It’s January and a great time to think about the next 12 months ahead of us. What do you want to accomplish in 2016? Sure, you could go for the classic “shed a few pounds” or “be nicer to people at work,” but we’d like to offer up few suggestions for some Alberta-based resolutions to add to your 2016 list.
I resolve to…go to an outdoor concert this year
After long winters, Albertans love to get outside and enjoy the sunny days and warm nights as much as possible, which is why outdoor concerts are so popular. You really haven’t experienced Edmonton unless you’ve unrolled a blanket on the hills of Gallagher Park and enjoyed the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. If folk music isn’t your style, you could try the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose. For “smaller” events, try Opera Al Fresco from the Edmonton Opera, or the Banff Performance in the Park. Don’t be afraid to travel a bit to find a concert that suits your style.
I resolve to…stop in at a Visitor Information Centre at least once
While we’re on the topic of travelling, have you ever stopped in at one of Alberta’s Visitor Information Centres? If not, then 2016 should be the year to try one out. If you’re the kind of tourist that likes to find the hidden gems of an area, VICs are the first place to go. Many VICs also have local art and other goods for sale, details about local events going on during your stay, and knowledgeable staff that can put together a customized experience for you and your family.
I resolve to…try the lakes
Just south of the Fort McMurray region is an amazing collection of lakes and wilderness to explore. The rolling hills, marshes and lakes make the Lac La Biche region one of Alberta’s “lesser known gems.” For the canoe enthusiasts out there, Lakeland Provincial Park offers a three-day, 38 km lake circuit through four lakes. If you’re interested in a unique camping experience, check out Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park. The entire park is contained on an island in the middle of Lac La Biche, connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. Hiking, biking, skiing, fishing and camping, Alberta east has it all!
I resolve to…hit the trails
Alberta has nearly 20,000 kilometers of trails criss-crossing the province, many of them are open all year. Hiking, biking and skiing on Alberta’s trails is a fantastic way to get a better appreciation of the natural beauty that Alberta has to offer that helps tobuild a closer connection with nature. Getting out on the trail has been shown to have numerous health benefits and the trails themselves are great tourism opportunities. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the Trans Canada Trail or one of the hundreds of trails around Alberta’s municipalities, you’re never more than half an hour from your door to the trail head, making this resolution one of the easiest to complete.
I resolve to…get my film fest on
Alberta’s film-fest scene is really growing; just last year, Edmonton hosted the first ever India Film Festival of Alberta. Across the province, there are at least eight film festivals to check out this year, ranging from internationals films to independent films to Aboriginal films and almost everything in between. It’s a great opportunity to experience stories and worldviews of other cultures, challenge beliefs and preconceived notions and can help you become a better global citizen. And who can resist theatre popcorn?
I resolve to…help someone in need
If you happen to be fortunate enough to have a bit of extra time, money or even clothing to spare, there are always a number of non-profit voluntary organizations looking for support. Whether it’s through donations or by giving your time to help those in need, giving back can go a long way to improving Alberta’s communities and the province as a whole. And don’t forget: Alberta’s charitable tax credit is one of the highest in Canada so you can get back while you give back.
I resolve to…be the biggest fan at a sporting event
You know the ones: The melon-heads, the painted bellies, the vuvuzelas. These are the fans that the television cameras can’t help but capture, screaming on the sidelines in support of their favourite teams and athletes. Leaving aside the CFL or NHL games (though you should catch those too if you can), there are a bunch of World Cups, Classics and championship events taking place in Alberta this year – and they all need fans. This winter, there’s the Freestyle Ski World Cup, Para Bobsled World Championships and of course, the Alberta Winter Games to check out. For spring and summer, you’ve got the Memorial Cup, Edmonton Track Town Classic, Alberta Summer Games and the Tour of Alberta. So get out the face paints, channel your inner fanatic and wave those pom-poms or boomsticks!
I resolve to…have at least one ultra-classy evening
Break out the ball-gowns, dust off the tux (or maybe rent one) and get ready to hit the town in style! First, start with dinner out at your favourite restaurant (Yelp can help). Don’t forget to order your favourite dessert! After dinner, it’s time to take in the theatre, the opera, or maybe even an art gallery show. Following the show, drop by the local hotel bar or lounge for a nightcap and then catch a cab back home. For bonus points, surprise your significant other with this classy date on a day that isn’t Valentine’s Day, or their birthday.
I resolve to…go back in time
While time-machine technology is still a few years behind, there are still a few ways to take a look back into the past. With a visit to one of Alberta’s 20 historic sites and museums, you’ll get the chance to experience Alberta’s past in a fun and sometimes surprising way. Each site offers a unique perspective of history; some have live actors to demonstrate what life was like at certain points in Alberta’s history, others have interpreter-led guided walks. All of Alberta’s historic provincial sites and museums are packed with tons of interesting activities, information and new experiences to explore.
I resolve to…try something new. And then do it again.
If life is the sum of all our experiences, why not try to add as many new experiences to that list as you can? Whether it’s trying a new restaurant, visiting a part of Alberta you’ve never seen before, or finding a new hobby like camping, you should attempt to broaden your horizons at least once in 2016. Even if you hate every minute of it, at least you’ll be able to say you tried something new, and that’s great! Push your limits, challenge your pre-conceived notions, and explore all the amazing things out there for you to discover.
Whatever you resolve to do this year, make it realistic and make it happen! To increase your chances of success, talk about your resolution with friends, and set small goals that lead you up to completing the big one. Good luck and have a great 2016!