East Village is hands down my favourite neighbourhood in Calgary. Sorry, Inglewood. Yes, East Village has a storied past as a rough part of town, but it owns it and not only owns it, wears it as a badge of honour. Maintaining the historic buildings celebrates the history and significance of one of Calgary’s oldest hoods and provides a stunning contrast against modern condo complexes, hotels, and public art. Here is my guide to exploring East Village like a pro.
But first coffee.
Home to a butcher, a baker, and a coffeemaker, the former Simmons mattress factory turned culinary hot spot is an East Village staple. Start your morning with a coffee from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, Calgary’s first coffee roastery. Known to locals as Phil & Seb’s, they source beans in the most coffee growing regions in the world and roast them to perfection in-house. With a cuppa in hand, wander to Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, arguably the best bakery in town. Israelian-owned and operated, this bakery specializes in sourdough bread and Mediterranean-inspired sweet and savoury treats think shakshuka, berekas, but also bread pudding and cinnamon buns.
Now, we walk.
St. Patrick’s Island
You are fed and caffeinated, head over to St. Patrick’s Island for some fun in downtown Calgary’s 31-acre backyard. Home to hiking and biking trails, a kid’s playground, a fishing cove, seasonal beach to dip your toes and the Calgary Zoo. What more could you ask for? Throughout the summer they offer movies in the park, tot story time and food truck and DJ events. Pack a picnic, bring a bike, it’s fun for parents and kids alike. www.evexperience.com/patrick-island
Next, we shop.
Raise your hand if you like food trucks? Shopping? Now that I have your attention you have to check out EV Junction, Calgary’s First Food Truck Container Park, a collaboration between YYCFoodTrucks and East Village. Home to twelve local retailers from culinary treats to handmade jewelry, bike rentals to modern menswear and vintage clothing. Where else can you eat and shop in fluorescent coloured shipping containers?
Wait, there’s music?
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
Yes, the home of music in Canada is located in Calgary, Alberta. Kind of a big deal, right? Not only is this building an architectural masterpiece, but it’s also an inspiring place to spend a day. Designed to offer a music festival-like experience, do not expect to see a lot of “do not touch” signs, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Hop in a karaoke booth and sing along to Canadian classics, use your body as an instrument with the theremin, or listen to the iconic Kimball Theatre Organ play scores from silent movies. Check their events schedule for live music shows at the historic King Eddy. https://studiobell.ca/visit
Last, we treat
Owned by Douglas Gregory and Lauren Ahn, former pastry chefs from The French Laundry, yes, THE French Laundry in Napa Valley, California. Having this talented duo opening their first solo venture in Calgary is a big to do for our city. Their speciality– rolled jelly cakes in a variety of fun and fresh flavours like raspberry lime, matcha green tea, and blueberry, just to name a few. They also make fresh bread daily that is almost too beautiful to eat, almost. Mari Bakeshop is a must visit in Calgary, let alone East Village. www.instagram.com/maribakeshop
Also, check out,
Rooftop at The Simmons- Calgary’s most scenic rooftop patio with incredible views of the Bow River and downtown. The food, drink, and atmosphere are also tops.
BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat)
EV Experience partnered with three wellness brands to offer free workout classes three days a week. Yoga Tuesdays with Lululemon. HIIT Wednesdays with Live YYC. Barre Thursdays with Barre Body Studio. These classes bring together young professionals, expectant mothers, and students. Schedule available here.
Written by Kristyn Snell