169 Canada Olympic Road SW
Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Adults $12, Seniors $10, Kids $8, 3 and under Free
The unique building is at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and features 11 unique galleries and a Grand Hall. They are divided up by season and sport with winter sports on the north side of the hall, summer sports on the south side of the hall, and a large area devoted to hockey, football, basketball, baseball, and football along the back.
At 4 and 6, Charlie and Zacharie might have been a bit on the young side to fully appreciate the exhibits, but they did dive right in to the interactive parts in each gallery.
Zacharie leaned down the hill and felt what it was like to fly off the ski jumping tower.
Charlie took his place in the ring shadow boxing with Lennox Lewis.
Zacharie put his face in the mask and felt what it was like to try and catch a curve ball from Jeff Francis.
Both boys got in a wheel chair and tried to match the world record time set by Chantal Petitclerc.
At the back of the hall there’s a section where you can try shooting accuracy on a goalie, kick field goals, shoot baskets, and kick soccer balls. The boys did all of them.
And of course there are exhibits and memorabilia celebrating the best athletes Canada has ever produced. From Jacques and Gilles Villeneuve to Karen Magnussen, Alex Bauman to Daniel Igali, Kyle Shewfelt to Graydon “Blondie” Robinson. Robinson was a world bowling champ in 1969, and his flashy jacket is in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
There is a large section devoted to the WHA with pennants, jerseys, and memorabilia from the 70s hockey league that splintered off from the NHL. Their championship tropy, the Avco Cup is in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame too.
The next time the Calgary Flames need a throwback jersey, I’d suggest they go all the way back to the Calgary Cowboys.
I was also really impressed with the section devoted to basketball. The game was invented by Canadian Dr. James Naismith and they have copies of his original rules, peach baskets and more.
But the highlight of the whole exhibition, for me anyway, was to see gear from Terry Fox. A shoe and a tshirt in glass marking his epic journey across Canada to raise money for cancer research. His courage and determination is an example for all Canadians, and despite the fact that Fox died nearly 30 years before my boys were born, they were the ones to recognize his gear in the display.
The whole while you tour the exhibit, play by play and video highlights from the greatest moments in sports history echo off the hall. Olympic memories of Donovan Bailey, Silken Lauman and Brian Orser echo alongside championship performances by Tony Gabriel, Wayne Gretzky, and Northern Dancer.
Take a time out, celebrate the greatness of Canada’s athletes, inspire your kids and visit Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.