ITINERARY: HISTORY BUFF

Calgary is a contemporary city. But those with a soft spot for history and nostalgia can readily vacation with a vestige here. Take our top three heritage travel tips to heart and hit the road with way-back-in-time wonderment your reward.

HEAD-SMASHED-IN BUFFALO JUMP

The global map of UNESCO World Heritage Sites make the adventurer’s ideal travel guide. Rich in heritage, inspiration and importance, these are global must-see-and-dos. Those who travel the list can make short-work of four such sites all in around Calgary, Alberta.  The rewards are life changing. One favourite way to experience the unforgettable, UNESCO-style, is with a day trip.

Allow an hour and a half by car to get from Calgary to the world’s oldest, largest and best preserved buffalo jump – Head-Smashed-In Buffalo. Amid haunting rocky formations overlooking vast and barren Prairie lands, here it’s easy for your imagination to wander back in time where for more than 6,000 years the North American plains indigenous people called this their unique hunting grounds. No ordinary hunting. Their practice pre-dates the arrival of horses. It goes back to the time before the bow and arrow.

The Blackfoot people challenged stampeding bison to the cliff’s edge and over to their death.

Interactive tours by Blackfoot guides teach tradition along the ancient drive lanes with live performances by the best native dancers and drummers. Through their music and stories, you will learn what connected the indigenous people with the ancient buffalo hunting culture. Equally inspiring is The Interpretative Centre by Robert LeBlond is a five-story architectural jewel built into the hillside.

Inspiration through cultural lessons of survival and development is yours on the cliff’s edge overlooking the sweeping Great Plains.

MEDALTA POTTERY

Three hours east by car takes you to curiously named Medicine Hat. Here, there is an industrial museum and contemporary ceramic arts facility, gallery and community hub in a converted century-old factory.

Open year-round, it’s a souvenir hunter’s dream with classic, collectible bean pots and a charmer of a coffee mug that reveals the cheeky missive “Now Back To Work” once you’ve sipped the last drop.

Cutting-edge technologies meet historic restoration and archaeology at Medalta. Give it a go!

BLACKFOOT CROSSING HISTORICAL PARK

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park is just one hour outside of Calgary. Here you will find many ways to learn about the Siksika history and culture from survival skills and hide tanning to meat smoking and more.

Rove the architecturally impressive 62,000-square-foot museum by day and — new in 2017 — is the Tipi Village where you can experience the life of a Plains Indian for a night. Rates start at $35.00 per person, per night and include access to all of Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park’s amenities: tours, gallery, library, dance performances and more.

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