Aaron Ferguson’s Best of Calgary, Alberta

by Siri Stevens

Aaron Ferguson's Intro

  1. That river that flows right past Calgary’s Stampede Park just happens to be a world famous, blue ribbon trout stream called the Bow. Anglers from all over the world flock to her banks to try their hand at landing massive, hard fighting Brown and Rainbow Trout. Personally, I prefer to skip the crowds and head out to the more scenic mountain streams; the Oldman River, Highwood River and Cataract Creek are perfect trout habitats and on a good day you’ll consistently land beauties measuring over 20 inches. For the best experience, I highly recommend booking my pal David Simpson to take you out for the day. He’s been passionate about fishing the Bow and the eastern slope streams for over two decades and knows every nook and cranny of these tricky rivers. Visit Westerleaflyfishing.com to learn more.
    Alberta is home to over 17 different types of “game fish” so if trout fishing isn’t for you, don’t give up. Most lakes in Southern Alberta’s prairies hold monster Northern Pike that can weigh upwards of 30 pounds. Pike fishing is basically bass fishing on steroids; these dudes are at the top of the food chain and they know it. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have the fish you are reeling in torn in half by a big, super aggressive pike.
  1. Being born and raised near Calgary, I’ve had my fair share of wild times at the Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall. For 42 years, the legendary honky-tonk has been the post rodeo place to be for the who’s who of rodeo and the fans who cheer them on. The Ranchman’s Renegade’s PBR Bull Bustin’ will once again kick off the Stampede festivities, July 1-3rd. The crowd pleasing Firefighter vs Cowboy Charity Pole Climb takes place on July 7th, pitting top rodeo cowboys against Calgary’s finest firemen in a lumberjack style pole climb to raise money for various local charities.
    Not looking for a knock down drag out shaker? Head to the Ranchman’s during the day for some tasty grub and check out their museum of rodeo memorabilia and photographs, including over 100 trophy Saddles of World and Canadian Pro Rodeo Champions.If it ain’t Ranchman’s, it ain’t real!
  1. For over 40 years, Julius Caesar’s Steakhouse & Lounge has been serving up the best steaks in “Cowtown”. Caesar’s is well known for its top notch food, tuxedo clad wait staff and 1970’s Roman style decor that makes you feel like you’re sitting on the set of a Mafia movie. The quintessential lunch order should include a basket of their delicious cheese bread, French onion soup and, of course, the Steak Sandwich: a local staple that laughs in the face of its American namesake. Up here, a steak sandwich isn’t exactly a sandwich. It’s an aged AAA Rib-Eye steak, charbroiled to your liking and served open faced on a golden slice of garlic toast. In Maine you eat lobster, in St. Louis you eat ribs and in Calgary you eat prime Alberta steak – right here.
  1. A trip to “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” is only complete once you’ve witnessed the world famous Chuckwagon Races. Canada’s top 36 drivers, 216 horses and their teams of outriders battle it out for a share of over $1.15 million in prize money and the title of Rangeland Derby Champion. There are 9 heats every night, 4 wagons at a time, tearing around the “Half Mile of Hell” at breakneck speeds. To get a true sense of the intensity of the race, snag a spot along the track rail. Nothing beats the feeling of 32 thoroughbreds thundering past you as nearly 50,000 fans rise to their feet to cheer their favorite outfit down the homestretch.
  1. Keiths_BurgerEstablished in 1969, Boogies Burgers is a Calgary fast food institution and home to the “Official Burger of Deliciousness”. Just a short drive north from downtown on Edmonton trail, Boogies is not your run of the mill burger joint. Their creations can be downright gigantic and my personal favorite, the Keith’s Burger is no exception with its two patties, four slices of bacon, mozza, cheddar, fried mushrooms, friend onions, mushroom sauce, pizza sauce, lettuce and tomato. Their milkshakes come in tons of different flavours including the Fat Elvis (peanut butter, banana and bacon) and The Angry Aztec (chocolate, cayenne & cinnamon).

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