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Hendie

Calgary Diary I

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Hendie

Calgary's +15

At the begiining of this month (February), I took on a new contract position with a company in downtown Calgary. This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to work in the downtown core since we came here six years ago. I am enjoying the vibrancy and bustle of the commercial centre of Calgary to the fullest. Don't misunderstand me, I'd much rather live (and work) in the country, but there is just something about citylife that pulses in my veins. This is probably somewhat related to my growing up and running errands for my dad's commercial photography business in Cape Town city, way way back in my youth!

Anyway, on to the topic of this post. As you may have gathered from numerous pictures posted here and elsewhere on the forum, wintertime in Canada is NOT the time to be outside. Well, in Calgary they have devised a plan to counter the winter cold. Calgary boasts the world's most extensive network of elevated indoor pedestrian bridges (known as the +15 system because the bridges are usually 15 feet above grade). Many of the downtown skyscrapers are connected by these "corridors of comfort". The tell-tale sign you will notice at street level is a distinctive signpost on the side of a building:

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This is your cue that you have found an entrance to the +15 system. Also, so as to help you find your way about, at all the major junctions in the network, you will find a map to help you orient yourself, and to map your route to your destination:

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All along the route, at the connection points between buildings, are clear signs of what building you are entering, or what direction you are now walking.

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Of course, as you may expect, there is a whole host of shops and stores along these corridors, most prolific of all are of course the pervasive coffee shop, where many meet for an early morning cup and a chat, or just to grab a wake-up cup on your way to the office.

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Ah! my final destination: Shell Centre. Oh well, it's off to work I go in my little cubicle on the 25th floor ...

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But not before looking out the window to see the rest of the city awakening and another crisp winter day starting in Cowtown!

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Hendie

Scouts Winter Camp

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure once again of accompanying my son Heinrich on the Scouts annual Winter Camp out at Mosquito Creek in the Rockies. This is a popular venue for winter camping, cross country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter (spectacular hiking in summer), and our scout group head out that way every year to give the scouts some experience in building quincies (poor man's igloos) and to teach them some of the skills in survival in extreme temperatures. We got everything loaded up on Saturday morning (you don't want to spend TWO nights in the snow with 11-13 year olds!) and headed out for Mosquito Creek. It lies roughly north-west of Lake Louise on the Columbia Icefields Parkway towards Jasper.

The first thing you do to start a quincey is to look for a level area with a thick covering of snow as in this first picture. You then proceed to dig yourself down to ground level, opening up a large circular area, roughly three metres in diameter. All the snow is piled on the sides.

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The snow is then piled back into the "hole"that you dug, to form an antheap like dome as you can see in this next picture. After it is piled a couple of inches taller than the scout and his friend who is to sleep in it, the pile is left to "settle" for about an hour.

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After this a little hole is dug at the base of the pile, and the whole thing hollowed out (to take the analogy of the anthill again, almost like an anthill oven :) ). Depending on how enterprising the inhabitants are, the insides can be quite elaborate, as you can see here.

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As you can see from the proximity of the snow to their heads, Heinrich and his buddy David ran out of steam way sooner than the folks who build the connected "mansion" above. Of course they were also unlucky enough to plan their quincey exactly where a small tree had also decided to sprout!

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This next picture is part of the reason why I go back every year. Is that not the most amazing sunrize on the side of that mountain? The hut in the foreground is where we ate, and generally warmed up after working and sleeping out in the snow (yes, yours truly also slept in a quincey!).

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This next one just struck me again as evidence of the advanced society this is that we are priveleged to live in. Here you are supposed to fill in a registration form, and then drop it, and your money (for camping at the site) into a bolted down receptacle. There is no-one to check on you, they just trust that you will do what is right!

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One last picture of the beauty of the Rockies in the midst of winter. A sight to behold.

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Cathy

Just showed that insert to my Scout. He is quite amazed. Do the Scouts do many water activities in Calgary? Here we have the annual Kontiki weekend where they use their pioneering skills to build a raft which they have to live on for 24 hours. Our boys were most excited when their raft came first for construction and 2nd overall. Not made when you are competing against 60 other troops! :)

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Hendie

Cathy, yes we have year-round programs! In summer they go canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting (more Venture age) and other general outdoor camping stuff too! I have promised myself to go hiking with my boys this summer - I think they are now old enough to carry their own hiking gear.

We have the most wonderful outdoor co-op here, where you can find camping or outdoor equipment for any season of the year: Mountain Equipment Co-op. :)

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Harry

Hendie,

This is intruiging...I mean, over here in Vancouver, if you tried to do the same you'd get a collapsing mud hut. I have obviously not really had the "Canadian Winter Experience" yet...I'll have to make a plan.

P.S> Best wishes on the new contract also.

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Hendie

Calgary Storms & Tornados

Most of you have probably now heard of our stormy weather and floods during June 2005. A friend sent me these beautiful (ominous) pictures of cloud formations during the first series of stoms on June 1:

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PS. I don't know whether there are any copyright on these photographs, so enjoy them while you can!

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Rochelle

Wow! Are these all from Calgary/Alberta??

Man, I love sending these type of pictures back to SA and telling people "Hey, look where we live!". No wonder it's difficult to convince the friends and family in SA that we are also part of the work, eat, sleep brigade like pretty much everyone else in the world, regardless of where you live!

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Rhino

General pictures around Calgary.

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Hendrikvw

Hi Cathy,

I am afraid that you will have to share it online.

I am also very interested to see more... We are on our way to holiday in Vancouver/Calgary in October later this year with the hope to settle there in a year's time.

Please forward/post the photos.

Sincerely,

Windgat

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Guest Barbara

I have a collection of photos taken around our area of Calgary. I can mail them to anyone who is interested. Just email or PM me. :)

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Marli

Hi Barbara

Why dont you put the photos online on SACanada? We all want to see what Calgary looks like!

:)

Marli

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Marli

Those suburbs look really nice! And there is a freshness in the air! Thank you!

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Moonstones

WOW! thanks guys for the excellent diary!

Sorry to be a bit off topic: one really caught my eye from the adventure to pasu farm:

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See the dresser/buffet in this pic? That had to come from SA!

Here is mine, inherited from my late grandparents - I was busy sanding off years and years of furniture polish that had gone all tacky post-2971-1143713334.jpg

That, and my other restoration project post-2971-1143713386.jpg - are DEFINATELY moving with when I finally get to Canada! :D

Thanks again for sharing all the calgary pictures!

With those cold temperatures - did any of you experience square tyres? :blink:

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Rolé

Hier is 'n paar van ons foto's.

Hierdie is geneem in ons straat. Baie duidelik in die winter.

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Hierdie is ook in ons "community" - in herfs.

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Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary.

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Uitsig oor die stad.

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Eau Claire Market

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Guest Barbara

Here are some of mine. We live in a Lake Community (sadly not on the lake) so will include some summer and some winter ones.

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Hendie

Indoor Soccer!

Don't think for a minute that Canadians are fazed by the weather when they want to do sport! This past winter Heinrich took part in indoor soccer, and it was then that we realized what some of those big "mopanie wurms" were for, scattered all over the city. They are indoor soccer centres! Quite an experience to go into one of them. Here follows a pictorial of one such sports centre.

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The outside of the centre, note the inflated dome in the rear to the left.

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The entrance during a tournament weekend.

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Two full sized soccer fields, and two half sized in the main dome.

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safety nets all around to keep the ball from hitting the spectators

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Inside the inflated dome, massive ligths to illuminate the scene.

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... and here is the man himself, in his Blizzard Soccer Team gear!

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debbieD

Some of my memories of Calgary! Still have tons of pics to format to fit.

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Guest Barbara

Here are some photos of the Stampede Parade last year.

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CPU

Downtown Calgary taken today, April 2nd 2006, no green grass or trees yet.

Edited by CPU

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Guest User Name

Rocky Ridge in the NW near the CO-OP

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Edited by User Name

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debbieD

Here is a pic of the Japanese Garden in Lethbridge - about 3 hours south of Calgary.

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debbieD

Took this pic on the way back to B.C. after our quick visit in March. The Rockies really are beautiful, and this is one of my favourite mountains when travelling through from AB to BC.\

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Hendie

Nie vir Sissies Nie!

Rugby is besig om geweldig veld te wen hier in Calgary (en ek neem aan, regoor Kanada). Beide ons seuns het hierdie seisoen begin speel; Eckley vir sy Bulldogs hoërskoolspan, en Heinrich vir die Saracens klub. Hierdie afgelope Dinsdag was nogal tuff op die manne, en hoewel hy byna sy $#%^ afgevries het, sê Heinrich hy geniet dié sport ontsettend. Oupa sal verseker bly wees om te hoor sy twee kleinseuns speel rugby hier in die verre noorde!

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Hendie

LRT Pass Check

This morning was the first time in my 7 years in Calgary that a plain clothes policeman got on the train to check that everyone has a valid pass. He was very polite, almost apologetic. Of course all the commuters, like the law abiding citizens that we are, dutifully pulled out our passes and presented them when he came by. He did have a lttle leather flap thingie with his ID and credentials for anyone who doubted him.

The pass system here is still something I find amazing (you will see I posted something about that earlier in this thread too), the way that they largely rely on your honesty. Dispensing machines on the stations are unmanned, and it is just assumed that folks will follow the rules and have a valid pass in their possession when they get on a train or bus. Even the bus drivers will just give a cursory glance when you flash them your pass, and when people pay cash, it is dropped into a receptacle that I am not always sure the driver can really see all that well into to make sure the correct fare was presented.

I love Canada!

;) Hendie

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Guest Barbara

I know how you feel Hendie it is great.

This morning while walking in our street we saw some gargen tools lying in a drive way with prices on them. Some one came along and wanted to buy the weed eater so he was knocking on the door.

The honor system still amazes me.

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