Archive for the ‘DownTown Calgary’ Category

A beautiful winter morning in Calgary

There is nothing better than getting out and exploring the city, town, area that you live in.  Actually it can become quite fun and you never really know what you are going to find, experience or see.

Last winter I’m sure that many people thought that we were stupid getting up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to go for walks along Calgary’s many river paths, but when you get the opportunity to witness, to photograph and to enjoy unspoilt scenes like the one above.. it makes it oh so worth while.

With the many pathways and parks along the river and the quietness of the weekend downtown core.. it’s hard not to feel like you are a million miles away from the hussell and bussell of the city.  Another thing that I love about Calgary – That city feel that isn’t quite city.

Explore your neighbourhoods and the ones next door. Check out the local diners, the local cafe’s and of course the local pubs. Find out what makes this city, your city beat and what makes you fall in love with it everyday.

Challenge yourself to see as much of it as you can.  To enjoy every tiny detail and to search out those hidden secrets that no-one, absolutely no-one knows about and share them with the people you love and care about.

If I could take my little pieces of ‘Calgary’ home with me.. one would be the place in the picture above.  The quite little Island park between the Bow and Elbow Rivers. A park that is not frequently visited, but more likely to be home to the homeless.  A park that has its own peaceful stunning views of downtown Calgary and the iconic Calgary Tower.  It’s own suspension bridge that makes it seem so much more unique and special.

The other.. well that’s a secret…..

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Rockin’ the Mo..

Life should never be taken too seriously..

No matter what happens in life there are always people there that can cheer you up and be there to lift your spirits.  It’s hard to believe that one of those in the pic above is now a mum and the other is studying law.. I’m not sure I would trust either of them.  But they have taught me to laugh again when I thought things got hard and  have taught me not to take life too seriously.. (with them around it’s not that hard).

For some reason life leads us in a direction that allows us to cross paths with people that we would never have otherwise met and circumstance leads us to become friends when perhaps in normal surroundings we may not have stepped out of our comfort zones to talk with one another.

In October 2010 I had been in Calgary for 7 months and with my first winter on the verge of arriving, I was seriously considering whether or not I could handle living in this place for much longer. Then I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and meet some like-minded people.  Yes they were ex-pats, and yes they were Australian, but they understood what it was like to be in a new place and to be the odd ones out.  And that changed everything.  I have ‘mum (tiger) and dad (lurking zombie)’ to thank for all the amazing people who I have met while I have been in Calgary.

It will be hard to say farewell to them, and little bean in a week or so, but am I ever grateful that they came into my life.xx

The Pirate, Tiger and the Disco Diva (with the Zombie lurking in the background)

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Simply Breathtaking

During the final days of preparation in Oz before I left to come to Canada, I made the decision that no matter what, I would live close to downtown.  Generally it means that rent is higher, but it also means that you don’t have to have a car, you can walk to work everyday and should you decide to hit the town… the taxi fares are much cheaper.

Luckily I found a place that allowed me to do just that.

Xenex 1209 was stunning.. it was love at first sight and while the 12th floor apartment was a simple bachelor suite, what it lacked for in size, it defiantly made up for in stunning views.

Admittedly I was pretty devastated when I found out that I would be facing the city, rather than the mountains, but falling to sleep to the twinkling city lights and waking up to stunning sunrises like the one above…. meant pretty much that I slept every night with my blinds open, staring out my floor to ceiling windows and taking it all in.   In the end, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world..

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No. 1 Roughneck Fans
Ben, Lee, Me, Dave & Tannis

q. What do you get when you mix the throwing actions of Irish Hurling, the punch ups of 80’s Aussie Rules football, penalty boxes of Ice Hockey, set plays of Basketball and an indoor field the size of a hockey rink?

a. An absolutely AWESOME game!! also known as Box Lacrosse / Indoor Lacrosse and simply Lacrosse

Everyone knows that I’m pretty much an ‘any sports’ fan. With four brothers to influence me, usually the rougher and tougher the better and if there was also a chance for speed.. you beauty. So in early 2011 when Ben, Lee and I were introduced to this crazy sport, by our Canyankie friends, Tannis and Dave, how could I not love it?

I had managed to watch one game of Hockey since I had been in Calgary, but with the price of Hockey tickets practically unaffordable to the average Joe here (and all the good seats brought out by Oil and Gas companies) , Lacrosse became the sporting game of choice. Afterall what other choices did I have? Canadian or American football (pansies!!) or Baseball (hmmmm nah!)? Not only was the game fast, rough and totally full of fights, the entire crowd got behind our beloved ‘Neck’s and spurred them on.

With the music pumping, with every pass, with every shot at goal and with every goal saved, the crowd brought the roof down with the ringing of cowbells and the sounds of ‘What’s he got?…. N.O.T.H.I.N.G’.

Needless to say our weekly tradition become an outting to the lacrosse, which also continued this year, albeit with lots of additional new faces.

I’ll miss the Lacrosse.. but not just for the game, but also for the chance to enjoy being with friends, socializing.. and seeing a damn good fight!..

Go Necks Go

(ps.. my hat and jersey will take pride and place at the farm)

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Ok.. well technically the countdown started a long time ago.. but since it’s getting closer and with only 18 days left until I’m on a plane bound for home, I thought that I’d post a daily photo of my time in Canada..  

Now I have to admit that it is going to be one hell of a challenge choosing JUST ONE photo everyday, but hopefully you can relive the last two and a half years with me in these last few weeks..

I have been lucky enough that each of the cities or towns that I have lived in (ok, well we won’t count Patche in this) have all had a river run through them.  Mildura – The Mighty Murray River, Dublin – The River Liffey and now Calgary – The Bow River.

Each of them have their own special trait’s, but living in Calgary has made me realise how little I ever ‘enjoyed’ the Murray River, which has been on my back doorstep for over 10 years.  One note to self is when/if I ever move back to Mildura, or any other town that has a river flowing through it, that I make the most of it.

This photo was taken within the first week of my arrival in Calgary.  I had just been for an interview with a financial planning firm which operated out of a beautiful 100-year-old house on the banks of the Bow River.  It was quite a change from what I had come from (a firm with in excess of 80+ employees).

Little did I know as I stood there on the bridge above The Bow, that that financial planning firm would become a huge part of my Canadian family and that one of my colleagues was literally my sister-in-laws next door neighbour from Benson, Sask.

Over the past two and a half years I have learned that it is not really that cold in March, in fact that small amount of ice you see on The Bow is nothing in comparison to what you get to experience if you stay for a winter.  I have learnt that a balmy 5 degrees celsius or even a balmy -10 degrees celsius can actually be quite warm (after a winter that included a few -40’s).

I have learnt that being from Mildura will get your foot in the door for an interview (if the person reviewing your random email enquiry enjoyed their honeymoon picking grapes in ‘sunny sunraysia’). That a 2 week job placement can turn into two and a half years in the blink of an eye and that no matter what you have done, where you have been or where you are going, there is always something to learn – Personally and Professionally.

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Chocolate.. it’s the no. 1 downfall in my life.

I love it..

I wish so much that I could give it up.. that I could live my life without it.. but there is just NO WAY..

I don’t really care what type it is.. oh yes I have my favorites, but if there is nothing else on offer … dark, white, chilli flavored, cheap and nasty.. I will still give it a crack (hence my far from ‘trim jim’ figure!).. so when the girls that I’ve played Slo-pitch with for the last 2 years decided that as part of my ‘farewell from Calgary‘ we should go to ‘The Fairmont Palliser’s DEATH BY CHOCOLATE‘ night… who was I to resist!!!

A plate of (un)goodness

Now I’ll admit that I really didn’t know what to expect when I rocked up tonight.. I guess some part of the chocolate dreamer in my head had assumed a room stocked to the hilt with all the chocolate that you could ever desire.. or ever want… (think Willy Wonka)… well pretty much this is what we got.. just not so much on the grand scale..but definately on the quality side!

Two tables of deliciously laid out desserts .. from white chocolate, chocolate and berry to mint chocolate and cookie  cheesecakes to  mini-mini cupcakes, choc chip infused bread pudding, mousse rolls and the list goes on.. to a chocolate fountain with assorted fruits, creme burlee, miniature profiteroles and half-dipped ginger, mmm mmmmm!

oohh yes… chocolate fountain dipped strawberry’s.. their healthy right???

Tell me your mouths are not watering?

Well the best thing is you can share in it too.  Every Monday night from 5:30pm – 9:00pm DEATH BY CHOCOLATE is open.. and how is that not the perfect way to begin your week!!.

To make sure that you get your $28 chocolate fix and pick of the BEST chocolate desserts (not that there aren’t any) I recommend getting your girlfriends together, getting there early, grabbing yourself a comfy possie, ordering a nice cocktail and settling in for a couple of hours of indulgence… well at least that’s what we did.

Oh yes.. A Golden Mojito and a plate full of chocolate dessert.. HEAVEN RIGHT

To the girls that came.. THANK YOU… what a send off to have.. and to LB that missed out.. I hope your mouth is not watering too much.. and I tried to have your share :-)..

……….. I don’t think it needs any words

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‘my favorite quote around Calgary.. and it’s just on the doorstep at work in Eau Claire’

How can we help but get into the olympic spirit?

I love my sports, no matter what it is, but in Olympics, it’s swimming (and basketball) that have me hooked.

Mum had me in the pool at a young age. It was never competitive (well to me it was) but seriously a first in the breaststroke or butterfly in a 25 meter pool at the local primary school sports was never going to get me (let’s face it) anywhere near an Olympic sized pool or a gold medal for that fact.  Plus really, 4am to train.. pfft.. I had trouble getting up to go to VicSwim at 8:00am!!!

No, give me the pool at the pub, the dam and eventually our (read my for my brothers) own pool and I was happy..

But watching the Olympics over the last couple of days got me thinking.  I have lived in. No, let me rephrase that.  I LIVE in a city that has hosted an Olympic games.

I know, I know.. Winter Vs Summer.. I’m from a summer country, but who has not heard of the 1988 Calgary Olympics?

They were famous.

Cool Runnings? The Jamaican Bobsled Team? any of this ringing a bell for you??

Most of the lines from the movie have haunted me for the two and a half years that I have lived in here and yes, I have been to Canada Olympic Park (or C.O.P. as it is affectionately known in this neck of the woods.

‘The closest I will come to driving a bobsled.. safe inside C.O.P’

I have seen the Ski Jumps. I have seen the Bobsled track.

Even ventured out one Friday evening and saw the Canadian Bobsled Championships (it was friggin cold!!).

‘Getting a look at the angle on that bobsled track’

‘One of the competition team’s ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOMING by’

‘Finish Line’

I have been to the Olympic Oval and to the Saddledome.  I’ve even driven up and checked out the ski hills at Nakiska.. but I’ll be honest.. there is a place called Olympic Plaza downtown that I have only really ‘skirted’ around.

Sunday I decided it was the day. Sunday would be the day to enjoy Olympic Plaza and check out a couple of other Olympic ‘relics’ that have been left behind and dotted over the city.

‘Olympic Plaza Refection Pool’

Officially (or so I have been told), Olympic Plaza was built to hold  medal presentations for the 1988 Winter Olympics, however since then it has been turned in to a beautiful urban park complete with ‘reversible’ reflections wading pool for the summer and refrigerated ice skating rink for the winter (two birds..one stone!).


‘As close as I will probably come to the Olympic Rings’

But walking around there is still definitely a feel of Olympics in the plaza..from the official Olympic rings embedded into the top railing of the black iron fence, to the athletic statue below the Olympic cauldron and the Honor plaques of Canadian athletes who have represented their country and brought home medals.. How can you not get excited by that?

‘The Olympic Cauldron’

‘Some of the honour plaques’

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