It is an experience just to walk into Hot Wax Records, a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop, and stroll through the decades of vintage rock paraphernalia adorning every flat surface. The selection of used and unusual vinyl records, cassette tapes, CDs, and even 8-track cassettes is incredible. It is difficult to distinguish between veteran customers and staff, as both share a great enthusiasm for the music and know exactly where to find the rarest recordings.
La Chic Ladies Wear is aptly named. Located at Bankers Hall, it offers upscale women's fashions and exclusive designer labels. It is haute couture at its finest. La Chic Ladies Wear caters to the business executive woman who doesn't mind spending money on quality clothing. But be prepared. A Donna Karan blazer can set you back by a huge margin and so will a red cocktail dress. It offers exclusive designers from Italy and Switzerland like Renzo and Akris so most of these fashions are not available anywhere else in the province. Call for more details.
This antique mall is located in the town of Airdrie, which is just 15 minutes from the north of Calgary accessible via the former Highway 2, Queen Elizabeth II Highway. This mall, called Where on Earth Did You Get That, is home to over 50 antique dealers, with a variety of useful, pre-loved, recyclable antiques from the mid-1900s to the early 19th Century. Though it can easily be taken for a museum, visitors are surprised at the abundance of antiques, from silver, china, vintage jewelery, old gramophones, antique furniture, paintings, and period gasoline station equipment.
If you are searching for a unique gift or new addition to one of your collections, look no further than Inside Avenue Antiques in Calgary. The massive establishment is spread out over 15,000 square feet and offers up a wonderland of antiques for shoppers to explore. Fifty-five different antique vendors have set up shop within the space, which means that you won't have to trek across town to find a particular item, because with this many vendors, you are bound to find something you love within this huge antiques complex. The well-organized space also features collectible vendors that sell a wide range of items, from antique spoons to first volume tomes. Be sure to set aside a couple of hours to better explore the nooks and crannies of this wonderful space.
In sharp contrast to the high rises all around, The Beehive soap and candle store is in a tiny cottage-like building with an immaculate yard and rustic wood sign in front. This traditional style extends inside the store, where hundreds of naturally-made soaps and candles in a myriad of shapes and sizes line the walls. Produced without the harmful compounds found in most commercial soaps, these claim to have less impact upon your skin, while still maintaining the same cleaning power. There is also an assortment of cute little handmade gifts and knickknacks.
This shop has been serving Calgarians for close to 50 years and is now a city landmark. Even the rich and powerful drop by the last time singer/actor/diva Cher was in town she picked up a couple of military flight jackets. This is one of the most authentic military surplus stores in North America with a staff conversant in military memorabilia. Crown offers everything from waterproof matches to footwear and binoculars, and most items are very reasonably priced. Even if you don't buy anything, it makes for great browsing.
If you've been missing home or simply have a desire for something basically British, then expatriate owners Anne and Dave Walker have achieved their goal. Found in the Eau Claire Market, the store aims to cater to everybody and to make a selection of the UK's favorite things available for us to enjoy in Calgary. They import British candies and chocolates, newspapers and magazines too. Also, extremely heart-warming are the range of grocery items, such as Irish oatmeal and popular breakfast cereals, teas and cookies.
The Bow Valley Square in the city's downtown core is known for its mix of offices, personal services and shopping areas. The Bow Valley Square sees a lot of walking-friendly traffic and activity come lunchtime, when office workers pan out through the extensive Plus 15 walkways that connect the Bow Valley Square to other buildings in the core. With more than 50 retail offerings, health and financial services, and even a lunchtime hour theater—the Lunchbox Theatre— the Bow Valley Square is a lively hub of activity in any season of the year.
One of Art Central's original tenants, Mary Pat Designs has earned a name for incorporating her flame-worked glass beads into her custom designed jewelery. It's not unusual to come into this store and find the artist at work on one of her dazzling creations. The artist uses semi-precious stones and glittering gems sourced from her travels to Asia and China. Apart from custom jewelery, this design shop also carries gifts and creative jewelery holders. So just bring in your outfit and request a piece of jewelery that complements your look. You can visit the space on Sundays too, but by appointment only.
As Calgary's Chinatown outgrows its downtown boundaries and spreads northwards, it brings jewels like this vast Asian supermarket in its wake. Lambda carries a huge selection of Asian foodstuffs (who knew there were this many varieties of dried noodles?) as well as an attached bakery, meat counter and tanks of live seafood. The prices are staggeringly low, the selection immense, and the store is always jammed with aged Asian women loading carts with the weird and wonderful. Maybe they know what all these strange-looking fruits are called.