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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.
If you haven’t heard by now, part of Highway 1A is closed to vehicles due to Covid. Luckily though, the highway is still open for all active forms of transportation and it’s way better than driving. You can get to all the great hikes and stops on the road, while getting some extra time to enjoy the scenic mountain views. You also get to stop wherever you want and the paths are less busy than they usually are.
For the easiest route that almost everyone can do, park at Castle Junction. From there it is 6km to Johnston Canyon with relatively little elevation so it’s perfect for walking, biking, rollerblading, skateboarding or scootering. Parking is limited at Castle Junction, so if you are going on a weekend make sure you come early.
For those that want a longer ride or can’t find parking, Johnston Canyon is roughly 26km from the town of Banff. There is parking 9km closer where the road closure starts, but this also fills quickly. Fenland Recreation Centre and the train/bus station have plenty of parking and are right beside the pathway which will take you to the 1A. If you take this route there are some great photo opps by the Banff sign at Fenlands, Vermillion Lakes and the welcome sign at the 1A. While there is some elevation, it’s similar to what is on a lot of Calgary pathways.
The cafe at Johnston Canyon is open if you want to fuel up before your hike or bike back. There are also bathrooms and a water refill station. Remember to bring a lock if you want to hike the Canyon. While the bike racks can get pretty full there are plenty of trees and poles you can lock your bike to. Also while the crowds at Johnston Canyon are smaller than previous years, it still gets very busy so you may want to bring a mask.
If you still have energy, you can carry on further down the highway though it does open back up to cars after Castle Junction. Baker Creek is another 20km away and has some great chairs for a rest and a bistro if you want to stop for a meal. Lake Louise is another 12km away and if you don’t want to ride all the way back, you can take the bus back to Banff with your bike. Be aware that spaces on the bus for bikes are limited due to Covid so you may have to split up if you are in a group.
The highway has just been freshly paved so it’s great for almost all wheels. You do still have to pay some attention to the road as Parks vehicles will occasionally drive by. As with most places in Banff, bear spray is recommended.
After you’ve biked the highway, consider filling out this survey, there may be a chance that the road closure wouldn’t be a once in a pandemic thing.
Around the world gyms and studios have been closed due to Covid. While Alberta’s plans to open gyms are still at least a few weeks off, here’s some of the ways that your gym or studio experience might look different when you return.
No dressing/changing rooms Almost across the board, dressing rooms have not been included in gym reopenings. With the close quarters, many high touch surfaces and sweaty clothes going everywhere, it’s not hard to see why. For those that go to work before or after the gym though, it’s going to be an inconvenience. It might also be a good idea to stock up on some car air freshener.
No water fountains For anyone that relies on the water fountain for their workout hydration, water fountains likely wouldn’t be in commission for awhile. While gyms and studios will likely start selling bottled water, it’s probably worth it to buy a water bottle or two if you don’t have one.
Bring Your Own Equipment You likely wouldn’t be able to walk into a studio empty handed. While many studios had equipment you could use for free or pay a fee to use, you’re probably going to have to bring your own now. If you haven’t bought a yoga mat, blocks, dumbells or whatever you usually use in class, you may as well buy them now and have them for your at home workout until things open up.
6-10 Feet of Spacing You will not have to worry about accidentally hitting the person beside you, nor will you have to worry about anyone hitting you. Fitness classes will have a lot more space to move around in and could also potentially have markers telling you where to stand. Cramped gyms may have to move out some of their equipment. There also wouldn’t be any more giant charity classes with the energy of a 100 people.
Gym Scheduling With the reduced capacity, gyms may require you to book a time slot before coming. For those with changing schedule, this could be difficult but it’s a good way to deal with capacity issues.
No Contact There will be no more high fives or sweaty hugs. There also wouldn’t be any hands on adjustments from yoga teachers. For those that like to lift heavy, spotting may no longer be available.
Fans/AC There’s many gyms in Calgary that rely on fans or small AC units to cool things off in the summer. Unfortunately with the concerns about droplet spread, your gym or studio workout may get a little hotter.
Gloves and Masks Gloves, masks or both may be required for your workout. While masks are uncomfortable, particularly when exercising, they may be deemed necessary in many public places if more evidence emerges on their effectiveness.
Group Circuit Training Circuit training classes and gyms have taken off in the last few years. Large adjustments will have to be made to these classes. Instead of rotating people through people will have to stay in the same spot and you’ll no longer be able to switch on and off equipment.
For anyone that’s eager to head to the gym or studio right away, it’s important to know that things are going to be different. If a few or many of these things make you uncomfortable it might be worth looking at online options or buying more equipment for your home to keep up your home workout.
Resources to learn more:
Alberta Reopening Plan
Interviews with Large Gym Owners
Here’s our second set of suggestions to try while you wait for the green light to go back to your favorite sports.
If you missed it, see our first set of suggestions here.
Equipment and space requirements: Slacklines and hangboards can be purchased from MEC. Climbing holds can be purchased at Calgary Climbing Centre. Ripline or Slackline Obstacle Course kits are good for people under 250 pounds and can be found at Canadian Tire, MEC and Toys R Us. If you’re looking to make a course on the cheap wood, noodles, hula hoops and chalk are great for building obstacle courses. For building your own obstacles, check out these tips here and here.
Large outdoor Space
If you love watching or doing obstacle course races, why not try and set up some obstacles in your yard? If you’re handy, you can design your own obstacles. If you’re not, Slackline and Ripline both make several obstacle course kits that are relatively easy to put up and support up to 250 pounds, all you need are trees. You can also get creative with whatever you have in the house or garage and it can be fun for the whole family. Obstacle courses are great so you can get some cardio and exercise your whole body.
Resources to learn: obstacle course demo, how to slackline, household supplies obstacle course, Seb Toots indoor obstacle courses
Equipment and Space Requirements: Soccer ball
Space without breakables
If you play soccer or even if you don’t, consider learning some tricks while Covid protocols are in place. It’s a great way to get popular on Instagram and TikTok and it will improve your coordination and help with your game if you do play soccer. You could also do similar things with a basketball, hockey stick and puck or tennis racquet and ball.
Resources to learn: Freestyle Soccer Tutorials and Inspiration
Equipment and Space Requirements: Soccer ball. Markers for hole and course. Hoops, trees, pylons, coats and water bottles all work.
Another alternative if you’re missing soccer is foot golf. Design a course to kick the soccer ball around in and keep track of how many times it takes to reach the end. It’s an easy game that all ages can play and can also improve your soccer skills.
Resources to learn: Foot golf
Equipment and Space Requirements: Disc/frisbee. Good quality discs can be purchased from Don’s Hobby Shop or Lifesport, though you can start off using whatever you have.
Go to a disc golf course or create your own with any large outdoor space. Improvise with baskets or targets or purchase a basket from Lifesport.
Disc golf courses has been allowed to reopen in Calgary. All the public disc golf courses are free and it’s a good low impact sport that almost anyone can play while social distancing.
Resources to learn: Rules, throwing
Equipment and Space Requirements: Gaming system, phone or other device. Gaming Systems include: Wii, WiiU, Switch, XBox+Kinect, Playstation Move. Buy old gaming systems and games from Video Game Trader or take a look on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace.
Enough space to move around in.
Exergaming took off with the Wii’s initial release. Not surprisingly the newest Nintendo workout game, Ringfit Adventures is incredibly hard to find right now but there are plenty of older games to play if you have an older system.
For those that have a stationary bike Zwift lets you ride virtual courses and compete against other people. There’s also Sufferfest, Road Grand Tours and other cycling apps.
For running there’s Zombies Run which you can do on the treadmill or outside. It spices up regular running by immersing you into a story where you must run to save yourself and others from zombies.
Exergaming is great for anyone that like video games or on days where you have to stay inside.
Equipment and Space Requirements: Skipping Rope. Can be purchased from Sportchek, Walmart, Dollarama and Bianca Amor’s.
Approx 2 feet of space above your head and enough space to full extend your arms on all sides.
If you don’t like having to constantly dodge people on the pathways and sidewalks, skipping is a good alternative for a cardio workout. As well as cardio workouts you calso try tricks or go for speed. If you are isolating with two or more people than you could also try some group skipping.
Resources to Learn: Basic Tricks , Jump Rope Workout
Equipment and Space Requirements: Tetherball set or Tetherball that you can attach to school pole. Tetherballs and tetherball sets can be purchased at Lynx Leisure.
Approximately 10 feet x 10 feet of space.
Relive your recess days and play some tetherball with whoever you’re quarantined with. It’s a good alternative for those missing their dodgeball fix. This game also easily gets competitive so for anyone that’s missing the feeling of competition it’s a good option.
Equipment and Space Requirements: Swingball Sets can be bought at Costco, Walmart and Mastermind Toys.
Approximately 10 feet by 10 feet of space.
Swingball is similar to tetherball but you use a small racquet. It’s a good option if you can’t find a tennis partner during quarantine as those with lower skills levels will still have fun. It also keeps your hand eye coordination sharp for racquet sports.
Resources to learn: Swingball Review
Hopefully these sports and games keep you occupied and sane until all sports can resume.
Spring looks like it is finally here to stay! That means it’s time for running, biking and outdoor games. Check out some of Calgary’s local stores so you don’t have to pay or wait for shipping and support local!
Get you running shoes, accessories, clothing, snacks and massage tools from these local stores.
Tech Shop Curbside Pickup. Mother’s Day Sale is on now.
Gord’s Running Store Curbside Pickup and limited local delivery.
Strides Curbside pickup and free delivery over $100.
Tri It Curbside pickup and free delivery over $100. In addition to running shoes they also carry bike and swim accessories and yoga mats.
Bikes and Bike Accessories
Bike stores are considered essential and as such, many local bike stores are still operating and you can go visit in person. They are also all very busy and abiding by capacity limits and social distancing so if you do go, be patient. Most also carry accessories like locks, lights and helmets and cycling clothing.
While there wouldn’t be a bike swap this year, there are still plenty of used bikes listed online on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. If you are buying one from there check out these tips from Bike Calgary.
Calgary Cycle Physical stores and online store are open. In store pickup available. Free bike delivery. Bikes can also be picked up and dropped off for tuneups.
Ridley’s Cycle Store closed. Online store with curbside pickup. Bikes will be delivered for free and there is free shipping for orders over $75.
The Bike Shop Store open with strict capacity limit and mandatory hand sanitizer. Store pickup is available. Delivery is available for a fee.
Bow Cycle Store closed but servicing is available. Online store open with pickup and free delivery over $100.
B and P Cycle Store open with strict capacity limit and mandatory hand sanitizer. Store pickup is available and bikes will be delivered for free. They also offer scooters.
Bike Bike Store open with strict capacity limit. Delivery and pickup available on a limited basis.
Two Wheel View Two Wheel View sells used bikes with money from bike sales going towards youth programs. Bikes are fixed up and ready to ride. They are open two days a week via appointment. Virtual shopping is also available.
Cactus Bike and Ski Store open.
Lifesport Store closed but servicing is available. Online store is open with free curbside pickup. Disc golf discs and gear are also available.
Pedalhead Bicycle Store open. Curbside pickup and delivery are also available.
Bike and Brew Bike shop is open. Pickup is available and delivery is free.
Bike Root Bike Root normally helps people learn how to fix bikes, due to Covid though teaching is on hold and they are just offering cheap tuneups.
Rapid Rent/Outlaw Sports
Rath Bicycle Will pickup and deliver bikes for servicing in Ramsay and surrounding 10km.
If you’re buying rollerblades or rollerskates and haven’t done either in awhile, consider buying a helmet and protective gear.
There are generally lots of used rollerblades being sold online. Check out this video from Shoptask to know what to look for when you’re buying used rollerblades.
Adrenaline Source for Sports Store is open. The store is locally owned but franchised with Source for Sports. Also carry lacrosse and baseball gear.
Shoptask While they no longer have a Calgary store, they specialize in rollerblades and have some of the best on the market. They will also be happy to help if you have any questions. Free shipping over $100.
Nerd Roller Skates Curbside pickup available. Shipping is $13.
Skateboards, Longboards and Scooters
Skateparks are open and there’s also lots of empty parking lots to skate in. As with the rollerblades, it’s best to buy some safety equipment, which is also sold at most stores if you haven’t been on a board in awhile. Skate shops also have hats, shoes and a wide variety of clothing.
Source Boards Online store.
Mountain Cultures Online store with curbside pickup. Free delivery within 15km. Longboards, SUP boards and trampolines are also sold.
Ninetimes Online store with free curbside pickup. Free shipping over $125.
Vermin Scooter Shop Online store with free shipping over $100.
Disc golf courses are closed but you can still make your own course.
Don’s Hobby Shop Online Store with free curbside pickup. Free shipping over $40. They also sell circus toys.
Lifesport Online Store with free curbside pickup.
Outdoor Games and Sports
Discovery Hut Discovery Hut has lots of fun frisbees, balls and water toys. They also have spikeball and other games. You can see some of what they offer on their Facebook, for the rest of it you will have to call. Free curbside pickup and delivery. They also offer plenty of other toys, crafts and puzzles.
The Beach The Beach has spikeball, hat tricked toss and crossnet. Email or message them for purchase and delivery/pickup options.
Lynx Leisure Has almost any outdoor game that you can think of and lots more that you can’t. They carry all the things that you or your kids will have ever played with in gym class or summer camp and lots of sports equipment. Online store with shipping.
Kahunaverse They have lots of sports equipment, some fitness equipment and some children’s gym equipment. Permanently closed their physical store. Online store is open. Free shipping over $100.
Skyline Athletics Wide variety of sports equipment, fitness equipment and gym and yard games. Store is closed. Online ordering is available.
Astrojump Rentals are still available for curbside pickup.
Campers Village Online Website with curbside pickup and free delivery over $40.
Norseman Outdoor Specialists Sells apparel. gear, footwear and does repairs. Curbside pickup.
The Great Outdoors Junior apparel, footwear and a small amount of gear. Curbside pickup and free delivery within 20km.
Spirit West Sells apparel, gear, maps and does repairs. Curbside pickup. Also sells facemasks.