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The weather’s getting warm, covid cases are going down and scavenger and treasure hunts abound in Calgary. The hunts are a great way of exploring the city, or looking at the city in a different light for those that have seen it all. They accommodate different ages and are a great way to get some steps in while socializing.
Golden Prairie Dog Hunt
Prairie Dog Brewing runs an annual Golden Prairie Dog Hunt. If someone finds the golden prairie dog figurine they win a free meal every week for the year. The first clue is given out on Friday through Prairie Dog Brewing’s social media accounts with additional clues following on Saturday and Sunday if it isn’t found. There’s two more hunts left to go this year on June 11 and June 18.
Hide and Seek
Play City has been running Hide and Seek for the past few years. This year Play City has teamed up with Parks Foundation Calgary. Every other week a sign is put out in one of the City of Calgary parks and a recorded video of the sign’s location in the park is posted on Instagram. People that post a picture of the sign on Instagram are entered into a draw to win a $50 MEC gift card along with a bike light and phone pocket.
Father’s Day Scavenger Hunt
The Core Shopping Centre, Calgary Downtown Association and Treasure League have created a Father’s Day weekend scavenger hunt around Stephen Ave. There are a dozen riddles to solve and teams will take selfies in front of the locations that they find. Groups that complete the scavenger hunt will be entered to win a $500 gift card for the Core. All participants will also get a coupon code to play a free Treasure League online game. Players can choose to play June 19th or 20th.
Biketag is played in locations around the world and launched in Calgary at the end of May. A picture of a bike in a mystery location is posted on the Calgary Biketage website and social media along with a hint. Once people have figured out where the mystery location is they can ride their bike there, take a picture and then find a new site and take a picture of their bike there for the next round.
Lots of painted rocks have popped up in Calgary during the pandemic. If you want to go search for them YYC Rocks has saved stories of the rocks and the neighborhoods that they have placed them in. Other people have also painted rocks and scattered them around Calgary and have posted their accounts or hashtags on the back to track them .
Tourist Scavenger Hunt
Tourist Scavenger Hunts creates scavenger hunts around the world. There is usually a charge but Calgary’s scavenger hunt is still being tested so people can play for free. The hunt takes people through Calgary’s downtown attractions and involves solving riddles, identifying landmarks and finding clues with points given out for answers. Teams that complete the hunt can compare their score on the scoreboard.
App/ Pay to Play Scavenger Hunts
Mystery Towns is a mystery themed hunting and clue solving game made by a Canmore company. They have an indoor and an outdoor hunt in Calgary and also have hunts in Canmore, Banff, Cochrane, Crowsnest Pass and Kananaskis. Clues lead players to different locations where they’ll have to solve a puzzle. Scores are kept so teams can see where they stand.
Let’s Roam is a scavenger hunt company that runs scavenger hunts across the world. Their Calgary hunt explores Calgary’s downtown. It features some of Calgary’s most famous landmarks with 20 challenges involving puzzles and taking pictures.
Franks Marketing Company
Franks Marketing Company runs several different scavenger hunts where people find items in their city and take pictures of them. The more items that a team finds, the more points that they get. They have a zombie themed hunt, a player directed hunt, a quest themed one and more.
Yousleuth is an augmented reality game which can be done in any neighborhood. Players explore their neighborhood to get information and try and figure out who the criminal is.
In addition to getting some immunity for yourself and protecting others, here are some other treats and discounts you can get for getting your 1st or 2nd Covid vaccine.
Harveys Get a free Angus or Lightlife burger when you comment on Harveys social media post.
Coldgarden Get a free can of Neighborhood Ale.
Revival Brewcade Get a free can of Whiskey Business Rye Brown Ale
Last Best Brewing Get a free can
Mountain Trip Beer
Banff Avenue Brewing
Hippohug Get a free mask by posting a vaccine selfie, tagging Hippohug and emailing them your address.
Bessie 1 pound of food will be donated to Leftovers and you’ll get a $20 off coupon.
All promotions are while supplies last.
While you may not be able to rush to the gym this January or plan out a race schedule, there’s still lots of health based goals that you can set your sights towards for 2021.
Embrace the outdoors. The outdoors is so good for you that doctors have started writing prescriptions for people to get outside. Simply getting outside can improve your mood. Add in some exercise, along with some social encounters and some vitamin D and it’s easy to see how much of a positive impact getting outside can have.
Embracing the winter is something that a lot of Calgarians could learn to do better. Other than some weekends on the hills, many Calgarians spend a lot of their winter inside. This is especially true now that more people are working from home and don’t have many activities to go to. Once you step outside though the snowy landscape and crisp cold air is generally worth it. While many items like snowshoes and cross country skis have become as hard to find as toilet paper, biking, walking and running can still be done most winter days. There’s also lots of outdoor rinks and sledding hills and currently lots of snow for playing in.
Goal: Aim to get outside every day or a certain number of times per week or month.
Catch more ZZs. For those working from home The pandemic is the perfect time to catch up on some sleep and try to fix any sleep habits holding you back from getting a good night’s rest. Getting enough sleep helps with physical recovery, immune function, memory, concentration, mood and more. While there isn’t a solution to make more hours in a day, there are some tips if you are someone that struggles to fall asleep. Some general tips for good sleep are having a schedule, getting outside in the morning, avoiding caffeine later in the day and avoiding blue light before going to sleep.
Goal: Aim to wind down or be in bed for a certain time or try following one of the tips above. While many watches and activity trackers claim to track your sleep, most of them are not that accurate.
Reduce Screen Time Not surprisingly, there’s been a big increase in screen time during the pandemic. While most of us probably need to be on screens for at least some portion of the day, most of us could probably reduce our screen time in some way. While some screen time is not bad, people are generally more sedentary during screen time. It can also be addicting and detrimental to your sleep patterns.
Goal: Once the pandemic is over, try and reduce your screen time, or aim to reduce your screen time by a few minutes each week. There are many apps that can track screen time and split it into Work/Personal use categories.
Cook The pandemic has turned everyone into cooks or at least sourdough bread bakers. While cooking your own food is generally healthier, cooking has some great mental health benefits regardless of what you cook. It can be both relaxing and stimulating and even during a pandemic is socially connecting.
Goal: Aim to cook a certain number of times in a week or month. While you may not be able to keep up the frequency of cooking post pandemic, it’s something that you should try to do at lest semi regularly.
Make time for connections and alone time The pandemic has taught everybody how important social connections are. If you have a busy schedule or are the type of person that never remembers to reply, make sure that you schedule time to connect with your loved ones regularly. Try to actually plan those get togethers with the people that you run into. On the opposite side, the social break during the pandemic has also been something that has been much needed by many people. All of us need a balance of the two so make sure to plan some alone time as well.
Goal: Try not to be the person that never returns phone calls or texts. Plan a few events or places or things that you want do and who you want to do them with once the pandemic is over. Make sure to plan enough alone time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Practice Gratitude It can be difficult to practice gratitude in tough times but the benefits to spending just a few minutes each day focusing on gratitude are worth it. Practicing gratitude can put improve people’s mood, improve sleep, help foster stronger social connections, increase resiliency and increase self esteem.
Goal: create a gratitude journal or jar and find something that you are grateful for each day. Send messages to those you love expressing your gratitude.
With restrictions on social gatherings and many places closed, entertaining the kids during Christmas break is even harder than usual. Here are some activities to keep kids moving and outside and some tips to keep the usual winter activities fun.
1)Ice skating Ice skating is always a popular winter activity and luckily in Calgary there are lots of outdoor ice rinks. Keep things interesting by trying out some new rinks. This is also a great strategy if the rink you go to is full. While team sports aren’t permitted, you can still have a mini game of hockey or ringette with the family. If there is lots of space you can also make an obstacle course. A list of some of the skating rinks is here, though there are still many that are not on the list.
2)Sledding Similar to the skating rinks, keep things fun and safe by exploring some new sledding hills. Bring a shovel to make a few jumps if you have more daring kids. Older kids can also experiment with things like cardboard, baking trays and plastic lids for some homemade sleds to change it up. While there are official hills for sledding, you are generally welcome to use any hill.
3)Biking If you haven’t done any winter biking before, now is a perfect time to try it. Most city pathways are generally navigable with a mountain bike once they’ve been cleared. It’s a great time to see the city covered in snow or see the rivers frozen up. For those that want to really embrace the snow, fatbikes can be rented at BowCycle though kids ones are not available. New this year is ice biking at Bowness Park. Kids and adult ice bikes are available to rent.
4)Night Walks Calgarians have taken decorating to a new level this year with Covid. Go for a walk and check out some light displays. Check out some of the best light displays here and here or just park in any neighborhood and go explore.
5) Snow Ice Cream Grab some fresh snow and mix it with some vanilla, sugar and milk for snow ice cream. For some extra fun add in some sprinkles or food coloring. While it may not be as good as Made by Marcus or Village Ice cream, it’s an easy dessert you can make with ingredients that you probably have in your house. Recipe 1 Recipe 2
6) Snow Sculptures If making a snowman has gotten old, take out your sand castle kits or bring out some kitchen supplies for some different shapes. They also sell some specific snow molds if you prefer to use them. Older kids they can try to compress snow into a large bucket or garbage can and then shave it into a shape.
7) Snow Painting Paint your snow sculpture or just use any white snow as a canvas. You can buy snow paint, or just make some yourself with food coloring and water. Corn starch can also be added if you want something thicker. Brushes, spray bottles and drip containers shampoo bottles all work great for coloring the snow. Once kids have used up all their artistic creativity, they can also play tic tac toe or pack down a track and make a board game.
8) Senior’s Centre Drop Offs Write some cards or make some arts and crafts and drop them off to your local senior’s centre. You can check out a map of them here. There is likely at least one within walking distance.
9) Frisbee Golf While the snow can make it slightly harder to find your disc, disc golf is still easily playable in winter. Head out to one of the City’s disc golf courses or make your own course in your yard or local park. All you need is a disc.
10) Snowball Fun So much fun can be had with just snowballs. There’s the classic snowball fight, some snow baseball and some snow target practice.
11) Mural Walks Since museums and art galleries aren’t open, get your art fix by looking at Calgary’s mural collection. Check out all the murals in the Beltline here, check out Sunnyside’s Garage murals here and some of the murals around the city here.
12)Outdoor Decorating If your kids want to do some more decorating, find a tree outside and put some ornaments on. It’s a great way to brighten up a neighborhood/area. Just remember to take the ornaments down after Christmas.
As we head back into school, work and another month of Covid, here are 7 new fun outdoor things to check out in Calgary.
1)Glenmore Dam Pathway Reopening
After 3 years, the Glenmore Dam Pathway has been reopened. It features the same great views it once had as well as some upgraded pathway and signs telling you about the dam improvements. You can follow the pathway around the whole reservoir or go down to Sandy Beach.
2) Pump Tracks
2 Paved pump tracks opened this summer. The South Glenmore Pump Track is right off the reservoir pathway and has been packed ever since it opened. there are kids on strider bikes and parents on bmx bikes, as well as all ages in between. The Fairview Pump track is also closeby in Fairview. With the South Glenmore Pump track opening it has been less busy though it also has very limited parking. In addition to bikes, the pump tracks can also be ridden on skateboards, rollerblades and scooters.
BUMP, The Beltline Urban Mural Project that’s been running since 2017 grew even bigger this year, even with the pandemic. 20 new murals were painted this summer and there are now over 50 murals in the Beltline. You can look at the locations on their website or follow one of 5 routes/tours that they have online.
4) Sunnyside Murals
Sunnyside has also continued to add more murals to its collection. This summer they added 8 new garage murals, 3 shipping container murals and 4 more murals on houses and fences. Check out this map with all of Sunnyside’s art to plan a route. You can also go look for the fairy house at Riley Park.
5) East Village Art
In late July St Patrick’s Island got some fun art that helps promote social distancing. Its only here until the end of September so make sure you catch it while you can. They have also put together some (De)Tours for people to explore the area at their own pace.
6) Deerfoot City
Deerfoot City has an outdoor art installation that is great for any Instagrammers. They also have outdoor lawn games for people to play.
7) Inglewood Park Park
Inglewood has transformed one of their parking lots into a colorful gathering space. It includes picnic tables, a charging station, bike pump, little free library and a sometimes basketball net. It’s a great place to grab some photos, eat some lunch and then go shop. If you have kids Mills Park and Pearce Estate Park are also nearby.
If you’re looking for a fun outdoor volunteer opportunity, Silvera is looking for walking group and trishaw bike volunteers.
While many of the changes that we’ve had to put into place because of Covid 19 have been an inconvenience, there’s definitely some changes that we’d like to see stick around.
1.Flexible Cancellation Policies While sadly flexible cancellation policies already seems to be fading, we need to try and keep them. Nobody knows whether they will be sick 2-3 days in advance and making people pay full price for a missed appointment or class can cause someone to brush off mild symptoms that they may have just started getting. While dealing with cancellations is difficult, we managed to relax cancellation policies at the start of Covid and we should be able to keep them that way.
2. Not having to go out when you are sick. Pre-Pandemic it almost seemed like a badge of honor to push through normal life if you had a cold or flu. Now all workplaces are supposed to encourage their staff to stay home when they are sick, which is how it should be. I am sure we have all seen colds and flus spread through the workplace or at school, so it makes sense to try and get people to stay home instead of infecting everyone else.
3. Less crowded fitness classes While 3m of space may be a bit much, some studios were definitely packing in people to a point where it was difficult to move pre pandemic. It’s certainly nice not having people’s arms and legs hit you and not having to worry about hitting other people. As fitness classes are known to spread a lot of germs having some space for yourself should help keep people healthy all the time.
4. More active transportation. It has been great to see so many people out walking, biking and using other forms of active transportation on the streets and pathways. There’s been so many people out that the city closed off lanes and streets in certain neighborhoods to accomodate more people. If the temporary street and lane closures have helped you get around, make sure that you keep using them and let your councillor know so they can become permanent.
Now that people have bought Calgary out of bikes, I hope people keep biking throughout the year and that safe cycling and pedestrian friendly infrastructure becomes more of a priority. An active commute is one of the best things you can do for your health and also saves money.
5. Kids playing outside. I haven’t seen this many kids playing outside since I was a kid. It’s been great seeing kids outside and engaging in unstructured play. Outdoor play is an important part of development and physical activity and something that Canada has been failing at. This pandemic has shown us that kids will still play outside if we let them.
6. Automatic Handshakes and Hugs While I think everyone is missing some physical contact from people that aren’t in your bubble, not having to shake hands and hug everyone you meet can be a relief. As with fitness classes, handshakes are known to spread germs and many medical experts have been trying to end the handshake for years. The time spent trying to perfect the firm handshake can be put into how to properly wash your hands.
Hugs are also great for spreading germs and while hugs are great between friends with both people consenting, society is still realizing that not everyone wants to be hugged all the time.