Saturday, May 28, 2011

More weird things about Calgary

You knew it wasn't over, right? Calgary's different. I'm not saying bad, just different.
  • It's dry. I mean really dry. Mia's hair has a wave in Ontario - here it's straight. I'm slathering on the lotion like nobody's business just to keep my skin from cracking. Saline nasal spray is a household necessity. Now, lately there've been rainfall warnings and a week of rain, so it's not been quite as dry, but still. On the plus side, my cloth diapers hung up after washing dry in just a few hours here, compared to a day and a half in Ontario.
  • It's dirty. Don't take this personally, Calgarians. Not using salt on the roads during winter (it gets too cold for that) leaves little option but sand for winter driving. Only, it seems to be a mix of sand and pea gravel. By spring there is a swath 6 feet wide on both sides of every road of grit and stones. Oh, it will be cleaned up... by July, they say. Meanwhile, every other car has a giant crack across the windshield because of the flying gravel.
  • It's windy. Very windy. One time, my husband and I were going for a walk with Mia in the stroller, canopy up to block the wind, when my husband said, "Hey, I don't even have to push!" Sure enough, he let go and Mia was blown across the field we were walking in by the wind at such a rate that I had to really dash to get my hands on the handle of the stroller. Yes, Calgary tried to steal my baby.
  • It has private parks. Some neighbourhoods have these fenced-in green areas. I mean big ones, with lakes and such. I guess Some People don't want the riff-raff spoiling their scenery?
  • It claims to have friendly people. Okay, but where? I have met a number of friendly people here - but they are all from somewhere else! The friendly folks I have met here are from Toronto, Edmonton, England and Ireland. The one native Calgarian I've met (not in a social situation, this was a cab driver) spent some minutes complaining about how unfriendly it is elsewhere... and on my daily walks with Mia, it's me (the Ontario transplant) saying good morning to the people I see on the trails and them reluctantly meeting my gaze and grunting. Am I hanging out in the wrong neighbourhood or something? Maybe all the friendly people are in the north end of C-town. Yeah, I'm calling it C-town.
  • Milk. Where I come from, milk comes in bags. It's tidy, it's handy, it keeps better, it's the Canadian way. Here in Calgary, milk comes American-style, in an unwieldy 4L plastic jug that is heavy, gets gross crusties around the rim, and you have to return the darn thing to some place called the Bottle Depot to get your deposit back. Ugh! What a stupid system.
  • Liquor is available everywhere. I know that's not exclusive to Calgary, but in Ontario if you want to get loaded, you're making a stop at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores (LCBO) or at the Beer Store. Those are the only two options (okay, unless you shop at the lame wine kiosks in the grocery store that have very limited selection, or make your own). Here it's wide open. The Real Canadian Superstore has an associated liquor store. The Costco even has one. There are independent liquor stores. There is booze everywhere. I like it.
Ah, Calgary. What a freaky city.

One thing that is awesome about Calgary is the proximity to the mountains (Wait - it's great because it's near great things? hmm. Would I be more great if my next door neighbour was great?). This weekend, we're heading to Banff to do some hiking and hoary marmot spotting. I love those hairy little guys. Just look at that cutie over there.

Did you miss my first Weird Things about Calgary post?


  1. This is interesting....I'll have to check out your first post on Calgary now!

  2. Looks like you enjoyed your trip to Alberta - even if Calgary did not float your boat. It is a beautiful city. I was born and raised here and I love it. Were you here during Stampede? That may have been why people were not as friendly....perhaps too hungover? Frustrated with the crowds everywhere?

    As for the private parks/lakes. There are a number of lake communities here, houses built around a man-made lakes to combat the ridiculously dry weather and lack of cottage country here. They are private because the people who live in the community pay lake fees to maintain the facilities. Ours has tennis courts, volleyball courts, a splash park and large beach, which is full of residents as it is, and not open to the public, unless they are the guest of a member. (and we are in no way rich, we live in a tiny house!)

    There are hundreds of public parks, splash parks, wading pools, and one lake here in Calgary for everyone to enjoy. I think we have some sort of record for the amount of public green spaces actually?

    Anyways, I am sorry to hear that Calgary left a bad taste in your mouth! Hopefully your trips to the beautiful surrounding areas made up for it?

  3. Oops! I just read a bit more and see that you are living in Calgary now! Welcome! Hope you are settling in nicely. I am planning to post a few Calgary & Kids type things in the next weeks, maybe it will give you some ideas?

  4. The milk thing..... I have been used to this all my life, as the UK have the plastic jug thing....unless you get milk delivered by the milk man then it comes in bottles.... But, the milk bag things looks better, had to do a google search BTW, never seen one before. Milk, not a fan anyhow.... It reminds me of when I was a kid in school and we'd be forced to drink a 330ml bottle of milk every morning.....gross.

  5. Calgary is, and has been for a very long time,the cleanest city in the world. :P


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