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

A maple festival, an art party and an Asian night market are just a few of the cheap events taking place over the next month.

Happenings 7 is a free, artsy party on February 27 at Arts Commons.

Photograph courtesy of Arts Commons


Free events to know about


In Conversation with Kevin Donovan

February 22

The award-winning journalist and Canadaland podcaster Kevin Donovan is in Calgary this month to discuss his book, Secret Life. The book is about the media frenzy that followed Jian Ghomeshi’s trial. Donovan’s free talk at Mount Royal University will cover the journalistic processes he took to uncover the story, as well as some of the bigger themes addressed in the book such as celebrity culture and workplace politics. 

Leacock Theatre, Mount Royal University, 4825 Mt. Royal Gate S.W., facebook.com


Happenings 7

February 27

Arts Commons is hosting its seventh artsy party and everyone is invited to attend. Like the parties before this, Happenings 7 encourages Calgarians to curate their own art experience and interact with the venue’s exhibitions and activities. This time, the event is titled “Tactile Intrigue” so expect those activities to all surround the themes of tactility and intrigue. There will be work by Svea Ferguson, Alyssa Ellis, Greg Marshall and others.  

Arts Commons, 205 8 Ave. S.E., 403-294-9494, artscommons.ca 

Events that are $20 or less


YYC Hot Chocolate Fest

Until February 28

Prices vary

If you haven’t treated yourself to a hot chocolate yet this month, make sure you get to it before February 28. The sixth annual YYC Hot Chocolate Festival runs until the end of this month, which means you have just under two weeks left to sample as many chocolate-y drinks as you can, vote for your favourite drink and help raise money for Calgary Meals on Wheels

Various locations, yychotchocolate.com 


Getting on the Map: The Emergence of Calgary, Post-Confederation

Until May 29


A new exhibit opened at the Lougheed House earlier this month and it runs until the end of May. The new exhibit features a range of different maps, photographs and artwork that highlight what Calgary was like during the late nineteenth century. This exhibit is part of Canada’s 150 celebrations and is included with the regular admission fee. 

Lougheed House, 707 13 Ave. S.W., lougheedhouse.com 


Just Acts Play Festival: Examining Mental Illness(es)

Until February 19

From $15

This year, the one-act play festival presents new works by local directors and playwrights that examine mental health and mental illnesses. The four new shows presented in this year’s festival are A Picture Paints a Thousand Words by Kas Nixon, La Mere/La Mer by Maria Crooks, Car Keys by Chelsea Shortall and (un)convention by Jessica Gurnsey. 

Knox United Church, 506 4 St. S.W., urbanstoriestheatre.org


Asian Night Market

February 18

$3 admission

If buying a plane ticket to Hanoi to experience an Asian night market isn’t realistic for you right now, the third annual Asian Night Market presented by the University of Calgary’s Hong Kong Students’ Association, Vietnamese Students’ Association and Chinese Students’ Association is your best local option. Pay a small admission fee and browse the market for traditional Asian-style street snacks, drinks and desserts. 

Marda Loop Community Association Hall, 3130 16 St. S.W., facebook.com


The Calgary Hitmen Be Brave Anti-Bullying Game

February 22


When the Hitmen play against the Brandon Wheat Kings on February 22, the event will also include anti-bullying talks by Stampeders alumnus Randy Chevrier and Olympic hockey champion Caroline Ouellette, displays and activities. The special extras are all meant to encourage acceptance and kindness. Attendees at this game are encouraged to wear pink to show their support of anti-bullying. 

Scotiabank Saddledome, ticketmaster.com 


March Doc Soup: Fire At Sea

March 1


The penultimate film shown in the 2016/2017 Doc Soup series is Fire At Sea. The film highlights the current refugee crisis by focusing on the island of Lampedusa, the first port of call for African and Middle Eastern refugees on their way to Europe. Fire At Sea centres on the tragedies witnessed everyday on the island of Lampedusa. This documentary was well received: it was nominated for Best Documentary at last year’s Academy Awards and it won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. 

Cineplex Eau Claire, 200 Barclay Parade S.W., 403-283-1490, calgaryfilm.com


Maple Festival des Sucres

March 4 and 5

Adult admission $14

This March marks the 15th annual Calgary Maple Festival. This annual festival is a celebration of French Canadian and Metis cultures and includes folkloric music and dance, workshops, a Sugar Market, games and more — including maple taffy, of course. 

Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., calgarymaplefest.eng.com 


Little Modern Market: Winter Edition

March 11 and 12

$5 admission

The winter edition of this local pop-up market is at the Earl Grey Gold Club in mid-March. There are different local vendors selling goods on each of the two days, so stop by on both Saturday and Sunday to shop for clothing, good, art, jewellery and more. 

Early Grey Golf Club, 6540 20 St. S.W., littlemodernmarket.com


Mainstage Dance

March 16 to 18

Adults $15

Each year, University of Calgary dance students collaborate with professional choreographers and then present the work that was produced during that creative collaboration. Expect to see high-level contemporary and jazz performances on the University Theatre stage. 

University Theatre, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. N.W., 403-220-5313, scpa.ucalgary.ca 


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