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!

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!

Park #1: Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Date visited: June 26, 2021

Location: SE Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Definitely spring or summer when the migratory birds have returned and are nesting. Plus, in the summer, you can see the birds fledging.

Best Time of Day: Early enough in the morning or late enough in the evening when bird enthusiasts are around. Plus, the fewer people around, the more birds you get to see. More people come around noon, so it’s not as peaceful then.

Welcome to my first park in my Calgary Parks Challenge starting with the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary! Okay, this first park wasn’t selected randomly. We have been wanting to visit since moving to Calgary last October. However, the birds were migrating then, so we felt it was best to wait until the birds were nesting or the baby birds were fledging. That was the best decision!

They said the park hours were from sunrise to sunset. At this time of year, we’re talking 5:00-23:00 or thereabouts. I will make a point of posting the park map too on my challenges.

Map of Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

We arrived around 9 am and saw some prairie dogs near the entrance. We thought we saw our first-ever moose, but as we got closer it turned out to be a mule deer. So close!

Mule Deer

I wish I didn’t have to say this but keep in mind where there’s deer, there are ticks. This park is one of those places where you have to take preventive measures for ticks. Some of the benches have grasses growing through the cracks, so be aware of that if you’re wearing something that exposes your legs.

A Bit of Sanctuary History:

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary was bought by Colonel James Walker, a commissioned officer of the North West Mounted Police in 1883. His son Selby created the bird sanctuary. It then passed to Ed Jeffries before the City of Calgary purchased the sanctuary in the 1970s. You can read more about Colonel Walker here. There is a school near the bird sanctuary that’s named after him. You can read more about the history of Inglewood Bird Sanctuary here.

Additionally, Colonel Walker House is on the bank of the tributary. We didn’t go in because we doubted it was open. Heck, even the Nature Centre wasn’t open because of COVID-19.

Back to the Birds:

The first part of the bird sanctuary took us to a tributary off of the Bow River. There are ducks and other waterfowl in that area.

A goosander in the tributary

We continued walking to the Bow River and saw some geese there. We were keeping our eyes peeled for eagles and ospreys, but no such luck. Even so, it was great to see swallows flying around. I saw a tiger swallowtail, but couldn’t get a good photo of it. It was getting hot pretty quickly so it was best to see the river earlier (it was the start of this record-breaking heatwave in Canada). Once we got back to an area with more trees, it felt cooler. It was nice to be able to go between the river and a more forested area. I think if we hadn’t had the forested part, we wouldn’t have lasted long!

Pet Peeves and Conclusion:

Normally, I don’t mind seeing people with dogs in parks. However, I am glad that dogs are banned in this park. It’s a sanctuary and it should stay that way. It doesn’t mean there aren’t people who don’t follow the rules though. We did see one person who was walking their dog in the sanctuary. That and the fact that the sanctuary is over the flight path to YYC were my pet peeves for the day.

This was a great park to start my challenge! I would love to see what this park is like in the evening near closing time. I’m sure it’s a quieter time like the morning and there might be owls around. Would I come here in the winter? I don’t know. A lot of the birds would have migrated. I am interested in visiting in the autumn when the leaves change and some birds are still there though. I’m definitely going to come back here again! It made me remember the times I went to the London Wetlands Centre.

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!

What I’m Looking Forward To

I have been saying lately, โ€œI canโ€™t wait to try my first poutine!โ€ There have been a lot of stressors with moving, and it helps to have things to look forward to. After all, moving to another country is a whole new adventure and there are some genuinely exciting things to anticipate. Itโ€™s easy to get caught up in the stress and emotional roller coaster, but I find thinking of new and exciting things are the best medicine. Hereโ€™s my list of things I canโ€™t wait to experience!

I love maple syrup! I have it with buckwheat pancakes every weekend! I hear that you can get candy from maple syrup by pouring it on ice and that sounds really cool!ย 

When I was working as a chef back in London, the place I worked at used Canadian Bacon. I would sneak little bits of it when no one was looking. It was among the best bacon I have ever tasted! I wonder if the Canadian Bacon thatโ€™s imported is different from the local kind. I guess I will find out! Generally, Iโ€™m a vegetarian, but I appreciate good quality meat and Iโ€™m happy to break my norm if Iโ€™m eating ethical meat.

Food: Iโ€™m all about the food in the culture! I love experiencing the authenticity of the taste and ingredients and preparation! When I was about 7 or 8, my Mom got a recipe for Nanaimo bars from a Canadian friend and we made it for Christmas. After that, we made it every year without fail! When I was in the hospital with appendicitis over the Christmas season, we had a post-Christmas celebration and my Mom made Nanaimo bars! That was the first year I hadnโ€™t made them with her since I was so sick, but my Mom made sure I didnโ€™t miss out! (I love her! ๐Ÿ’•) Christmas isnโ€™t Christmas without Nanaimo bars.ย ๐ŸŽ„

Nanaimo Bars from a few years ago. One of my friends said he would gladly turn himself in to terrorists for a slice of Nanaimo Bar!

I have heard about a lot of other foods that Iโ€™m eager to try, like Montreal Bagels. I have never tried bagels cooked in water with honey, so that should be cool! I know Tim Hortons is like the Starbucks of Canada, and normally, I donโ€™t go to Starbucks. I am willing to try Tim Hortons and see what itโ€™s like. I heard that it got taken over by Burger King, and I am a little dubious because I learned about the pros and cons of multinational corporations when I took a class in international finance.ย 

These are just a handful of foods that Iโ€™m looking forward to. To be honest, I donโ€™t know how Iโ€™m going to deal with the love of ketchup, because I avoid eating it! The reason I avoid it is because I am a trained chef and I find ketchup to be food terrorism. Okay, I like good quality ketchup because it doesnโ€™t have as much sugar in it. I really have a problem with too much sugar with tomatoes. But hey, I canโ€™t be the only weirdo! I know people who donโ€™t like poutine!

I have learned a lot about popular Canadian foods from the following websites:

17 Traditional Canadian Foods You NEED To Try

47 Of The Best Canadian Dishes – Traditional Canadian Food

10 Must-Try Canadian Dishes (and the Best Places to Find Them)

18 Traditional Canadian Foods and 10 Places To Taste Them in Canada

The 15 Best Canadian Foods You Need To Try

Canadian Foodsย 

Basically, I am a foodie and canโ€™t wait to expand my cultural culinary horizons! Plus, the excessive amount of stuff I have said about food is my French side talking!

Holidays: I love learning and participating in public holidays in another country! Guy Fawkes Day was my favorite UK holiday because I was fascinated with its historical significance, and I loved the fireworks! I didnโ€™t like that fireworks were illegal in the USA and you only got them on the Fourth of July, so I would watch fireworks any chance I got! It did become a problem though when people started setting off fireworks a couple weeks before and a couple weeks after both Guy Fawkes Day and New Yearโ€™s Eve. Animals were suffering from all the noise and veterinarians were petitioning to only limit fireworks on those holidays. People who lived in the UK all their lives supported that petition because thatโ€™s how it was when they were kids. Plus, if they had animals, they wanted to help them. Last Fourth of July, there were way too many fireworks going off in the month before. It was worse than the fireworks going off before and after Guy Fawkes Day because they would go off in the middle of the night and I would have to sleep with earplugs.

I have had some good Fourth of July celebrations, but now, I donโ€™t want to celebrate it again. I have gotten despondent about it the last few years and the last Fourth, no one in my household wanted to do anything. We did watch fireworks though, but only because they are cool. There are a couple memories about the Fourth that will never leave me. When we were in England, we had a Fourth of July celebration, and my Mom went to a local shop to get some food. She told the cashier that we were American and celebrating our Independence Day from England. The cashier was Indian and he was fascinated about our holiday. He asked her questions such as, โ€œWhen did your country get its independence?โ€ It was so cool!

There was another Fourth of July I will never forget. I have a friend from college who is from Shanghai, and her mother was visiting her in California. My parents and I invited my friend and her mother to spend the Fourth with us. It was wonderful! My friendโ€™s mother brought some pork dumplings she had made and they had some ingredients in them you could only get in China! Her mother didnโ€™t speak English, so my friend translated. However, she and my mother were able to communicate in their own way, since my mother said that Mom Code is a universal language. One thing I found touching was this mutual respect we had for each other’s cultures. My parents and I appreciated the dumplings and did our best to communicate and make our guests feel welcome. My friendโ€™s mother was fascinated with how things are in the US, and we had a good discussion about the differences between houses in the US and China. Also, we asked her mother if she wanted to use chopsticks to eat, but she said no, because she wanted to eat the way Americans do on the Fourth of July. There were a lot of fireworks that evening, and we all enjoyed them, but I think frankly, the Chinese outdo the Americans when it comes to fireworks. I just think about how polarization is happening in the world and it makes me sad that people are disrespecting each other’s cultures. I think the more people make an effort to understand and respect each otherโ€™s cultures, the better off this world will be.

There are some things I miss about holidays in England. Since I grew up in a multicultural neighborhood, I have had the pleasure of being invited to celebrate holidays with people from other cultures. I have experienced Russian Easter and Christmas quite a few times. In England, Easter traditions are observed more broadly. Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, is celebrated nationwide, even if people arenโ€™t observing Lent. Additionally, there is a four day weekend off work from Good Friday to Easter Monday. I remember talking to a friend from Romania about cultural Easter traditions and my friend said she misses celebrating Easter in Romania. She said she has to remember that Easter is not as big a thing in the US.

I was ecstatic to learn that in Canada, there are Bank Holidays. I loved Bank Holidays in England and I miss them so much here! Bank Holidays are a great lull in the hustle and bustle of life and remind you to take a break. I think itโ€™s very telling how some countries have Bank Holidays and some donโ€™t. It can say a lot about how much rest and taking care of yourself is seen as a priority in different cultures. However, London has expanded a lot and self-care priorities seem to take a back seat. The term โ€œLondon refugeeโ€ is real. People move away from London for a more peaceful life, and yes, I did that too. I can only hope there will be a cultural shift back to self-care, considering the number of London refugees.

Travel: Whenever I have moved someplace new, I make a New Yearโ€™s resolution to see more of my beautiful, new country. I caught the travel bug at a really young age. Sometimes, I feel like I donโ€™t get to travel as much as I would like, but I feel blessed for being able to see some really beautiful things.ย 

I plan to get a good pair of hiking boots when I move to Canada. I want to take nice long walks on the weekend. Whenever there is a long weekend, I want to go visit some other region and take a look around either the city or countryside.

Sometimes, I will have to come back to the US to sort out business, but I plan to have some fun too. There are places in the US I havenโ€™t seen, so if I am ever passing through some cool area, why not stop and look around? Itโ€™s hard to go back to the country you came from sometimes, and it would be nice to take a break and go someplace cool.

Thanks to the pandemic, I am yearning to travel overseas too. I tend to go stretches of years without traveling to another country, and I want that to stop. Thereโ€™s a world out there to see and I want to milk it for all itโ€™s worth, but in a good way, not an exploitative way.

Winter: Yes, Iโ€™m moving from California. No, Iโ€™m not freaking out about snow. In fact, I love snow! There was snow a few times in London, but it was hard to enjoy because people didnโ€™t know how to handle it! The first time the snow happened when I was there, the city practically shut down. Even after that, people didnโ€™t know how to clean the streets properly, and you would have to tiptoe around to prevent falling on black ice. Pretty embarrassing for the largest city above 50 degrees north if you ask me. Additionally, the winters in London would chill me to the bone and I would get depressed from the dark. People didnโ€™t cope well with the winters there, so I didnโ€™t learn how to cope well with it either. After 13 years, I couldnโ€™t wait to move to California! I see that Canadians seem to have certain skills to help them through the winter and I have friends who have given me good advice for staying physically and mentally healthy. Someone once told me that winter in Vancouver is like Hawaii compared to London. Thanks, Delusional Bubble! I do have a recurring mountain theme in my life though. Climates donโ€™t worry me. Itโ€™s the culture that surrounds climates that can worry me.

I did find this hilarious meme about Canadian winter on Facebook once:

Source: Facebook meme going around

There are still annoying things going on that make me wonder if Iโ€™m ever going to get to Canada, but it helps to look forward to these things. Watch this space for more stories!