30 Days of Free (Or Really Affordable) Events In Calgary

In the next 30 days, go to the Glenbow to see the new (and permanent) exhibitions, admire fossils and gems, and do a Zumba workout all without spending a penny.

Admission to the Glenbow is free for Glenbow Community Day on March 19.

Photograph courtesy of Glenbow


Free events to know about


Glenbow Community Day

March 19

Admission to the Glenbow is free all day on Sunday, March 19. It’s Community Day and this year is the fourth year that this free event has run. See the permanent exhibitions here, like the collection of North American art and the Asian art gallery. And, check out the museum’s newest temporary exhibitions. There’s a huge crystalline sculpture by David Altmejd, an exhibition about the power of graphic novels, an exhibition that celebrates Canada’s 150 by looking exploring Canadian themes, and more. 

Glenbow Museum, 130 9 Ave. S.E., 403-268-4100, glenbow.org


CAWST Paints the Town Blue

March 22

March 22 is World Water Day. In recognition of this, landmarks all over Canada will be lit up with blue light to help draw attention to water issues. Take a walk around Calgary to see the landmarks like the Calgary Tower, the trees on Stephen Avenue and the Reconciliation Bridge (formerly the Langevin Bridge) lit up with blue lights.  

Various locations, cawst.org


The 2017 Rock-a-Palooza Gem and Mineral Show

March 23 to 26

This year is the sixth annual Rock-a-Poolza Gem and Mineral Show, but this is the first year that the event will be held at Spruce Meadows. The event will be bigger than ever, so geologists and rock collectors and people who just like looking at interesting, shiny things can expect way more variety in the gems, fossils, minerals and crystals on display. 

Spruce Meadows, 18011 Spruce Meadows Way S.W., facebook.com


Zumba After Dark 

March 25

This is part fitness class and part nighttime party. The first Zumba After Dark event hosted by the Core Shopping Centre is this month. You’ll get a Zumba workout led by Maria Hunter, music by DJ Graeme and, because it’s an after-hours party, glow sticks. Come between 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. and join in a yoga warm-up. It’s free but bring along a non-perishable food item for the Calgary Food Bank. If you don’t bring a food donation, you can still join in the class but it will cost $10. 

The Core Shopping Centre, 324 8 Ave. S.W., 403-441-4940, eventbrite.ca


Movies That Matter: March Screening

March 29

This month, the final film in the Movies That Matter 2016/2017 season will screen. 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green will be shown, which is a 2015 documentary about the efforts to save public housing in Chicago. After the film, there’s a 30-minute Q&A session with the documentary’s director, Ronit Bezalel. This screening is free for members of the community as long as you bring a non-perishable food donation. 

Taylor Family Digital Library, 410 University Ct. N.W., eventbrite.ca


Bowness Spring Craft Sale

April 1

Admission is free to this annual spring craft fair. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to find handmade arts and crafts. 

Bowness Community Association, 7904 43 Ave. N.W., mybowness.com



April 3 to 5

You can see what junior students in the University of Calgary’s dance program have been creating over the last year in this free dance show. To see what students in their final year of the program have created, make plans to attend Dance@Night on April 7 or 8. Tickets for Dance@Night are $15 and you’ll see work that hasn’t been performed on stage before. 

Reeve Theatre, 2500 University Dr. N.W., scpa.ucalgary.ca

Affordable events that are $20 or less


Living and Hiking with Grizzlies

March 21


Hear Charlie Russell tell stories about bears. He’s basically a bear expert — he’s worked with spirit bears in British Columbia and raised bear cubs in Russia. All in all, he’s spent about 50 years studying and living with bears. Proceeds from ticket sales will support the Great Divide Trail Association and help with the maintenance and protection of the Great Divide Trail. 

Calgary Public Library, 616 Macleod Tr. S.E., eventbrite.ca 


$100 Film Festival

March 22 to 25

General admission $12

This film festival has been around for 25 years. And it’s one-of-a-kind — more than 40 independent and experimental films made on 16mm and Super 8 film are screened. It’s one of the only small-format film festivals in the world. But, as well as screenings, the festival has an artist talk with Philip Hoffman, Q&A sessions, a workshop and an after-party.  

Engineered Air Theatre, Arts Commons, 234 9 Ave. S.E., 100dollarfilmfestival.org


Pumphouse Theatre One-Act Play Festival

March 24

Adults $15

See two original one-act plays at this annual play festival. You’ll see the kind of theatrical, creative talent we have here in Calgary, and, one play will go on to represent Calgary in the Provincial One Act Festival. 

The Pumphouse Theatre, 2140 Pumphouse Ave. S.W., 403-263-0079, pumphousetheatre.ca


Market Collective

March 24 to 26

$5 for the weekend

The next Market Collective is at the end of this month. As always, your $5 admission fee will get you through the doors all weekend, so plan for three days of shopping and eating local. Buy yourself something small, or if you don't mind spending more than $20, treat yourself. 

Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, 197 1 St. S.W., marketcollective.ca


Taste of Jamaica

April 15

Adults $15

Attend this cultural festival and learn a little more about Jamaica. The festival includes Jamaican art, Jamaican music and dance performances, and plenty of authentic Jamaican food. You’ll get a plate of food when you enter the festival (expect items like curries and dumplings and ackee) and don’t leave without trying grapenut ice cream for dessert. 

Thorncliffe Greenview Community Centre, 5600 Centre. St. N., jcaalberta.com


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