why explore your city?

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explore calgary main



mC:t    2015.06.02    #makecalgarytalk 


Curiosity. Mysticism. Wonder.


These are all words that are often attributed to young children. The idea of exploration is often lost as we age and our lives become riddled with responsibility and reason. Try to remember back to the days when you were a yound child, full of curiousity. The world looked quite different back then, full of wonder and amazement. You were always up for an adventure and everything was new and exciting. But as that child grows, becoming familiar with the city and weighed down with responsibility, the element of curiousity is lost. The desire to wander about aimlessly and experience the magic of stumbling upon a place previously unknown becomes a figment of our past. Perhaps it is time that we all put down our cell phones, leave the car at home, forget expectation and allow ourselves to get to know Calgary in a new way.

In this week’s segment, exploreCalgary, we are going to take a moment to appreciate some of the great things that this city has to offer. Among the criticism of Calgary, it is important to remember that this place already has some great qualities and it’s own little bit of magic. From the largest urban park network in North America to the tiny quirks hidden within the fabric of the city, Calgary is a beautiful place to live, full of anticipation for an even more awesome future.

To kick things off, let’s talk about why it is important to explore your city. The answer is quite simple. Sometimes we forget to appreciate what is around us. We jet-set on expensive vacations (which are awesome) to get away from our everyday life instead of taking time to notice the beauty that is in our own backyard. We use these cities everyday; the streets, the buildings, the pathways, the parks. But we don’t always take the time to look beyond the facade. There really is an endless amount to discover about a city, all it takes is a little exploration. Reinvigorating this element of urban exploration is the intent of events such as Jane’s Walk and Doors Open and writings such as Lori Beattie’s book, “Calgary’s Best Walks.”

Discovering the little things that make a city amazing promotes people to contribute thier own flair. Whether it results in an involvement in local politics, the desire to start an indie band, planting a garden in your front yard or simply spending more time in the city, when people fall in love with a place they become more engaged, and in turn the city takes on a whole new level of life and intrigue. Here are a few unique sights spotted around the city to get the exploration started.












So this is our challenge to you, Calgary. It’s time to take a vacation in your own city. Forget about that stressful job, that overbearing boss, the chores that await at home and take a moment to really appreciate the city that you live in. All it takes is a little time and perhaps a little imagination. Dust off your bike or grab your sneakers and get out there. Walk around downtown instead of driving, turn down a street you’ve never seen before, take a bus route that you’ve never know. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more concrete, check out what’s going on in the city at Avenue Calgary.

Let us know what new things you discover at #makeCalgaryexplore and follow us as we exploreCalgary in the next few days. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect to see:


Wednesday: Join us in an exploration of the Bow River, one of Calgary’s most well-known landmarks and the home of many beautiful urban parks. From geography and natural landscape, to transit and where to stop along the way, this post will explore much of what the Bow has to offer.


Thursday: Through an exploration of public spaces in Calgary, we will discover what makes certain spaces more successful than others. How can these elements be implemented to create better public space throughout the city? How do City-owned public spaces differ from privately-owned public space?


Friday: Discover local grassroots art movements. A focus on graffiti will take you on a journey through various streets and laneways, uncovering some of Calgary’s hidden treasures. Can graffiti become a method for promoting urban exploration? Does it add to the intrigue of Calgary’s underutilized lane-ways or promote vandalism?


Monday: Much like we go out into nature in hopes of exploring and discovering, we tend to see the city as being within the realm of the predictable, and somewhat banal. Everything is orderly and ‘what you see is what you get’. How can the city become a place to foster this sense of discovery? 




Next: exploreCalgary by The Bow
Previous: Deciphering a City’s Values & Identity 

makeCalgary:talk provokes conversation among Calgarians about the design of our city. Catch up with us on Twitter (@makecalgarytalk), Instagram (makecalgarytalk), or Facebook.