10 Things I Love About Calgary
Today is #LOVEYYC day. A chance for Calgarians to show their love for their city, and the small businesses that make it great! Since moving here 16 months ago, my love for the city of Calgary, Alberta has grown even more. Here's why!
1. Supporting Small Businesses.
This is a big one for me. Having lived in several UK cities, and then Dubai in the Middle East, none of which it really felt like there was much support for small companies, setting down roots in a place which supports small businesses was huge. Here in Calgary small businesses are everywhere. It's not only common place, but it's also encouraged. And people go out of their way to shop locally. I love the sense of community it brings, but also the opportunity for makers like me.
2. The Mountains.
I mean, this is a very obvious one! How could you live in Calgary and not love the mountains?! Every time I see them on the horizon, especially on a clear day, it still amazes me. I realised recently that I've subconciously made a mental note of places you get a great view, even if it's just driving down Deerfoot when they come into view. The anticipation of knowing I'm about to see them still excites me. I hope it never stops!
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, ALBERTA
3. The Work Life Balance.
I guess this doesn't so much apply to me, because, well, small business owners I'm sure I don't need to tell you, there is no such thing! But for people with traditional employment, like my husband (AKA The Boy), there's a huge emphasis on work life balance which I love. Working in the UK, or especially Dubai, overtime and long hours are much more common, and also expected. Here, The Boy is regularly the last one in his office, because he still now struggles to get out of the 'All work no play' mentality that he was used to. Calgary is different. Yes work is important, but it's not everything. Even with the attitude he has, it's rare that he's home later than 6:30 in the evening. That was unheard of for us before. And when summer rolls around most companies, his included, operate summer hours, meaning people get to make the most of the glorious Alberta summers.
4. City Life Without The Chaos
I'm a big fan of a small city that has everything you need, but without the chaos of living in the capital. While alot of my friends have lived in London, UK and loved it, and most can't understand why I don't, it's just not for me. I love that in Calgary we can jump in the car, and get to almost anywhere in the city within 45 minutes. We live in McKenzie Towne which is very far South East, only 5 minutes drive from the city limits. Beyond that are fields upon fields and not much else until you hit Okotoks. Yet despite being on the outer limits of the city, we can still be in Downtown Calgary in 25 minutes. We have everything we need on our doorstep, and to be honest there's not much we could want that's not within a 15 minute drive. I love that we don't have to compromise amenities for suburban living.
MCKENZIE TOWNE, SE CALGARY
5. Calgarians are Proud!
It's rare to meet a Calgarian who is not proud to be Canadian, and even more so, Albertan. People here love their city, and they're happy to praise it to anyone who will listen. Canadian flags are proudly hung all over our neighbourhood. They're on cars, on sweaters, on toques. But Albertans more than the rest of Canada seem to have an attitude of 'Alberta against the World' which I love. They stand tall and proud about their home, which is refreshing to see, especially as someone who comes from a town that's scared to even fly a Union Jack for fear of being deemed racist.
6. Calgary is Down to Earth, Relaxed, and Not Afraid to Have a Good Time.
I guess it comes from being wrapped up in big thick coats and snow boots for a good chunk of the year, but the dress code in Calgary is way more relaxed that I'm used to. While people do still get dressed up, and definitely more so in the summer, it's not needed. Part of me still worries that I wont get into a bar if I'm dressed casually, or not wearing heels. (Yes that was a thing in some Dubai bars!) But I needn't worry. My 'Casual' is probably still more dressy than alot of Calgarians, because ultimately they're just relaxed and having a good time. Noone really cares what you look like, which is so refreshing. And although I'm a bit sad to retire my beloved heels, my feet are definitely thanking me!
ME AND THE BOY
7. The Breweries.
Calgary is home to so many independent breweries and distilleries, which I love! The Boy regularly stops in at our locally brewery, Big Rock, on his way home from work on a Friday afternoon to buy a crate. There's something comforting about drinking beer brewed just a few kilometres down the road, made from ingredients grown not much further away.
BIG ROCK BREWERY, CALGARY
A crazy 10 days every July that it's hard to miss! We did our first Stampede last summer, and it was definitely an experience. While it's not something we're massively into, I do love that the whole city comes together to celebrate the heritage and culture. It's nice to see that the past of Calgary is not forgotten, and that locals are still passionate about the history of the place they call home.
CALGARY STAMPEDE PARADE
9. The Rockies
At any given moment we could get in the car, drive West, and be surrounded by stunning scenery in minutes. Within an hour we can be at Bragg Creek, or Kananaskis, or heading out towards Canmore and Banff. Sometimes when you just need to get away from everything, knowing the mountains are only a day out away is all you need. We've not even come close to exploring all that Alberta has to offer yet, and I can't wait for our next adventure.
LAKE MINNEWANKA, ALBERTA
10. It Feels Like Home
When we recently landed back into Calgary from our trip to Spain, I remember an overwhelming feeling of being home. As an expat, it's hard to ever really know where to call home. Is it where you grew up? Where your parents live? Or one of the many cities you've moved to? Since leaving my home town of Stoke-on-Trent in the UK when I went to University back in 2004, I've never quite known where 'Home' was. This time, I know. Maybe it's because we moved to Calgary with the intention of staying for good, knowing it wasn't temporary. But for whatever reason, we're both very proud to call Calgary our home, and I love coming back to it.
Let me know in the comments below why you Love YYC!