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Have We Forgotten How to Eat Together?

provided by Presidents’ Choice® 

Eating together – we’ve done it since the beginning of time, when hunters and gatherers shared their spoils. Kids eat together on the playground, and college students dine in shared dorm rooms, but as we get older and take on day jobs, are we still eating together?

Apparently, not so much. A recent national survey commissioned by President’s Choice® found that although Canadians spend significantly less time eating meals with friends and family compared to screen time, there is still a desire to spend more time at the table.

With technology becoming more accessible than ever and permeating our everyday lives, it’s important to take the time to put that mobile phone or tablet down, to enjoy the company around you. Research has shown on average, almost 1 in 3 Canadians (29%) are spending more than 4 hours of their free time engaging with screens each day! Additionally, when people eat together, they see each other as equals and connect with one another.

The simple act of regularly sharing a meal with friends and family can provide numerous benefits and contribute to a healthy lifestyle including the formation of healthy eating habits, early childhood development and building stronger interpersonal relationships.  In fact for the first time since its inception, Canada’s Food Guide, released in early 2019,  encourages Canadians to cook more often and eat meals with others in an effort to instill healthy eating habits.

Much like the recommendations in Canada’s new Food Guide, President’s Choice® has been on a mission to bring Canadians back to the table to Eat Together.  For three years, President’s Choice® has been committed to bringing Canadians back to the table to share a meal with many Canadians participating to date.

President’s Choice® is encouraging Canadians to take the pledge this year to Eat Together at and donate to PC® Children’s Charity™. Every pledge will also receive a  $1.00* donation to the PC® Children’s Charity™ to help children in Canada eat together with their friends and families.

About the President’s Choice® Survey:

From Wednesday, December 12, 2018 to Thursday, December 13, 2018, an online survey of 1,510 randomly selected adult Canadians who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

Things To Do Around Town

The end of January and (let’s face it) the entire month of February can feel like a bit of a drag – but it doesn’t have to be! We have some great activity suggestions all around the city to get you out of the house and enjoying the snowy weather.

Silver Springs 13th Annual LEGO Competition
Jan 26; Silver Springs Community Centre hosts its 13th annual LEGO Competition! The public viewing is from 12Noon to 2pm. Drop by and view the awesome entries! Try out the speed-build competition. Free admission. If you are interested in entering the competition, call 403-288-2616.

Dive-In Movie at Southland Leisure Centre
Jan 26; Experience the movies like never before! Come settle in for a night at the movies in the water park. Lounge poolside or watch from the water. You’ll enjoy a great film and an even better time with friends, family, and neighbors. Concession and popcorn will be available. There will also be nightly door prizes. All ages welcome. For movie titles and more information, visit the Facebook page.

Mad Science Planets & Moons Workshops
Multiple dates; Brought to you by The Calgary Public Library, presented by Mad Science. Join Mad Science and explore the solar system by impersonating the planets to compare their sizes and distances from the sun. Learn the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse and how space probes harness the gravity of distant planets to use less fuel. Build and keep a Mad Science® Gravity Assisted Launcher! Suitable for ages 6 to 12. Spaces are limited. To register, visit the Calgary Public Library website.

Family Valentine’s Crafts & Cookies at Southland Leisure Centre
Feb 14; Two activity times available: 9:30 to 11:30am & 6:30 to 8:30pm. Celebrate family month and Valentine’s at Southland! Make some Valentine’s crafts for your family and friends, and enjoy some light refreshments.

Family Fun Fest at Granary Road
Feb 16 and 17; Family Fun Fest at Granary Road won’t be one to miss! Join for a memorable weekend with lots of activities to share and join in on with friends and family. With games such as bean bag toss and Jenga, from skating (don’t forget your skates) to shuffleboard on the pond, hot cider and marshmallow roasting, wagon rides and furry friends, there is something for the whole family! Make sure to check out the market. Don’t forget your camera.

FISHtival! at Bow Habitat Station
Feb 16; Kick off Alberta’s Family Fishing Weekend with free outdoor family fun and reduced admission to the Discovery Centre. Visit Investigation Stations to learn about Alberta’s fish, wildlife, and winter recreation! Investigation stations are open from 10am to 4pm. Last admission to the Discovery Centre at 3:30pm. Outdoor Fun: Snowshoeing; Predator-Prey Game; Marshmallow Roasting; Magnetic Ice Fishing Game; Casting Practice. Indoor Fun: Fly Tying with the Hook ’n’ Hackle Club and Family Fishy Games. Please leave strollers at home or in your vehicle during the event. Due to ongoing renovations of the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery, none of the investigation station activities will take place in the fish hatchery. $5 admission.

Family Day Weekend Activities at Southland Leisure Centre
Feb 17; 3pm – 5pm. The whole family is welcome to this special Family Day Weekend for Indoor Rock Climbing and Gymnastics Drop-In!

Annual Fun’derful Family Day Celebration at Trico Centre for Family Wellness
Feb 18; 10am to 2pm. Join Trico and Shine FM on Family Day for their Family Day celebration! Join for YYC Princess appearances, Glamorgan’s Bakery Cookie Station, KLM’s Musical Instrument Zoo, discounted Family Leisure Swim ($5 per adult and $2 per child), free admission to Family Leisure Skate, Nerf Wars, Arts & Crafts, and more!

Fantastic Family Fair and Skate at Village Square Leisure Centre
Feb 20; 6pm to 8pm. Come out and enjoy fun games and activities. Bring your skates and helmet for a free skate. This event in partnership with Hand in Hand Parent Link Centre.

Calgary Folk Music Festival’s 4th Annual Block Heater Festival
Feb 21 to 23; Calgary Folk Music Festival’s 4th Annual Block Heater festival, presented by ATB, is a magical weekend of concerts and collaborative sessions held at Festival Hall, Studio Bell, the King Eddy, and the new Central Library. Featuring Ashley MacIssac, Basia Bulat, DJ Logic, The Handsome Family, Matt Mays, Pokey LaFarge, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, The Wet Secrets, plus many more! For full schedule lineup and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Toboggan Safety

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) would like to remind parents and children of some basic toboggan/sledding safety tips as the winter season continues. Injuries may result from collisions with stationary objects on the hill, such as trees or rocks, or even collisions with other people. Unprotected falls can also result in more serious injury if you lose control at high speeds. However, everyone can be safe and have fun on the toboggan hill by following these simple reminders.


  • Always ensure your toboggan or sledding device is in good repair. Inspect it for any damaged or missing parts before each use;
  • Be certain the operator is fully capable of staying in control of the sled at all times;
  • Children should wear a certified, properly fitted helmet designed for other high impact sports such as hockey, cycling, or climbing.


  • Avoid hills that are too steep or too icy;
  • Choose hills free of all obstacles such as trees, rocks, utility poles,
    or fences;
  • Beware of loose scarves or clothing containing drawstrings which could present a strangulation hazard if they become caught or snagged.

Plan ahead

  • Dress warmly in layers and anticipate weather changes;
  • Consider bringing extra sets of gloves and toques to exchange wet garments for dry ones;
  • Take breaks, out of the cold, to warm up;
  • Ensure frostbite hasn’t affected any exposed skin;
  • Even when properly protected from the elements, the finger tips, toes, ears, the tip of the nose, and other high points on the face such as the forehead and cheek bones can be affected by frostbite;
  • If frost bite has occurred, treat it by first removing the individual out of the cold environment;
  • Gently warm the affected skin by placing a warm hand over it, or by placing the affected part in warm, not hot, water, until re-warmed.


Provided by the City of Calgary

When the holiday season ends, and the dead of winter sets in, there is an inevitable gloominess that typically hits most families. The bored looks. The cranky behavior. The lack of patience. The constant irritability… The symptoms are easy to diagnose. It’s cabin fever.

This winter, don’t let everyone stay trapped in the house. Find new ways to spend more quality time with your family, starting with The City of Calgary’s aquatic facilities, leisure centres and arenas.

With two wave pools, seven public skating arenas and 12 pools in Calgary, The City’s recreation facilities provide fun and affordable family drop-in activities that are close to home. Choose between swimming, skating, shinny hockey, badminton, basketball and even rock climbing! Best part is, these drop-in activities won’t break your budget. The City offers a special family admission rate at their recreation facilities for one low price. Even better, kids two and under are free.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Protect yourself against cabin fever this winter. Find an activity that fits your family at


The days in December are short – but the nights are full of twinkling lights! Bundle up and enjoy some of the many wonderful light displays all across the foothills.

Residential Christmas Light Displays
One of our family traditions every year is to get Peters’ milkshakes and visit the many beautiful community displays! If your family goes over and above to decorate each year or if you’d like to find the best residential displays near you, check out the Lighten Up Calgary website.

23rd Annual Airdrie Festival of Lights.
Join for the 23rd season of the Airdrie Festival of Lights! There is no charge to attend, and parking is always free. Enjoy a hot chocolate or ride the trains for $2 and warm up by the fire! Donations graciously accepted. Santa Visits takes place December 1, 4, 11, 18, 22, and 23 from 7 to 8pm. New this year, the 12 Days of Christmas display grouping and Kids’ Only Shopping Experience. Check the website for event details, and more. Website.

Legacy Christmas Light Parade 2018
Legacy’s 4th Annual Christmas Light Parade is back! With over 120,000 lights, all December, Legacy will be lit up with lights for you and your family to enjoy. It is free for anyone to come drive through the community or come out and walk through the tunnels of lights. The public parks, as well as over 20 Show Homes in the community, have been decorated for Christmas! Come enjoy the many lights and displays and join the Legacy. Website.

32nd Annual Lions’ Festival of Lights
The 32nd Annual Lions’ Festival of Lights will illuminate Confederation Park Golf Course along 14 Street NW again this holiday season from December 1 to January 8. Drive by Calgary’s largest Free Christmas light showcase nightly between 6pm and midnight or take the family for a sled ride through the park amongst the 450,000+ bulbs! The Grand Opening event, complete with fireworks, will be held on December 1 at 5pm. Website.

ZOOlights at the Calgary Zoo
ZOOLIGHTS: The glow starts with you. ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company, is back with more holiday cheer, festive spirit, and family fun than ever! Come experience how 2+ million lights, 200 displays, crackling fire pits, and fun-filled activity zones (with many new additions!) transform the Zoo into a magical winter wonderland. Most magical of all is its ability to bring friends and family together during the holiday season! To purchase tickets to ZOOlights, visit the website.

Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows
Visit Spruce Meadows for a beautiful two kilometre drive through the grounds while you stay warm and toasty in your car! Enjoy over a quarter of a million lights in their roadside displays. It’s the perfect choice if it’s a little too cold outside to wander around.

Cochrane Light Up Parade of Lights
Cochrane Light Up is proud to bring the first annual Parade of Lights to Cochrane! Visit main street on December 8th from 6-7pm for an evening of amazing floats, and free family fun for the entire town! Don’t miss face painting and special guests for all spectators to enjoy!

Do you have more magical light displays to tell us about? Email us at with the details!

Save Your Holiday With The New PC® Insiders Collection™

Content provided by President’s Choice®; use your best judgement and choose what is right for your family.

The holidays are the most magical time of the year, but with the high expectations we often put on ourselves to impress, it can also be a stressful season especially when you need to think about meal prepping for the family and kids!

In fact, according to a recent survey by President’s Choice®, more than two-thirds of Canadians (67%) want to show their love towards family and friends by putting in a lot of effort in the kitchen over the holidays. That said, all of that effort is leaving over half of us feeling spent! 51% of Canadians agree that all of the holiday prep work leaves them feeling exhausted.

This year, the PC® Insiders Collection™ for Holiday is making it easier than ever for Canadians to spend less time prepping and more time enjoying. Although messing with the “mains” is probably not an option, we believe some shortcuts are necessary to give you more time to spend with family and friends. From delicious appetizers that you pop in the oven to sweet treats that you simply place on a platter, this year’s PC® Insiders Collection™ for Holiday is full of products that are quick and easy to serve.

You can find all the delicious products from the collection online. To name a few, this season’s Must Try products feature:

There are also several new Holiday recipes to go with these great new products, including:

  • Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Cream Lemon Butter Sauce featuring PC® Gnocchi with Butternut Squash Potato Dumplings
  • Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Prosciutto Chips featuring PC® Asparagus Spears and PC® Memories Of Eggs Benedict Hollandaise Sauce
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noel featuring PC® Crunchy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
  • Maple Bourbon Cider Mule featuring PC® Honeycrisp Sweet Apple Cider and PC® Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer

Check them out online and ease your holiday prep!

Cold Weather Safety from Calgary EMS

Minus temperatures are here again – do you know what to do in the case of cold injury/illness?

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics respond to a number of cold weather related emergencies every winter. However, by taking appropriate measures to dress properly, anticipate sudden weather changes and preparing to be out in the cold, may reduce your risk of sustaining a cold weather illness/injury. It’s also advised you store an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times containing extra clothing, blankets and other road-side supplies.


  • Frost-nipped skin is extremely cold, but not yet frozen skin;
  • It commonly affects the ears, nose, cheeks, fingers and toes;
  • The skin may look red and possibly feel numb to the touch;
  • When treated promptly, frostnip usually heals without complication;
  • Move to a warm environment and immediately, but gently, re-warm the affected area through skin to skin contact (i.e. hand covering tips of ears).


  • Frostbite occurs when skin becomes so cold, the skin and underlying tissues freeze;
  • Affected skin may look white & waxy and will feel hard to the touch;
  • Move to a warm environment immediately and place the affected area in warm, not hot, water, until fully re-warmed; call 9-1-1, or seek further
    medical attention as required.


  • Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature, less than 34°C (as compared
    to normal body temperature of about 37°C);
  • Early hypothermia may manifest as profound shivering; moderate hypothermic patients may act inappropriately: stumbling, mumbling, and fumbling, as their body temperature continues to drop resulting in severe hypothermia (30°C);
  • Left untreated, severe hypothermia may progress to unconsciousness or death;
  • Early recognition and prompt medical attention is key. Call 9-1-1. Don’t forget to
    protect yourself from the factors that originally lead to the patient’s situation;
  • Initiate gentle re-warming as quickly as possible. Remove any wet or constrictive
    clothing; cover with blankets, or sleeping bags. Protect from further heat loss:
    eliminate contact with cold surfaces, and shield from wind and moisture.

Halloween Haunts and Autumn Fun in Calgary!

October is one of our very favorite months of the year – it’s packed full of autumn and Halloween fun! Bundle up and enjoy some of these great family activities in the foothills region.

Halloween Haunts

Thrill Calgary 2018 Thriller Dance Flash Mob
Our 2018 Thrill Calgary event will take place on Saturday October 6th. The event starts at 2:30pm in Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary. After the dance, we’ll join hundreds of other zombies to walk the streets of YYC in Calgary’s Annual Zombie Walk event. Memorize as much of the dance as you can, using our YouTube lessons. You don’t need to know it perfectly or completely to join in. Although it’s not required, almost all of our participants dress up for the event. Copy a zombie look from the iconic Thriller video or create your own. Remember, it’s free to participate in the Zombie Walk after the flash mob. Check the website for more information.

Harvest Pumpkin Hunts at Butterfield Acres
Off you will go on the tractor-pulled hay wagon, rolling through the crunchy Fall leaves just hoping to find some kid-sized pumpkins! Once you find the pumpkins, you’ll bring them back and decorate them into creative pumpkin-head masterpieces! While the glue dries, enjoy a visit with your favorite animal friends in the farmyard! Your visit includes hunting time, pumpkin-decorating (no carving), and a farmyard visit with the animals! Each child takes home their very own pumpkin masterpiece. Ready to order your tickets? Visit the website to purchase tickets and for more information!

Halloween Fun at Cobb’s Adventure Park
Fridays & Saturdays in October. Lights Out at Cobb’s Adventure Park. Make your way through the corn maze in the dark – with nothing but your flashlight! Enjoy the bonfire and creep tractor ride, too! Suitable for all ages, Field of Screams features 4 nightmare-inducing haunted houses and the new Cornfield of Terror: a cemetery maze in a cornfield. There are also rides, activities, and more! Walk through the pumpkin patch, take beautiful photos, and pick your favorite pumpkins to buy for Halloween carving! Events for the whole family you won’t want to miss. For more information, visit the website.

From October 6 to 31, take risks and be curious ! Enjoy frightfully-fun activities as you explore the spooky science behind Halloween. You might be shocked by what you learn! Plus, Monster Mash-Up (sponsored in part by Calgary’s Child Magazine) is back on October 27 & 28 for the final weekend of SHOCKTOBER. Potion Pour: Brew up a colorful potion, pour it out, and watch it slide down a Halloween sculpture in a fascinating pattern! Giant Spider Scare: Spiders have invaded and are guarding the secret mad science lab! Weed your way through giant spider webs. Destroying a pumpkin with science: Watch the spectacle as a science professional crushes, slices, smashes, obliterates, flattens, or otherwise destroys a pumpkin! Host Parasite Interaction Group: Don’t be afraid, be curious and discover the unknown world of parasites. Spooky Science Demo: A mad scientist will cook up a live science demonstration. Enter into the world of his secret laboratory and experience wild and shockingly spooky science! Thriller Dance: Get your ghostly groove on and learn Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance with Calgary’s Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. SHOCKTOBER is included with General Admission. For more details, visit the website.

StoryBook Theatre Presents, R.L. STINE’S GOOSEBUMPS: Phantom of the Auditorium
Takes place October 19 to November 10, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 7pm, and Saturdays & Sundays, 2pm. StoryBook Theatre Presents, R.L. STINE’S GOOSEBUMPS: Phantom of the Auditorium. Brooke and Zeke are excited to star in their school’s next hit musical, The Phantom, until they hear a rumor that the show is cursed! Prepare to get “Goosebumps” as the mystery unfolds. Recommended for ages 6 and up. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Ghouls’ Night Out at Heritage Park
October 25 to 28, 2018. Meet the Addams Family at the Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women, Enjoy a Villainous Vaudeville Show, Learn to play Quidditch from the pros with the Calgary Quidditch Club and more! Ghouls’ Night Out at Heritage Park is perfect for families with little ghouls, aged three to nine, who are looking for a fun, safe night out. As this event sells out regularly, we strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance online to avoid disappointment.

Halloween Toddle Down to the Okotoks Art Gallery!
Friday, October 26, 2018 – 10:00am to 12:00pm. It’s hard to make time for art and culture when you’re chasing after a toddler but we have an opportunity that doesn’t require you to choose! Come down to the Okotoks Art Gallery for a morning of fun. Enjoy exhibitions as you let your toddler explore up to 12 different hands-on activity stations and art activities. This event will be Halloween-themed and costumes are welcome! Recommended ages 1 – 5. 

Enchanted Okotoks
This year all fantasy fans are welcome to swarm Downtown Okotoks as we celebrate medieval culture, witches, wizards, dragons, role-playing, cosplay and more! Stores will be transforming with activities and awesome unique items for sale, shows will take place on the Towne Plaza, artisans will be selling in the magical market at the Elks Hall, the Okotoks Arts Council will be creating a fairy garden for those small kiddies and bigger “kids” can take part in our LIVE ROLEPLAYING GAME. Enjoy our mythical petting zoo, a medieval camp in Ethel Tucker park, and much more. Website.

Lil’ Spooks Halloween Party at Trico Centre for Family Wellness
Oct 31, 2018 at 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Fun for the whole family! Come in costume and enjoy this family-friendly event. There will be various activities around the facility for you to enjoy! Cost is $15 per family and is free for members. Website.

Haunting Halloween at Village Square Leisure
Oct 31, 2018 at 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm. Come dressed in your favorite costume and join for creepy crafts, ghostly games, and fun, ghoulish activities! Website.

Neighborhood Halloween Parties
Throughout October. Check your neighborhood community association’s website – many neighborhoods hold some kind of fun Halloween dance or event for the little ones!

Autumn Fun

Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm Flashlight Nights
Takes Place Fridays & Saturdays, October 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20, 26 & 27, 10am to 9pm (but must arrive any time before 8pm). Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm Flashlight Nights. Flashlight nights are an extremely popular activity as guests love getting lost in the dark. Free for kids 2 and under. For more information, visit the website.

Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm Autumn Pumpkin Festival
October 6, 7 & 8, 13 & 14, 20 & 21, 27 & 28, 10am to 5pm. Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm Autumn Pumpkin Festival. This award-winning festival is a must-do for your Fall activity list and has become an annual tradition for families! There will be hundreds of pumpkins, locally-grown and ready to pick for your perfect jack-o’-lantern. Join for the great Pumpkin Explosion, pumpkin patch crafts, wagon rides, pig races, large and small corn mazes, zip lines, ropes courses, petting zoo, and more! Free for kids 2 and under. For more information, visit the website.

Autumn Jubilee at Kayben Farms
September 29 & 30 (Kids & Critters), October 6 & 7 (First Responders and Veterans), October 13 & 14 (Country Carnival), 9am to 5pm. Autumn Jubilee at Kayben Farms! Each day of the festival, enjoy food from JoJo’s Café, pumpkin carving and painting, horse-drawn wagon rides, family activities and games, plus the full Sunshine Adventure Park experience (corn maze included) – adding up to a whole lot of Fall fun! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Downtown Harvest Market
October 17, 10am – 2pm. Please join at the Harvest Market downtown on the main floor of Gulf Canada Square (401, 9 Ave SW.) There will be local producers, food, art, fashion, and health & wellness. It is perfect for all your Market needs! Free admission. Website.

One Perfect Day in the Badlands

by Allison Percival, Calgary’s Child MagazineMost Calgarians have visited the Badlands at least once – this incredible, unique geological formation stretches all the way down to Arizona. It’s home to unique plant and animal life, rich natural resources, incredible rock formations – and, at least in our part of the Badlands, some world-class hospitality.

If you’re new to the foothills region (or maybe just haven’t made it out of town in a while!) you might not know what makes the Badlands so special. With school back in session and work ramping up for the fall, your vacation time might be over; but, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the many wonderful and unique Albertan treasures right in your backyard on a Saturday! We’ve put together our One Perfect Day in the Badlands for those of us who haven’t had the chance to explore its highlights and are looking for something special to do on the weekend with their families. Watch for a full-length feature in our November/December 2018 issue for a more in-depth itinerary including even more things you can see and do in the area if you’d like to explore beyond the typical stops!

One Perfect Day in the Badlands

8:00-9:00 AM – Coffee, Breakfast, and Out the Door to Horseshoe Canyon

It’s about a 90 minute drive from Calgary to Horseshoe Canyon (depending on where in the city you live.) The fastest way is to take the Highway 2 out of town, turning east at the 566 (right after CrossIron Mills,) then turning north on the 9, which turns east again after Beiseker (a great spot for a bathroom pit stop!) A long drive through farmland will take you right by your first stop (watch for the signs!)

9:30-10:30 AM – Horseshoe Canyon

Horseshoe Canyon can be viewed from a series of well-built platforms adjacent to the parking lot; there’s a gift shop and pit toilets alongside. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can charter a helicopter tour of the canyon here. This is a great stop for a mid-morning snack, but if your kids are up to it, our recommendation is to take one of the paths down into the canyon and spend half an hour or so exploring the strange, almost Martian landscape at the bottom. There are plenty of interesting holes to peek into and rocks to climb! You could spend an entire day hiking the many paths which wind through the canyon and beyond, but our next stop is the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.

10:00-11:00 AM – Royal Tyrrell Museum and Drumheller

The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a world-class facility. It’s Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to palaeontology, and we’re lucky it’s so close! It can get exceptionally busy on a weekend, but tends to quiet down in the fall. Many of us have toured the exhibits before, but the museum is always changing! A large section of the second floor has been given a facelift with new exhibits in the past year, and construction has begun on an ambitious new wing which will house meeting and learning areas to accommodate more workshops and visitors. 

If you have time to spare, we really recommend signing up for one of the workshops offered by the museum. We had the opportunity to take the Fossil Casting workshop when we visited and we loved it. Our instructor, Clem, taught us all about the importance of taking fossil castings, how to tell a claw from a tooth, how the Royal Tyrrell Museum categorizes and stores their fossils, and much more – you get to make and take home your own souvenir fossil casting, too! The program runs about 45 minutes and is only one of the many offerings for kids and adults which run all day long. Be sure to check out the board at Guest Services when you arrive and register as early as you can! Programs range from guided hikes to supervised ‘digs’ to assembling replica dinosaur skeletons – the programs change seasonally, so visit the website for more details.

Plan to spend the whole afternoon exploring the museum (there’s a cafeteria inside for lunch, or Drumheller has many popular fast food chains) and leave time to visit the World’s Largest Dinosaur and have your photo taken at the hoodoos on the way out (they’re about 15 minutes east of Drumheller.) It’s tradition.

4:00-5:00 PM – Rosebud 

Rosebud is a tiny town of around 100 people located approximately 30 minutes outside of Drumheller, and it will surprise you! Nestled in a valley between rolling hills, Rosebud is picturesque and a little eccentric. It’s not the kind of place you’d expect to see in rural Alberta; a wooden windmill greets you on your way into town, and the flower-lined streets showcase incredibly well-loved heritage buildings which have been restored to their original beauty. It feels a little like something you’d see on Vancouver Island – half artist commune, half campus town. Rosebud is home to the Rosebud School of the Arts, a respected and established post-secondary institution offering a unique multi-year certificate focusing on acting and music. It’s also home to a number of excellent gift shops, galleries, and  – of course – the Rosebud Theatre.

The Rosebud Theatre offers “dinner-then-theatre” performances which truly highlight what makes this little town so special. Dinner is served buffet-style with plenty of choices for even the pickiest eaters, accompanied by live music from the school’s students. Dinner seatings start at 5:30 and the shows start at 8:00, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy your meal and then explore the streets and shops at your own pace. (Don’t miss the model railroad, which will soon be expanding into its own building!)

We were truly impressed by the thoughtful hospitality of the students and staff of Rosebud Theatre; before the performance began, smaller kids in the audience were offered cushions to help ‘boost’ them in their seats so they could see the stage better. (We wish more theatres would do that!) Their 2019 season will be announced at the end of this month, but in the meantime, you can buy tickets for the remainder of their 2018 season here. For families, we were recommended their Christmas show (which this year is “Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Christmas Carol”!) We’re told Rosebud likes to decorate for the season, so we’re excited for our return trip!

10:00 PM – Home Time

After a very full day, it’s easy to get home from Rosebud in a little over an hour. Take the 840 south out of town, then turn west on the 564, south on the 21, and west again on Highway 1 which will take you through Strathmore and Chestermere for those all-important coffee and bathroom breaks. Share your memories with family and friends and get ready for next weekend – after a good night’s sleep.

Do you have a different One Perfect Day in the Badlands? Visit Canadian Badlands Tourism for more great ideas. Would you like us to explore One Perfect Day in another region of Alberta? Let us know at!

Make Eye Exams Part of Your Back-to-School Routine

provided by Hakim Optical

Notebooks and binders, pens and pencils, a new lunch box and backpack, a new outfit — the staples of a typical back-to-school shopping list.

However, one of the most important items to get your child ready to return to the classroom is often overlooked, and that is their eye health. To help identify — and potentially rectify — eyesight problems early, children should have their eyes examined annually, and there is no better time to have that exam done than right before a return to school.

“Poor eyesight can lead to serious academic challenges if left untreated,” says Bijan Minbashian, Vice President of Operations at Hakim Optical. “An annual eye exam will test your child for near- or far-sightedness, depth of vision, colour perception, eye coordination, lazy eye and focusing ability. This will help ensure they can see instructions written on the SmartBoard or vital information from their text books.”

The Canadian Association of Optometrists estimates that as many as a quarter of children have a learning difficulty that is related to vision challenges. When a child is straining his or her eyes in the classroom, it can lead to headaches, blurred vision, fatigue and eyestrain — and those are likely to be reflected on the report card as well.

Classroom eyesight problems can be compounded with the amount of schoolwork now being done using electronic devices. Children’s eyes are particularly sensitive to the blue light that emanates from tablets, smartphones and computer screens, and should be protected.

But it can be hard for parents to identify when their child may be having vision problems — sometimes the child isn’t aware that the way they are seeing the world is not the way it is supposed to be seen. The following warning signs that could indicate some correction is necessary:

  • Complaining of frequent headaches, eye pain or squinting/rubbing their eyes.
  • Issues with school, including paying attention during lessons or a sudden drop in grades.
  • Holding reading material close to their eyes or sitting close to computer or TV screens.

“If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it could be a symptom of deteriorating eye health,” says Minbashian. “Please schedule an eye exam as soon as possible and help ensure your child’s vision is the best it can be.”

Founded in 1967 by Karim Hakimi in a makeshift laboratory in the dance hall of the former Elmwood Hotel on Elm Street in downtown Toronto, furnished with old equipment he rebuilt from a closed-down Chicago lab, Hakim Optical now has more than 160 showrooms and 120 one-hour factory outlets across Canada. By consistently offering value, selection and excellent customer service, Hakimi has turned a one-man operation into one of the most successful optical companies in Canada, with more than 40 million pairs of eyeglasses sold to date.