The Most Beautiful Art Tour in Alberta takes place throughout the foothills southwest of Calgary. Three times a year, galleries and studios in the region open their doors to visitors. Around 10 galleries and studios are part of the next tour, happening Friday, Sept. 27 to Sunday, Sept. 29 to coincide with Alberta Culture Days. Here’s our sample itinerary for a self-guided Most Beautiful Art Tour road trip on Saturday, Sept. 28, with stops for food and attractions as well as art.
Start your day with breakfast at the café at the Saskatoon Farm near Okotoks (1), followed by a stroll through the garden centre (if you miss the official breakfast serving from 9 to 11 a.m., you can still get all day-breakfast items huevos rancheros and Dutch waffles). Then, head into Okotoks to check out Lineham House Galleries (2), an art gallery and collaborative space inside a 110-year-old historic home. Your final stop in town is the Okotoks Art Gallery (3), a Class A facility located in a historic Canadian Pacific Railway Station opened in 1929.
From Okotoks, head to Black Diamond and saddle up to the 90-year-old Black Diamond Hotel (4) to experience its rich history as a saloon and town landmark. Browse for a while at the eclectic Bluerock Gallery (5) in town before heading to Firebrand Glass Studios (6). Then detour slightly south of Black Diamond to Eversfield Ceramics (7), where you can appreciate the majestic beauty of horses alongside sculpture, pottery and ceramics. (Eversfield is one of our Made in Alberta Awards recipients.)
Next, head into neighbouring Turner Valley, where you can do a spirited tour of Eau Claire Distillery (8) and pick up a four-pack of EquineOx Mules to toast the end of your day of culture. If you’re hungry, stop by the Chuckwagon Cafe and Cattle Co. (9) next door for a next-level burger, before meandering into the nearby studio spaces of painters Mady Thiel-Kopstein and Susan Kristoferson (10).
Make sure to save time and energy for the final stop on your tour: the sprawling 80-acre Leighton Art Centre (11) near Millarville. Tour through the Centre’s art gallery and historical museum celebrating the legacy of painters A.C. Leighton and Barbara Leighton, before making the final drive back to Calgary.
For more information visit themostbeautifularttourinalberta.com.