The Calgary Hitmen's annual Teddy Bear Toss game is December 10 this year (photo: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen)

Things to Do in Alberta: Winter 2017

By AMA Staff

Check out these local happenings, holiday highlights and more!

The Millarville Christmas Market isn’t just any old holiday craft fair. Southwest of Calgary, the indoor-outdoor affair at the Millarville Racetrack boasts hundreds of merchants—including some exclusively for kids—who can help you get a jump-start on your seasonal decorating or checking off your gift-giving list. After perusing the wares, take in a glass-blowing demo, check out the live nativity, get a photo with Santa or his reindeer, and much more. Food from the vendors at the new covered picnic area fuels all the fun. November 9-12 

Enjoy a rustic holiday season by visiting Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, just 25 kilometres north of Edmonton. The working farm’s “A Prairie Christmas” celebration has hands-on activities for the whole family, from hayrides to Christmas cookie decorating to special performances by magicians and musicians. This year, Prairie Gardens is expanding its winter offerings—with a campfire marshmallow roasting, hay-bale mazes and a snow slide too. December 9 & 10 

Teddy bears aren’t typically associated with hockey, but once a year thousands of the stuffed animals hit the ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome. At the Calgary Hitmen’s annual Brick Teddy Bear Toss game on December 10, the home team’s first goal sets off a flurry of bears and other stuffies thrown from the cheering crowd. The plush toys are then scooped up and donated as Christmas presents; last year, 60 local agencies shared nearly 24,000 bears. Members save 25% on Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Red Deer Rebels, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Medicine Hat Tigers tickets; buy at the team box office and online 

It may not be the final frontier, but Trekkies and pop-culture fans now have a reason to make their way to the Dinosaur capital of Canada: The Trekcetera Museum recently packed up its hundreds of costumes, props and set pieces and moved from Vulcan to Drumheller. Naturally, there’s tons of Star Trek stuff, but the collection is also bulwarked by memorabilia from such films as Brokeback Mountain, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and Titanic. The newest exhibit features items from the Alberta-filmed TV series Hell on Wheels.

things to do in alberta winter 2017 calgary rumble house
Rumble House: A hub for Calgary creators (photo: Kerri Singh)

Part art studio, part gallery and part community centre, Rumble House brings together creative Calgarians. Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., artists of all abilities tote their supplies and start painting. Two hours later, art lovers have the chance to directly support their favourite creators by purchasing the newly minted works at auction. Hosted by Calgary painter, writer and educator Rich Theroux, the weekly art battle and auction is free and open to all ages. Join in the fun with like-minded painters, show up to watch art being created live, or just attend for the auction itself—and snatch up a fresh masterpiece for your wall.

At Royal Canadian Legion branches across the Prairies, a rather unusual phenomenon has become a beloved mainstay. True to their name, “meat draws” fundraise for Legion operations and programs by having patrons purchase tickets to win packages of meat to take home. Such draws are commonplace in Britain, with their origin attributed to rationing during World War II, though no one at Legion headquarters is quite sure when or why they spread to the Prairies. Regardless, they make for a fun reason to visit a Legion in your hometown or while on a road trip. Try your luck—and support Alberta veterans—at draws hosted in Fort Saskatchewan, High River and elsewhere in Alberta. Head online to find a Legion branch near you.

Satisfy your appetite with classic Prairies comfort food: a plate of perogies. On the first Friday of each month from September to June (excluding January), St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Sobor Parish in Edmonton hosts a perogi supper that’s open to the public. The family-friendly atmosphere attracts a diverse mix of patrons who dine in or take their food to go. The most popular option is a $13 plate that includes a dozen perogies plus fixings, sausage, coleslaw, a beverage and dessert. Go for the food, handmade by the ladies of the church, and stay for the fellowship.

Talk about good, clean fun! At the Rocky Mountain Soap Company in Canmore, customers can partake in a guided tour of the popular local business’s workshop. On the hour-long tour you’ll learn about the enterprise’s Bow Valley origins, watch as its natural soaps are crafted by hand, and get a chance to make your own bath salts. The eco-friendly workshop was built and furnished with recycled and sustainable materials, plus it features an unbeatable mountain view.