My Favourite Local Stuff

Local Things Around Calgary that I love...

  • Live Theatre & Theatres  (yes in Canada, we spell it "re")
    • Alberta Theatre Projects
    • One Yellow Rabbit
    • Theatre Junction / The GRAND
    • Vertigo Theatre
    • Hit & Myth Productions and Ground Zero Theatre
    • Mob Hit Productions
    • The Uptown Stage & Screen (facebook link) in The Barron Building
      • I am VERY sad that the Uptown Stage & Screen had to "cease operations and vacate the Barron Building" in August 2012.  This theatre was an absolutely amazing art-deco movie theatre that should be designated as a Heritage Building!  
      • If I ever win the lottery, I'm buying this building from Strategic Group, renovating and moving into the penthouse, and re-opening it as a theatre the way it should be!
    • The Plaza Theatre
      • Most statutory holidays, they have "audience participation" type events, like Rocky Horror Picture Show, or Sing-Along-With-the-Sound-Of-Music.
    • Loose Moose Theatre
      • I've been going to LooseMoose for 25 years, followed it from it's location on McKnight Blvd by the airport, to Inglewood in the historic Garry Theatre, to it's current home in Crossroads Market.  I used to start every weekend with my friends going to LooseMoose to laugh for 2 hours in the front row, experiencing the funniest improv theatre imaginable!  Keith Johnstone was co-founder and former Artistic Director (a.k.a. the godfather of Improv), and Dennis Cahill, also a founding member of Loose Moose carries that mantle forward today. 

  • Restaurants - Calgary has an amazing diversity of fantastic restaurants.  Please support your local favourite restaurants during the pandemic by ordering take-out from them! 

    In no particular order, here's some of my current favourites (updated Feb 25, 2021).
(ok, rant over)
  • Festivals / Events (click here for a good reference site)
    • Chinook Blast (formerly GLOW Winter Light Festival) - Downtown various locations - February weekends. Put on your winter boots, bundle up, and explore the amazing light-installations and art-installations downtown!  This festival has morphed and changed over the years with a new name each year.  But it's always interesting and fun to walk around downtown to see the various light-art-installations. 
    • Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo (usually in April, but is moving around due to the pandemic.)  This the biggest nerd-fest outside of Toronto Expo.  It used to be locally owned and run, but a couple years ago, Informa bought all the big comic-expos.  It's still a fun time, but not quite as intimate and interactive as it used to be.
    • Calgary Stampede - First Friday of July, and runs for 10 days after that to the following Sunday.  Whether you're a real cowboy, or an "urban cowboy", the Stampede is always a hoot!  Favourites for me are the Chucks & Grandstand Show (with fireworks at the end!), walking through the AG barns looking at all the livestock, searching the midway for the latest "weird foods", shopping "The Market" (affectionately known amongst my friends as the "Festival of Crap!") in the BMO center, where everything is for sale!  Don't miss the Delimanjoo!  Watch the Coke Stage lineup for who might be doing a free concert each night!  Some amazing acts have shown up there over the years.
    • NOTE: there is a "Pride Day" at the Stampede each year now.
    • Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival - if you're in the LGBTQ community, this is a must for your calendar.  Nine days of LGBTQA film and events guaranteed to provoke, challenge and entertain. Usually held in May.
    • Calary Pride Week - the week before Labor Day weekend.  We're not quite sure why our Pride festival is so late in the season, but it's still the most colorful parade that Calgary puts on, and it gets bigger every year!
    • The Festival Of Animated Objects - Describing this as a "puppet festival" is like calling a rainbow "bright".  This biennial festival is an explosion of creativity, weirdness, hilarity, and surprises every two years!  Events are held all around Calgary at different venues.
    • The High Performance Rodeo - usually in Feburary, this festival is NOT about horses folks!  Every year, One Yellow Rabbit Theatre productions brings together a diverse array of live performance artists., theatre, comedy, drama, dance, contemporary art, spoken word, and so many other creative artists that we don't have good adjectives for. 
    • Calgary International Beer Fest - each May, at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park, BeerFest presents all sorts of new brews for folks to try, one shot at a time.  Be careful!  Those little shots of beer go down easy, and after a couple of hours, it's like you've drunk a 12-pack all by yourself!
    • Spruce Meadows National - if you like horses, this is horse-heaven! Spruce Meadows is one of the best equestrian facilities in the world, and attracts the best talent across the globe!  The National is Spruce's first tournament of the summer season.  
    • Calgary Fringe Festival - In August, Calgary's Fringe Festival takes over many venues across Calgary.  There's something for everyone - always a very diverse array of entertainment to amaze, astound and entertain!
    • GlobalFest - This is Calgary's most explosive festival of the year.  This fireworks festival attracts teams from all over the world.  This is a super-fun outdoor evening event for everyone!  Get to Elliston Park early to stake out your spot for the fireworks show. This ends up as a "sea of humanity" when the show finishes, and everyone walks down International Ave. back to their cars to head home.
    • Beakerhead - An amazing mashup of art, engineering, science, performance, creativity, and craziness!  Every year Beakerhead brings new and fantastic things to life!

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