Park #4: South Glenmore Park

Date visited: July 12, 2021

Location: SW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Summer is beautiful, but I am interested to see what it’s like at other times of the year.

Before you ask, yes there is a North Glenmore Park. It’s on my list for another day because 1. It would have been a super long walk and 2. I don’t have my bike. This park wasn’t selected randomly because we were trying to focus on getting to a park that was away from the Stampede area. Another thing I wanted to mention is I’ll likely be a little late in posting about my parks. I’m trying to keep up with other posts as well as the challenge. That’s why I’m about two weeks late on this one. Additionally, Calgary has been getting a lot of smoke lately, so I will probably be late on Park #6. I find it’s better to stay home when there’s smoke and go out on the times when the smoke situation is better or cleared up.

South Glenmore Park is located in the south part of the Glenmore Reservoir. It goes into the Elbow River and supplies drinking water to Calgary. Therefore, like other reservoirs, there are rules about what you can do on or near the Glenmore Reservoir. I have visited reservoirs in California, like Hetch Hetchy, but this is in a league of its own.

Park Features and Highlights:

This park has great paths for cycling. I heard that you can do cross-country skiing here, but I didn’t find any indications of that, but then again, it is summer. I miss my bike! If you ask me where it is, I’ll just burst into the song I Left My Bike in San Franciso…

At one end of the park, you could see the landing area for boats. Apparently, you can rent boats there, but I didn’t try it this time. There were so many sailboats on the reservoir. I would love to learn how to sail someday, and I think I just might have found the place to learn! The park also has a tennis court and polo field. The polo field wasn’t so obvious at first. One cool feature is a musical playground with all these things where you can make music! I also noticed there is a water area for the kids to play and they were having lots of fun there! It warmed my heart to see that at another park too.

Challenges:

First of all, if you’re going to come by public transportation, it can be hard to find the entrance. We had to walk around a bit to make sure we were nearby. Even then, the entrance isn’t exactly friendly to pedestrians. It’s better to go where the cars were parked and figure out where to go from there.

Second of all, don’t wear sandals on the trails. It’s not very kind to your feet, or mobility issues. My feet were battered from seeing a few parks altogether, so I had to cut our visit short. Foot problems are synonymous with life in Calgary, either summer or winter, so taking care of my feet happens on a daily basis! If it doesn’t, I get problems like this.

I have a little surprise with my next park. What is it? Wait and see!

I did a guest post with Tall Blonde Tails about my Parks Challenge. You can read my post here.

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!

Enjoying Sports as A TCK

Hey everyone! In honour of the Tokyo Olympics coming up, I wanted to share some stories about international sporting events that I have seen in my life. People ask me questions about it, so here are all the answers! Please note, in this post, I refer to soccer as football, unless I specify that it’s American Football. It’s easier to say football in this case because it’s better known that way globally. But before I start, I wanted to talk about something important to know about TCKs.

Divided Loyalties:

This is a thing that is common with TCKs when it comes to cheering on sports teams or athletes. Sometimes, it’s hard to say who we support in sporting events because of our many cultures. There’s no rule that says we absolutely have to support certain athletes. I hear a lot from native-born citizens of countries that they feel patriotic when they see their athletes performing. I do feel that way, but with a twist. Some great athletes are just amazing to see and it warms your heart. When that happens, it doesn’t matter where they are from. You’re just happy to see them do well.

I don’t identify as Swedish or Romanian, but I absolutely love Carolina KlΓΌft who won gold for Sweden in the women’s heptathlon in Athens 2004. One of my favourite gymnasts is Catalina Ponor from Romania. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform live in the London 2012 Olympics. Other athletes I love include Usain Bolt, Russian pairs skaters Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Maranin, Svetlana Khorkina, and I loved seeing Chantal Peticlerc even before I became Canadian! Although it was conflicting with my support for Tanni Grey-Thompson, it was nice to see she and Chantal Peticlerc got along really well. I also LOVE American gymnast Shawn Johnson! I wasn’t the only one either. She was one of those people who gets to know everyone, even on the other teams and everyone loved her.

Additionally, thanks to the fact I trained in Russian ballet for years, I know why Russian and Eastern European gymnasts, skiers and ice skaters are so good. They train in the Russian ballet system, so they have my unconditional support! Okay, I already sense some future divided loyalties between supporting Russia or Canada in the Winter Olympics lol!

Funny and Amazing Divided Loyalty Stories:

It’s actually comical sometimes whenever I see two or more countries I identify with competing together in the same event. If it’s a football game in either Euro or the World Cup, I like to see things unfold first, especially if they are two very strong teams competing.

One time, I saw a women’s track final at the Olympic Games that 6 out of 8 of the runners were either British or American! I was officially beat! I didn’t know who to support! In the end, I was just happy to see the race and happy for the winners. In the 2006 Winter Olympics, I was supporting Lindsey Jacobellis of the USA in the women’s snowboarding final. She fell after she grabbed her board, and was beaten by Tanja Frieden of Switzerland. Wow! Divided loyalties I didn’t expect!

Additionally, there were a lot of Jamaican people where I grew up. When Usain Bolt won his gold medals, my neighbourhood ERUPTED!! I happily joined in the celebrations! If my friends support different athletes than me, I’m happy for those athletes too. I want to say more about divided loyalties in general, but I will save that for another post.

UEFA Euro Cup:

Before I start, I wanted to say that I don’t like football, but I do love seeing major international tournaments. I couldn’t understand why England was so obsessed with their national sport. I have never known Americans to be as obsessed with baseball or American football and Canadians are definitely not as obsessed with hockey. Even though football is popular around Europe, I found the obsession with football in England to be a little over the top. Then again, whenever I see something is over the top, I don’t get into it. I think that’s where I learned it from.

That realization of the English obsession with football hit me when England was playing in Euro 2004. It wasn’t as safe to go out when England was playing a game. Whenever I was out, I did my best to avoid the areas with pubs (not always easy in England). One time, England lost a game and there was a riot. As time went on, I realized that riots were normal if England lost a major football game. Whenever I was out at that time, I had to plan even safer routes than I normally would.

I would see things in the news about English football fans causing trouble if they travelled to a country hosting a major football tournament. Fans would get arrested or fined or held accountable in some way for doing the same crap they always do after a game, except in another country where it’s not acceptable. Any time I heard about football fans being disrespectful to another culture, I would roll my eyes! As a TCK, my number one rule is to always make an effort to be culturally respectful. It doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes, but I try to the best of my ability.

And Then Euro 2020 Happened:

Before 2020, I did continue to watch Euro until I repatriated to the USA. I checked the results of Euro 2016 online though. I hoped the most recent Euro would be broadcast on CBC. No such luck. Still, I found a way to see the match highlights and keep up on the news and support England, France and Switzerland! I was stunned to learn that Euro 2020 was at Wembley Stadium! I move from London, and then England gets to host it! Darn! I had some concerns though because there was already news of English football fans being culturally disrespectful to the other teams. They booed during the Italian national anthem and even physically attacked fans supporting other countries. Although my Mum and I were happy that England made it to the final, we suspected that if England lost, there would be a massive riot with a prejudiced twist.

Sure enough, England lost and racist English fans were blowing up social media. That was due to Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed penalties that could have won the match. Black people in England started being violently attacked for a couple of days afterwards. Mum and I hate that we called it.

Additionally, because I have close contacts in London, I am privy to more insider information there. A contact sent me this thing that was circulating around Snapchat that was a scoring game for committing certain racist attacks. I’m not going to share it because it’s the most unconscionable, diabolical thing I have ever seen! I have seen people make racist comments on social media, but this is above and beyond! Fortunately, people started to move on a few days later, but racism in England still has a long way to go. So NOT surprised by this!

More on Microaggressions in Sports:

After what happened in England, I wonder if they will be banned from the World Cup in 2022, or from future Euro tournaments. Their participation was already controversial because they left the EU. Although, Russia is allowed to participate in Euro and they aren’t part of the EU. Still, I would support UEFA if they banned England from Euro. Heck, they banned Hungary at Euro for racist and homophobic attacks. I admit I am glad that international sports organizations are catching on that they need to hold teams accountable for microaggressions.

As time has gone on, I have seen more and more athletes stand up to the rampant sexism in sports. I’m cheering on the Norwegian and Australian beach volleyball teams for refusing to wear bikinis. Beach volleyball was clearly instituted by horny old geezers in the IOC. Additionally, the Canadian Olympic team has been making accommodations for athletes who are mothers. It’s so amazing to see. I saw this series called Sports on Fire on CBC, and one of them is about the history of genetic testing in sports and discrimination against women who are XY or genetically different from the imposed sex and gender binary. I’m glad that there is more advocacy for change and the wheels are in motion for that change. It’s a stark contrast to when I started watching major sports in the early 2000s.

How It Used to Be:

The most memorable incident of violence I witnessed was in the Football World Cup in 2006. Zinedine “Zizou” Zidane of France headbutted Marco Materazzi for calling his sister a w***e. English newspapers claimed Materazzi called Zizou, “You son of a terrorist w***e!” Granted, both of those are disgusting and I’m glad Zidane headbutted Materazzi. But who got red-carded and penalized? Zidane. Super unfair. I think if it were to happen today, Materazzi would be more likely to be penalized. What’s more violent? A slur against someone’s sister, or headbutting the perpetrator who said it? I’m going with the slur. Plus, it says a lot about Zidane to stand up to toxic masculinity like that. One of my favourite movies is Bend It Like Beckham, and one reason it stands out for me is how they deal with slurs towards players.

I would advocate that athletes who play on the international stage need to have training on how to be culturally intelligent and respectful. Even the best of us make mistakes sometimes, but it’s getting to the point that when mistakes do happen, there needs to be culturally intelligent solutions. We’re just a day into the Olympics and I have already seen more Olympians who have multicultural backgrounds than ever before. Of course, not everyone has that privilege, especially if they are from countries that aren’t as open to other cultures. Bottom line: our world is more open and interconnected, so cultural intelligence is becoming paramount for everyone. One change I’m happy to see is that there is now a Refugee Olympic Team. Plus, whenever presenters talked about certain athletes’ backgrounds and said they had lived in different countries, I’m like, “Yep, possible TCK there!”

Anyway, I have some more to say about the Olympics.

How the Olympic Games Have Followed Me Through My Life:

I was living in France when the 1992 Winter Olympics were being held in Savoie. When we were in the US in 1996, the Summer Olympics were in Atlanta. Both times, we missed out on seeing them. Then, we heard London was going to bid for the 2012 Olympics, and in 2005, we waited with bated breath. The day we got the news that London would host the 2012 Olympics was amazing! Plus, we got the news within a week of the terrorist attack on July 7, 2005, and it felt great to have a boost like that. I found myself wondering how the city would change due to the Olympics. We decided it was worth making the effort to stay in London to see the Olympics.

There was a ticket lottery to see the Olympics. Okay, England didn’t do a good job with tickets, and there were definite problems with bookings. My parents and I decided to enter the lottery to see diving, Artistic Gymnastics apparatus finals, fencing, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. We thought the only one we were least likely to get was the gymnastics. We knew the Paralympic events would be easy to get because they aren’t as popular. When I got the email that we were going to see the gymnastics finals, I must have read over the email 5 times before I believed it!

Was it worth it for London to get the Olympics? I shall say that in another post! Meanwhile, “Go Canada Go!” πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

Park #3: Sandy Beach Park

Date visited: July 10, 2021

Location: SW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Summer is the best time hands down! There are areas where you can raft, wade and/or swim in the river. I think it would be nice to see in the winter when the river freezes.

I had selected this park randomly before, but it got pushed forward. Plus, I’m currently focusing on parks in the western part of Calgary because I don’t have to go through the area where the Stampede is to get there. If what I have heard on Reddit is true about the Stampede, I would rather avoid the area. I managed to see three parks during Stampede time, but those are for separate posts. Additionally, for the next couple of months, I am going to prioritize parks that have gardens or are better for summer activities.

Entering and Exiting the Park:

We entered the park via Brittania Way after getting the bus to Elbow Drive. It was super scenic, but that wasn’t the best choice for my Mum. There was a long, gravel path down to the river where the park was, and there were lots of holes where she could have fallen. She has mobility issues and she had to hold the railing all the way down. Plus, I was always on standby to make sure she didn’t fall. I don’t recommend that entrance for people with mobility issues.

We left by Riverdale Ave SW, which was much better. It was a long walk, but it was a lovely neighbourhood! It was a higher-income area, but I had never seen so many trees and greenery in that type of neighbourhood! It’s like every person’s house was its own mini-park. Normally, I find areas like that to be rather sterile in terms of greenery. For instance, I have never seen trees line the streets and dull, manicured lawns. I used to see those areas and be like, “Keep your boring houses!” I was stunned to see how beautiful Riverdale Ave is! Plus, I appreciated the cooling effect from the tree-lined street. I have a thing for tree-lined streets. There’s something relaxing and pleasant about them. Anyway, back to the park!

Park Features and Highlights:

I could see from where we entered that there were a lot of families wading, rafting, swimming and doing other water activities in the Elbow River. We crossed the bridge, and as we walked along the path, we saw there were areas with picnic tables that allowed barbecuing. Apparently, you can rent them for parties or events. I also noticed a play area for the kids. There were some trails peeling off from the main trail, but clearly, you don’t go to this park for the trails. There were areas where dogs are allowed to be unleashed too. Of course, they want to splash around.

The Best Part:

Mum and I went wading in the water. Let me tell you, it was the best river I have ever immersed myself in. It was clear and had this mountain freshness. You could tell it came from Rocky Mountain snowmelt. The temperature was absolutely PERFECT!!! It was a hot day and I didn’t want to leave the water. The current isn’t too strong, and it’s not too deep. I waded about halfway out before I realized I might fall over if I’m not careful. There are times where I know I am living the dream and love doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel about my beautiful new city!

The best part: it was incredible to see all these families and kids having fun. I have felt sorry for kids during this pandemic because they have all this energy and need to play and do kiddie things. Additionally, I wasn’t worried about COVID-19 there because honestly, I feel safer around families than I would at the Calgary Stampede at this time. At the end of the day, I was pleasantly tired. Getting out more has made my well-being level go UP!!

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge! 70 parks left!

Park #2: Shouldice Athletic Park and River Walk

Date visited: July 8, 2021

Location: NW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Year-round.

Best Time of Day: The early afternoon can get quite busy, so I would say mornings are a better time. Keep in mind that you’re sharing the river walk with cyclists. Therefore, please stick to the markers for pedestrians.

This park wasn’t selected randomly either. We were in the same area as this park so we decided to stop by since it was on the list and the closest. We went past 7-10 days between this one and the last one thanks to flood and tornado warnings in Calgary. I’m not going to be too hard on myself if we go longer than the time frame.

Additionally, something fortuitous happened. I noticed that during the Calgary Stampede, Calgary Transit offers a day pass for $8 each. I think I’m going to take the opportunity to see more of Calgary during the Stampede thanks to Calgary Transit!

Shouldice Park Map
My Only Picture of Shouldice Park

Back to the Park and River Walk:

To be honest, the walk by the river far outdid the park. The park isn’t something you would normally go out of your way to see. Hence why we just stopped by. There are two other parks nearby: Bowmont Park and Edworthy Park. After walking along the river for a while, we decided to wait to go see the other parks.

It was a beautiful day to go and see the river! The water looked so clear and there were a lot of people rafting down the river. Plus a lot of people were out cycling. There are areas for pedestrians and cyclists on the riverwalk and people are respectful of it.

I had walked along that part of the river earlier in the year and saw a bird of prey in the isle in the river! People walking by said it might have been an eagle! I couldn’t get as good a photo as I had hoped, but I think an eagle is a good guess.

Shouldice Athletic Park itself is nothing to write home about unless you’re practicing the sports there. If you walk or cycle by the river though, it’s so worth it!

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!