Shakespeare By The Bow – The Tempest

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

I’ve always found this quote by Shakespeare both inspiring and comforting, so it was wonderful to hear it spoken aloud yesterday evening at Theatre Calgary’s production of The Tempest, performed in an outdoor setting amongst the trees of Prince’s Island Park.

Shakespeare By The Bow – formerly Shakespeare In The Park – is a quarter-of-a-century old Calgary tradition, giving newly graduated drama students the opportunity to practise their skills under the direction of a professional theatre company.

And flex those acting muscles they certainly did last night, with performances that were energetic, funny, thoughtful, considered and assured.

And magical.

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With a female Prospera replacing the traditional male Prospero, the setting was perfect and the costumes inspired. The audience captured all ages. (And species! I spied a few dogs there too.) Many audience members had come prepared with blankets, deck chairs and picnic baskets, while others, cyclists and joggers out for a run, or families out for an evening stroll, stopped to take in the entertainment.

This is the final week for Shakespeare By The Bow  – it ends on Sunday 16th – and I highly recommend taking a trip down to Prince’s Island Park to catch one of their final performances.  Please check out Theatre Calgary’s website for further information.

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Prince’s Island Park – Calgary

There are two kinds of emigrants/immigrants; those who are pulled to their new country and those who are pushed from their old. I definitely belonged in the latter category. I was perfectly happy living in Scotland, but then my husband got offered a great job opportunity in Canada so we packed up and moved across the Pond.

It took me a long time to settle here. Getting used to the long – long – winters was a challenge. But over the years Canada, and this city of Calgary where we’ve made our home, have burrowed deep into my heart and now I truly love them both. We are fortunate to live here. When we arrived in Calgary, the population of the city sat at just under half a million. Now it is well over one million, and we’ve seen tremendous changes over those years.

For the next few Wednesdays, I’d like to show you some of my favourite places in this city. Some are well-known while others, like the Reader’s Garden Cafe I spotlighted last week, are unfamiliar to most Calgarians. backendFirst up is Prince’s Island Park. Named after Peter Prince who owned a lumber company nearby, the park is located immediately north of the downtown core on an island donated by the Prince family (according to Wikipedia) to the city in 1947. His original office building remains close by. Now known as the 1886 Cafe, it is a popular restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Peter Prince’s home can been visited in Heritage Park.

Completely surrounded by the Bow River, Prince’s Island Park boasts all the facilities – and more – you could wish for in an urban park. Each year, it hosts the Calgary Folk Festival, Shakespeare in the Park and the Canada Day Celebrations every July 1st. Or enjoy a meal at the trendy River Cafe with its great food and wonderful location. You’ll find plenty of well laid out trails lined with beautiful hanging baskets for bikers, walkers and runners, but there are also off the beaten tracks where you can get up close to the fast-flowing river.

river2 If you love flowers, there are plenty of displays to enjoy. If you fancy a picnic you can bring your own blanket and spread it out on the grass or use one of the many picnic benches dotted around the park. downtownWhen our kids were young, we used to like to come down on a Sunday morning for a picnic breakfast. After we’d eaten, they’d play for ages at the extensive children’s play park.

Although there are spots in the park where the city can feel a million miles away, there are others where you can see the beautiful glass buildings rising above you, sparkling in the sunlight. It’s a lovely place to visit, whether for a quiet stroll or an ad hoc soccer match or game of frisbee. And if you fancy a coffee, nip in to Eau Claire market on the south side of the park, or stroll across the Peace Bridge and walk along Memorial Drive to Kensington.

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One of the hanging baskets you can find on the lamp posts around the park.

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Sunflower

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The River Cafe

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The Peace Bridge linking Prince’s Island Park to Kensington on the north side.