A metropolis rediscovered: 111 Locations in Calgary That You Should Not Miss is a guidebook for locals | Leisure | Life
Jennifer Bain had a reliable sounding board when she wrote and researched the book 111 Places In Calgary You Must Not Miss.
Her friend has lived in Calgary for more than 15 years and from the start told Bain that she would have to dig deep to find something that would surprise her about her hometown. “There’s nothing you can tell me about Calgary that I don’t know,” she said.
Bain, who lived only briefly in Calgary in the early 1990s, accepted this as a challenge and found that she was constantly drawing ideas past her friend. Anytime she could reveal a new place or interesting sight in Cowtown, it was counted as a victory.
“I thought ‘did you know that? Did you know that? “says Bain in an interview with Postmedia from her home in Toronto.” No? ”
It was Bain’s preferred method of gathering information rather than asking local people directly for tips.
“The old newspaper journalist in me was very much like, ‘Keep your research to yourself. ‘”She says.” Don’t drink your hand. Don’t put it on Facebook and ask people to weigh themselves because then other people will start writing similar stories. It was a bit more of the big reveal. ”
This approach wasn’t just for secrecy. It also matters that it is Calgarians, not Calgary visitors, who are actually the target audience. 111 Calgary Places Not To Be Missed is only the third book to explore a Canadian city this way. The concept has proven popular in Europe, but is still quite new on North American shores. This is one of the reasons why Bain 111 is reluctant to classify places as a travel book. It may include a recommendation or two for dining or shopping, but is not intended to be a Lonely Planet-type guide.
“I’m trying to describe it as Atlas Obscura-like vignettes,” says Bain, who worked for the Toronto Star for 18 years but began her career as a summer intern with the Calgary Herald. “The publisher was very smart when it came out with the series. They were always geared towards locals, that’s the main market. It should actually read: “You think you know your city, so let’s take a look and see. Check out all of these great places. Here are the stories behind it. Here are ideas for what to do on Sunday. ‘”
With the photography of the former postmedia shooter Christina Ryan, 111 Places offers a good balance to illuminate hidden gems such as the Paradise Lanes bowling alley and Mandy Stobo’s portrait wall at Righteous Gelato, the “Bookscsalator” in the central library World War I in the military museums, the sculpture “Secret Seed Pod” in Prairie Winds Park and the “Testicle Festival at Bottlescrew Bills”, where so-called Prairie Oysters are celebrated as a gourmet delicacy.
But it also includes places, facilities, and businesses that many Calgarians are already familiar with. But most of these chapters have a surprising twist, as Bain discovers interesting details in these chapters. She writes about the maze at Knox United Church, the controversy surrounding the Giant Blue Ring public art sculpture and the colorful 100-year history of the Palace Theater. At first glance, readers might be puzzled by Bain, who included Hudson’s Bay in the book, an elegant if little-known landmark in the heart of the city. But Bain takes the opportunity to tell the story of the 1985 farewell to infamous serial killer Charles Ng, who slipped into Calgary after a rampage in California and shot a security guard after stealing a can of salmon and a bottle of Pepsi.
“It’s kind of a boot-on-the-ground book,” says Bain. “You might go to Hudson’s Bay because you’re looking for architecture and it’s an interesting Edwardian commercial-style building from 1913. You could go there because it’s a beautiful selfie spot with arches and the arcade outside. Obviously they don’t have a badge and it’s not on their website, but this is where Charles Ng has been removed. That was the fun part of going to all of these places locally and finding out that they are way more exciting than I thought they were. ”
Bain had to follow a few parameters set by the publisher. Emons had some strange requirements that may be specific to German sensitivity. For example, it reached the number 111 because 11 is considered a lucky number in Cologne. All books must have both a tattoo artist (Bain raised Reverend Deacon Trevor Jameus, a tattoo artist / pastor) and a public toilet (Bain chose the RiverWalk Public Toilets).
But for the most part, the more eccentric the rule, the better it seemed.
Ryan, who currently teaches Photography at SAIT, has probably photographed every dark corner Calgary has to offer during her ten-plus years of filming for Postmedia. But even she was surprised by some of her tasks. This included weeding some hungry goats used by the City of Calgary as weed control in parks. She was even allowed to take a baby goat home, if only temporarily.
“I found that really fascinating,” says Ryan. “I was there first thing in the morning and all the goats were in their stalls. They drove her across the road to all the weeds. I had to get up with the goats and be with them as part of the herd and crawl around on the ground with them. Then (the goatherd) just asked: “Do you want to bring him home?” So I did and we had a goat in our back yard. ”
Bain hopes the book will be an eye opener for Calgarians and an invitation to see the city through new eyes.
“Everyone chases things that are new and ignores things that are fading or things that you drive past and see so often you never stop thinking about them,” she says. “These things are on the edge of your consciousness, but you’ve never stopped and they have incredible stories associated with them.”
111 Calgary Places You Can’t Miss Are Now Available in Bookstores.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021