Calgary neighbourhoods: The best of Mission

By Sarah Sussman

Located along 4th Street between 13th Avenue SW and Elbow Drive, Mission is a destination neighbourhood with a rich and noteworthy history. The neighbourhood was originally a Francophone settlement, as well as the earliest Roman Catholic centre within Southern Alberta. Over time, Mission has become a Calgary hub for dining, shopping, public art and more. [Photo credit: Joel Dryden]

Calgary neighbourhoods: The best of Mission

Boutique shopping

One of the reasons why Mission has become such a shopping destination is because it’s home to so many independent and locally-owned boutiques. If you’re looking to update your wardrobe with statement pieces no one else in the city has, 4th Street is the place to go.

Fieldstudy is a cozy, curated lifestyle and fashion boutique for women and a recent addition in Mission. If your Pinterest boards were reimagined as a Calgary storefront, they would probably become Fieldstudy.

Further down towards Elbow Drive, Coco & Violet is an upscale womenswear boutique. All of the store’s designs and labels are hand-picked and curated by store owner Helen Nguyen. The boutique also offers personal styling and personal shopping services.

While Calgary only boasts a handful of independent menswear boutiques, Modern Menswear is a 4th Street gem for upscale contemporary menswear. The shop is laid out like a meticulously organized walk-in closet and carries labels like Raised By Wolves, I Love Ugly, APOCS and more. If you can’t get down to visit the store, you should definitely follow Modern Menswear on Instagram for serious YYC style inspiration.

Festival headquarters

The annual 4th Street Lilac Festival is held on 4th Street between 13th Avenue and Elbow Drive every year in June, just as the lilacs begin to blossom. The free one-day festival hosts more than 500 different vendors, including local artisans, community organizations, charities, locally-owned businesses and more. The festival also provides a platform for emerging local musicians by providing six performance stages along the street, which play host to more than 30 musical performances.

Mission is also the headquarters for Sled Island’s main office. The annual Calgary summer music festival takes place in June and features more than 250 different performances in more than 35 venues across the city. Sled Island is known for presenting a huge range of genres that includes everything from hip-hop and punk to death metal and shoegaze. For 2017, the festival will be guest curated by rapper-producer Flying Lotus.

International cuisine

4th Street is filled with dining options for every palette and features a slew of international restaurants. Whether you’re craving butter chicken and naan or kimchi and bibimbap, you’re sure to find the food to fill your craving.

For comforting homemade Mediterranean cuisine, head over to Aida’s. If Mexico is on your mind, go to Anejo for an upscale-casual dining experience. The eatery puts a twist on many of its menu offerings, including a trio of guacamole in flavours like bacon-goat cheese and spicy pineapple.

If you’re in the mood for French fare, head to Suzette Brittany Bistro for gourmet galettes (savoury buckwheat crepes) and sweet, indulgent dessert crepes.

A popular Calgary foodie destination, Anju is an upscale Korean Fusion restaurant with signature menu items crafted by award-winning chef and owner Roy Oh. Also make sure you drop in to the restaurant late at night to try their nighttime snack menu.

And when you’ve got a hankering for Indian, head to Rajdoot for its delicious buffet or order your favourite dishes a la carte. For a culinary experience that’ll satisfy both your craving for tandoori and naan, try the Maharaja’s Mistress Kulcha. This appetizer features naan bread stuffed with delicious tandoori boneless chicken.

Sweet escape

While Mission has become increasingly Anglophone over the years, its Francophone roots still remain and can be found at the many French cafes and patisseries along 4th Street.

Open at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays, La Boulangerie is a French café and bakery serving up freshly baked sweets and eats. The flakey, soft, sweet croissants are a must-try.

Just across the street, Savour is another French café and bakery that’s made Mission its home. The café had a grand reopening back in June 2016, and has become a much busier spot since. Try the chocolate brioche pastry, or take home a freshly baked bag of cookies.

Located just off 4th Street at 23rd Avenue, Yann Haute Patisserie specializes in macarons of all flavours and fillings. The almond-based meringue sandwich cookies are available in flavours like lavender & apricot, matcha and salted caramel.

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Public art paradise

In addition to its offering of shopping, dining and services, Mission is also home to the Fourth Street Public Art Society and several of the city’s landmark art installations. The society was established in collaboration between the City of Calgary and the Fourth Street Business Revitalization Zone and funds its projects through grant matching, courtesy of the Calgary Region Arts Foundation (CRAF) and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA).

Take yourself on a self-guided tour of the artwork, beginning at 13th Avenue with Evelyn Grant’s Counting Crows windmill sculpture and finishing at 24th Avenue with Ferdinando Spina’s three-sculpture Welcome the Sentinels installation out in front of Shoppers Drug Mart.

With so much to see and do, Mission is a Calgary destination for foodies, shoppers and art aficionados alike. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your wardrobe or indulge in a culinary adventure, spend some time on 4th Street to uncover some of Calgary’s best hidden gems.

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