After one absolutely beautiful day early this week where the temperature actually hit +16, Calgary has been back down around -13 lately. Such a little tease. But, even when it’s deceptively chilly, there’s rarely a cloud in the sky and you can feel the warm sun shining down on your face. It’s a pretty good compromise, I think.
For today’s adventure, I decided to head out to Marda Loop to explore. Unlike most cities, Calgary’s downtown core is virtually a dead zone outside of 9-3 on weekdays. The coffee shops shut down and there aren’t many people out wandering around. It took me a little while to figure out why and that’s because there are a whole bunch of little inner-city communities outside of the core that people flock to for more ‘cultural’ things to do. The CBC station is in an area called Kensington that’s really similar to the Glebe in Ottawa- lots of little coffee shops, indie book sellers, wine markets, bakeries, etc., without being pretentious or annoyingly hipster-y. Inglewood is another area I’ve ventured to, as is Marda Loop, which is where I was today.
It’s kind of hard to describe Marda Loop. It’s located right off one of the big highways here in Calgary, in what’s sort of a residential student/older neighbourhood of bungalows and low-rise apartments. There’s one block that has been totally decked out like a British high street with colourful street-level shops and apartments on top, which is what you see above. There’s also another street a couple minutes away that isn’t nearly as pretty (and is in fact, rather uncared for) but where there are a couple of cute shops in between dentists and Edward Jones and gyms. One of them, Wanderlust, had a whole bunch of silver jewellery and stones and pretty things. They also had aromatherapy essential oils, the kinds you can use to blend your own perfume. Since I had an offer from an aromatherapist in Inglewood to walk me through the process of blending my own, I had to pick a couple up- but that will be a post unto itself!
One of the (many) local hotspots I heard about through my #MeetYYC challenge is Phil & Sebastian’s coffee shop. It’s been billed as having some of the best espresso in the city, and since their Marda Loop shop was the first I’ve come across in my adventures, I had to stop in. The cappuccino was definitely really good- one of the best I’ve had here so far, since most places tend to make them more like a latte. Their’s was the perfect ratio of foam to milk, so the espresso really came through. My only disappointment was the shop itself- I had expected more of a cozy, intimate, rustic place and this was definitely not that. The design is a lot more minimalist, very similar to what DavidsTea does but in varying tones of white, beige and wood with super high ceilings and modern lighting. Nice, but not definitely not cozy.
Also a highlight from the trip was visiting the Springbank Cheese Co.- an entire store dedicated to cheese. It was pretty awesome- the staff were so friendly and all the fellow customers were too. Naturally, I couldn’t leave without picking up a few things:
Which all together, formed my dinner for the evening.
I also had a new book to flip through- I spotted this while in Chapters the other day and couldn’t resist. I visited Paris briefly last summer and am a huge francophile so this colourful coffee table book takes me back to all the beautiful sights of the city and already has me daydreaming about my next international adventure!