I've been bringing my camera with me as we explore our new home in Calgary together. I wanted to share a few of our favourite things in Calgary with you. We have been thrilled with the off leash dog parks in Calgary and start every day with a dog park visit. Here are just a few of the YYC Gems we've visited lately.

We had a beautiful afternoon at High Park. We were extremely lucky to have it to ourselves to explore. The 2 acre rooftop of the Centre City Parkade located at 340 10 Ave SW has been turned into a colourful public space with socially distance picnic tables and lots of space to walk and take photos with the signs located throughout.

I went to the Alberta College of Art so the neighbourhood of Kensington will always feel like home to me. Some of my favourite spots are in Kensington including The New Forest pet shop. This beautifully curated shop is the most perfect place to buy unique gifts for dogs & cats. If you have a friend who just got a puppy this is the spot to put together a welcome gift bag. I've found Mabel's favourite coat there and on a recent trip this week this orange bandana seemed made for me. It's owned & operated by a husband and wife team who are really sweet so I love supporting their small business. Definitely a YYC gem in Calgary for anyone who loves pets.

The Regal Cat Cafe is a YYC Gem in Kensington. It's a beautiful cafe with a cat room that you can book a kitty visit in. The cats are all adoptable cats looking for their furever homes. If you are looking to adopt a cat this is an amazing way to meet and spend time with cats and hopefully find your match. If you love cats but aren't able to have any of your own the Regal Cat Cafe is an incredible way to get in those cat snuggles without the commitment of owning your own cat. Your kitty visit helps care for the cats and the time you spend with me helps them get socialized so they impress that special someone looking to adopt. I found it to be a blissful 30 minutes spending time with these sweet creatures. On the day I visited all 8 cats had already been adopted! How amazing is that?

The kitty room is such a beautiful space filled with lots of enrichment for the cats to enjoy. They can climb up onto the upper platforms if they need a break and there are lots of cozy corners for cat naps.

Like a lot of people who grew up in Calgary I have very fond memories of days spent at Heritage Park. It remains a magical place to visit. I was thrilled to get to spend a quiet afternoon wandering around with my camera.

For many of us who grew up in Calgary Butterfield Acres was a favourite Field Trip day. Kevin and I had an incredible couple of hours spending time with the animals. The baby goats were hilarious and highly entertaining.

I adore Crave Cupcakes and no visit to Kensington is complete for me without stopping in.

My favourite lunch spot is Peppino in Kensington. We've been going since our art school days and it remains one of my favourites. This family owned & operated spot still makes the best Italian fresh sandwiches and they have yummy options to take home to make dinner at home. I've always noticed the ficus tree growing in the front so I finally asked about. They told me they've had it for 30 years and it's probably about 40 years old!

Plant in Inglewood has brought me so much joy. When I lived in Canmore I would often drive into Plant for a "visual vacation". I find the space so inspiring and the staff is so welcoming and kind. I'm super excited to be able to visit more often to see the new plant offerings they bring in.

The owner's of Plant opened a little sister shop just a couple doors down called Recess. It has everything you need for your dream office, art studio and letter writing. There are shelves full of pens that you can test out to find the perfect one. Their sketchbook & notebook collections are incredible. Be sure to check out their workshops when they start up again. I frequently buy their stylish To Do lists to keep me organized.

Alanna introduced me to Rick Rack a new-to-me fabric shop in Inglewood just down from Plant and it has an incredible selection of inspiring fabrics. It's the perfect size because it has a big selection but it's not so big that I leave feeling overwhelmed with nothing in hand. It's the type of shop that will inspire you to set up your sewing machine as soon as you enter. Super friendly  & helpful staff.

Because I took a break from instagram I missed out on this YYC Gem and now I'm making up for lost time ;) . Kevin & I drove by Lil Empire Burger by accident one night in Bridgeland and thankfully we stopped to check it out. It instantly became our favourite place for burgers. Their hot melted cheese burgers with soft buns and crisp lettuce with the secret sauce is crave inducing. We may be going too often because the girl behind the counter knows my name....or she's just really good. :)

The sunny dog friendly patio with cafe lights is super sweet.

Walk across the street from Lil Empire Burger to Bridgeland Market.

Thankfully my Mum lives in Bridgeland which hosts a whole bunch of my favourite places so I have an excuse to stop in at the new Village Ice Cream often. When you walk inside you are greeted by the smell of their house made waffle cones.

Right next door you'll find the new Phil & Sebastian in Bridgeland. Often I'll get an ice cream and Kevin will get a coffee.

What I didn't know was that Phil & Sebastian began making their own donuts called Hoopla Donuts and they are AMAZING!!!

We first got to know Doodle Dogs when the sister & brother dynamic duo opened their 1st shop in Parkdale and we'd drive in to get our dogs treats. Our dogs are blissed out with the new dog treats that Doodle Dogs have introduced us to in their Bridgeland shop. Their staff is always super helpful and they have everything from harnesses, dog beds, treats, toys galore, leashes etc. Everything you need to get a puppy set up. I find following their instagram to be super helpful because they introduce new products there that I may have missed otherwise.

Thanks to Alanna for pointing us in the direction of Alumni for their spicy fried chicken sandwich. I was in love with the decor and the sandwich has earned it's fame. Not to be missed are the parmesan fries w/ garlic aioli! There were a lot of tempting sandwiches on the menu if we can get past the chicken sandwich.

Normally after 6 weeks I'm itching for a haircut and then covid hit. I'd only had 1 haircut in 1 year. I had a wedding coming up where I could no longer get away with wearing my toque to hide my homemade bang butchery and so I was thrilled to be able to get an appointment with the talented & lovely Alanna at Johnny's Barbershop. I left feeling in awe of the power of a good haircut in making you feel human again. Their beautiful sunlit space with comfy barber chairs put me at ease.

Lina's Italian Market was a favourite stop in the NE for many years. We were amazed to learn about the new Lina's Italian Supermercato near our home. It is a HUGE Italian market with an incredible selection of food and drinks you can't get anywhere else. The products are visually beautiful and inspire you to want to cook at home. They make it easy with portioned ingredients to make pizza at home. The selection and variety of cheeses and meats is staggering. The perfect place to create a special basket for someone who just moved. We also love their lunch & dinner options that are made there for you. Their pizza is amazing! My favourite pizza in Calgary.

Hello

Hello my name is Kirstie and I am a wedding photographer who specializes in photographing weddings & elopements in Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise & Emerald Lake. I’ve been photographing mountain weddings since 2004 and feel very lucky to call this place home. I live in Canmore with my husband Kevin and our 3 rescue dogs Mabel, Olive & Bandit.

Kirstie