Plazas and Malls
The largest shopping center downtown is Calgary Eaton Centre, on Stephen Avenue Walk at 4th Street SW. This center is linked to other plazas by the Plus 15 Walkway System. Other downtown shopping complexes are Eau Claire Market, at the entrance to Prince’s Island Park, where the emphasis is on fresh foods and trendy boutiques; TD Square, at 7th Avenue and 2nd Street SW; and The Bay, part of Alberta’s history with its link to the Hudson’s Bay Company. Uptown 17 is a strip of more than 400 retail shops, restaurants, and galleries along 17th Avenue SW. Kensington, across the Bow River from downtown, is an eclectic mix of specialty shops.
At Crossroads Market (1235 26th Ave. SE, 403/291-5208, Fri.–Sun. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) you’ll find rows and rows of local seasonal produce as well as prepared foods like the well-researched Simple Simon Pies. Crossroads is also known for its arts and crafts.
Camping Gear and Western Wear
Mountain Equipment Co-op (830 10th Ave. SW, 403/269-2420) is Calgary’s largest camping store. This massive outlet boasts an extensive range of high-quality clothing, climbing and mountaineering equipment (including a climbing wall), tents, sleeping bags, kayaks and canoes, books and maps, and other accessories. The store is a cooperative owned by its members, similar to the American REI stores, except that to purchase anything you must be a member (a once-only $5 charge).
Alberta Boot Co. (614 10th Ave. SW, 403/263-4605), within walking distance of downtown, is Alberta’s only Western-boot manufacturer. This outlet shop has thousands of pairs for sale in all shapes and sizes, all made from leather. Boots start at $250 and go all the way up to $1,700 for alligator hide. You’ll find Lammle’s Western Wear outlets in all the major malls and downtown on Stephen Avenue Walk. Another popular Western outfitter is Riley & McCormick, also on Stephen Avenue Walk (220 8th Ave. SW, 403/262-1556) and at the airport.
For topographic, city, and wall maps, as well as travel guides and atlases, Map Town (400 5th Ave. SW, 403/266-2241 or 877/921-6277, www.maptown.com, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.) should have what you’re looking for. Tech-savvy travelers will be impressed by the selection of GPS units and related software, as well as the scanning service, which allows you to have topo maps sent directly to your email inbox.
The suburb of Kensington, immediately northwest of downtown, is home to Pages (1135 Kensington Rd. NW, 403/283-6655, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Thurs.–Fri. until 9 p.m., and Sun. noon–5 p.m.), which offers a thoughtful selection of Canadian fiction and nonfiction titles.
Fair’s Fair (1609 14th St. SW, 403/245-2778, daily from 10 a.m.) is the biggest of Calgary’s secondhand and collector bookstores. Surprise, surprise, it’s remarkably well organized, with a solid collection of well-labeled Canadiana filling more than one room. Fair’s Fair has another large outlet in Inglewood (907 9th Ave. SE, 403/237-8156). On the north side of downtown, Aquila Books (826 16th Ave. NW, 403/282-5832) is a real gem, with one of the world’s best collections of antiquarian Canadian Rockies and mountaineering books.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition