By Valerie Berenyi
If you’re looking for a fun urban outing this weekend, and the sunny weather continues, go on an urban adventure through Inglewood. The historic neighbourhood is continually evolving, almost before our very eyes, and it’s full of gems.
A few weekends ago, some friends and I hit the ‘hood on our bicycles, checking out the new plantings along Calgary’s RiverWalk, the newish promenade that stretches along the Bow River into East Village. (While I’m still a bit sore about the removal of some mature poplar trees on the route, it’s wonderful to see new life blooming in the area, especially around the RiverWalk Plaza, which opened in June.)
In keeping with the healthy theme of our day (cycling and all), I enjoyed the diner’s European Breakfast: prosciutto-wrapped melon served with greens, a hard-poached egg and buttered toast ($14). It fueled the rest of our westward jaunt along 9th Avenue.
Our next stop was just across the street to Silk Road Spice Merchant, one of my all-time fave haunts, where I picked up some Red Alder Smoked Sea Salt— a luxe item that gives every dish you use it in a hit of smoky campfire. (It’s excellent on popcorn.) We also visited Sacred Journey Home & Garden Boutique. I’d gone by it many times and thought “super New Age,” but I was pleasantly surprised by the range of great stuff it carries. It’s your one-stop shop for Buddha-inspired statuary and quirky teak garden furniture, but there are also wood carvings from Thailand, beautiful linens and throw pillows, organic teas, jewelry, clothing and paintings by Canadian artists. (Unsurprisingly, Sacred Journey also has two locations in the Kootenays.)
Even more surprising was our visit to the Esker Foundation, a huge, privately funded, non-commercial art gallery that officially opened June 15th. The gallery serves as the cornerstone of the imposing Atlantic Avenue Art Block building on 9th Avenue; it also houses Critical Mass and Kasian Architects and Interior Designers. We weren’t sure if the new gallery was open on Sundays, so we peeked into the atrium. It alone is worth a look because it contains an impressive sculpture by Calgary artists Chris Cran and Gord Ferguson—soaring stainless steel beams that are built into a airy glass staircase.
Turns out, the second floor gallery was open, and even before we tasted the art found within, we reveled in the gorgeous interior space, designed by Kasian. Most striking is the nest-like meeting space that hovers above the first gallery space.
Here’s what it looks like inside the futuristic “nest,” lit by coloured lights.
Once we were able to turn our attentions from the interior design to the art found within, we were delighted by the range of work. Unfortunately, the grand opening exhibition we saw, “The New Alberta Contemporaries,” focusing on 44 of our province’s emerging artists, is now closed.
Currently, there’s an exhibition of works—drawings and large-scale abstract canvases—by Landon Mackenzie. a Vancouver artist and professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Definitely worth a visit. Click here to see her work.
Out again onto 9th Avenue, we made one final stop at Espy, where the men in our group nabbed some 70 percent off sale items. We stuffed the goods into our bicycle baskets and rode home, completely sated.