous water sports you can float, canoe or kayak on the Bow River.  Harvie Passage is currently closed but will reopen in this summer (it was severely damaged in the 2013 flood) is one of the best urban kayaking spots in North America with channels for beginners and experts.

Lawn bowling in Calgary dates back to the late 1800s and is enjoying a resurgence today. The patch of grass at the corner of 8th Ave and 12th St. SE has been home to the Inglewood Lawn Bowling Club since 1946.  Don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of hipsters lawn bowling as you walk by.  And yes you can work up a thirst lawn bowling.

Heads Up: Watch out for cyclists as 8th Ave SE can be a busy cycling street.
A typical summer evening of lawn bowling in Inglewood. 

A typical summer evening of lawn bowling in Inglewood. 

The Bow Passage Overlook, in Pearce Estate Park, by Lorna Jordan offers a spectacular view of the Bow River with lots of places to sit and climb. 

The Bow Passage Overlook, in Pearce Estate Park, by Lorna Jordan offers a spectacular view of the Bow River with lots of places to sit and climb. 

Pubs/Clubs/Beer

In addition, the Blues Can and Ironwood, Inglewood is home to one of Calgary’s best pubs -  The Hose & Hound Neighbourhood Pub located in a 1906 firehouse.  

Inglewood is also home to two of Calgary’s best craft breweries. Cold Garden Beverage Company Tasting Room since January 2017 has become a popular place for locals to chill, as has High Line Brewery that opened in December 2016. .

Fun/Funky/Quirky Factor

The Nest is a funky, 500-square foot meeting space that not only looks like a nest but it is suspended from the roof in the middle of the main gallery space of the Esker Contemporary Art Gallery.  Very cool!

Not only is Nerd Roller Skates a quirky niche shop that specializes in roller derby skates and equipment, is also the hub for Calgary’s roller derby community.

And the long standing Friday Night Circles of Rhythm drum circle at the Inglewood Community Hall regularly attracts over 100 participants (no experience needed, they supply the drums, perfect for everyone from 5 to 95). Drop-in are welcome.

If you have a chance you must experience Carly’s Angels the riotous drag show in the quaint Lolita’s Lounge that has been entertaining Calgarians and visitors for 10 years.  Some shows sell out 4 to 8 weeks in advance and no minors allowed as it can get more than a little raunchy.

Last Word

Inglewood has just the right mix of old and new, highbrow and lowbrow things to see and do.  No wonder Inglewood was crowned “Canada’s Greatest Neighbourhood” by the Canadian Institute of Planners in 2014 - and it has only gotten better since then. 

The ultra chic new AVLI on Atlantic condo (currently under construction) designed by Calgary’s own Jeremy Sturgess could be just what makes Inglewood not only one of Calgary’s coolest neighbourhoods, but North America’s.

Note: This is the first in a series of blogs examining Calgary’s City Centre Neighbourhoods.

Note: My apologies to Calgary’s 200+ other neighbourhoods. While you may have a cool park or playground, a great recreation centre, maybe even a lake with a beach, or a few special shops, you don’t have the history and diversity of walkable things to see and do that makes for a cool urban neighbourhood from a tourist’s perspective. And after all, this is an every day tourist blog. That being said, I am open to changing my mind. So feel free to contact me and tell me why you think another neighbourhood(s) should be on my list of cool Calgary Neighbourhoods. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 11.02.27 AM.png