Catching an early morning flight with Air Canada from Toronto, expect to arrive in Calgary a little past 9AM which is perfect to hit the ground running. We picked up our rental car right from the airport and made our way to our first stop, WinSport Canada Olympic Park.
It may seem like a distant memory but the 1988 Winter Olympics were held in Calgary. For a place that’s almost 30 years old, it’s definitely kept well. In the summer, ski jumping, bobsleigh, and the ski hill itself are closed for the season but what makes this a great destination are the activities that are available.
I was most excited to try the Skyline Luge which features a unique wheeled gravity ride that takes you 1.8 kilometers of twists and turns that drop in over 100 meters of elevation. As the world’s longest luge track, there was no way I was going to miss this!
Our next stop was the Calgary Farmer’s Market which was perfect timing because I could feel the hunger start to take over. Open all-year round, this market features a wide variety of food stalls, fresh produce, and also a lot of crafty boutique shops. The highlight here for sure was the Simple Simon Pie store which had the most delicious collection of pies imaginable. It didn’t hurt that they gave generous portions of pie for sampling.
For the afternoon, I was excited to see what downtown Calgary had in store for us. What I loved about the core was just how manageable it was. There were a few blocks where you could see most of the highlights which included the Calgary Tower, the Stephen Avenue Walk pedestrian street which is lined with shops and restaurants, Olympic Plaza, and an incredible number of modern contemporary art pieces and hipster parks that seem to just pop out of nowhere.
With a little bit of time before dinner, we managed to drive up to McHugh Bluff which has to be one of the best spots for a view of the city and Bow River that runs right north of it. With the sun setting, this made for the perfect spot to sit, relax and enjoy the scenery.
Adventure Cave Tour
Wanting the full experience, we signed up for the Adventure Cave Tour which takes you into a cave for 4 hours and a total of 6 hours end to end. The cave we were going to traverse through was called Rat’s Nest Cave which had us a little nervous at first but our guide, Chris, put our minds at ease quickly enough. Turns out it was named after the rats that do nest by the entrance of the cave but deep in the cave there’s basically no life that can be supported. From a referenced photo anyway, it looked more like a cute chinchilla than a rat.
By the end of it we came out with our jumpsuits plastered in dust and exhausted but we couldn’t help but smile cheek to cheek having done something so wildly different and physically challenging.
To wrap up our day, we made our way into downtown Canmore and had dinner at Rocky Mountain Flat Bread Company. There was a bit of a wait but it was worth it. Their flatbread pizzas made in a traditional wood burning oven are hearty, locally sourced, artisanal pieces of thin crust goodness.