Vacay.ca has teamed with Choice Hotels Canada to create a series of articles highlighting the best hotel travel deals and experiences in the country this fall and winter. In this installment of the series, Vacay.ca writer Guillermo Serrano takes a look at one of his favourite cities in Canada.
Story by Guillermo Serrano
CALGARY, ALBERTA — One thing I love about this entrepreneurial, gung-ho city is that it doesn’t hold back in its drive to be all things to all people. This southern Alberta gem is the economic powerhouse of the west, with a little something for everyone.
It has a young, educated population. The city has much to offer year round, from world-class skiing just outside of the city to rafting down the Bow River. With a population of just over one million residents, Calgary thrives in the international spotlight after its charismatic mayor, Naheed Nenshi, became the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city and heralded in a new era of Calgary as a place where everyone can thrive, not just oil barons and ranchers.
Its downtown is vibrant and pedestrian-friendly, which makes Choice Hotel’s Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre a great place to stay because of its central location for both business travellers and vacationers. Thanks to its unique position in the city, the Clarion gives visitors easy access from the Calgary International Airport and views of the Canadian Rockies from their rooms.
Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre
Address: 2120 – 16th Avenue NE, Calgary, AB
Amenities: Business centre, free transportation to the airport, indoor heated pool, pet-friendly, free wireless
Click here to sign up for Choice Privileges Loyalty program for free nights!
The hotel is close to some of the best entertainment and sightseeing venues in the city. Within a short distance from the Clarion Hotel is McMahon Stadium, Fort Calgary, Eau Claire Market, Calgary Tower, Calgary Zoo, Casino Calgary and Telus Convention Centre. In 2012, the city was named the Cultural Capital of Canada and Calgary has lived up to that title with unique and inspiring pieces of public art.
Here are three must-see art pieces and the best part is they are all free to experience:
Ok, technically this is not a public art piece. It’s actually a pedestrian bridge and Nenshi had a witty comment on Twitter when a follower once demanded to know what was the point of the “ridiculously expensive bridge,” which cost $24.6 million to build. Nenshi’s reply: “I think it’s to be used to cross the river.” Since opening a few years ago, the bridge has become a popular spot for photographers because of its bright red colour and its “Chinese finger trap” design.
STEPHEN AVENUE WALK ‘TREES’
Calgary is one of the windiest places in the country and no one is immune. When the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, visited Calgary a few years ago, a royal thigh was exposed when a gust of wind lifted her yellow dress. There’s even something known as the “Calgary Walk” where locals know to keep their hands alongside skirts. Winds have been known to hit 100 kilometres an hour and when it gets windy in Calgary, the Stephen Avenue Walk trees get to work. These 10 white metal sculptures, each between 21 and 26 metres in height, were designed to reduce wind gusts.
This piece of art, located in Barb Scott Park at 9th Street and 12th Avenue SW, is an interactive, illuminated sculpture. When it’s dark, it emits a soft, internal glow and changes colour. The concept behind the Chinook Arc is that it represents a well-defined, confident and vibrant community, and the shape of the sculpture has a dual representation, the historic Beltline Streetcar loop that once encircled the neighbourhood as well as the view from the sky of the Chinook winds.