Recently, the Canadians came down to San Francisco by storm to participate in an annual event they do in the Bay Area called Canada Media Marketplace. While I had hoped to spend an entire full day and evening visiting every single region, I wasn’t able to take it all in this year. After all, my experience in Canada so far has largely been Montreal, Quebec (20 years ago – so want to go back), and Vancouver more recently. In other words, it’s very limited and there’s so much I want to explore and see.
I learned about Churchill Wild, who has eco-lodges on the western coast of Hudson Bay where they offer safari style adventure travel packages to view polar bears in their natural habitat. All of their safaris are on the ground access while the guests stay at their remote lodges for packages that are about a week in duration. OKAY, this sounds amazing. Sign me up please.
They do polar bears, beluga whales, caribou migrations, other Arctic wildlife, fishing packages, Northern Lights, birding, summer & fall departures, and food & wine experiences. They tend to cater to the luxury adventure world travelers and are unique from any other polar bear tours offered anywhere in the world.
Then, there’s Calgary, a place I have always wanted to go…a close girlfriend I grew up with was born there so I heard about its greatness for years. Calgary hosted a “Calgary Night Out” during Canada Media Marketplace.
Highlights of Calgary’s Night Out menu from Calgary’s top chefs and music include:
- Pastries by Sidewalk Citizen Bakery
- Aviv FriedSmoked Duck Breast, Mushroom Risotto and Sous Vide Abalone by Rouge, Paul Rogalski
- Berkshire Pork Burger and Fries by Alley Burger Food Truck, Mike Batke
- Cold Steelhead Chowder by Model Milk, Justin Leboe
- Wild Caught Spot Prawns and Kusshi Oysters by Catch, Kyle Groves
- Demonstration of “toe-to-tail” culinary practices by CHARCUT Roast House Co-owner and Co-chef Connie DeSousa
- Assorted Sweets and Chocolate showpiece by Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire
- Bishwa PatiGourmet Coffee by Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters
- Drinks by Raw Bar, Colin TaitWild Rose Punch Canadian Spice Box Whisky, Raspberry Gum Syrup, Rose Water, Fresh Lemon and Orange YYC Energy DaisyPhil & Sebastian Coffee infused Canadian Spice Box Whisky, shaken with a Canadian Apple Cherry Shrub and Maple Syrup
Entertainment was presented by DJ RiceA pioneer of the electronic music scene, Mark Quan. AKA DJ Rice, who was born and raised in Calgary, has been spinning sweet sounds since the late 80s.
Additional Food Updates Worth Noting:
The Food Network’s EAT St. headlined its season-opener show with a look at Calgary’s street food. Championed by street-food fan, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and his new and forgiving bylaws were entrepreneurial eateries on the city’s streets. Fries ‘n Dolls, the Perogy Boyz and the famed Alley Burger Food Truck are among those that led the way in 2011 as street food pioneers with dozens more coming in 2012.
Alberta farmers and producers are joining its restaurant professionals and government to kick off the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance in 2012 aimed at drawing visitors through the region’s rich and authentic food-centric offers. Examples include agri-tourism adventures with visits to bison farms,learning the ins and outs of harvesting artichokes or hands-on ranching techniques. Downtown restaurants, pubs, markets, cafes, bakeries, drive-throughs, food festivals, street food vendors and specialty shops decorate Calgary’s historic neighbourhoods and main streets, like Stephen Avenue and 17th Avenue.
Calgary’s diverse music festivals bring both emerging and legendary independent acts to the city. At Sled Island, discover intimate and unique venues featuring local to international independents bands. Set in Prince’s Island Park, steps from the downtown be immersed in one of a kind collaborative performances unique to Calgary at the Calgary Folk Festival.
Cultural Festivals include Reggae Fest’s that heats up the city with a celebration of Caribbean culture. Calgary’s Global Fest features six nights of international global competitions and a showcase of the city’s ever changing multicultural communities. + The arts are celebrated at festivals like the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (one of the fastest growing expos of its kind) , the High Performa Rodeo (an international four week festival of the arts) and dynamic Film Festivals including the Calgary International Film Festival, Calgary Underground Film Festival and the Fairytales Film Festival.
Of course there were so many other regions represented and fun things to note…some of the hidden gems of Canada is on the list to explore.