>Every weekend thousands of Calgarians take to the mountains to escape the traffic of the Deerfoot, the line ups at Ikea and probably certain family members. I am no exception. This is especially true during our all too rare long weekends. I’ve always said: Why stay in the city when there are so many trails to hike, rivers to dip your toes into and beers to drink at the Drake? May long weekend is usually no exception.

However because of a certain person named Stephen Harper, my bank account took an unexpected hit on April 30th and he decided it would probably be best if I was one of the few people not enjoying the mountains during this past weekend. I was initially really upset because I kinda felt like I was missing out on the party that everyone else had been invited. High school flashbacks aside, I vowed I would make the best of my long weekend in Calgary anyway.

Luckily I was pleasantly surprised how that would be! This city is absolutely amazing on a long weekend. Why? Because no one is here to enjoy it. For a city that is constantly bursting at the seams with people, cars, cowboy hats and baby strollers it was so refreshing to wonder around some of Calgary’s hottest neighborhoods and not have to fight for space. On top of all that everyone seemed to be in a great mood. I’m pretty sure the 31 degree temperature had something to do with it but I think it was a little bit of the “while the cat is away….” theory going on.

I mean what is not to love? I got my Starbucks in record time. I didn’t get harassed on the Ctrain. Prince’s Island Park was bustling with just the right amount of scantily clothed people. I got my hot dog and pop at Ikea faster than ever before. Even the homeless people in my back alley chose to wave rather than spit at me! While I know it was Victoria Day, it kinda felt like Chirstmas.

I’ve been living in Calgary for almost three years and I can’t tell you how refreshed I feel about knowing that this city can still surprise me. While there will be many weekends still to take place in Banff National Park, it relieving to know (especially with current gas prices) that there is no shame in staying behind. After all who wants to go to the same party that everyone has been invited to anyway?

Mike Morrison