Alluring Alberta: Exploring the Wild Rose Country

By , on May 23, 2014


Skyscrapers of Calgary. Dolce Vita / ShutterStock
Skyscrapers of Calgary. Dolce Vita / ShutterStock

As of January 2014, roughly 4, 082, 571 people call Alberta home. It is the most populous of Canada’s three Prairie Provinces.

Named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, Alberta boasts of rolling mountains, turquoise lakes, and lush steppes worthy of the crown.

From kicking back to hiking up, locals and visitors will find something to fulfill their fancy while in the “Wild Rose Country.”

 

The majestic Lake Louise. Club4Traveler / ShutterStock
The majestic Lake Louise. Club4Traveler / ShutterStock

Lake Louise

Also named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Lake Louise tops the list of Albertan attractions on most travel websites.

The largest lake in the country is home to several ski resorts along its 4,200-acre “skiable” terrain.

Lake Louise also caters to those looking for less strenuous activities. Visitors can ride a gondola to enjoy the beautiful view of the Rockies. Just make sure you don’t tip the boat—the water is absolutely freezing.

 

Banff Hot Springs

The waters in Lake Louise may be cold, but those in search of warmer freshwater can head off to Banff Upper Hot Springs. Opened to the public in 1932, tourists can enjoy the warm mineral spring at the height of 1,585 meters.

 

Lake Agnes Teahouse. Jeff Mitchell / www.therealbanff.com
Lake Agnes Teahouse. Jeff Mitchell / www.therealbanff.com

Lake Agnes Teahouse

Travel website Lonely Planet posted, “You thought the view from Lake Louise was good? Wait till you get up to this precariously perched alpine-style teahouse that seems to hang in the clouds beside ethereal Lake Agnes and its adjacent waterfall.”

Located about 3km uphill from Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Agnes Teahouse offers 100 different types of loose leaf tea—a selection well-loved by tourists looking for warmth and comfort.

Aside from offering more affordable culinary options compared to nearby upscale accommodations, the Teahouse website reads: “all items are baked by hand using natural ingredients and cooked in our propane oven. The baker starts work at 6:30 am to bake our daily selection of sweets, soup and bread. Fresh supplies for baking and sandwiches are trucked in from Calgary and carried in by staff almost every day.”

 

Maligne Lake. Expose / ShutterStock
Maligne Lake. Expose / ShutterStock

Maligne Lake at Jasper National Park

Best known for Spirit Island, Maligne Lake quickly comes to mind with the mention of the great Canadian Rockies. It is the second largest glacier-fed lake in the world. Pines surround its aquamarine waters and the snowcapped mountains complete the picture as a majestic backdrop.

Visit between May to October to enjoy the boat tour and marvel at the three glaciers surrounding the lake.

 

Summer Festivals of Edmonton

They wouldn’t call Edmonton “Canada’s Festival City” if it weren’t for world-class celebrations all year round, which grow even more extravagant during the summer months.

Make sure to drop by for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. These events attract an average of 500,000 spectators every year from all over the world—all coming together to witness over 1,000 performers also from all over the world.

 

Calgary Stampede. Steve Estvanik / ShutterStock
Calgary Stampede. Steve Estvanik / ShutterStock

Calgary Stampede

Locals and tourists flock to Calgary in July for the Calgary Stampede, dubbed by some  as “the richest outdoor rodeo in the world.”

Established in 1912, Calgary Stampede also conducts agricultural seminars, “horsemanship and sheep shearing demonstrations,” as well as games for thrill seekers.

The Stampede is quite a sight to behold—where else can you find so many cowboys in one place for ten days?

 

Lonely Planet staff and reviewers also recommended two unique foodie destinations. To keep the wild wild west theme going, check out Last Chance Saloon for an authentic and classic Western ambience. Just a 15-minute drive from Drumheller to Wayne will take you to the hangout of bikers, locals, and tourists alike.

Lonely Planet reads, “check out the mining relics, Brownie cameras, old cigarette tins, fully functioning band-box, and the brick that somebody tossed through the window circa 1913. The food (mains from $4.50) is almost an afterthought – bog-standard burgers with optional beans or fries – but it’ll fill you up and give you a little longer to ponder the unique offbeat atmosphere.”

Looking for some sweet fix? Lonely Planet suggests you brave the long queues and savor the rich baked goods from Duchess Bake Shop. They call Duchess “a destination cafe/bakery” for which one would “cross town to eat here – on foot in the snow if necessary” to enjoy delectable French pastries. As they say: when you’re traveling, do as the locals do. Just make sure you arrive early to avoid the crowd and to actually have a chance at getting your hands on some goodies.