…but I’ll be honest, if you’ve followed me at all over the last couple of years, I’ve always loved Inglewood, and I love sharing the stories of the amazing shops, and store-owners. So working with Inglewood to share why I love Calgary’s most historic neighbourhood is perhaps my easiest writing gig.
Every now and then, I get asked to take media around the city and when I do, I almost immediately always take them to Inglewood. Because to me, Inglewood shows the best of what I think Calgary is all about. A fascinating history, creative entrepreneurs, beautiful buildings and really great food.
If you haven’t visited this neighbourhood in the past couple of years, to me, it feels like it’s completely transformed to become more of a community for everyone, looking for anything. In recent years, great independent shops have opened up, as well as, world-class restaurants, but at the same time keeping many of the things that people loved about Inglewood in the first place.
Since it was established way back 1875, Inglewood has transformed countless times and now is home to dozens of businesses, so with that in mind, I wanted to share some of my favourite!
Whenever my mom comes to town, the first things she always wants to do is take her Silk Road Market. I say to her, “Mom, don’t you want to go to our house, see people?” “No!” she says, “Take me to Silk Road Market.” And you know what, I get it. The spice market is one of the coolest destinations in Calgary, let alone Inglewood. Not only does it smell amazing, the shop offers you pretty much any spice you could ever imagine. So whether you’re a budding chef, or just like to spice up your microwave dinner, at the Silk Road Market, the spice is right.
Not only is Plant a beautiful store, as an entrepreneur I find it incredibly inspiring. Plant started as a booth at local markets, but over the years, the demand for Plant’s terrariums, as allowed owner Kyle Chow is open store, and then quickly expand into another. Plant is the kind of store that I go to even when I don’t need to buy anything, simply because it’s beautiful…and yes, there’s always a dog to pet. If you’re looking for a gift, you will find it at Plant.
Over the years, it’s safe to say that I’ve dedicated the majority of my Twitter feed to photos of the Thai Noodle Soup from Rosso Coffee Roasters. Apparently they once took it off their menu and there was basically a riot. And I get it. It’s the best soup out there. And makes for a perfect treat to warm up between shops.
While we’re talking about food, let’s talk about one of the area’s newest restaurant The Eden. Since opening a few months ago, I’ve been there a few times and have always enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. They bill their menu as blue collar bistro, and I think it’s exactly that. It’s like home-cooked food, but way better than anything I could ever cook. I can identify everything on the menu and it’s delicious to boot. If you’re looking to try something new over the holidays, treat yourself to dinner at The Eden.
If you’re like me and you’re a fan of shopping and supporting local, well it doesn’t get much more local than Outside the Shape, which is a shop that opened up last year. You’ll be forgiven if you’ve missed it, it’s in a shop that looks like house across from Festival Hall. But please find it, because inside, you’ll find goods sold by Alberta makers from all corners of the province. It’s like shopping at all the province’s best markets, but all in one place.
Around this time last year, I stumbled about Guildhall and declared it as my favourite new business in Inglewood, and it’s still right up there. One of the things I love about Inglewood is that I feel like you could tell me I was shopping in hyper-trendy Brooklyn and I would believe you. And to me, Guildhall represents the type of businesses I see finding a home in Inglewood. The shop features furniture, accessories, decor and lifestyle products, so if you’re shopping for someone else, you’ll no doubt want to treat yourself to something too, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Speaking of treating yourself, you’ll no doubt find a gift worthy of your hard work at The Livery, which is another success story of businesses that started at a market and found a home in Inglewood. The Livery is home to both clothing brand Camp Brand Goods and jewellery company CoutuKitsch, but also a slew of another great brands from across North America. (In the summer months, they even rent bikes.) The shelves are constantly evolving, meaning you’ll rarely see the same stuff twice. It’s location in Inglewood’s famous red barn makes it the perfect stop for your daily Instagram post too.
While we’re busy talking about new business, we must also acknowledge some of the legendary businesses that have long lined the streets of the neighbourhood like the Inglewood Drive In, which is a favourite of Calgarians from all four quadrants. And while the diner serves classic old school diner food, it’s modern with lots of options for those with dietary concerns like gluten free buns and more. There’s a reason the diner has been around since the 40s, and yes, I’m talking about the milkshakes.
I’ll tell you this much about me, I am not the person to talk about things like beauty products and skin care, but over the past couple of years, I’ve been learning more and more from the amazing folks at Fresh Laundry. I’ll be honest, at first it was their beautiful moss green wall that brought me, but since then, I’ve been able to find so many great products that focus on organic compounds and ethically sourced ingredients.
If you do end up checking out all these great suggestions, and you really should, you’re probably going to work out an appetite, so make sure you leave some time to check out Madisons 1212. The craft nacho joint is community-funded and features great options for gluten free and vegan dietary concerts.
I keep trying to end this list, but I hope you’re getting the point that there’s a ton of great places to shop and eat in Inglewood. I’d also places like Kent of Inglewood, The Nash, The Uncommons, Limitless and Espy. Oh man, there’s so many great choices! So if you’re looking for the perfect gift, for you or for yourself, I have no doubt that you’ll find it in Inglewood.