Tomorrow, July 1st, is Canada Day - when we celebrate "Canada's birthday". What we are actually celebrating is the Date of Confederation (July 1867) when Four provinces joined together into a federation and became the Dominion of Canada. It celebrates one of the major milestones in the long but peaceful political process that resulted in the Canada of today.
And July 1st is traditionally the first official day of the CFL (Canadoan Football League) season. Here in Calgary, our Stampeders will play the Montreal Allouettes at McMahon Stadium...which is where I shot this picture of the advertising board.
I'm a hockey fan myself but I hear that Canadian football is a pretty good game!
Apologies for missing a day...life is a little busy right now!
This shot shows downtown Calgary on a summer's evening If I remember I'll try to take another one of the same view in the middle of winter when it's -30c - it looks a little different then! This is 9th Avenue (I think). Calgary is laid out on a grid system for the most part. All the avenues run East/West and all the streets run North/South.
And finally...the 'other' creatures at the zoo - the humans. These ladies caught everyone's eye! There were four of them together in a group, all dressed in red and purple. I'm guessing that they were members of the Red Hat Society out for a day at the zoo. I kept crossing paths with them...we liked the same animals I think. Watching people 'on display' in a public setting is always fun.
Another creature basking in the sunlight...this time it's a spider monkey. She was peering down from her perch at all the human activity below her. I like how the sun highlighted the fur on her tail and her ears.
It's a little over a week until Calgary puts on it's spurs and chaps and parties like a cowboy! The Calgary Stampede is coming to town a week on Friday....that's when we have the huge parade through the downtown core and for ten days the city goes cowboy crazy.
So Calgary is getting it's annual makeover ahead of the anticipated visitors from around the world. These individuals were planting up the cities many flower beds...always a last minute job before Stampede since we get overnight frost into the early part of June fairly frequently being in Canada and so close to the Rockies and all!
Not sure whether the cowboys will appreciate the flowers...but I like them!
I was at the Calgary zoo again this past week...this time focusing more on the animals than the street art...so I thought I might post a few candid character shots this week! This punk monkey caught my eye! He reminded me of Sid Vicious! Worth a post for that alone I thought!
These statues are some of my favourite street art ever...anywhere in the world. Partly it's their scale (these figures are 21 feet tall!), partly it's their obviously hand-built, rough-hewn appearance but mostly it's their skinny, fragile elongation. They remind me of refugees...and we have many communities of refugees here in Calgary, trying to create a better life for themselves and becoming part of the rich fabric of Canada in the process. I can't really explain it...but I love them.
The sculpture is called "The Family of Man" and was created by Mario Armengol for the British Pavilion of Expo 1967. The figures that comprise this piece are timeless, however. There are ten of them in all, standing in a circle - hands almost touching but not quite. They are male and female, all naked, but of no specific race and all reaching out...to one another and to the world. I think that's what we should all be doing more of.
Check out my other blog for more pictures of this piece of art work.
I met this gentleman as I was cycling to work along the Bow River pathways. He was out for a morning flying his remote controlled helicopter. He was very happy to chat about his hobby. He explained that this flying machine was very complex and difficult to maintain. He built it himself using parts from three different models and it's close to the weight limit for flying which makes it a little difficult to control. He has the control panel in his hand in this shot and it was very complicated. He built it because he wanted to learn how to fly choppers. I hung around to watch him take off. He was pretty good!
I met these three delightful ladies at Carrifest. Like everyone else they were enjoying the sunshine. They looked as if they were sitting in the shade of a palm tree at a market place in Jamaica or Trinidad or some other Carribean island instead of in the middle of downtown Calgary.
Working Wednesday #9 In just over two weeks the World's Biggest Outdoor Show comes to town. The Calgary Stampede is a celebration of all things cowboy featuring rodeo skills and fun! It has been running in the city for many years. And it's huge! Last year 1,236,351 people attended the various shows from all over the world. It all kicks off with a big parade through the downtown core and for ten days the city goes cowboy crazy. Cycling downtown at the weekend, it was quite apparent that the city was being freshened up after a long winter and will be putting on it's best face to the world when Stampede begins. These young people were scrubbing out a public wading pool....the kids will soon be able to enjoy it! The blue post is a water canon. I love going downtown and seeing kids having fun in the middle of the city!
Calgary's Carrifest (the celebration of all things Carribean) was held in a different venue this year - Olympic Plaza, right in the centre of downtown. Olympic Plaza is where the medals were presented to athletes at the 1988 Olympic Games but now it makes for a great outdoor venue for city events and celebrations. It has a small stage at one end, a wading pool in the middle and tiered steps (for sitting and watching what's going on) at the other end. In winter the wading pool is frozen and used for skating. There's a garage next to the stage where they park the zamboni! On this hot, hot weekend the water was a great place to cool off whilst listening to great music! The adults in the photos are watching the band perform...the kids...well they're just being kids!
Snow last weekend...Caribbean Sunshine this weekend! That's Calgary for you. On Saturday we had glorious weather and I biked downtown to go join in the fun at Carrifest in Olympic Plaza. Carrifest is an annual celebration of all things Carribean...green and gold shirts were out in abundance. Jamaicans are very proud of their country. I spotted this gentleman in the crowd enjoying the music - a steel band playing what could almost be regarded as the Don't Worry, Be Happy. I loved his bright, happy shirt!
This giant horse stands in the Kananaskis departure hall at the Calgary International airport. He is one of my favourite pieces of street art in the city. It's those rich colours and the effect of patchwork fields tattooed all over his body I think.
We have very distinct seasons in Calgary and you have to make the most of them. Winter is ski-ing, snowboarding, ice-climbing and any sport you can name to do with frozen water in it's various forms! Summer is sailing, kayaking and soccer...and biking of course! On all the pathways in Calgary the bikers, roller-bladers and runners are now out in force enjoying the warmth and the light of our longer evenings. School is out for summer in a couple of weeks time and the kids only really want to be outside. We are really hoping that we have seen the last of the snow!...at least until late August or early September!
Rain Stops Play? Wandering round the neighbourhood in the pouring rain these deserted tennis courts caught my eye. The colours of the sky were reflected in the water lying on their surface. They looked almost like a lake and had such a sheen on them that it seemed worth a shot.
We haven't actually had rain all week...I took these on a couple of evenings only. We get very little rain in Calgary so it's actually a refreshing treat when we do have a downpour.
I met this gentleman at a track meet a week or so ago. He runs an ice-cream and coffee concession van which was serving great coffee at 8.00 a.m. on a chilly morning. . He told me that his family have been in the business for years but then confessed that this was only his summer job since he and his wife are actually Mr. And Mrs. Christmas! He swore me to secrecy so I'm not going to tell anyone....ooops!
June is the rainy month in Calgary. We often get hot days get hot days followed by those beautiful slate grey, darkening skies. Towering thunderheads build...then comes the rain. But after the rain the streets look beautiful in the evening light...and we get stunning rainbows too!
This is a shot looking up through the gleaming steel belly (or ribs I suppose) of the University of Calgary's most famous sculpture : The Prairie Chicken. I think the artist was a guy named George Norris but not much more information was available.
This is another shot taken on my weekend in Banff. I loved the vivid colours of the old Bankhead Station opposite the youth hostel on Tunnel Mountain. There are no trains here nowadays, not even a railtrack. Banff is like that...lots of mysterious references to railways...but no sign of an actual train! Just their haunting hoots echoing down the valley. Even Tunnel Mountain doesn't have a tunnel! Apparently, when they originally built the railway they were going to put a tunnel through this tiny hill in the middle of Banff...but they somehow never quite got around to it. So Tunnel Mountain doesn't have a tunnnel and it isn't even a moutain! But the name stuck!
Well these clouds are part of a Chinook arch. The Chinook is a warm wind that blows into Southern Alberta (most frequently in the coldest months) and causes rapid and dramatic rises in temperature. In winter it can melt a foot of snow in a matter of hours. After you've lived in the city for a while, you get to recognise the arch of clouds that forms in the sky...like this one that I took on Saturday. People who suffer from migraines often get very severe migraines when a Chinook blows in because of the associated pressure changes.
So another post from the Farmers Market...or rather from a wine store opposite the market based in what looked like an old aircraft hangar. This place was cool...lots of interesting wines from around the world AND they have a very civillised wine tasting table too. Hmmmh! I think I'll have to go back there when I have more time to browse. There's also a micro-brewery in the other half of the hangar which wasn't open so early in the morning but also looks well worth a visit. Wine not?!
. Working Wednesday #7 I was at the Calgary Farmers Market in time for breakfast. All the produce there is wonderful and it was hard to chose just one thing to eat but I bought a Jamaican Spicy Beef pie from this stall. These young people were all delightfully cheerful for such an early hour. They told me that the market gets extremely busy all day and this first half hour is their only relatively quiet moment. I wasn't surprised that they get busy...the pies were delicious!
This shot was taken at the Calgary Farmers Market in the northwest of the city. Situated in the old Curry Barracks the market is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and offers a tempting array of fresh food as well as great meat and fish and many crafts. It's a fun place to grab a coffee and watch the world go past and ponder what to buy.
So we finally have sunny weather here and this weekend I went to a track meet to watch a friend compete in the long jump event...and I spotted these flip-flop clad feet measuring the jumps. My young friend didn't do so well...it was her high school graduation this week and she was very tired! but it was a nice day and sunny enough to wear flip-flops...so I'm not complaining.
Calgary is a great city...lively and vibrant with friendly people! We have perfect weather, with clearly defined seasons. Winter is winter and it's cold and snowy but there's always ski-ing! Summers are hot but with a delightful cool breeze off the Rocky Mountains. And almost every day the sky is big and blue. For other great pictures of cities around the world. check out CITY DAILY PHOTO here: http://citydailyphoto.com/portal/index.php