Five Things Not to Miss in Lethbridge September 15, 2018 · 4 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
It's hard to pick just five great attractions in a city made for exploring. For too long, Lethbridge has been seen as a "drive through" city, but in recent years, it has confidently put itself on the map as a destination in its own right.
Here are five not-to-miss attractions on your next visit to Lethbridge:
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden
This beautiful Japanese-style garden is an oasis in the city. It was established during Canada's Centennial in 1967, to recognize the contributions made by citizens of Japanese ancestry to the community of Lethbridge. Learn about Japanese culture and design, walk the garden and visit the pavilion, which hosts traditional tea ceremonies and other events. The first and last hour of operation each day is a serene time to get the garden to yourself.
Park the car and explore a ton of boutiques, shops and cafés in downtown Lethbridge. Grab a coffee and a sandwich at the Stoketown Café and Cure, then head up the block to the Drunken, a fun clothing boutique with retro-punk-rockabilly feel. Old meets contemporary at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, which offers educational courses, exhibits and an art shop. The Roundtable Board Gamerie is a great place to relax and play when you're ready for a break.
High Level Bridge, River Valley and Galt Museum
Probably Lethbridge's most famous view, the High Level Bridge is the longest and highest trestle bridge in the world. You'll get a great view of it from the Galt Museum, where you can explore the city and region's history through a number of rotating exhibits. If you're active, you can explore the river valley on its numerous walking trails, or head into the valley for a round of golf at Paradise Canyon Golf Course or take the family to the Everygreen Golf Centre, where everyone in the family can swing a club or ride a go-kart.
The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery is home to a diverse range of exhibits, thanks to its huge permanent collection. You can appreciate great Canadian works like indigenous art from Bill Reid, or globe trot and see works from world-famous artists like Matisse and Picasso. In downtown Lethbridge, the The Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) and CASA are home to incredible contemporary exhibits.
The Lethbridge Culinary Scene
Similar to Lethbridge's international art scene, you can globetrot with the city's restaurant scene as well. Mocha Cabana works with farmers to incorporate local ingredients on the menu. Ask for a seat on their al fresco patio. For a southern flavour, pick up a plate of tacos and Mexican soda at the family-run Tacos Made in Mexico. The Telegraph Tap House, a cozy and eclectic pub housed in a historic building, (Lethbridge's original telegraph office) has a hearty international menu and plenty of local craft and Belgian beers on tap. Dig into burgers and poutine at the Owl Acoustic Lounge a, known for its cocktails and great live music scene.
If You Go
This is just a sampling of places to discover in Lethbridge. For more information, visit TourismLethbridge.com
When it comes to Saskatchewan, your next adventure can be around any corner. As you venture off the main highways, signage is scarce and directions such as "if you've passed the gate with the buffalo skulls, you've gone too far" are all too common. Communities grow smaller, people grow warmer and the list of things on your Saskatchewan Bucket List seems to only get longer.
My adventure to Leader started a few months ago when Christine over at Cruisin' Christine shared a list of Leader bus tours on Facebook. Some of the tours were in June, but one was in September. The September tour caught my eye because it was a two-day tour and I had to ask myself what we would do for two days in Leader. Leader has a three digit population, so I was perplexed on what the tour would comprise.
I was so perplexed that I decided contacted Leader Tourism and booked the tour to find out.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.
The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.
From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.
About a year and a half ago I visited Kyiv, Ukraine. As I walked down the millennium old streets and gawked at the towering cathedrals, I saw the beginnings of a new country, one that was slowly rebuilding from a much darker time. The process of what I was seeing had a name. It was called decommunization.
Decommunization includes renaming architecture, changing laws and protocols, and even tearing down monuments. People's Friendship Arch in Kyiv, for example, which symbolised the friendship between the Communist East and the Capitalist West, was torn down. Some statues, like war memorials, are exempt, but there is still talk of making modifications to them. Anywhere you go throughout the former Soviet Union, the hammer and sickle are being removed – not from history, but from modern society.