Five places to Shop for the Perfect Gift in Southern Alberta

Author: Lisa Kadane

Lisa's first published travel story was about Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park. Since then, she's sought out new adventures around the province. From camping backcountry in Waterton to dogsledding with her family in Canmore, Lisa loves natural Alberta in every season.

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Hear that sound? It’s the clock ticking down the number of shopping days left till Christmas. Luckily, Alberta’s mix of mountain boutiques, small-town antique shops and urban malls has got you covered. Here are five southern Alberta shopping districts not to miss on your quest for the perfect gift. 

Chinook Centre 

With 250 stores, Calgary’s busiest mall is a one-stop shopping experience for every budget, and for everyone in the family. Peruse top brands at Kate Spade, Tory Burch and Tiffany’s, find the latest fashions at Aritzia, Free People and Nordstrom, or seek out a gift that’s pure Canadiana, such as a striped point blanket or toque from the HBC Collection at Hudson’s Bay. When you’re all shopped out, stop for lunch at one of seven restaurants, catch a movie at the 17-screen Cineplex or let the kids ride the carousel in the bright, bustling food court. 

Historic Inglewood 

Calgary’s oldest community also happens to be one of the city’s hottest shopping districts. The historic brick buildings that line Inglewood’s main street (Ninth Avenue) now house modern shops that sell everything from art to spices. While there are on-trend clothes at Espy, Purr and other boutiques, and designer duds at Lauren Bagliore, you’ll find unique oddities as well. Pop in to Kent of Inglewood for hipster shaving supplies, Knifewear for beautiful Japanese utensils, Nerd for retro roller skates or Bamboo Ballroom for vintage bar wares such as crystal decanters and scotch tumblers. Afterward, unwind with a craft cocktail at The Nash. 

Nanton’s memory lane 

Picturesque Nanton, with its brick buildings and grain elevators, is just a 45-minute drive south of Calgary. Visitors come for its history and to shop for historic relics. Nanton has earned a reputation for antiques. You’ll find everything from pioneer-era furniture to vintage taxidermy at Sentimental Journey Antiques, located inside a 9,000- sq ft heritage building. Look for grandfather clocks at Antiques N’ Things, and curios and collectibles such as fine china and old radios at Lost Ark Antiques and Nostalgia Antiques. Reward yourself with a stop at The Candy store, where you can load up on sentimental treats like Nerds and candy necklaces. 

Canmore for landscape-inspired gifts 

Canmore, just an hour’s drive west of Calgary, is popular for its mountain location. But this hip destination also has a thriving arts scene and is a fun place to spend an afternoon window shopping. At Fallen Leaf Art Gallery you’ll find works by local artists that were inspired by Alberta’s prairie and peak landscapes. Check out the Canmore Mountain Market on Thursdays for “postcard clothing” by Adrienne M—dresses and leggings emblazoned with pictures of trees, lakes and mountains. The Tin Box has funky items, from kid-friendly chopsticks to chocolates perfect for wine pairings. Finally, grab a seat at Grizzly Paw Brewing for a craft beer (and a Wish You Were Beer T-shirt!). 

Get outfitted in Banff 

Banff’s proximity to the peaks makes it the perfect place to outfit that special someone for outdoor adventures. Start your shopping spree at Monod’s Sports, a locally owned store that carries ski gear and outdoor clothing brands such as Canada Goose, Sorel and Dale of Norway. Check out the goods at Soul Ski and Bike, and Ultimate Ski and Ride, for more gear and stylish clothing options. For a Canadiana-inspired gift, browse the Banff Indian Trading Post to find everything from mukluks, which are traditional Indigenous boots made of animal skin and fur, to moccasins, old-fashioned Huron snowshoes and fur hats. 

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