25 Things To Do In Calgary This February
Attend the city’s new winter folk music festival, try cricket pizza at a new pizza place and get really schmancy.
Photograph courtesy of Calgary Corporate Challenge
February in Calgary is the month for movies (there are three film festivals), for winter bike scavenger hunts (get ready for Winterpalooza) and just generally celebrating winter (get out and embrace it, everyone.)
Here are 25 suggestions for something to do almost every day in February.
Starting on February 1 and running until February 12, you might see business people sliding on the ice at Olympic plaza and trying to hit a button. It’s called the Human Bonspiel and it’s the first Calgary Corporate Challenge event of the year. It’s kind of like curling, but with fewer brooms and curling stones, and more inner tubes and bruises. It's amusing and it’s all for a good cause — money raised supports KidSport Calgary.
Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave. S.E., calgarycorporatechallenge.com
You know that expensive camera you bought before you took that big trip? And how it’s been hidden in your closet since you got back? It’s time to bring it out again. And this is the month to get inspired. The Exposure Photography Festival starts on February 1 and runs until February 28. It encourages the participation in, and appreciation of, photography. Throughout the month, admire the work of great local photographers such as Diane Bos, Jeremy Fokkens and Harry Palmer.
Various locations, exposurephotofestival.com
The Canmore Winter Carnival has been taking place in this gorgeous mountain town for more than two decades. And it returns for another year on February 1, running until March 13. Spend at least one weekend out here this month. Events such as the World Cup Biathlon event, cooking classes, art workshops and mutt races are taking place throughout the festival.
Various locations, tourismcanmore.com
Sauce Italian Market is a bakery, a deli, a market and a restaurant. Stop by for a coffee and lunch — there are specials every day of the week. (The two-for-one pizza deal on Tuesdays is hard to pass up.) After you’re full, do some grocery shopping. You’ll find signature sauces, house-made pasta, salad dressings and plenty of imported cheeses and charcuterie.
Sauce Italian Kitchen and Market, 3326 17 Ave. S.W., 403-727-7627, sauceitalianmarket.com
photograph courtesy of crave cookies and cupcakes
Crave and Monogram's hot chocolate is a red velvet hot chocolate.
The YYC Hot Chocolate Festival runs this entire month. Vendors such as Pie Cloud, Crave Cookies and Cupcakes and Wild and Raw are preparing special hot chocolates for the festival. (Some are spirited, some aren’t. All are worth trying.) Sample as many as you can and vote for your favourite. If you need more convincing, know it’s all for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds supports Calgary Meals on Wheels.
Various locations, yychotchocolate.com
Calgary Opera presents the German opera Die Tote Stadt (The Dead City) on January 30, February 3 and February 5. And it’s hauntingly beautiful. It tells the story of a man who is struggling to remain sane as he falls deeper in love with a young woman. The catch — she looks eerily similar to his wife who has recently passed away. Tickets are from $30.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., calgaryopera.com
The Calgary International Film Festival, Globe Cinema and the Toronto International Film Festival are collaborating for the second year in a row. They’re bringing Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival to Calgary, starting on February 4 and running until 7. All of the films screened during the festival have been selected by panelists and they’re all considered to be some of the best films that Canada produced in 2015. As well as feature-length films, the festival includes 10 Canadian shorts and 10 student shorts. Tickets are $10 per film, or you can purchase a shareable five-pack for $40.
Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.W., 403-283-1490, calgaryfilm.com
Cineplex theatres across Canada are participating in the Great Digital Film Festival this month. From February 5 to 11, films of every genre and from the 1970s to 2015 are shown. If it’s been far too long since you’ve seen cult classics on the big screen — think Ghostbusters and Star Trek — you can catch them at Chinook for just $6.99 per ticket.
Scotiabank Theatre Chinook, 6455 Macleod Tr. S.W., cineplex.com
photograph by perry thompson
Earth Cravings is the brainchild of Angela Villavicencio. It’s a pizza place, but it’s also about more than just pizza. Villavicencio’s business focuses on healthy food — all the dishes are 100 per cent gluten-free and the owner aims to source local, organic ingredients when possible. Earth Cravings has five pizzas on its menu. The pizzas are an Incan pizza, a pesto chicken pizza, a beet-za pizza, a fig pizza and, the most creative of all, a cricket pizza. There are also juices and a hot chocolate on the menu. Earth Cravings is scheduled to open on February 5.
Earth Cravings, Symons Valley Ranch, 14555 Symons Valley Rd. N.W., @earthcravings
Join close to 800 other Calgarians for a fancy night at the Glenbow on February 6. (Although you can be as schmancy as you’d like.) It’s basically a big party. There are food stations throughout the museum prepared by Hotel Arts, cocktail stations, scotch tastings and free Champagne when you arrive. There’s plenty of entertainment and dancing too, and you can see Paul Hardy’s Kaleidoscopic Animalia exhibition. You’re going to want to attend — iconic fashion icon Jeanne Beker, musician Buck65 and artist Kent Monkman are all going to be there. Tickets are $250.
Glenbow, 130 9 Ave. S.E., 403-268-4100, glenbow.org
Lunchbox Theatre’s latest production, Book Club, is a story about adventure, motherhood and friendship. The story centres around Jenny, who everyone at her book club just loves. They think she’s a fantastic wife and mother. When she suddenly disappears, everyone in the club is willing to put everything on hold to track her down. Tickets are $25.
Lunchbox Theatre, 115 9 Ave. S.E., 403-265-4292, lunchboxtheatre.com
There is a platform for those pages of unpublished sonnets, stories and plays you wrote as a kid. It’s the Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids event, this time on February 9. This is a live storytelling event, packed with personal, hilarious and heartwarming stories. The storytellers are all brave locals willing to share their prepubescent hopes and dreams in front of strangers — go celebrate their bravery. (Register to join the waitlist.)
Yuk Yuk’s, 218 18 Ave. S.E., grownupsreadthingstheywroteaskids.com
For a few days, embrace the cold and get out on your two wheels. Winterpalooza, Calgary’s annual winter bike festival, kicks off on February 10 and runs until Valentine’s Day. Returning events this year include the Annual Polar Run, the Winter Bike Scavenger Hunt and the Winterpalooza photo booth. Winterpalooza also coincides with Winter Bike to Work day (this year on February 12).
Various locations, cyclepalooza.ca
Get a musical start to the Family Day long weekend and attend the Block Heater Festival. This winter music festival is organized by the Calgary Folk Music Festival, so expect three days of folk and roots music. Twenty acts will perform at three Inglewood venues over the three days. A few of the attending artists at the inaugural festival include The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer and Elliott Brood. Tickets start at $15. Tickets are selling fast.
Festival Hall, 1215 10 Ave. S.E.; Lantern Church, 1401 10 Ave. S.E.; Ironwood Stage and Grill, 1229 9 Ave. S.E., calgaryfolkfest.com
On February 15, Fort Calgary hosts its annual Winter Carnival. This family-friendly event includes games, winter-themed activities and sleigh rides if it isn’t too cold outside. While you’re here, be sure to check out all the recent additions and changes to the venue. In the last three months, the restoration of the Deane House was completed, the Hunt House was restored and the 1875 fort replica was built — although this won’t open fully to the public until 2017.
Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1875, fortcalgary.com
photograph by daniel A. Swalec
The Wizard of Oz is coming to the Calgary stage. You know the story, either from L. Frank Baum’s story or the 1930 film, but this is a new production of the tale you’re already familiar with. You’ll recognize songs from the film version of The Wizard of Oz and you’ll also hear some new songs created by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The show runs from February 16 until February 21. Tickets are from $35.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., broadway.com
The park’s synagogue turns 100 this year. To celebrate, the first event in Heritage Park’s Noteworthy Nights series is The Little Synagogue on February 18. There will be Jewish music performed by OY Train Klezmer Orchestra and Simcha Celebration Band, which includes jazz songs, traditional Klezmer music and Hebrew music. Before the dancing though, there’s a four-course meal. Tickets are $79.95.
Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., 403-268-8500, heritagepark.ca
If you saw the Lunchbox Theatre's production of Speed Dating for Sperm Donors last February then you’re already familiar with Natalie Meisner’s work. You can be a part of the development of her newest work, titled 69: Legislating Love and The Everett Klippert Story. The show will take place in two time periods: Calgary in the 1960s and 1960s, and present-day Calgary. On February 19, attend the It’s Getting Drafty In Here reading event to get a sense of newly drafted scenes (as read by local actors) and hear about Calgary’s LGBTQ history from local historians. There are also snacks from Sidewalk Citizen and beer from Village Brewery. (This is a monthly event, the final of which is on March 18.) Admission by donation.
Loft 112, 112, 535 8 Ave. S.E., thirdstreet.ca
The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association’s bi-monthly Antique and Collectible Market is on February 20 this month. Browse the stalls for valuable (and sometimes less-than-valuable) collectible items and antiques. Even if you’re not looking to take anything home, the vibe here is enough to make for an entertaining Saturday excursion. Admission is $2.
Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, 1320 5 Ave. N.W., hilhurstsunnyside.org
If you’ve been inspired after attending the Alberta Ballet’s Dynamic Directions (February 11 to 13), you don’t have to wait until March to see more ballet. The Calgary Underground Film Festival is collaborating with Dancers’ Studio West to present A Night of Dance on Film on February 20. There are two feature films, two local shorts and a talk by a DSW dancer. Tickets are from $8.
Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.W., calgaryundergroundfilm.org
This new Japanese restaurant, which only opened on January 26, isn’t your typical Japanese restaurant. For starters, it doesn’t focus on sushi. The restaurant from Darren MacLean features traditional Japanese skewered meats known as yakitori and small plates. In a few months, Shokunin will also have a late-night ramen take-out window — it’s sure to beat Mr Noodles when you’re craving ramen at midnight.
Shokunin, 2016 4 St. S.W., shokuninyyc.ca
If you love Market on 17th Avenue, you can get a taste of its products without making a reservation for a sit-down meal. Market Eatery is a satellite retail location for the restaurant. You’ll be able to find Market’s chocolate treats, sauces and condiments here. (We can’t get enough of the restaurant’s house-made ketchup.)
Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Ave. S.E., 403-240-9113, calgaryfarmersmarket.ca
The $100 Film Festival is the longest running film festival in Calgary. This year marks its 24th anniversary. From February 25 to 27, catch more than 30 experimental films made on Super 8 film and 16mm film. Before each screening, there is a live music performance. Ticket prices vary.
Engineered Air Theatre, 205 8 Ave. S.E., 100dollarfilmfestival.org
photograph courtesy of frozen ocean
Frozen Ocean, on February 26, is an event that celebrates winter by imagining that we’re close to a body of water. The evening includes sea-themed drinks, appetizers and décor. Attendees are encouraged to wear semi-formal wear in ocean colours. And continuing with the ocean scene, the cocktails have either a rum or tequila base. (You have to be wearing a captain’s hat if you want to purchase drinks.) Tickets are $55.
Gerry Thomas Gallery, 602 11 Ave. S.W., frzn.ca
The Oscars are on February 28 this year. You can either see which movie is awarded Best Picture at home in your pajamas, or you can mark the occasion in true Oscar style. Theatre Calgary’s Night With the Stars event has an otherworldly theme this year, to coincide with The Little Prince — The Musical and the release of the new Star Wars movie. (Tickets $250). The Calgary International Film Festival is also hosting an Oscars party on February 28. A Red Carpet Affair is a 1950s-themed event, complete with Champagne, live entertainment and fancy attire. (Tickets are $75.)