Kids In Calgary: Carburn Park

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Carburn Park
67 Riverview Dr. S.E.[map]
135 hectares

Have you tried out the Calgary Pathways app yet? Brilliant. It shows you all the trails and parks in the city. If you’re stuck doing the usual with the kids each weekend, try something different.

My wife wanted to have a ‘seawall’ experience this weekend. A walk in the sunshine along some water. We’ve done Edworthy Park, and Glenmore Reservoir before so I pulled up the app and found Carburn Park. This gem in SE Calgary has 2 ponds, river access, paved pathways, picnic areas, half a dozen geocaches, and a playground. PERFECT!

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Carburn Park was created in the mid-80s as a partnership between government and Burnco. The company wanted some gravel in the area, and agreed to create a park after it did its digging.

The lakes are suitable for canoeing, and fishing, and since the park also has shoreline along the Bow River, you can do fishing there as well (although my boys preferred to toss rocks).

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The ponds/lakes aren’t huge, but if you have a canoe they’re a great place to explore. Bring your rod too – the ponds are open for fishing!

You should watch out for speedy cyclists along the east side of the park, as the pathways are part of the Bow River Pathways system and the cyclists were motoring through the area quickly. In addition to the paved pathways, there are some dirt tracks that had a lot of mountain bike ruts in them along the SW part of the park.

Carburn Park has instantly became one of our favourite places in the city.

For other things to do with your family in Calgary, check out the entire “Kids In Calgary“ series.

Best New Midway Food For Calgary Stampede 2012

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The Donut Burger was a hit at the 2011 Calgary Stampede

It’s not too difficult to create food for a midway. The steps are basically: find something edible, then deep fry it. Still, with that simple math a smorgasbord of delicious items has been unveiled for the 2012 Calgary Stampede.

The best new midway food for the 2011 Calgary Stampede was Kubie Korn Balls. Simple deep fried corn fritters with nuggets of kielbasa sausage tucked inside. When you dipped them in maple syrup, it was an entire pancake breakfast in a nugget.

So what will be the best foods to find on the midway of the 2012 Calgary Stampede? Here are the contenders:

Deep Fried Wagon Wheels
Dipped in funnel cake batter, this classic treat will be rolling over the competition

Cotton Candy Cupcakes
Pillowy cotton candy tops a bright pink and blue cupcake

Bacon Sundae Funnel Cake
Bacon and chocolate on a funnel cake. The best of both worlds – sweet and savoury!

deep fried kool aid

deep fried kool aid to debut at Calgary Stampede

Deep Fried Kool-Aid
Various flavours are added to a finger-licking dough and fried to a golden crisp

Jack Daniels Fudge
A distinctive and flavourful fudge

Loukoumades – Greek Honey Puffs
Golden puffs of fried dough bathed in sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts

Naaco Bits
Butter chicken sausage, battered and deep fried

Pulled Pork Poutine
Pulled pork, cheese curds, fries, gravy
[Global Calgary]

The early favourite to get all the headlines has to be the Deep Fried Kool-Aid. It’s just flavoured dough, and then deep-fried, so it doesn’t win any creativity points from me. Jack Daniels Fudge, Butter Chicken Sausage, and Cotton Candy Cupcakes on the other hand ..

Which disgustingly delicious new midway food are you excited to try at the 2012 Calgary Stampede?

Wildrose Country Is Not My Country

Not my country

The slogan on the back of every license plate in Alberta is “Wild Rose Country”. The wild rose is the provincial flower of Alberta, and usually starts to bloom in late May. However, during our recent provincial election, the bloom has opened earlier than usual, in the form of Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Party.

After 41 years of Progressive Conservative governments in Alberta, the province is experiencing a shift to the right. The Wildrose represents that shift with conservative fiscal and social elements in their platform. A sort of provincial nationalism has been touted by Smith in the campaign where she threatens the reigning government wants to change Alberta and she wants to keep Albertans the way they are, while returning the government to one of Albertan values.

To that end, Smith has numerous candidates running under her flag who have said and done outrageous things in their past. One has fraternized with white supremacy groups. Another has openly advocated the bullying of gay youth. Still another has said being caucasian gives him an advantage is the ability to communicate with society.

Smith has not denounced any of these candidates. Instead, she has cloaked herself in free speech, allowed her candidates to hide behind their religious podiums, and has said there’s nothing wrong with what was said.

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Wildrose Candidate Ron Leech

Smith had to know this was coming. Her party instituted a so-called ‘bozo bond‘ of $1000 for candidates choosing to run for the party. With a socially conservative base, extreme viewpoints were bound to come forward, the bond was to silence that. It didn’t work, and Smith didn’t back down.

On the flip side, while supporting those who use mythology as their reasons for promoting intolerance, Smith has denied science. She says she has doubts about the validity of the accepted fact that human actions have affected changes in our climate. 97% of scientific papers on the topic have come to the same conclusions – what we do affects the temperatures of our planet, and our behaviour should be modified. Smith isn’t convinced.

A full 75/87 of her candidates have no elected experience. One has to wonder what kind of cabinet she will be able to fashion from this motley bunch. Great leader or no, this is not a dictatorship we elect, they need a team, and Danielle does not have a reasonable team behind her.

While I’m all for fiscal conservancy and a government that chooses to support citizens when times are bad, and get out of their way when times are good, I have to balance that desire with respect for my fellow citizens.

When I first moved to Alberta, I joked that having a 40+ year reign in government, was like being in Cuba, Venezuela, China, or North Korea where one regime holds power for generations. There was no way I was going to vote for a party like that.

Like the video says, I never thought I’d vote PC. Well, I voted yesterday and I did. Wildrose country is not my country.

Kids In Calgary: Telus Spark

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Telus Spark
220 St. George’s Drive NE
Calgary, AB, T2E 5T2

Adult (18-64) $19.95 | Senior (65+) $17.95 | Youth (13-17) $15.95 | Child (3-12) $12.95 | Children under 3 are free

When Telus Spark first opened in Calgary, there was a big backlash over the cost of admission. Compared to other science centres across the country, the cost for admission is significantly higher, and there is no break for families wanting to get a group pass. All memberships are bought individually. That said, a membership pays for itself after 3 visits. Still, it can be expensive, you’re looking at a nearly $100 day for the average family of 4 for one visit to Telus Spark.

So what’s inside? The usual mishmash of science, and it’s all hands on. There are sections on energy, the human body, and places to tear things apart and put them back together. There’s crafts, imagination stations, and just random play areas.

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I don’t know how much ‘learning’ our 2 and 5 year old had during our half day visit, but they ran themselves silly playing with water, pullies, cranks, and more.

You have 7 days after your first visit to have your admission charges applied to an annual pass – we will probably do just that.

It’s an expensive visit, but in a city that has winter for 8 months a year, having an indoor option that offers a variety of experiences is invaluable.

For other things to do with your family in Calgary, check out the entire Kids In Calgary series.

Should The Calgary Flames Rebuild or Reload?

Kipper and Iggy

The Calgary Flames find themselves in the same position the Toronto Maple Leafs did a few years ago. They’ve got some big names on the bench, but not enough results to make it to the playoffs. The big names can bring in assets, but do you trade them?

Mats Sundin wouldn’t let the Leafs trade him, and he left the Leafs with nothing.

The Flames face the same position with Jarome Iginla and Mikka Kiprusoff. Both could fetch nice bounties on the open market, but Iggy has a no-trade contract, and Kipper is virtually all that kept the Flames in their games this season.

Do the Flames rebuild or reload? That depends how badly everyone co-operates to make it happen.

It would be great if the two big guys could leave and bring the team some cans of food for the cupboard. Iggy could go for 3 years, and then return for a final season once the team is competitive again. If Kipper left, it would be for good, but Irving is waiting in the wings.

2007-04-29 canucks (23)In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’ll cheer for the home team during the regular season, but once it matters I’ll trade in my Flames jersey for the Blue and Green warpaint.

Lord Stanley’s mug is up for grabs, this is what we live for, and I’m a Canucks fan first.

Stanley Cup HHOF

2007-04 playoffs vs ducks

I’ll take some heat for cheering for an arch-rival of the Flames for the next 2-8 weeks, but it’s okay to cheer for the Canucks. It’s okay to cheer for the Coyotes. It’s okay to cheer for the Blues.

When the playoffs come, and your favourite team is no longer playing, be a hockey fan first.

This is what we live for