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Although you wouldn’t know it by Calgary’s “keep you on your toes” weather that we have been experiencing lately, Summer is indeed around the corner. Which means one of Calgary’s hottest destination’s, 17th Ave , will soon be bursting at the seams with locals and tourists alike taking in the sights and sounds of Calgary’s most famous streets.

But in case you are new to the city or perhaps you have never ventured down to 17th Ave, there are a couple of rules and/or tips that you should know, so that you are able to make the most of your time there. While others think it is just like any other neighborhood in Calgary, I can tell you from personal it is not a place to take lightly.

Rule #1: Make sure you go to 17th Ave SW, not SE. They are completely different areas. And while they may tempt you with their “look-a-like” name and numbering system, these two areas couldn’t me more different. Dare to venture over there, you’ll see what I mean.

Rule #2 Not a day goes by that the Calgary Really Loud Motorbike Association doesn’t park their hot rods in front of the gang friendly Melrose Bar and Café. The bikers will then sit at the outside patio and stare (judge) at you as you walk by. Do not let this intimidate you. They are just as insecure…hence the bikes. My advice? Don’t notice their bikes. It only helps their pride.

Rule #3: Even if you don’t have to go, try out the new $210,000 public washroom in Tompkins Park. Why not? You’ve already paid for it.

Rule #4: 17th Ave is quickly becoming the home of those expensive boutique stores that all the other big cities have. If you can afford them: good on you. If you can’t? Try on something you can’t afford and then tell the probably uppity clerk that you “aren’t interested” or “you might come back”. It’s surprisingly fulfilling. (Bonus points if you try something on that is more expensive than your rent.)

Rule #5 Bring up “The Red Mile” cautiously. For some it invokes memories of a glorious time. A time when our team actually had a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. For others, it brings them back to a time filled with beer, vomit, boobies and police officers, which they can now experience at the new Cowboys. We all look back on the Spring of 2004 differently, well those of us that remember it at least.

Mike Morrison