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Things to do in Calgary

Float down the river

Come summer, Calgary experiences scorching hot days, and a wonderful way to cool off is to float on the water. For a super gentle trip, tubing on the Elbow River is relaxing and undemanding. A popular, four-hour float-rafting route is from Bowness Park to Calgary Zoo on the Bow River. You can hire floater rafts and tubes from a few operators in town, such as Lazy Day Raft Rentals (tel: + 1 403 258 0575; www.lazydayraftrentals.com).

Skate in the city or on a frozen lagoon

Canada isn't renowned for its balmy winters, but the cold weather means there are plenty of outdoor ice rinks. In downtown Calgary, you can skate at Olympic Plaza (originally the medal presentation site during the 1988 Winter Olympics) from mid-November to mid-March. For a more natural ice experience, glide on the frozen lagoons at Bowness and Prince's Island Parks. Apart from Olympic Plaza, outdoor rinks are typically open from December to February.

Skiing and snowboarding in the city

You don't even have to leave Calgary's city limits to strap on your skis or snowboard, as Canada Olympic Park is perfect for an evening on the slopes to practise your turns before you hit the big mountains. You can also bobsleigh, hurl yourself off the ski jump or try cross-country skiing. If the sight of the Rockies is too tempting, Banff and Lake Louise have world-class ski resorts with bucket loads of powder.

Take a walk on the wild side

Calgary has a whopping 700km (453 miles) of pathways for pedestrians and cyclists and 7,800 hectares (19,300 acres) of parkland. Walk, cycle or rollerblade along the banks of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, or hike the trails in Nose Hill Park, where you might spot deer or coyotes. Fish Creek Provincial Park is Canada's largest urban park and is home to a large variety of birds and mammals, including beavers, bald eagles and white-tailed deer (www.albertaparks.ca/fish-creek.aspx).

Watching ice hockey

Join in the roar of over 19,000 fans in the Saddledome (named for its saddle-shaped roof) as they cheer on their city's NHL ice-hockey team, the Calgary Flames. Games against archrivals the Edmonton Oilers are especially fiery. The Saddledome is also doubles up as a major concert venue (tel: +1 403 777 4646; www.scotiabanksaddledome.com).

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Hotel Arts

Setting foot in Hotel Arts on a hot day is like arriving at a Miami beach party, with the cool and the beautiful draping themselves, cocktails in hand, by the outdoor pool. Calgary's chic, sexy and independently owned designer hotel is within walking distance of all downtown venues. Rooms are stylish, and the hip Raw Bar serves 'Vietmodern' cuisine.

Fairmont Palliser

The grande dame of Calgary's hotels, the Fairmont Palliser has been welcoming guests since 1914. Rooms are elegant and luxurious, and there's a posh health club and spa with an indoor pool. You can enjoy cocktails and craft brews in the sophisticated Oak Lounge or treat yourself to a fancy afternoon tea.

Centro Motel

Northwest of downtown, near the Bow River, Centro Motel is a little bit of affordable chic. Rooms are smart and spacious, with pillow-top beds and high-end linens and cosy duvets. Wi-Fi, parking and a continental breakfast are all included in the price.

Hotel Elan

Handy for the bars and eateries along nearby 17th Avenue, Hotel Elan has bright, modern rooms, plus one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens and separate living areas. Rates include an extensive continental breakfast and 15MB Wi-Fi. If you're here during Calgary's chilly winter, you're sure to appreciate the heating toilet seats.

Hotel Le Germain

This Montreal hotel has 101 designer rooms. Everything is eye pleasing from the minimalist furniture to the low-lit hallways. If you own an iPad and appreciate nice shoes, this trendy hotel should tick your boxes. Rooms are loft style and have superior cotton sheets, goose down duvets and – ladies will appreciate this - Aveda bathroom products.

Econo Lodge Inn & Suites University

This place does what it says on the tin: it's cheap. Free Wi-Fi breakfast and parking make it an even more attractive proposition to the budget traveller. All rooms come with a fridge and microwave while some have a kitchenette. Plus there's an indoor pool and fitness centre. The hotel is near the university and light rail.