Tomorrow afternoon I will finally be heading into the Rockies to start my new job in Lake Louise, but, for the last three nights I have been hanging out in Calgary, Alberta.
Although I will admit I have spent the majority of the past 72 hours lounging around my hotel room desperately trying to ween my jetlagged self off it’s GMT dependent bodyclock, I have still managed to get around a large majority of this snow coated city.
Being a keen list maker, naturally I have decided to make a note of my five favourite things about Calgary.
They are as follows…
1. THE CALGARY TRANSIT
On my first day Mike the Concierge kindly informed me that the Downtown Calgary tram – or ‘train’ as the natives refer to it – is free to use in the Downtown area. This was music to my ears as I love trams and wish London had them because they are just so nifty. If I were to ever make a list of my favourite tram services of all time – which is something I would feasibly do – the free Downtown Calgary Transit service would definitely qualify in the Top 3
(that’s kind of a big deal.)
Prior to arriving in Calgary, I decided to book tickets to Thursday night’s NHL game (National Hockey League, for you bloody amateurs out there) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. This particular game saw local superstars, the Calgary Flames, take on the (from what I could gather) not so hot Arizona Coyotes.
The Saddledome is an unbelievable venue, nearly as vast as London’s o2 Arena, with hundreds of food stands and beer vendors circling the entire vicinity of the stadium. The Flames put on an impressive performance, and that’s coming from someone who had never been to or even watched a hockey game before, managing to whip the Coyotes’ butts’ in a sweet 5 – 3 win.
Ice hockey is not for the faint hearted, I hasten to add. These badass NHL players make footballers look like dainty prima ballerinas: I’m talking full on fist fights and hockey stick ass whoopings during almost every round.
3. CANADIAN KINDNESS
For me, Calgary has confirmed the renowned rumours of Canadians being totally charming and perfectly polite human beings.
In this country, or at least this city, every single customer service assistant that has greeted me or told me to “Have a great day!” appear to genuinely mean it – what a revelation!
An even better example of the famous Canadian friendliness can be best illustrated with the following story.
To my annoyance, my brand new laptop decided to play up as soon as I reached Canada, which was proving to cause me considerable stress. I decided to ask the hotel staff is there was anyone around who might be able to assist an extremely technologically challenged young female with an uncooperative laptop.
Cue Eddie Chooi, or Eddie the Maintenance Man as everyone at the Sandman Hotel calls him.
Eddie spent almost an hour hopelessly trying to fix my piece of shit laptop, only to realise he (like me) didn’t have a clue what the problem was. Rather than giving up, which I would not have blamed him for, he instead proceeded to call several local computer stores, trying in vain to locate local IT help. When this failed, Eddie offered to let me use his own personal computer, even his printer, to print off my coach tickets and e-mail anxious family members.
And he did all this without the slightest hint of reluctance.
Calgary delivered my first taste of this default Canadian dish, and I intend to gorge on excessive amounts of it at every given opportunity from this day forward.
5. CALGARY TOWER
Looking out onto the ice gemmed sky scrapers of the Calgary skyline was so exciting. I could just about make out the mountains in the distance, making me massively excited for my 6 month stint in