Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Visit Inglewood, in Calgary

on January 16, 2013

Inglewood is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Calgary. It has everything! It has ambiance (in places), it has characters (inInglewood places)… it’s got high-end and low-end… Harley Davidson shops and candle shops…art shops, clothing boutiques, cupcake stores, health food store for pets, bead shops… and restaurants galore!

This is the first place I lived when I moved to Calgary.  I loved it so much, we rented a basement suite for years, because we couldn’t afford to buy a house there, and didn’t want to leave.

AND, it was kind of a bad neighborhood back then – with the potential to be trendy, if a little bit of clean up was done.  And done it was!

Now it’s a neighborhood for strolling, and window shopping, and spending all day visiting friends in a wine bar, and then going to look at retro fashion, or replenishing your herbs and spices collection.

Apparently, Inglewood was established in 1875, the very year the NorthWest Mounted Police (now the RCMP) were assigned to the area. In 1876, the post was renamed Fort Calgary, and became “the City of Calgary” in 1894.Fort Calgary

The original “Fort Calgary” is now a historical site, open for tours, with an admission fee (currently $12 for adults and various fees for children and students.) (Is it obvious that Fort Calgary is attached to Inglewood? I guess I better clarify.)
Fort Calgary

Just on the other side of the bridge from Fort Calgary, and on the Inglewood side, is The Deane House, built in 1906.  Captain Richard Deane, the superintendent of Fort Calgary, built it for his wife, Martha. (Unfortunately, she died before she arrived in Calgary.)Deane House

In 1978, the Deane House was made a historic resource, and is operated by the Fort Calgary Preservation Society.

The Deane House hosts a Murder Mystery dinner, and has a menu for lunch and dinner, too.  The layout of the house is probably like it was originally built (although I’m just guessing) – when we were last there (for a Mystery Dinner), we were escorted through a few smaller rooms, till we got to our own cozy room, which could easily have been one of the original dining rooms. It’s a beautiful house.

On the opposite end of 9th Avenue (which is the main road through Inglewood), is the Blackfoot Truck Stop – the opposite end of  and the opposite ambiance. The Truck Stop is a typical diner from sometime in the past (I waBlackfoot Truck Stopnt to say the 50’s…maybe the 70’s…)  Do you remember that show, Alice? with Flo, in Mel’s Diner? (1976-1985).  That’s this place. They even wear pink uniforms.

The best diner food EVER!  burgers with any topping, French fries, meringue pies, milk shakes, corn beef hash, bacon and eggs with pancakes… and I don’t think they have a “breakfast until 10am” rule. You can order whatever you want to order, whenever you want to order it.

Between the Deane House and the BlackfoHose and Houndot Truck Stop are so many restaurants! I was going through the list  and on almost all of them, I could say, “Oh we’ve eaten there – it was really good!” The best thing to do is either 1) review the list online and pick, or just wander down 9th, and pick randomly.  (I can’t even narrow it down, but often, I end up at the Hose & Hound (the old Fire Station, serving pub food),  Salt & Pepper (Mexican food), and Without Papers (pizza).  I don’t mean to exclude, though – there’s so many that I love!)

Even though we don’t live there anymore, I’m in the neighborhood all the time.

In fact, tomorrow, I have to go pick up Daisy & Coco’s dogfood (they are on a raw food diet… I tried to make it myself, originally, and I’ve got to tell you – it was SO GROSS!! I’m still traumatized! SO DISGUSTING!! I’d MUCH rather Tail Blazersbuy it. Besides – it’s professionally made, so they (hopefully) have it all mastered as to the proportions of vegetables and fruit to meat..)  I buy the food at this cute little health food store for pets – called Tail Blazers. There are (at least) three in Calgary, and I’m sure that the owners are just as wonderful at each place, but I love the person who owns the one in Inglewood, Milena. Not only does she know everything (at least everything I ask), but she’s so nice and friendly, and never rushed.

My other favorite place is the Silk Road Spice Merchant. As they explain in their website, “we grind our own spices to ensure they are never sitting for months in a warehouse. All of our spice blends are hand-mixed and have been developed, tested, andSilk Road Spices perfected by us. We mix them using fresh ingredients, and we don’t bulk them up with cheap fillers like salt. You will be amazed at the difference in freshness and flavour compared to most commercial spice blends.”  And, it’s true! I kept my old oregano just so I can do “scent” tests ~ comparing my old chain-grocery store brand with my Silk Road brand – you canNOT believe the difference!!   (And, the price is about the same – but since you don’t have to use as much, the value outweighs the price.)

Around the time I discovered the Silk Road Spice Market, my mother-in-law told us (thriftily and happily) that she still had some herbs and spices that she used from BEFORE Peter was born!! (I’m can’t tell you how old he is, but I can tell you that is TOO OLD for herbs and spices!!)   I went through her collection and replaced them all.  (We had to warn her that 1) she was not allowed to use up her old stuff before she started her new herbs & spices – she had to throw out the old; and 2) she had to be cautious about how she used them – in that she didn’t need to use the same amounts to get flavor).Fuschia velveteen

I spent HOURS in a little store called “Pretty Little Things“, and could’ve spent more time there, but after I bought my knee-length fuchsia velveteen coat with its polka dot sleeves, I realized I had to leave.  If you have will-power though, you MUST go in.

And, finally, my favorite go-to place is Zyn, the Wine Market.  They know everything and they can find everything, and if they don’t have it already, they can make a better recommendation! Also, they aren’t snobby – but they do know their wines, and they are informative and friendly.

I could go on and on and on – I’ve skipped so many gooOld and newd places… I’m sorry to those I skipped. http://www.calgary-inglewood.com/Home-New

On another topic – the Ice Magic Festival starts this Friday (January 18)!  We’re hoping to go – you may seem some blog about it in the future.  In the meantime,  Sunday, I think we’re going to Michigan!

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