The village of Montgomery was officially annexed into Calgary in 1963 and the northwest community — much like its neighbour across the river, Bowness — is recognized as a working class fixture of our city’s cultural landscape. Montgomery has seen great urban transformation over the past several years (partly due to the city’s 2008 area redevelopment plan for the community and, in January of this year, the establishment of the Montgomery BRZ). Given that many residential developers, restaurateurs, artists and retailers rushing to get in on the ground floor, it`s expected that Montgomery will be Calgary’s next hip neighbourhood.
I’m not alone in my love for celebrity chef Michael Noble’s NOtaBLE. Upscale yet unpretentious (servers’ uniforms usually consist of a blue T-shirt, slacks and tennis shoes), the eatery has received a steady diet of admiration, from critics and diners alike, since opening in May 2010. Much like Noble’s quest to give Cowtown a genuinely refined seafood menu (he opened Catch in 2002), NOtaBLE’s comfort food and walk-in dining (half of the restaurant is reserved for those with no reservation) is changing the way Calgarians recognize remarkable cuisine.
Another unassuming but amazing Montgomery restaurant, Tandoori Flames, offers affordable and inspired eats. Finding authentic East Indian food in Northwest Calgary can be tricky, but Tandoori Flames’ sheekh kabab, balti prawn, and goat curry will take your taste buds from Montgomery to Mumbai in one bite. Wiener Schnitzel Haus offers real-deal ethnic fare, too. This Austrian family restaurant is a small shop with a big heart, bringing together under the roof of one haus a dozen different schnitzels, sublime desserts, and superb beer and wine selections.
In addition to the beautiful Bow River, Montgomery is known for hosting two big outdoor attractions: Shouldice and Montgomery Park, which bookend the community’s southwest and northeast sections.
Shouldice is simply beautiful, perfect for a nature walk or bike ride. It also houses a massive athletic park with four regulation soccer fields, five softball diamonds and a privately run batting cage facility. Montgomery Park is ideal for taking the dog for a long run — a huge, off-leash area of the park sits off Montalban Dr. — or start your own scenic, intense jog through Bowness Park, like this one.
A great place to start, and in keeping with the physical/outdoor fun synonymous with Montgomery, is Sports Rent. If you’re open to experiencing a new outdoor thrill but aren’t ready to buy the expensive equipment, you can rent all the gear here.
With the physical spoke of your medicine wheel taken care of, try hitting up Self Connection next time you find yourself in an existential crisis. The bookstore, which opened nearly 30 years ago, is dedicated to personal growth materials, workshops and events. You can also channel Montgomery to connect on a deeper level with your ‘best friends,’ by taking them for a bath at Happy Bays Car & Dog Wash. The dual-purpose facility boasts five car wash bays and two friendly, safe, canine wash bays, allowing for a clean sweep before heading home.
Image courtesy of amy.herbs.