Ethical and Independent Travel Guide to Calgary
January 1, 1970
by Kelsey Sarra Rae
Calgary, Alberta, Canada has always been home to me. I was born and raised in this vibrant and diverse city which sits only an hour away from one of the most magical and wild places on earth – the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Having been travelling around the world for the past two years now, I can still say that this place always has a piece of my heart. Here are some of my favourite ethical and independent gems found in and around the city.
Bites to Eat
Eating a holistic plant based diet for a number of years now, I am always on the lookout for new places to indulge in! Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, enjoying a cup of tea, heading to a restaurant, or looking to cook at home with local and organic ingredients, here are some of my top places to nourish my body.
This place has been my absolute go to since I can remember. The Coup is a dreamy vegan/vegetarian restaurant which always uses the highest quality locally sourced, organic foods. It has an intimate and charming atmosphere and the food is always beautifully arranged & simply delicious. They also do amazing fresh pressed juices, warm drinks and botanical inspired cocktails! What’s not to love?!
Oolong Tea House
This quaint little tea house is tucked away in the heart of Kensington Village, a trendy area in the NW of the city. Oolong Tea House offers high quality delicious loose leaf teas, which you can enjoy sipping on while reading or daydreaming the day away!
Sunnyside Natural Market
The Sunnyside Natural Market is a place I’ll go back to time and time again. Not only are the staff incredibly helpful and happy, but they always have a wide range of the most vibrant (and tasty!) produce & fruit from local farmers around Alberta. You can expect to see a lot of delicious things you’ve never even heard of before and they have a fresh bakery attached!
Raw Eatery & Market
This Spot has only been open for 2 years now but they have taken right off! It’s a completely raw and vegan marketplace where you can enjoy lunch and delicious drinks. The founder, Megan Pope is a trained Nutritionist, and besides being one of the kindest humans ever, she offers one-on-one nutritional advising as well.
Ethical & Independent Shopping
If you’re looking for gifts for someone or just want to treat yourself, I would suggest steering clear of busy shopping malls, and checking out some of the smaller, local businesses throughout the city. Not only will you leave with a one of a kind item, but you’ll enjoy seeing some of the more quaint areas Calgary has to offer!
Fieldstudy is a more upscale lifestyle shop in Calgary which focuses on seeking intimate connections with their artisans and the products they create. They believe that if you’re going to purchase an item it should be made of high quality, and made to last. Their aim is to steer away from fast fashion with quality, timeless pieces which you’ll have in your wardrobe forever. This shop is completely stunning and effortlessly modern.
As you may have guessed, Plant is the place to go for ALL of your plant needs. This shop not only carries any plant you could possibly dream of but a wide range of gifts from local artists and craftsmen. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon I would suggest looking into doing one of Kyle’s Terrarium workshops! After swooning over plants all afternoon why not walk just a little ways up and catch a yoga class at Junction 9 Yoga & Pilates?
The Market Collective is Calgary’s largest bi-monthly event dedicated to showcasing the works of some of our best local artists, designers and musicians. You’ll leave feeling happy & fully inspired by the creators here! If you have the chance to visit one of these events during Christmas it is a completely magical atmosphere with local food & beverages, live music, and cheer!
Princes Island Park
Princes Island Park is one of the best places to spend a lazy afternoon walking through. You’ll see people outside picnicking on the grass, and if you’re lucky you’ll even catch the newly born baby ducks walking around. Princes Island Park also hosts the Calgary Folk Music Festival at the end of July every year, where you can spend 4 days enjoying the best of Calgary’s local music scene, along with vendors selling food, drinks and crafts.
Fish Creek Park
Fish Creek Park runs along the Bow River in the heart of Calgary, and is one of the wildest places in the city. There are endless amounts of different trails to get lost in, forested with lush green trees and is home to a large variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes and beavers. You can also see over 200 different bird species, including the great blue heron and bald eagles!
Surrounding Natural Areas
Located about an hour and a half east of the city, this alien-like landscape will leave you in complete awe of nature. Drumheller is not only an amazing place to explore, but I would suggest visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum. A museum which houses thousands of prehistoric fossils and Dinosaur bones from around the area.
The Rocky Mountains
You could spend an entire lifetime exploring the Canadian Rockies from Kananaskis to Yoho National Park, Lake Louise or Waterton Lakes National Park, you’re sure to be blown away. The Rocky Mountains offer a wide range of activities from thousands of different hiking trails, to skiing in the winter, dipping in natural hot springs or wildlife spotting. Just be sure to always be bear safe if out exploring!
I hope this guide gives you inspiration if you’re thinking about or planning a trip to Calgary and the surrounding areas. Make sure to bring your camera, enjoy life and take in all that our beautiful world has to offer!