Author: Michael Hingston

An author and a journalist based in Edmonton, Michael has written for Wired, The Washington Post and The Guardian. He loves to write about Alberta because the place keeps surprising him. 

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Grotto Canyon / Discover Banff Tours

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Feeling a little down lately? You aren’t alone. The depths of a seemingly endless winter can give anyone the blues – and never is that feeling more prevalent than on Blue Monday. This widely felt – if not exactly scientifically rigorous – phenomenon falls each year on the third Monday in January, and is often described as the single most depressing day of the year.

Luckily, there are ways to beat the blues, and Alberta happens to be full of them. Here are five activities around the province that will stop Blue Monday in its tracks.

Have a hot drink on an Edmonton patio

Long reserved for the warmer months, patio culture is making an all-weather comeback in Alberta’s capital, thanks to the WinterCity Edmonton initiative, which aims to get people outside and embracing the cold. Restaurants and cafés around the city have embraced the challenge, offering a variety of warm beverages best enjoyed on a patio and even providing blankets to keep you extra toasty while chilling outside.

Step into the past in Grotto Canyon

This stunning canyon is only a ten-minute drive from Canmore, but you’ll feel like you’re travelling through time as well as space—especially when you spot the indigenous Hopi pictographs just before the waterfall, which are believed to be 500-1,000 years old. Guided tours take you out onto the frozen riverbed itself, if you’re up for the challenge; if not, wander the banks at your own pace and marvel at the limestone walls that rise higher and higher around you. Suddenly those blues will feel a million miles away.

Bone up at Grande Prairie’s dinosaur museum

OK, so you’ve been to the dinosaur museum. But have you been to the other dinosaur museum? Alberta now boasts two such world-class facilities, the newest being the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, which opened in 2015. The building’s spacious, innovative design has already netted it international accolades. Located just west of Grande Prairie, next to one of the densest dinosaur bonebeds on earth, it will turn even the most casual dinosaur fan into a T-rex expert.

Channel your inner Olympian at Calgary’s Olympic Park

Alberta has no shortage of outdoor winter activities to keep you busy, from skating to snowshoeing. But if you’re looking for that next-level athletic experience, head to the hills seen around the world during the ’88 Winter Olympics and try your hand at some of the fastest events on ice. Start with the public luge track, which sends you twisting and turning at up to 60 km/h, then hop into a four-person bobsleigh (with a certified driver) and feel the force of 4 G’s – more than what astronauts feel when launching into space!

Get an earful at the Tongue on the Post Folk Music Festival

Nothing can change a person’s mood like music, which is why this beloved local festival (billing itself as Alberta’s first winter folk music festival) is sure to raise your spirits. Running this year from January 23–28, the 2017 Tongue on the Post features more than a dozen performances from local and national touring artists, and is held in unique venues like a century-old factory-cum-pottery museum. Book your tickets on Blue Monday and then thank yourself later.                      

Activity Highlights
  • Ice Walking
  • Dinosaur Adventure
  • Culinary
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