25 Best Things to Do in Calgary This February
This month, check out huge whale skeletons at Telus Spark, look at photos of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo at a new exhibition and drink lots of hot chocolate at the annual YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.
In this scene from Motown the Musical, Kai Calhoun plays Michael Jackson (centre) in the Jackson 5. This show is playing at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium from February 20 to 25.
Photograph by Joan Marcus
Winter is well underway in Calgary, but there's no reason to feel down about that with all the things going on in the city this month. While a lot of people will be focused on making Valentine's Day plans, there are also several festivals and new exhibitions that are well worth checking out.
Here are our 25 suggestions for an exciting (and perhaps romantic) February.
What do you get when you combine Shakespeare with the local Old Trout Puppet Workshop? Theatre Calgary's production of Twelfth Night, of course. Old Trout Puppet Workshop offers up a unique take on this Shakespearean comedy, which tells the story of how twins Sebastian and Viola are forced navigate the land and people of Illyria after a shipwreck splits them up. Expect unique, extravagant costumes featuring puppet pieces and sound elements that blend instruments from the Baroque era with 1980s hits. Twelfth Night runs from January 30 to February 24.
Max Bell Theatre, Arts Commons, 240 9 Ave. S.E., 403-294-9494, theatrecalgary.com
Start the month off by immersing yourself in the media arts. From February 1 to 3, the Particle + Wave Media Arts Festival will feature art installations, talks, an electromagnetic workshop, performances and film screenings that highlight different art processes and how technology can influence them. Notable performances include Radio Therapy by Montreal artist Martín Rodríguez, which uses radio frequencies, real MRI brain scan transmissions from when the artist had a brain tumor and a guitar.
Various locations, emmedia.ca
Hot chocolate is a quintessential winter drink, and it gets its moment in the spotlight during the annual YYC Hot Chocolate Fest. From February 1 to 28, you can order special hot chocolate creations (including some spirited hot chocolates), and then rate your favourite ones online. Last year, Calgarians had more than 80 hot chocolate drinks to choose from, with options ranging from citrus ginger orange hot chocolate to almond spiked hot chocolate. But the best part? When you buy a hot chocolate from one of the participating businesses, local non-profit Calgary Meals on Wheels will benefit from some of the proceeds.
Various locations, yychotchocolate.com
This February, the only photography festival in the province is setting up shop in Calgary with exhibitions, portfolio reviews, events and more. This year, events include a screening of the 1998 film Pecker, photographer meet-ups at cafes, eateries and breweries, a session on photobooks and more. There's also nearly 40 photography exhibitions set up at galleries around the city, which focus on everything from large-scale portraits of the prairies to photos of Lo Manthang's Tiji Festival in Nepal. Exposure Photography Festival runs from February 1 to 28.
Various locations, exposurephotofestival.com
photograph courtesy of Museum of new zealand te papa tongarewa, 2008
Check out these articulated sperm whale skeletons before June 20.
Whales, one of the most majestic and biggest marine mammals in the world, are the focus of the latest traveling exhibition to stop at Telus Spark. Hailing from the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Whales | Tohora exhibit features several whale skeletons and a blue whale model heart that's so big, you can actually crawl into it (blue whales are the world's largest animal). Visitors can listen to whale sounds, try their hand at building robotic dolphins and learn about the role whales have played in Maori culture. Calgary is the last North American city this exhibition will be visiting, so make sure you check it out before June 20.
Telus Spark, 220 St. Georges Dr. N.E., 403-817-6800, sparkscience.ca
There's a good chance you've seen people riding horses before. And you've likely seen people skiing. But have you ever seen a horse and rider race down a field while pulling a skier behind them? Well, you can on February 3 when Skijor Canada brings the winter sport of skijoring to Okotoks. Watch horses, riders and skiers complete obstacle circuits, relays, sprints and long jumps. Then, when you get hungry, you can fill up on poutine, fondue and bratwurst sausage.
Calgary Polo Club Ranch House, 24041 306 Ave. W, Okotoks, skijorcanada.com
Attention, coffee lovers: Monogram has opened its third coffee shop in Britannia. In addition to its own coffee, this location will feature two rotating guest coffee roasters from around the world as part of its new Atlas program. Monogram also collaborated with local ice cream shop Made by Marcus to create a delicious coffee soft serve that will only be available at this location. Trust us, it's must-try.
800 49 Ave. S.W., monogramcoffee.com
Fans of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (who also composed classic ballets like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker) will love Eugene Onegin. The Calgary Opera production tells the dramatic story of Onegin, whose decision to spurn the love of Tatyana and flirt with his friend's fiancée Olga has disastrous results. Calgary Opera is only staging three productions this season, so don't miss the chance to see one of the three Eugene Onegin performances on February 3, 7 or 9.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. S.W., calgaryopera.com
"Frida stomach down," by Nickolas Muray, 1946 ©Frida Kahlo Museum
Running from February 3 to May 21, Frida Kahlo: Her Photos gives Glenbow visitors a fascinating look at the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Peruse more than 240 photographs taken by the prolific painter and others, which were kept in Kahlo's former home, the Blue House, for years. This is the first time this Frida Kahlo Museum exhibition has been presented in Canada.
Glenbow Museum, 130 9 Ave. S.E., 403-268-4110, glenbow.org
Calgarians can see a whole other side of Studio Bell on one of its new Backstage Pass Tours. The tours begin on February 4 and give guests a look at three recording facilities, some of the National Music Centre's musical instrument collection, the King Eddy, artist spaces and more. The tours will run at noon and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Studio Bell, 850 4 St. S.E., 403-543-5115, studiobell.ca
Many people have curled before, but most haven't slid across the ice at Olympic Plaza while laying on top of a giant curling stone. That's exactly what will happen at the Calgary Corporate Challenge's human bonspiel event, which runs from February 5 to 9 and on February 12. Four-person teams will do their best to end up in the centre of the three blue, white and red rings.
Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave. S.E. ccc-registration.com
Looking for your dream wedding dress? Toronto bridal shop Powder is opening its second location in Calgary's East Village area on February 8. Expect stunning bridal gowns from brands like Pronovias, Mira Zwilinger, Inbal Dror, Lihi Hod and more. Powder also carries evening wear.
454 8 Ave. S.E., powderbride.com
There's a new spot to grab Indian food in Calgary. Chai Pani recently opened in Bridgeland with a menu that includes seven different curries ranging from butter chicken to cinnamon tumeric spice beef. There's also kati wraps, samosas, sweet potato tikki, basmati bowls, goat biryani and more. You can wash it all down with a cup of chai for only $3.
126, 38 9 St. N.E., 403-719-0077, chaipani.ca
photograph courtesy of the calgary philharmonic orchestra
It's been almost two years since American music icon Prince passed away and, on February 10, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is paying tribute to him with a one-night show. A Symphonic Tribute to Prince is sure to spark a trip down music memory lane for guests, and "Little Red Corvette" and "Purple Rain" are just a few of the songs they can expect to hear. The performance will be led by conductor Karl Hirzer.
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons, 205 8 Ave. S.E., calgaryphil.com
If listening to jazz is your idea of a romantic evening, the Calgary Jazz Orchestra has your Valentine's Day plans covered. Perfect for those who are busy on Valentine's Day itself, the orchestra's Art of Romance / Art of Soul show will take place on February 11 and features romantic, soulful jazz tunes by artists like Billie Holiday, George Michael and Tony Bennett.
River Park Church, 3818 14A St. S.W., calgaryjazzorchestra.com
Planning to take your significant other out for dinner on February 14? Several Calgary restaurants are offering multi-course Valentine's Day menus featuring everything from pan seared scallops to Italian mousse. Here's a list of Calgary restaurants offering special menus for Valentine's Day (don't forget to make a reservation).
Experience the energy and music of the Calgary Folk Music Festival during the winter at Block Heater. The annual music festival, which runs from February 15 to 17, returns to reinvigorate Calgary's music scene with shows by more than 25 artists. Delhi 2 Dublin, Raleigh, Amythyst Kiah and more will perform at the Ironwood Stage & Grill, Studio Bell, Festival Hall and the King Eddy over the three-day festival.
Various locations, calgaryfolkfest.com
Celebrate Chinese New Year at several events in Calgary
Chinese New Year starts on February 16 this year and 2018 marks the year of the dog. There are plenty of ways to celebrate in Calgary. From February 10 to 18, there will be a Chinese Lunar New Year Festival with a market, martial arts demonstrations, exhibits, lion dances and more at the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre. There will also be a Chinese New Year gala and fundraiser by the Sien Lok Society of Calgary on February 10. The Core shopping centre is holding its own celebration from February 16 to 18 with a performance by Chinese lion dancers, a musical performance by the Calgary Chinese Cultural Society Orchestra, a tea pop-up and more.
If you love chocolate, you won't want to miss this event. Running February 16 and 17, Love & Chocolate will feature chocolate creations and other items from around 30 businesses including Old Coal, Choklat and Master Chocolat. Purchase sampling tickets to try the different chocolate treats, then vote for your favourites. Part of the event proceeds will support Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids.
WinSport Multi-Purpose Room, 88 Canada Olympic Rd. S.W., lacyyc.com
photograph by Joan Marcus
In this scene from Motown the Musical, Jasmine Maslanova-Brown plays Florence Ballard, Trenyce plays Diana Ross and Quiana Holmes plays Mary Wilson.
Love Motown greats like Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross? You can learn about the part Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown record company, played in kicking off their careers at the latest Broadway Across Canada production to come to Calgary. In addition to learning about Gordy's life, audiences will be treated to performances of popular Motown songs like "Aint No Mountain High Enough." Motown the Musical runs from February 20 to 25.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., 403-297-8000, calgary.broadway.com
If you're planning to visit the Calgary Zoo in the next few weeks, try to be there around 11 a.m. to catch the closest thing most of us will ever get to a "royal sighting." Between now and around mid-March, the zoo's king penguins will partake in the annual Penguin Walk, which visitors are welcome to watch. Several of the zoo's penguins — which have names like Hera, Caesar, Tut and Nero — will waddle their way around an area of the zoo each morning.
Calgary Zoo, 210 St. George's Dr. N.E., 403-232-9300, calgaryzoo.com
Western Canada's first Saks Fifth Avenue location is set to open in CF Chinook Centre this month on February 22. The store will offer everything from luxury men's and women's apparel to jewellery and shoes in its new 115,000-square-foot space. If you work up an appetite shopping, you also visit the in-store restaurant.
CF Chinook Centre, 6455 Macleod Tr. S.W., saks.com
Make plans to attend Calgary's annual Winefest. There will be wines to sample, hors d'oeuvres to eat and door prizes to win at the two-day event. The event features three weekend sessions on February 23 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and February 24 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Consider bringing a donation for the Calgary Food Bank as well.
BMO Centre, Stampede Park, 20 Roundup Way S.W., celebratewinefest.com
Need some help planning your wedding? At the Engaged wedding show, couples can meet professionals who will help you every step of the way. Enjoy a complimentary mimosa, glass of Champagne or a beer as you book venue tours, meet local photographers or sign up for a free dance lesson. Following the show, get inspired by Engaged's reception gala event, which features a six-course dinner, wine pairings, live music and more.
Hyatt Regency Calgary, 700 Centre St. S., engagedweddingshow.ca
It doesn't matter if you prefer tea or coffee — one of the Alberta Craft Gallery's latest exhibits, Uncommon Blends, focuses on both. It features the work of five Alberta ceramic artists, which is sure to inspire your next mug or teapot purchase. There will also be an artist reception and talk for this exhibit on March 3.
Alberta Craft Gallery, Suite #280, 1721 29 Ave. S.W., 587-391-0129, albertacraft.ab.ca