Meeting Moments on Historic Stephen Avenue

Winter on Historic Stephen Avenue
Winter on Historic Stephen Avenue

Meeting Moments on Historic Stephen Avenue

Winter Edition

Billed as Calgary’s premier visitor destination, Stephen Avenue National Historic Site is a stretch of 8th Avenue running from 4th St SW to 1st St SE, ending at Olympic Plaza across the street from City Hall. 

Also known as Stephen Avenue Walk, Calgary’s main street is the pedestrian-friendly heart of the downtown core and a year-round gathering place for visitors and locals alike. You’ll find nine major interconnected shopping centres, as well as upmarket boutiques, galleries, a host of dining options, and a performing arts centre considered the city’s cultural hub.   

Constructed over a span of 50 years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the three-dozen sandstone and brick buildings that lined Stephen Avenue are still standing a century later. 

The area’s cultural and historical significance extends far beyond the past one hundred years. Stephen Avenue is located on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. Looking beyond Stephen Avenue, the city of Calgary is located on the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers and is home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

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Skating in Olympic Plaza

Skating in Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary (Photo Credit: Travel Alberta/Roth and Ramberg)

Getting Around

For conference goers, the beauty of Stephen Avenue is the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC), accommodations, amenities, and offsite venues and experiences are all within walking distance. 

In the colder months, people use the Plus-15s, the above-ground walkway system, to navigate more than 60 pedestrian bridges connecting 100+ buildings – including the buildings on Stephen Avenue. This network creates a total of 20 km (12.4 mi) of indoor heated walkways, the longest in the world.

Winter Warm-up

Looking for a great cup of coffee between sessions but don’t want to venture too far from the conference? Check out Rosso Coffee Roaster – a local success story with several outlets, including one directly inside the CTCC.

A Moment of Reprieve 

Even in the winter months, you’ll find a myriad of outdoor spaces along Stephen Avenue to connect with colleagues and enjoy the sunshine – Calgary is Canada’s sunniest major city! But if it’s an indoor adventure you seek, visit the Devonian Gardens, between 2nd and 3rd Street, on the 4th floor of CORE Shopping Centre. This glass-enclosed, full city block is an urban oasis filled with over 500 trees, 50 varieties of plants, fishponds, fountains, and lots of places to sit and rest up before you hit the high-end shops or eclectic boutiques in Bankers Hall and CORE.

Dinner and Drinks

The food and beverage scene in Calgary is red hot with a wide variety of first-class eateries, bars, speakeasies, and lounges to suit all tastes and budgets. Here is a list of some of our favourites – in no particular order – on Stephen Avenue or in close proximity. 

  • Teatro, serving seasonal Mediterranean cuisine, plus an extensive wine list.
  • Upscale but relaxed, enjoy premium cuts and craft cocktails at Saltlik steak house. 
  • Fine Print – using local produce to create modern dishes with a soft French influence
  • A favourite gathering place of Calgarians, Charcut Roast House is one of Canada’s culinary treasures, described as a rustic-chic steakhouse with a farm to fork focus.
  • Cucina Market Bistro  specializes in gourmet Italian fare.
  • Located in the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Hawthorn Dining Room and Bar is described as “modern vintage,” preserving the old and saluting the new.
  • Thomsons Kitchen & Bar - a favourite of the after-work crowd for drinks and casual dining. You’ll also find live performances by local artists.

Winter Experiences and Adventures

From seasonal cultural events to outdoor winter activities, Stephen Avenue has it all. Rent a pair of skates and enjoy the outdoor rink at Olympic Plaza. If you’re here between January and February, Stephen Avenue comes alive for Calgary’s Chinook Blast winter festival. Take in a live show – music, theatre, or dance – at one of the performing arts spaces in Arts Commons, the largest centre of its kind in western Canada, home to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, One Yellow Rabbit and Downstage. Or stop by the historic Palace Theatre for live music and entertainment.

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