With its mountains and forests, Calgary is perfect for camping, cycling, walking, and climbing. If souvenir shopping time is limited, here is a list of great souvenirs to speedily purchase to take home for family and friends! If you have some time to spare, there are several great shopping districts to explore – each with its character. Fourth Street in Mission – for example – has the nickname ‘the living room of the community’ as it has lots of excellent home décor and kitchen equipment shops.
Calgary Farmers’ Market is the largest of several and has a great choice of home-made foods and preserves, handicrafts and artwork. The Crossroads Market is the largest indoor/outdoor market that runs all year round and is situated in an impressive building that dates back to the 1920s. Inglewood is the historic part of the community with numerous lovely boutiques and antique shops. 17th Avenue is nicknamed ‘the Red Mile’ and is known for its trendy boutiques. Part of 17th Street is known as ‘International Avenue’ as it has a great variety of cultural food stores where you can try different foods, whilst Kensington is the area with more hip stores and street cafés. Stephen Avenue Walk (8th Avenue SW) is a lovely pedestrianized street that is perfect for a wander as it is lined with elegant historic buildings housing shops, galleries, and restaurants.
If you enjoy shopping malls, there are several with the Chinook Centre being the most impressively sized with 250 shops, three major department stores and one of the busiest movie theatres in the whole of North America!
1. Choose some designer clothing
There are some specialist shops stocking stylish designer clothes from both Canadian and international designers. The great thing is that you don’t have to be a ‘bean pole’ as these are ‘real’ clothes for ‘real’ people and are available in a variety of sizes. One of the best places to explore is the Espy Experience store on 9th Avenue or if you are after up-to-the-minute fashions, head for 17th Avenue.
2. Grab some great coffee beans
The name Coffee Bean Calgary Heritage Roasting Company is a name that is synonymous with great coffee! You can buy the beans ready-roasted or green beans that you can roast yourself and these come with instructions for roasting on the barbecue or in the oven – why not promise yourself and your friends great coffee with a few bags of Calgary Heritage Coffee?
3. Buy a tea towel or two
These can seem a fairly mundane souvenir, but in reality, they will bring back countless memories of your trip to Calgary each time you look at them! There are various designs available, depicting well-known buildings, popular walks, etc. and they make the perfect souvenir as they are flat and easy to pack!
4. Opt for some Brassica mustard
Canada is one of the largest producers of mustard seeds and certainly, if you have had the chance to try some brassica mustard, you will have discovered what a taste explosion it causes in your mouth! The mustard is made with mustard seeds and comes in various flavors including black pepper, cranberry, dill, horseradish, and roasted garlic – why not pack a few jars?
5. Treat yourself to some vanilla latte almond butter
It has to be said that vanilla latte almond butter thickly spread on fresh bread or toast is irresistible! There are various natural butter spreads available but this one is the king! It is a wonderful blend of roasted almonds, espresso coffee, and maple syrup and is delicious for a speedy snack.
6. Browse in the Reworks upcycle shop
You will be amazed at the eclectic range of goods this clever shop stocks and if you are searching for a quirky, original gift, you are sure to find it here! The company’s birdhouse is the perfect example as it is made from recycled wood with an old car license plate for a roof!
7. Be tempted with sweets from Calgary!
There are six different sweet shops to explore in Calgary including three excellent chocolatiers! They all offer stylish boxes of home-made chocolates that as Coppeneur Chocolatier advertises its fantastic tasting ‘from bean to bar’ chocolate. Purdy’s is a really good Vancouver-based chocolate company that also has a branch in Calgary.
8. Get yourself an authentic hat!
If you have ever coveted an authentic cowboy hat (Stetson), now is your chance to buy one! There are several skilled hat makers in Calgary, but the best known is Smithbilt. Smithbilt started making hats one hundred years ago in 1919. Its most popular hat is the ‘Calgary White Hat’ which is viewed locally as a symbol of hospitality, but its Stetson is available in several different colors if you prefer. Each hat is hand made by local craftsmen using top quality felt. The company has strong ties with the film industry and has supplied Stetson for many well-known films – so you will be in good company!.
Of course, you don’t have to stop with buying the hat as several shops are selling beautifully made leather cowboy boots and belts that are available in various shades and decorated with hand-painted motifs, studs, and fringing. A popular stockist for all western gear is Riley & McCormick in Stephen Avenue Walk.
9. Taste some grizzly Gouda!
Sylvan Star Grizzly Gouda is a real ‘must taste’ as it is an award-winning cheese. This Gouda has an intense, nutty flavor that is gained from nearly two year’s maturing time and is a satisfying taste at any time of the day. Other foodie gifts from Calgary include delicious maple syrup and saskatoon berry jam and pie filling.
10. Plump for some Black Cloud Bitters
Although the Black Cloud Bitters Company has only been in operation for about two years, it already has an impressive following! There are five different labels in its range including the favorite – Black & Blue which is a great tasting drink, made from a mixture of ginger, vanilla, cacao, and berries. Prairie Rose has a very different flavor as it is made with an infusion of rose petals. Black Cloud Bitters are widely available in Calgary’s various liqueur stores.