Cherish Your Clothesline

Nobody hangs their laundry out to dry in Calgary. In fact, there are hardly any clothelines. My grandmother’s house had one, but I don’t think she ever used it. She, like everyone I knew while growing up there, had a washer and dryer set tucked neatly in a musty corner of her basement, across from […]

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Calgary’s Missing Street Names

I’ve always resented the fact that Calgary’s streets are numbered. Not just numbered, but numbered according to quadrant, so that streets are known as 4th Street SW or 36th Avenue NE, and 4th Street and 4th Avenue intersect not just once, but four times, in each corner of the city. What makes this even worse […]

Calgary’s Montreal Suburb

Stroll up the hill just south of downtown and take a look at the street signs: Frontenac Avenue. Montreal Avenue. Wolfe Street. Cabot Street. Montcalm Crescent. Talon Avenue. Laval Avenue. Dorchester Avenue. Where are we? In Mount Royal, of course, Calgary’s most prestigious neighbourhood. I’ve always found it odd that the street names found in […]

Mixed Sky

Sarcee Trail and 17th Avenue SW. Suburban arterials in Calgary

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Husky Oil, Three Views

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Legoland, Alberta

Sometimes Calgary is a bit too neat, its buildings too boxy, its streets too linear: a Lego City come to life.

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Dog walking, Crescent Heights, Calgary

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Calgary’s Urban Renaissance?

In January, I wrote about Calgary’s seemingly unstoppable sprawl into the countryside. Although I outlined some positive developments, it was by and large a negative portrayal of what’s happening in this city of just over a million inhabitants. Thankfully, the story is a bit different in the inner city. Given the age in which Calgary […]

This City Was Built on Urban Sprawl

It’s a snowless December night in Calgary and there’s just a hint of chill in the air as I wander down quiet streets, jacket open. I’m on my way to Broken City, a deliberately ramshackle bar on Eleventh Avenue where I’ve arranged to meet a handful of people from the Calgary Urban Initiative (CUI), an […]

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Calgary and the Imaginary Cowboy

What comes to mind when you think of Calgary? If you’re like most Canadians, the answer is likely a combination of oil, cows and Stephen Harper—and, oh yes, the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede, a celebration of cowboy culture that modestly proclaims itself “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” is an enormous, all-consuming event, anticipated months […]

Posted in: Canada, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf 4 Comments

Purgatory on the C-Train

“No Name” by Jason Mark. Digital composite I first met Jason Mark when he came to live in my apartment. Actually, I should be more precise—I met him when he came to sublet my apartment. I was living in a cheap studio on Park Avenue near Fairmount, pleasantly appointed but also quite small and dark. […]

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The Sprawling City

Most Canadians are aware of Calgary’s status. For those who are not, it is quite simply booming in every sense of the word. Booming may even be an understatement, as very rarely has the city seen expansion at such epic proportions. The population grew by almost 36,000 in the past year, a number only surpassed […]

When the Buildings Smoke in Calgary

In Calgary, when it’s freakishly cold, so cold your skin starts to burn just from walking outside—cold like it was just a few days ago, after temperatures plummeted to 30 degrees below zero—the skyscrapers release giant plumes of steam as if they were on fire, or perhaps enjoying a few good cigars. I’m glad I’m […]

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Morning Coffee: Caffè Beano

Morning Coffee is a new series that will focus on cafés around the world. Caffè Beano in late December, Calgary Date muffins. I am craving date muffins, because there are few places in this world that make date muffins as good as those at Caffè Beano. But Caffè Beano is 4,090 kilometres from my front […]