By Chad Hason, Content Contributor
Whether you celebrate the religious significance of the Easter holiday, or just enjoy the time off (and the short-term availability of Cadbury’s Cream Eggs), the first weekend of April represents one of the first opportunities for Albertans to emerge from hibernation.
To shake off the cold, stagnant dust of winter and begin to enjoy, or at least plan for, some fun springtime activities.
And just because you are (possibly) too mature to get excited about the discovery of ‘not-so-well-hidden’ chocolate eggs, doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying the thrill of finding something new and exciting to do with your friends and family.
Then these four hidden-treasure activity recommendations are for you:
They say that good things come in small packages, and that is definitely true for those who take in the unique experience offered by Nanton’s Museum of Miniatures.
The result of a passionate hobby eventually leading to a rewarding career, this collection of miniatures was originally created by ex-BC Ferries Captain Roy Wittman as a way to stay active throughout retirement.
After years of building and creating, Roy’s museum was ready for opening in May 2001 in Cardston, Alberta. But nine years later, it was relocated to Nanton Alberta where it opened in 2010 as a unique tribute to traditional Western lifestyle.
Five years later, Roy continues to maintain and add to his collection with the help of his wife Carol who manages the administration side of the museum.
Fun for both the young and the young at heart, this collection of models has stretched beyond the Western theme to include a variety of dioramas that include nature, wildlife, circus, dinosaur, jungle and so much more, all at a 1/12” scale.
In addition to their collection of miniatures, the museum now showcases their impressive collection of historical art, Indian carvings, unique artifacts and a variety of models offering something for everyone to enjoy.
This museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s free for kids under six, but enjoyable for the entire family.
Come check it out on your own or have Roy Wittman to take you on a journey through time complete with behind-the-scenes personal tales of adventure.
For details on pricing, displays, hours of operations and directions, visit the Museum of Miniatures website.
For those who appreciate mixing fine food and wine with the opportunity to explore the scenery of a vibrant mountain town and mingle with like-minded fun-seekers – look no further than Canmore’s Uncorked Food and Wine Festival.
Featuring 13 days of lip-smacking, belly-filling excitement in the form of set price menus, progressive dinner tours and wine-celebration events.
Participants of this award-winning food festival are treated to a mix of sample and full course meals featuring the signature dishes Canmore’s most talented chefs have become famous for.
Perfect for a day trip, romantic weekend getaway or as an excuse to book an extended stay in one of Canada’s most beautiful towns, the Canmore Uncorked Food and Wine Festival offers something for every taste – literally.
Although new and relatively unknown, this event is gaining popularity fast as word spreads. So make sure to plan ahead for the chance to get everything you want out of this event – and into your deserving stomach!
For more information, visit their website.
Those who have grown up in the Calgary area have no doubt heard of and enjoyed the festivities surrounding the Calgary Stampede – recognized as the greatest outdoor show on earth.
And while the fairground treats, Stampede-ground rides and countless downtown festivities are enough to attract their fair share of customers, it’s the rodeo that still captures the true essence of the event’s offering.
However, not everybody that loves the rodeo can be bothered to fight the crowds or pay the price to watch the best compete.
And they don’t have to.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), with its headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta is the sanctioning body for Professional Rodeo in Canada and provides a packed schedule of events that take place throughout Alberta from April to November.
One such event is the Airdrie Pro Rodeo which takes place from June 27 – July 1st.
It’s one of the final events leading into the Stampede with tickets going on sale June 1st. The prices allow an entire family to enjoy the action for less than the price of a standard Stampede Rodeo ticket.
And don’t worry, there’s much more than the rodeo to keep you entertained thanks to:
- live bands and dancing every night
- trick riders
- Tough Enough to Wear Pink night, and
- charity events that combine good fun with a good cause.
The whole event ends on Canada Day with the crowning of the new Miss Rodeo Airdrie and Airdrie Pro Rodeo Princess before everyone enjoys the free Canada Day fireworks celebration.
Talk about getting ‘bang’ for your rodeo buck!
For more information on the Airdrie Pro Rodeo, as well as dozens of additional Alberta-based rodeo events sanctioned by the (CPRA) – visit their website.
Those familiar with Turner Valley are usually drawn to its simplistic nature.
It’s a relaxed community nestled comfortably at the base of the Rocky Mountains – a beautiful 35 minute drive southwest of Calgary.
Where folks address each other by name and show that same level of welcoming respect towards the natural beauty of the surrounding land.
This town once boasted oil fields that were for decades hailed as one of the largest producers for the British Empire. Nowadays the focus is less on industry and more on the quiet comforts of community living.
Where streetlights take a back stage to fireflies.
And those lucky enough to stop for a visit on their way to the Calgary are left trying to remember what’s so great about big-city life after-all.
However, even though it’s small, this is no one-horse town. This vibrant community offers lots of hidden gems for those looking to connect with a simpler time.
From craft-fundraisers to hayrides and holiday parades, most activities cater to their close knit community needs with very little attention paid to attracting or catering to tourists.
That is, with one major exception.
The Chuckwagon Cafe and Cattle Co hails as the place to eat for anyone local, passing through or looking for a destination restaurant. It has the ability to wow tourists, critics and foodies from across the nation.
Known for all day breakfast and their world-famous House Burger, the Chuckwagon Cafe features the freshest, most juicy AAA beef you’ll ever taste.
It’s due to owner Terry Myhre raising his own cattle on a ranch just west of Longview. And he makes everything fresh from his hormone-free patties to fries in-house.
The Chuckwagon Cafe is featured on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here as well as on several food critic and culture publication top ten lists as one of the best restaurants in Alberta.
It’s not only a great place to stop by on your next trip south of Calgary, it’s a great place to take the family for your next springtime adventure.
For hours of operation, directions and contact information, visit their website.
Hopefully this story convinced you to step away from your normal routine (or the comforts of your couch) and explore countless hidden treasures available in the Calgary Region.
Know of a place not mentioned here that people would enjoy?
Please feel free to mention them in the comments below!
Chad Hason is a Canadian storyteller and owner of Candid MarComm.