More Calgary

2011/09/29

Started off the day with another breakfast at Peter’s Drive-In – can’t get enough of the place.  I will be doing the same tomorrow before I leave town.

Since I was nearby, I dropped by Calgary’s Stanley Park – a small park on the Elbow River.  We used to come here often because it has a convenient location by both road and bike path (Calgary has the best bike path system of any city I’ve been to), and it’s a great place for kids to cool off in the summer since there is both a pool and a shallow river to play in.

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Did some book shopping at a couple of Fair’s Fair locations, then hit the Lego store again as compensation for forgetting to visit the one in Toronto when I was there.

Hung out with friends again in the evening, and saw another deer on the way to drop Frink off at home in the evening.  Also got some good ideas for sprucing up my home network when I get home.

 

Chinook Mall in Calgary is almost unrecognizable now versus what it was when I was a kid or even when I last lived in Calgary.  It’s a lot bigger now, walls have moved around, and I think almost every store is different both in identity and in boundaries, but some parts of the gross shape of the place are still there if I look at them right.

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The upstairs area around this opening in the second floor used to be the food court.  It was here that I ate my last ever meal from New York Fries – it had a weird taste that turned out to derive from the inclusion of a deep-fried, partially smoked cigarette.

At the end of that food court was once the theater where I saw Tron about four times during its first run, and then later a Playdium-like arcade.  The latter was during the time I worked as a stock clerk in the Safeway grocery store that used to be  just past where the Bell store is in these photos:

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On the right, where The Bay is now, was once a Woolworth’s where I used to hang out in the video game section drooling over the latest Atari 2600 and Intellivision games, or drooling over the Lego sets – this is where my parents bought me most of my favorite Lego sets, including the never-surpassed LL 928.

Also around this area was the Radio Shack outlet where, firstly, my parents bought me a Casio VL-Tone to see if my interest in music was sufficient to warrant more development (it was), and later where just by chance I happened to be there when the clerk had one of the record players playing Kraftwerk‘s The Man-Machine, which totally captivated me – finally, music that actually sounded interesting!  I insisted my parents get me that record and anything similar they could find, and the rest is an integral part of my history.

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Outside the south end of the old mall (it goes further now due to the new theater), roughly where the Starbuck’s is now, was an instance of the Wizard’s Castle arcade chain (this is when I was a kid).  This was probably the arcade I spent the most total hours in, as my parents would park me here with a roll of quarters while they did the grocery shopping.  This is where I first saw Pac-Man, and played a lot of Missile Command and Boot Hill.  It’s also where I learned that some people have inexplicable temper problems, as one guy punched a hole in the Missile Command screen. There were other games that I played but I don’t recall what they were.  Elsewhere in the mall were Battlezone, Omega Race, and later on, Donkey Kong. But when quarters were short I got a lot of mileage out of playing the home system demo units in the department stores – oh, and I believe the Sears location in this mall is where my parents bought me my first home system, the Atari 2600.

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One part of the mall has not changed at all – the downstairs bowling alley we sometimes used.  The public library that was also in the mall basement is now gone though.

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