What $83 a night gets you in Calgary, Alberta.

I recently found myself in Calgary, Alberta for some job interviews and a need for somewhere to stay. Over the years, I’ve stayed in a few dozen hotels in Calgary and never been fully satisfied with the stay that I’ve had, so, knowing that I was going to need to book a hotel room, I decided to try something different.

Though my job interviews were right downtown, I decided to look outwards. In all honesty, the hotels in downtown Calgary seem to all be heavily overpriced for what you get.

Within just a two minute drive of the Calgary International Airport is a group of hotels, really nice hotels, with really reasonable prices per night. After doing my research on Expedia (always read hotel reviews before booking!), I settled on the Park Inn by Radisson, Calgary Airport North.

*FYI – All photos were taking with my Iphone. The mismatch of quality between photos does not escape me.

Cost: $83 per night.

Amenities: Indoor gym for guests, laundry room, kitchenette in each room (with dishes included for your use), a ‘Pantry’ stocked with any foods you could possibly need for a hotel stay at VERY reasonable prices, a beautiful lobby with plenty of couch space to meet/interact with people, a computer station for guests (for if you don’t have a computer or need to print anything off) and a full kitchenette in every room.

The Hotel Gym. (You can see in the mirror reflection on the right that there is cardio equipment just out of view. As far as hotel gym’s go, I was impressed with this one)

I was impressed with the fact that everything was so readily available and so well thought out. I really didn’t need to even leave the hotel if I didn’t want to. This provided a great sense of relief as all I wanted to do was ‘hold-up’ in my hotel room and prep for my job interviews.

Having the gym just down the hall was appreciated. I found I was more inclined to get up in the morning and hit the treadmill knowing it was just a few steps away from me.

The hotel’s ‘Pantry’ cupboard, stocked with junk food as well as food that could be cooked in your room’s kitchenette.

The room itself was perfect. Upon walking into mine, I was pleased to see that the photos online provided an accurate representation of what each room is actually like.

My room’s kitchenette (which included a dishwasher).

Each room has a kitchenette included, making it convenient for travellers who might be staying for longer than a few days. There were dishes in the cupboards and cleaning supplies under the sink. The appliances included: a toaster, a coffee maker, a dishwasher, a microwave, a fridge and a stove-top. Shy of being able to roast a turkey, anything you could possibly need to make could be cooked in this kitchen.

Ample closet space for any storage you might need.

The room was equipped with a massive closet that I could actually walk into. Something that I really appreciated about this hotel was that the small details were thought of, including the providing of guests with a laundry hamper for storing dirty clothes. Small details like that make me appreciate a hotel just a little bit more because I know they’ve thought of how they can most help their guests.

Ample desk space with built-in storage.

My room, being a very accurate representation of the photos the hotel shows online, had a ton of desk spaces so that I could lay out all of my work, set up my computer and still have plenty of space for making a mess. Honestly, a desk like this is something I could only dream of having in my own home. And, the TV was conveniently located up in the corner of the desk so that it was out of the way, but still in view from both the bed and the bathtub.

A clean, pristine, all white bathroom with plenty of storage that I quickly cluttered with all of my things! lol

As mentioned in the last paragraph, something that I really appreciated was the fact that I could lay in a bubble bath and watch tv while doing so. When it comes to staying in a hotel, it’s really the small details that seem to make all the difference. Being able to watch Frasier from the tub felt like one of life’s simple luxuries.

Clearly, making the bed is not my strong suit!

I booked a room with a single queen bed. Room’s are available with two queen beds for just $87 per night (a five dollar increase) or one king bed for $95 per night (a twelve dollar increase). The bed was exceptionally comfortable. The pillows were dreamy to sleep on, and I bet if he could attest to it, Knight would agree with me.

The room also came equipped with a lazy-boy style chair next to the bed, which was probably the only downside. It was not a comfortable chair. I’d probably rather sit on a slab of cement than that chair. That being said, that is the only negative I found to the room.

Worth noting: Though it was next to the airport, I did not hear one single plane landing or departing during my stay. The hotel was completely sound-proof. Noise is not a factor you need to worry about when staying near the airport if you choose this hotel.

Verdict: If you’re ever in Calgary, Alberta, I highly recommend the Park Inn by Radisson, Calgary Airport North. Whether you’re flying in, flying out, or not using the airport at all, staying next to the airport can provide you all of the amenities you need with an impeccable price tag. The staff were friendly, the convenience was appreciated and the reviews online were 100% an accurate representation of the hotel and the staff who run it.

I’ll definitely be back there the next time I’m in Calgary.

Rocky Mountain Roady

Some sights of today’s Rocky Mountain road trip. What a beautiful world we live in. What a beautiful country I live in. Mother nature is stunning.

Every time that I drive Icefields Parkway, it never ceases to amaze me. It is the most stunning highway that I’ve possibly ever driven. Honestly, I always bug my friends and family to take this drive. There really is nothing else like it on earth.

Moose Lake (at the foot of the mountains – hence… less snow)
Athabasca Glacier. (I actually was here four months ago to the day – the difference in photos is amazing, I should get that photo off my phone.)
The road to the foot of the Columbia Icefields Glacier.
Bow Lake – still covered in ice on May 15!

The Canadian Rocky Mountains provide some of the most gorgeous scenery on the earth. Keep changing channels… you won’t find sights like this on any tv set.

Travel Diaries: I’ve been waiting ten years to do this.

Sometimes in life there are things that you want to do, that you know you want, but that you cannot get to. Either the circumstances won’t allow it, or the timing isn’t right, regardless, you get to wait and hope.

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies is Abraham Lake. Abraham Lake is an artificial lake on the North Saskatchewan River lining the David Thompson Highway between Saskatchewan River Crossing and Nordegg. It was created in 1972 with the construction of the Bighorn Dam. Although man-made, it still possesses the blue colour of other glacial lakes in the Rocky Mountains.

Within the lake itself is a naturally occuring source of methane. During the winter, when the lake freezes over, methane bubbles from the lake’s bottom are released and get trapped in the ice as they escape to the surface. This causes the incredible sight of thousands of tiny little bubbles trapped within the ice all over the lake. Tourists flock from all over the world out to see this phenomenon, go for a walk on the lake, and see how well they can capture the bubbles.

Though it’s not actually that far from where I live, timing has never allowed me to get out there. Until this past weekend, that is.

Audi A4 2.0T Komfort Quattro

Knight and I got behind the wheel of an Audi A4 Komfort Quatro and headed for the Rockies. (Side Note – I am quickly becoming an Audi person. These cars are brilliant, luxurious, and so user friendly. I am grateful for the opportunity to test drive it)

When you see the lake, it’s absolutely breathtaking. The scenery is second to none, with the image of the lake surrounding by densely packed forests and skyscraping majestic mountains is something that will be forever ingrained in my memory.

I would reckon the ice itself was about six feet thick at this stage. The weather here has been exceptionally cold this winter, so no one was afraid to walk out there.

We made our way down the hill to the lake itself and went hunting for bubbles. What we ended up finding was cooler than I could ever describe in words.

The bubbles were everywhere. They’d literally been trapped all over the lake. We walked out pretty far and noticed the change in the colour of ice (change of thickness comes with change in colour) but alas, the methane bubbles were caught trying to burst through.

There were spots where the ice had cracked and pushed up. The pieces of ice were so thick and so dense, it was hard to imagine and I was seeing it with my own eyes.

Honestly, I loved it. I loved every second of it. I can understand why people come from near and far to see this place.

On the way home we ran into some mountain goats licking the sale off the highway. They were pretty cute, and pretty docile as well.

I really didn’t want to have to give the Audi back. It’s a beautiful car. It’s so user friendly, and so… easy to drive. Plus it looks pretty EVERYWHERE. Even when it’s covered in road salt from the Canadian highways.

Audi A4 2.0T Komfort Quattro

If anyone is ever in Alberta, Canada in the winter and wants an adventure, I highly recommend renting a car and taking it out to Abraham Lake. Don’t purchase a tour from one of those companies. They’re horrendously overpriced (I saw online that they’re charging tourists $340 per person just to drive you to the lake!) and way to regimented. Rent a car, go for yourself! Take the time you want and witness the magic that is Abraham Lake.

The BEST places to see in Canada.

Growing up in Canada you kind of, sort of, might start to believe that what you see all around you is what everyone gets to see. That everywhere is as beautiful as you have it and that the sights you’ve come to call home are sights that others get to call home as well. It’s a naive way of thinking, but some would say we’re pretty sheltered up here anyways.

I started travelling when I got to University and it was at that point that I realized that not everyone gets to see what I see.

And don’t get me wrong, every place has a beauty about it in its own way, but I happen to be a little bit biased in my belief that Canada is ‘next-level’ on the spectrum of beautiful places in this world.

Some of these photos were taken by me, some of them I’ve found online. About two years ago my house was broken into – stolen was all of my electronics including a laptop that contained pictures of all of my travels – so if a photo was taken by me then it’s been in the past two years that I’ve been. And if it’s credited to someone else, I wanted to show the beauty but no longer have my photos. Insert sad face for stolen computer.

Here are a few places I’ve been that I think everyone needs to see:

LAKE LOUISE

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Picture the most beautiful, pristine lake that you could possibly imagine, surround it by escalating mountains covered in snow, fields of green and one of the most expensive hotels in Canada to stay at, and that is the luxury that is Lake Louise.

Visit in the winter for walking, skating, skiing or snowshoeing on the lake itself. In late January each year they host the ‘Ice Magic Festival’ where artists create incredible sculptures of ice that stay until they melt.

Visit in the spring, summer or fall for some of the most turquoise blue waters you’ll ever see. There’s a trail around the lake for you to walk, if you so feel the desire for exercise, and if you’re really an outdoorsy person, you can hike up some trails on those mountains at the far side of the lake for some pretty exceptional views.

Any way that you look at it, Lake Louise is a must see.

Photo: British Columbia Magazine

VANCOUVER

I actually grew up in Vancouver, so this one has a strong bias for me. This multicultural maven of a city is just as beautiful as it looks. Situated almost perfectly between the Coast Mountains and Pacific Ocean, it really doesn’t matter which way you look in this city you will see a beautiful view.

If you prefer the city life you can wander down city streets staring up at skyscrapers from every angle, drinking some of the best coffee in the world and shopping in stores to suit any budget. There’s a cafe on every corner, a ‘sorry eh’ at every passing and not enough time in a day to see the multifaceted face that makes up its downtown.

And if you much prefer a nature, Vancouver is filled with parks and natural landscapes that allow you to get out and roam, ride a bike, go to the beach, hike a mountain, walk through the forest… all in the same day. I recommend the Grouse Grind. But, there’s much to do in this city, and I strongly recommend you try it all.

Photo: ME

ANCIENT FOREST

In Northern British Columbia, about an hour’s drive from Prince George, you will find the entrance to the ‘Ancient Forest’. This several kilometer hike is through the largest Ancient Inland Rainforest in the world. Trees are much like those you would see in the Redwoods National forest in that they’re more massive than you could possible dream up, and they’ve likely been there for thousands upon thousands of years. The densely packed plant-life shelters you from weather (the trees are so thick you cannot feel rain) and the beauty is unimaginable.

Photo: Styleathome.com

OLD TOWN, QUEBEC CITY

If you want a true feel for French-Canadian culture, Quebec City is the place to find it. With a mixture of old-world charm, quaint city streets lined with history and the smells of amazing food pouring out of the shops and restaurants surrounding you, Quebec City feels a lot like a European destination in Canada.

While you’re here, try the poutine, it’s better than anything else on earth.

NORTH OF 60 (YUKON, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, NUNAVUT)

Photo: travelzoo.com

As someone who’s been lucky enough to visit the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut territories, I’m leaving this one open and saying they’re all worth the time if you’ve got it. Honestly, north of the 60th parallel is a whole different world in Canada. In the summer the sun doesn’t set and in the winter the sun barely rises. It’s a way of life the locals are accustomed too and the tourists are fascinated with when they witness it.

For no other reason, I recommend the trip for the Northern Lights. Watching Aurora Borealis dance across the midnight sky is unlike any other experience you will ever have. You can rent some snowmobiles and take them out into the middle of nowhere (for fun) and for better views of the lights by night, or, in summer, you can go golfing at midnight.

I wish more people would make it farther north. It’s expensive, don’t get me wrong. But it’s well worth the experience if you ask me.

Photo: Wildlife Worldwide

PRINCESS ROYAL ISLAND – THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST

No, that’s not a polar bear you’re looking at. That’s the elusive kermode ‘Spirit Bear’ who calls the rainforests of British Columbia’s coastline home. Princess Royal Island as a unique little fishing destination nestled in the coastline islands of British Columbia.

Fun fact: Twelve of the 17 crew of U.S. Air Force 44-92075 were found alive here in 1950, during the first lost nuclear/Broken Arrow episode of the Cold War. 

The Island is a protected zone by the World Wildlife Fund for having one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Animals you’ll find in these forests: black bears, grizzly bears, deer, wolves and foxes, and nesting populations of golden eagles, bald eagles, and the endangered marbled murrelet. 

If you ever want to feel at one with nature, it’s a difficult place to get to, but once you’re there, it’s worth every second.

Photo: Bay of Fundy Tourism

HOPEWELL ROCKS – BAY OF FUNDY

You might have seen these rocks before in photos for weddings or engagements, or just plain instagram swoonworthy photographer shots. People largely flock to these rocks out of fascination, but stay for the peace, serenity and beauty that is the area when they get there.

A few years back I got to go to the Bay of Fundy for a work project and I’ve got to say, the way the tide rolls in and swallows up the beach, making those rocks look like they pop out of the ocean is pretty cool to see. Thinking back on it, I wish I could take a camera and take a time lapse of the tide rolling in. Something tells me it would make an incredibly satisfying video. Nevertheless, I am rambling.

If you’re ever on the East Coast, check out Hopewell rocks. Take some beautiful photos and take some lunch. As a girl who grew up next to the pacific can tell you, there’s a certain peace to the Atlantic Ocean air that will make your whole day melt away.

Photo: National Geographic

FOGO ISLAND, NEWFOUNDLAND

When I think of Fogo Island, I am most sad that I no longer have my old computer with all of my photos on it. (Important interruption: print your photos, boys and girls. Or, at the very least, save them to an external hard drive) Fogo Island is my definition of peace. You go there to escape the world, and when you’re there, you really do. It’s just you, some Newfies you can hardly understand because they talk so fast, and the ocean.

If you’re ever wanting a dream get away for inner peace and calm, Fogo Island is the place to go. I would love to wander those rocks again. To just take some time for me.

Travel Diaries: I left my heart in the Rocky Mountains.

There’s a song by Joe Walsh called Rocky Mountain Way. The first line of the song, ‘spent the last year Rocky Mountain way, couldn’t get much higher’, aptly describes my feelings towards this perfect part of the world.

I still remember the first time my parents took us into the mountains. Growing up with the pacific ocean just minutes from my front doorstep, I’d never experienced anything close to the majestic nature of the mountains before. And the Rocky Mountains, they’re like any other on earth.


I’d never seen anything so beautiful in my life. I remember sitting in the car getting lost in the views outside the window. Anywhere you turn. Everywhere you turn. Seeing snow in June. Seeing elk walking down the sidewalk as though they’re humans. Those four days will forever stand out in my mind as my favourite holiday ever taken with my family.


I have stood/sat at this lake shore in every season under every type of weather imaginable and it is always the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. That being said, Lake Louise definitely has a certain je ne sais quoi about it during the winter months.

Being able to walk out on the frozen lake and look back at the shore is an experience everyone should try in their lifetime. It’s something so small, but it means so much when you’re doing it. And, if you happen to catch Lake Louise in late January you can see some incredible ice sculptures built on the lake each year as a part of the Ice Magic Festival. Info here: https://www.banfflakelouise.com/ice-magic-festival

Things to do in Lake Louise:

  • Lake Louise. That’s it. Just go see it. You have to. Sit at the shore. Walk around the lake. Take the horse-drawn carriage. However you do it, just go.

If you carry on down the highway to Banff you will find the tourist mecca that is (quite possibly) the most known of Canadian town in the country of Australia. Banff caters to tourists. Amidst the big chain stores (that normally are only found in larger city centers) there are tiny little one-of-a-kind cafes and shops where you can truly find the spirit of the mountains.

Highlights of Banff:

  • The Rose and Crown – incredible food and has some really fantastic staff.
  • Banff Ave – This is the most photographed piece of Banff. Main street is worth the wander, just to see what kind of treasures you can find.
  • Mount Norquay – Head up Mount Norquay to see some incredible views of the town from above, and, of the landscapes surrounding Banff in the national park. Info here: https://banffnorquay.com/

Now, Canmore. Let’s talk about Canmore. Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents would read you storybooks about perfect tiny little towns where everyone knows everyone and everything is good? Those books were written about Canmore. Well, maybe not. But, if ever there were a town that could have served as motivation for those books, it would be Canmore, a tiny little town of dreams in the mountains.

When you wander into Starbucks you see the barista wearing a nametag that says “Songbird” and you’re quickly reminded of the slower pace of life that comes in small towns.

Don’t get me wrong. Canmore is a resort town. There are some incredibly breathtaking places to stay in Canmore. The thing that I love about Canmore so much more than Banff, though, is that it’s less touristy. It’s more home-y… if that makes sense. Everything seems to be within walking distance from you, and even if it isn’t, you want to walk anyways because the views are so breathtaking.

I love Canmore. I’ve been 15,000 times in the past six years. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but truly, if I could have been 15,000 times, I probably would have. Take a hike, take a bike, see the galleries, eat the food, be at peace in this tiny little town in the Rockies.

Must see in Canmore:

  • The Drake Pub – Trust me, you won’t regret it.
  • Dogsledding – Do it. Epitomize what it means to be in winter. Info here: https://howlingdogtours.com/our-tours
  • Golfing – Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club is one of the most incredible courses I’ve ever had the privilege of golfing. If you’re a golfer and you visit in summer, check it out. Info here: http://www.stewartcreekgolf.com/