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In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is launching a fun contest to find the top 150 hidden travel gems in our country. IHG sponsored this post and my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are my own.
Happy Birthday, Canada!
As a proud Canadian, to say I’m excited about all that 2017 will bring is an understatement. Not only are there fantastic events happening across the country all year long to celebrate our 150th, but entry to all of the nation’s spectacular national parks are free this year. Yes, free!
Major publications like Lonely Planet, National Geographic and the New York Times have taken notice, and declared Canada as one of the top spots to visit in the entire world this year (though in my humble opinion, any time is a good time to visit the Great White North). With that in mind, I teamed up with my friends at IHG to share some of the country’s best hidden gems which you can check out on their 150th Hidden Gems website, and also submit your own picks. Did I mention one lucky person will win one million IHG® Rewards Club points?!
There are plenty of great reasons to visit my hometown of Calgary, Alberta. Not only is it a quick drive to the majestic Rocky Mountains and famed towns like Banff, Canmore and Waterton, but there are fantastic activities and landmarks worth staying in the city for. One of my favourite things to do is hop on a bike and cycle around downtown, passing the iconic Peace Bridge, the architectural wonder Bow Tower, peaceful Prince’s Island Park and the winding River Walk in the trendy East Village. However, my favourite spot is a hidden gem that most people don’t know about: the Rundle Ruins.
Located a stone’s throw away from the Saddledome and Stampede Park, the Rundle Ruins are found along 12 Avenue and 6 Street S.E. The sandstone formations are actually the remains of one of Calgary’s first hospitals which was built in 1894, and torn down nearly a century later after other hospitals were built to meet the needs of the city’s quickly growing population.
Remnants of the structure were salvaged, and some of the pieces standing today are inscribed with information about the hospital and the names of the people who helped found it. Now, they’re the cornerstone of the peaceful park, a treasured spot to take wedding and grad photos, and also make many appearances on Instagram feeds.
Just a short drive away you’ll find a fantastic IHG property which I highly recommend for those staying in #YYC: The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Calgary. Located right on the west side of downtown Calgary along vibrant Stephen Avenue, the hotel itself is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, while still being just steps away from the action.
The free (!!) parking lot is conveniently located adjacent to the main entrance, and after a swift check-in I found myself opening the door to my room…and it turns out they aren’t kidding when they use the word “suite.” The spacious entryway led to a living room with a couch, TV, desk and even a kitchenette, which are features that every guest can make use of whether they’re visiting for business or leisure.
But what really impressed this seasoned traveller was the huge bedroom—specifically, the lavish bathtub tucked into the corner of it. I’m not usually a bath person, but who can resist the chance to relax in a soaker tub with a nice glass of wine? I’m also a bit picky when it comes to my sleep set up (I’ve been known to travel with a white noise machine and eye mask) so I was especially appreciative of the blackout curtains and luxurious sheets in the bedroom, and thought the included pamphlet with tips outlining how to get a good night’s sleep were a sweet touch. High-speed Wi-Fi and a healthy breakfast are also included, making the Holiday Inn Express & Suites a fantastic option for anyone visiting Calgary.
So what are you waiting for? Share your Canadian hidden gem, and who knows—you just might win enough IHG® Rewards Club Points to enjoy your own luxe stay!
- Visit ihgrewardsclub.com/150Canada and enter your favourite Hidden Gem in Canada from March 1st to May 31st for a chance to win one million IHG® Rewards Club Points. There will also be monthly draws to win 50,000 IHG® Rewards Club Points which can be redeemed for hotel stays or merchandise. #IHG150
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