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.
Beret-wearing Richard Harvey may be Calgary's favorite oenophile and he is the mind behind the wine lists of many of the city's finer restaurants. His downtown wine shop boasts a wide selection of upscale wines including many obscure varieties and offerings from little-known vineyards. The stock features mostly high end wines, with few bottles available at reasonable prices. There is also a small selection of fine spirits, whiskeys and micro-brewed beer. The biggest asset of the shop, however, may be the knowledgeable staff who are happy to guide you through their favorites.
Blu's, at Bankers Hall, specializes in upscale, tailored suits for today's businesswoman. The suits are not cheap, but they are made with the utmost care and will last for many seasons. They offer brand names from all over the world including Armani, Anne Klein and their own Blu label, which is manufactured in Canada. One of the best things about this store is if you donate a suit to women in need, Blu's gives you a huge discount on your next buy. Check website for more details.
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.
Call it fanciful, but this little antique shop in a little old house in Olde Towne Okotoks is gaining popularity with mostly the Canadian products and goods that can be found in the store. On A Lark is just one of two antique and country gift shops along Okotok's main street. This store sells Canadian art and collectible designer handbags, whimsical primitive garden accessories, jewelery, furniture, and other home decor ideas that literally spill out in this store's veranda. With so many shops now dotting Okotok's Main Street, this little town is an attractive weekend alternative.
Face it doesn't everybody want to be Scottish at least a little bit? If you know someone who is, (or just wants to be) head to this quaint little shop for some really original gift ideas. The Highland Scottish Gift Shoppe specializes in interesting hand-made kilts and beautiful Celtic jewelry. The owners are accomplished bagpipe players and sell top of the line bagpipes and other Celtic treasures.
What started out as a fabric store is now a well-known Canadian home accessories store. Everything from furniture, lighting, wall coverings, rugs, and customized beddings and upholstery can be shopped for here. This store also has a large selection of fabrics for every conceivable design idea for a home, and those looking to renovate, decorate or upgrade their home furnishings can come in and consult their professional staff. They are also home to unique creations by the likes of Sarah Richardson (of Design Inc. and HGTV Fame) and Eva Zeisel, who at 102 years old is still designing pottery, glass and a variety of home items. Maria Tomas also carries Hickory Chairs favored by Jackie O. in the 1960s.