It may put a dent in Calgary’s cow town image, but the city does have a remarkable number of galleries displaying and selling work by Albertan and Canadian artisans. Unfortunately, they are not concentrated in any one area, and most require some effort to find. Renowned for its authentic native art, Micah Gallery is the exception. It’s right downtown on Stephen Avenue Walk (110 8th Ave. SW, 403/245-1340). A cluster of galleries lies along 9th Avenue SE.
Most affordable is Galleria Arts & Crafts (907 9th Ave. SE., 403/270-3612), with two stories of shelf space stocked with paintings, etchings, metal sculptures, jewelry, and wood carvings. Here also, The Collectors Gallery (1332 9th Ave. SE, 403/245-8300) sells the work of prominent 19th- and 20th-century Canadian artists.
Calgary’s Western image belies a cultural diversity that goes further than being able to get a few foreign beers at the local saloon. In fact, the city has 10 professional theater companies, an opera, an orchestra, and a ballet troupe. The main season for performances is September–May.
Alberta Theatre Projects (403/294-7402, www.atplive.com) is a well-established company based in the downtown Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts (220 9th Ave. SE). Usual performances are of contemporary material. Expect to pay under $20 for matinees and up to $66 for the very best evening seats. Also based at the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts is Theatre Calgary (403/294-7440, www.theatrecalgary.com).
Lunchbox Theatre (115 9th Ave. SE, 403/265-4292, www.lunchboxtheatre.com), in a custom-built theater at the base of the Calgary Tower, runs especially for the lunchtime crowd from September to early May. Adults pay $18, seniors $15 for usually comedic content. For adult-oriented experimental productions, consider a performance by One Yellow Rabbit (Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, 403/264-3224, www.oyr.org).
Music and Dance
Calgary Opera (403/262-7286, www.calgaryopera.com) performs in a restored church (corner 13th Ave. and 7th St. SW) October–April. Tickets range $22–88. The 2,000-seat Jack Singer Concert Hall at the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts is home to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (403/571-0270, www.cpo-live.com), one of Canada’s top orchestras. Alberta Ballet (403/245-4549, www.albertaballet.com) performs at locations throughout the city.
Many major shopping malls—including Eau Claire Market, closest to downtown—have a Cineplex cinema. For information, call the 24-hour film line (403/263-3166) or check the website (www.cineplex.com). Uptown Stage & Screen (610 8th Ave. SW, 403/265-0120, www.theuptown.com) is a restored downtown theater that has a reputation for alternative, art, and foreign films. Over the Bow River from downtown, the 1935 Plaza Theatre (1133 Kensington Rd. NW, Kensington, 403/283-2222, www.theplaza.ca) shows everything from mainstream to Hindi.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition