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Established as a children’s pioneer theme park back in 1964, Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village has since grown to become Canada's largest living-history museum. Open from the May long weekend to Thanksgiving in October,  it features 180 exhibits exploring the settlement of Western Canada from the 1860s to the 1950s. The park is divided into several areas including an antique midway; a fur-trading fort and First Nations encampment; a pre-railway settlement; a 1910 railway town; and Gasoline Alley, which houses thousands of items related to automobile history. "Heritage Park is not a typical museum where you just come and look at things. We want you to taste it, experience it, smell it, touch it,” explains communications specialist Barb Munro, adding that on-site costumed interpreters help history come alive.

Heritage Park is also home to the city’s only boat cruise. Circumnavigating Glenmore Reservoir on an hourly basis, the S.S. Moyie is a replica of a late 19th century paddlewheeler.  A vintage steam train, one of Heritage Park's most iconic attractions, also chugs around the park's perimeter moving visitors from one end to the other.

What’s more, Heritage Park offers unique shopping opportunities. Heritage Town Square is located outside the admission gates and features shops carrying goods from vintage toys and antiques to Canadian-made souvenirs.

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Wave the flag at these Canada Day events in Calgary

Wave the flag at these Canada Day events in Calgary

This village-sized historical attraction offers an ideal Canada Day family getaway. Celebratory party perks include the park’s annual Dominion Day parade and licensed barbecue lunch tent, children’s crafts and games, mini chuck wagon races on the rodeo grounds and live, early 1900s-style street entertainment. Parking is available in the main-entrance lot, but attendees are urged to park at the Heritage LRT station, then take the 502 bus to the park. Hours: 9:30 am to 5 pm.

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Calgary cycling pathway pit stops

Calgary cycling pathway pit stops

Forming a popular cycling loop that passes through North Glenmore and South Glenmore parks as well as Weaselhead Natural Area, Calgary’s pathway system circles Glenmore Reservoir. On the east side of the water, pedal into Engineered Air Plaza outside the main gate of Heritage Park Historical Village, and pay no admission fee. Opposite the shops of Haskayne Mercantile Block, enjoy a hot or cold drink with a snack at Railway Café, a sandstone rail station rest stop serving pastries, soup and sandwiches, salads and a pleasant view of the reservoir.

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Mother’s Day brunch 2016 in Calgary

Mother’s Day brunch 2016 in Calgary

Overlooking the shiny historical hotrods of Heritage Park Historical Village’s Gasoline Alley Museum, brunch is served on the mezzanine level. Whether or not Mom is an auto buff, she’ll definitely dig the high-octane eats. Choose from buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles, back-bacon Benedict, roasted chicken, cedar-plank salmon and much more. Also visit the made-to-order omelet station and the carving station serving Alberta strip loin and Valbella ham. Adults, $33; kids three to 11, $23; two and under free. Brunch attendees receive a discount on Gasoline Alley admission. Seatings: May 8, 10 am to 2 pm.

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