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Calgary had been on my list for a while and when John Straub from ZBC said he was driving across the northern US and coming back thru Canada, I figured this was the time to make the trip. I had a 6:10AM flight out of Boston that started taxiing out only to return cuz the light panel wasn't working.
We got off but back on fairly quickly, I assumed I'd never make the connection in Dallas (of all places) but actually had 15 min to spare.
Dropped stuff at the hotel (a huge suite w/ a separate bedroom and full kitchen) and immediately walked to the happening strip of 17th Ave. to get some food and noticed how high prices were in Calgary, and with a shitty exchange rate of about 94 cents to a US dollar, there were no deals.
Stopped by a Newbury Comics type record store, Megatunes, to get some thoughts on where to hang in town. That nite I met a "travel buddy", Mark, (http://www.travbuddy.com/) and we had a fancy cocktail at a lounge that intrigued me, then hit a pub on the main drag (St. Stephen pedestrian street) then took a chance at the Palomino where the names of the bands sounded like they had promise. The openers were bad Motley Crue wannabe's, but locals the Ex-Boyfriends and Ultimate Power Duo (from Saskatoon) were really good. And the people working at the club were great, hi to Spencer at CJSY who's on the air at the same time I am. Next day was seeing some sights before John got to town. Calgary Tower's a mini CN Tower (Toronto) and stepping out onto the glass floor at however many stories up is a little freaky, not everyone would do it but no fear of heights for me. The city isn't the prettiest, not helped by construction going on everywhere. John and I got some food in Chinatown and walked all over the place ending up at another cool part of town, the Kensington area and cute little Hot Wax Records. Hit random restaurants and bars in town before and after our trip to Banff which provided some great views (and pictures). I wonder if people actually live in Banff who don't work in the service industry, it's almost too cute.
Now it was time to drive. And drive and drive and drive. Can't imagine living around there with every major city so far from each other. At least I got to drive a standard again, first time since Europe in 1991. I think these pictures give you a good idea. The best thing about the drive between Calgary (Alberta) and Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan) and MJ and Winnipeg
(Manitoba) was all the A&W's along the way. It brought back fond memories of my family going to the local A&W drive-in and our parents helping Casey and me eat our burgers and onion rings. We took the hokey Tunnels of Moose Jaw tour but it was kind of worth it. Al Capone did some bootlegging there.
We also spent a nite on pretty Lake Winnipeg in an old-fashioned motel.
Then it was time for Winnipeg which is a much prettier city than Calgary with lots of buildings from the mid-late 1800's which I love. Our hotel was located by the French Quarter of town and a quick walk to downtown and the happening Osborn Village hood. Saw some decent bands at the Royal Albert Hall, long time punk club, drinks at the nice lounge of the old Ft. Adams Hotel with music person Barbara, lots of wandering around in the hot sun, eating (food report is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/646387
), a tiny bit of shopping, etc.
The Native population there is kind of down on their luck which is sad. On the opposite end, there was a wedding going on on the legislature building's lawn in the middle of a weekday and in Calgary, the wedding gatherings and bachelorette parties were all over the downtown area.
So I've seen the vast expanses of the middle of Canada and while there's no need to rush back, I'm glad I got to those places. Next up, the Grand Canyon.