The sandstone buildings along downtown's Stephen Avenue Walk were constructed after a fire destroyed much of the neighborhood. Several of those historic buildings fell victim to developers wrecking balls, but the few that remain are worthy of an afternoon stroll during which you can revel in their architecture. Along the way, you can indulge in the diversions offered by many popular shops and restaurants.
From the outside, this enormous shopping center looks a bit like a giant spaceship. The Bay, Zellers and Sears are the major stops here, while The Gap, Eddie Bauer, Hallmark and The Sony Store are among some 150 other mall tenants. There are also dozens of services and a professional building at the heart of the mall. A massive new food court is the feature attraction of the reworked mall, which for years was in many ways two malls separated by an elevated parking garage.
Kensington is one of the popular areas of Calgary and is declared as a Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ). Here, you can explore the various shopping outlets or gorge on tasty fare at the lovely dining establishments. All in all, one can really have a good time at this bustling neighborhood.
Uniquities Architectural Antiques offers one-of-a-kind 19th-century antiques and collectibles. The owner obtains most of the collectibles from England on regular sojourns. The treasures here include beautifully carved fireplaces as well as an iron spiral staircase that dates back to 1899. Although a lot of the items can be a little pricey, each item is incredibly detailed and handcrafted. Because most of these items are irreplaceable, Uniquities was the only Calgary store voted as one of the top 10 by Canadian House and Home Magazine.
It is not surprising that this award-winning bookstore is part-owned by author Peter Oliva, who is an award-winning author. Pages was a Canadian Booksellers Association Bookseller of the Year. This small, two-level store boasts a wide collection of fiction on the first floor and non-fiction on the second. Regularly scheduled author readings add a nice dimension to the book-reading experience. Shoppers determined to help wage a small-shop war against the encroaching book superstores, pack the aisles. Once you find your latest treasured tome, wander out into the surrounding Kensington neighborhood and enjoy one of its coffee-driven retreats.
Situated close to the downtown area of Calgary, 4th Street is one of the most happening streets in the city. It is frequently used as an entertainment venue for cultural and other events, which see thousands of tourists and locals converging here. The atmosphere is electric and has to be experienced to be believed. The street has established itself as a popular destination owing to the shops, historic sites, and eateries that can be found along its stretch. The area also plays host to the annual Lilac Festival.
If you're looking for a thick sweater to combat the chill of a Calgary winter, Amos and Andes Imports, at the Eau Claire market, is the place to visit. Although the eclectic boutique imports clothing and art from around the world, its best product is the handmade wool sweaters stacked at the back. The warm creations are spun from a variety of wools, then hand-dyed and knit into dozens of patterns, including the classic Mexican Eagle, Maple Leaf, Peruvian and Scandinavian designs.The painted ceremonial masks hanging on the walls, or the twisting, Celtic-inspired candle holders are sure to capture your interest. Call for more details.
Chinese herbs are not the only delight you'll find in this fascinating grocery. At first glance you are reminded of a candy store from the 1950s. However, those huge glass jars are full of some curious dried treats rather than traditional candies. You will find Western oddities such as Royal Jelly and shark's fin, as well as more recognizable teas and prawn crackers. There are also dried mushrooms everywhere you look. Wah Pek Chinese Herbs Co. Ltd. is the place to indulge in oriental flavors. Call for more information.
Located at the northern edge of downtown, Eau Claire Market is home to numerous restaurants and theaters. You'll also discover a unique selection of retailers not usually seen in suburban malls, including specialty stores dedicated to children's and women's clothing, imported art and handcrafts, and extraordinary gifts. High-end dining is an option at several cafes in the market, while several others, including Joey Tomato's Kitchen, and the tiny 1886 Cafe, are in the immediate vicinity. Other features include movie theaters and entertainment arcades.
Previously used as an office building, Dragon City Mall is now a shopping arena. The two story mall was built in 1990 and is located in the Chinatown district of Calgary. The mall has Asian themed venues and is renowned by serving delicious Asian Cuisine. Restaurants, shops, stones, boutiques and souvenir stalls galore at the mall. A visit to this mall will surely give you a feel of being in Asia.
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.