My Calgary downtown also consists of The Core and Inglewood. Inglewood has really morphed over the past few years. It used to be a pretty rough inner city community that was always littered with the reminders and tokens of the darker side of nightlife and poverty in the city, now it is an upscale community with some great shopping and incredible food!
Cookie Mama is an outstanding little bake shop that has an amazing array of gluten free cookies, cakes and even brownies – WOW! Cookie Mama also has non-gluten free cookies and cakes for all you wheat flour eaters!! http://www.cookiemamacalgary.com
You will also find Choklat in Inglewood – in another post I go into great detail about this very special shop. Suffice to say, if you can’t take a course be sure to drop in for some great truffles!
A stroll along Inglewood will introduce you to some very eclectic clothing shops, Suzy Q Beads has an amazing selection of beads and supplies- you can even take a jewelry making course and walk out wearing your own creations! Inglewood is also home to Spolumbo’s Deli which to Calgarians is the holy mecca for Italian deli meats. Owned by 3 ex-CFL players, Sploumbo’s boasts preservative free, lean and gourmet sausage. Spolumbo’s is always packed and expect to wait in line and know that it is well worth the wait! http://www.spolumbos.com/ItalianDeli
Although I love hanging out in Inglewood and cruising the shops on 17th, the place I find myself most often is the Core, and these days the centre of town is looking a lot chirpier and full of life. Stephen Ave is home to Olympic Plaza which was host to the medal ceremonies during the 1988 Olympics. During the summer the Plaza is a water playground, for the young and young at heart, and the stage to jazz, blues and folk music. The entertainment during lunch hours and on weekends is free, so find yourself a step and enjoy. In the winter the trees a lit with a myriad of fairy lights and the plaza is skating rink! Stephen Ave also boasts the Glenbow Museum, Epicor Centre for the performing Arts and it’s a stone’s throw to the Vertigo Mystery Theatre. Along Stephen Ave you will also find Avenue Diner, which is probably my favourite place for brunch in the city, serving local and organic sourced meats and vegetables with memorable wine pairings. Last weekend I was enjoying a 3 egg omelet paired with an amazing glass of pinot grigio on the sidewalk patio and right before me was a beautiful wedding! Yep right in the middle of Stephen Ave unfolded a stunning wedding, what a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
What usually pulls me downtown is the shopping, TD Square is under renovations which look to be nearly complete. Anchored by Holt Renfrew this mall has been completely renovated in a style reminiscent of the Eaton Centre in Toronto- gigantic skylight roof with a spacious feeling. It is a 360 turnaround for this mall which I think now makes it one of the nicest places in the city to spend an afternoon! Bankers Hall and Fashion Central are home to cutting edge fashion retailers such a Betsey Johnson and for the men in your life there is Harry Singer.
There is always something going on downtown, so take a Saturday afternoon and relax, enjoy some wine, some music and some shopping!