Home & Garden

10 yee-haw! reasons to visit Canada's wild, wild West

Canadian Living
Home & Garden

10 yee-haw! reasons to visit Canada's wild, wild West

Alberta's Calgary Stampede was just the start of a fabulous Western holiday! Oprah's aha! moments pale in comparison to the yee-haw! moments I experienced last summer while on an unforgettable visit to Canada's beautiful province of Alberta. The last time I had been to Alberta was in 2010 for a photo shoot at the Calgary home of a lucky  Canadian Living reader who had won a $25,000 Home Depot–sponsored Ugliest Kitchen Contest that was featured in the October 2010 issue of Canadian Living. It was all work and no play! [caption id="attachment_1860" align="aligncenter" width="393"] Whoa Nelly! I couldn't resist saddling up at the Calgary Stampede and this guy seemed like a safe bet. No bucking broncos for me![/caption]   But last summer  Travel Alberta, Tourism Calgary and Edmonton Tourism hosted my visit to the Calgary Stampede for its 100th anniversary celebration. I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never been to the Stampede before, so it was a wonderful opportunity to see it all through the eyes of those who know it best. To get the most out of my trip West, I took advantage of Alberta's awesome public relations team and asked them to plan an extended agenda so that my friend Marla Easser (above in blue) and I could experience some of Calgary and Edmonton's interesting people, unique shops, restaurants and public gardens outside of the Stampede schedule. Although I never would have thought of visiting the Calgary Stampede – the Caribbean is more my speed – I was pleasantly surprised at how fun, educational and entertaining it was. So unexpected! Here are some of the highlights from our visit. Chuckwagon races and bronco riders After we checked into the  Sheraton Eau Claire hotel in the pulsating heart of Calgary, we were whisked off to the Stampede grounds for an evening of heart-stopping chuckwagon races followed by an entertaining show of lights, dancers, musicians and fireworks. Below: Watching the chuckwagon races from just behind the fence was exhilarating and a bit scary! [caption id="attachment_1861" align="aligncenter" width="387"] The stars of the Calgary Stampede! The Chuckwagon horses. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: Press passes for behind the scenes at the rodeo were also exhilarating! Hmm... handsome horses, eh? [caption id="attachment_1855" align="aligncenter" width="369"] Rodeo rider. What's not to love about the Calgary Stampede? Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   After the Calgary Stampede – girl's stuff Below: Calgary's  Rouge Restaurant for fine home-grown fare and beautifully paired wines. Owners chef Paul Rogalski and Olivier Reynaud gave us a grand tour of their private orchard and veggie/herb garden just beyond the restaurant's dining patio. [caption id="attachment_1862" align="aligncenter" width="442"] Chef Paul Rogalski, co-owner of Rouge Restaurant in Calgary.
Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: Model Milk restaurant, which is set in a historical dairy building in the heart of uptown Calgary, has a fun, youthful vibe and a fresh, local and innovative menu by chef Justin Leboe. [caption id="attachment_1863" align="aligncenter" width="369"] Model Milk's fresh and modern decor. Photo by Karen Kirk .[/caption]   Below: Calgary's historic  Reader Rock Garden was designed as a naturalistic rockery in the typical arts and craft style of the time. William Roland Reader, the superintendent for the City of Calgary Parks from 1913 to 1942, transformed a bare hillside into an internationally acclaimed garden. [caption id="attachment_1867" align="aligncenter" width="374"] Calgary's historical Reader Rock Garden. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   Below: University of Alberta's  Devonian Botanic Garden, just west of Edmonton, is a 190-acre property made up of cultivated gardens, mixed woodland vegetation, wetland preserves and an extensive nature trail system. It's the northern-most major botanical garden on the continent and includes the renowned five-acre Kurimoto Japanese Garden, a butterfly house and so much more. [caption id="attachment_1870" align="aligncenter" width="415"] Contact Devonian Botanic Garden for a listing of courses and events. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   The asparagus farm One of the hightlights of our trip was meeting Doug and Elna Edgar, the owners of  Edgar Farms in Innisfail, Alberta. The farm was established by the Edgar family in 1907, and Doug and Elna continue to raise hormone- and antibiotic-free Red Angus beef and to grow grain crops and their famous asparagus today. Visit the farm for the annual Asparagus Festival on June 1 and 2, 2013. Marla and I were welcomed with a homemade lunch in Doug and Elna's kitchen, featuring beef burgers, veggies and yummy pickled asparagus relish! All from the farm. Sweet! [caption id="attachment_1871" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Here I am with Doug and Elna Edgar in front of the family store on the farm.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1873" align="aligncenter" width="368"] Elna showed us her  Canadian Living binder with issues going back to the 1970s! Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1872" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Doug and Elna in their 25-acre asparagus field. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption]   If you're planning a family or girl's getaway to Alberta this summer, start at the exciting Calgary Stampede from July 5 to 14, and explore from there. You'll love Alberta! A special thanks to Vanessa Gagnon of Tourism Calgary, Jessica Harcombe Fleming of Travel Alberta and Amy Wolski of Edmonton Tourism and all who showed us their genuine hospitality, including  PaSu Farm, Madison's Grill and Union Bank Inn, Metterra Hotel and  Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm. We had a fabulous time! Yee-haw, Alberta! Follow me on Twitter: @KKMe123
Comments
Share X
Home & Garden

10 yee-haw! reasons to visit Canada's wild, wild West

Login