We don't really have a lot planned out for our time in the city of Calgary. Last night's train ride through some of the dingier blocks of downtown kind of put a damper on things. Our biggest plans are to see a hockey game at the Saddledome, an arena that is visible from our hotel window.
Deciding that we should get out and about, plus it'd be nice to know where we need to go, we hop on the C-Train (Calgary's light rail) for one stop to the Stampede stop.
This deposits us at the edge of the fairgrounds that host the world's largest outdoor rodeo each summer. Today, it's a ghost town of closed buildings and empty parking lots. We notice it's quite a walk from the train station to the Saddledome at the other side of the grounds, about as far as if we'd walked all the way from our hotel.
Walking around the arena, we notice that the building is a bit dated and access ramps are not to be seen. We're guessing there must be elevators inside. That is something we'll have to find out tomorrow when we return for the game.
Blowing tumbleweeds would not have been out of place here, so empty, and a bit windswept on this cool Canadian morning. I pull out my phone to see a map of the area to see if there's something...anything...to see while we're here. It's way to early to return to the hotel for the day.
I notice that there's a river on the map behind the Saddledome. I tell Letty and Tim that we should go over there and, if nothing else, we can get some river pictures.
At the far end of the parking lot behind the arena is a pedestrian bridge. We go out, take some pictures (great fall colors on the day we're there, by the way), and notice a park on the other side.
Another map on the other end of the bridge let's us know that there's a walking path that continues down this river, the Elbow River, all the way to it's confluence with the Bow River and beyond to downtown Calgary. We might as well follow it and see where it leads.
First thing we notice is the fine view we have of the Saddledome that we just left.
Next, moving just a little downstream on the river, it's a spectacular skyline view of Calgary.
ENMAX Park, the riverside area we're walking through, is much nicer than the down-in-the-dumps stretch of downtown we were in last night. This is much more of the Calgary we thought we'd see.
The bridge into the Inglewood neighborhood shows us a block of pubs and shops we'll need to explore later.
Walking under a moving train crossing the bridge overhead, we get to the end of the Elbow River.
A pedestrian bridge provides a great viewing platform to see the merge of the two rivers.
To the left, a windmill and a garden mark the spot of Fort Calgary, the Mounties post where the city was founded.
We've got some time, so we go in and check out the museum here. It's twelve dollars (Canadian) to enter, although your AAA card will get you an additional discount. After paying, the counter lady gives us a brochure and I start to walk away.
"Wait, we're not done," she admonishes.
"No, I have to explain some things to you first."
With that, she tells us which direction we need to explore the museum and, as a special exhibit today, not to miss the original Treaty 7 which is on display here for a very short time.
Treaty 7 is the treaty between the British and several First Nation governments...mainly the Blackfoot tribe...delineating what would belong to each group and the price the British would pay to the natives for encroaching on their land.
Although it's been violated several times since it's adoption in 1877, it's still the basic governing document of this area of Canada. It's kind of like a constitution of the area.
She also tells me we're allowed to photograph and film anywhere we want in the museum except that pictures and video of Treaty 7 are off limits.
We wander through, seeing exhibits on how the bison used to sustain the population. How they were decimated when the Europeans arrived. How the First Nations people suffered when diseases and whiskey were introduced.
The fort was an outpost for the Canadian government and the Mounted Police (the Mounties) and the soldiers, families, and support personnel eventually spread out into the surrounding area, becoming what we now know as the city of Calgary.
Inside, we see recreations of a telegraph office and a house of the era.
I throw Tim inside a recreation of the post's jail. Calgary's Palace theatre is recreated here and shows videos on the history of Calgary.
Tim and I board a replica street car before we have to leave.
With that, we're only a few blocks from the hotel where we go to meet up with a friend and have a beer at the little pop-up beer garden nextdoor.
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved