Dear my disappointing Calgary,
Let me begin by saying I really wanted to like you. I had heard from too many people that you, basically, sucked. I wanted to prove them wrong. But then you snowed. In September. I arrived on a warm Sunday afternoon, your sun making me sweat as I tried to unsuccessfully find my way to my hostel (I got the right train in the end, thanks).
You fell 24 degrees in 24 hours. How is that even meteorologically possible? You left this traveller with a carry-on suitcase of summer clothing sad and freezing her ass off. But I had only one day to see the real you, so I sucked it up and set off to explore you, Calgary.
My first pit-stop was Olympic Plaza was just a measly fountain in the middle of concrete. City workers were covering your prettiness, the flower baskets, with plastic to protect them from the extremes. I took a photo of your but knew heading up there would be futile as the snow cover was too deep.– an enclosed shopping mall in your outskirts a few train stops away from my accommodation. I felt such relief when I entered her doors as I had been peltered with a mixture of rain and snow my umbrella couldn’t withstand as I made my way from the train station to the centre – why are they not closer together? I went to work finding a sweater, which I snapped up at H&M. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the warmth for a little while, so wandered around before bundling up as much as possible (including smothering my neck in a scarf I had borrowed from a girl in my hostel room) and I went into your city centre, preparing to be dazzled. But disappointing Calgary, you were a ghost town. There was no one downtown.
I wandered down the Stephen Avenue Walk, supposedly your epicentre, but found myself the only pedestrian in the vicinity (probably because everyone else was smart enough to not go walking around you in a shitty snow storm). Then I looked it up online and supposedly 5 to 10 000 people walk through there every hour during peak times. LIES!
Just to make myself feel even better, your snow decided to fall even more heavily. I could feel my umbrella struggling against the wind and the minuscule snow balls hurtling towards it. My hands froze from the elements so I found my next reprieve in TD Square: the Core Shopping Centre and
I had lunch in the warmth of the food court and wandered around the inside garden. There were a few people at the many two-seater tables throughout, working on their computers or reading a book. I liked the idea of the undercover oasis, especially since your residents had to suffer through a real Canadian winter.
I pushed myself to visit two more of your attractions: and the both which completely underwhelmed me. The market seemed full of cheap knock-off products and the latter I felt like I was intruding when I stepped inside. I expected more from you, Calgary. I wanted more from you. I wanted you to sweep me off my feet. But you didn’t.
I gave up on you soon after because my umbrella was still unable to cope with the snowfall, my hands were freezing and my nose would not stop running away. I retreated to my accommodation,
I will admit that this place was your greatest achievement – across the road from the Stampede and Victoria Park train platform, with free laundry and breakfast. It was a small room for an 8 person dorm, but it meant we all became fast friends, which isn’t so bad.Oh Calgary, maybe if we met another day at another time, when it wasn’t white outside and the sky were blue and the sun shining. But I don’t know if this will happen for us. I’m sorry we didn’t work out, but it wasn’t me – it was all you, my disappointing Calgary.
Tell me your disappointing city stories in the comments below!