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Five exotic locales to visit this break

By Derek Baker, February 14 2017 —

As reading week approaches, the envy you feel towards your friend jetting off to Cabo is probably growing stronger. You can attempt to justify the shitty reality of waking up to another -30 C day by taking comfort in the fact that they won’t get anything done. But don’t kid yourself — we all know you’re not actually going to read anything either.

In order to say you at least did something over your break, here are a few places to visit around Calgary that won’t break the bank.

Balzac:

Ha — this place sounds like “ballsack.” A short drive immediately north of the city gets you to Alberta’s premier hamlet. Located right beside the CrossIron Mills shopping centre, you can spend the money that could have bought you a ticket to a tropical paradise at some basic outlet shop and wear what all the cool kids are wearing. A stroll through the Bass Pro Shop will feel just like a hike through the mountains, except with less cold, dampness, spiders, dirt or animal shit.

Torrington:

Located at the edge of my homeland of Kneehill County — where “going into the city” means going to Three Hills, population 3,000 — this quaint town is home to the oddest attraction in Alberta. Have you ever seen the movie Dinner for Schmucks? Replace the taxidermy mice with stuffed gophers set in little scenes — like sitting on a beach — and you’ve got Torrington. Visualize yourself as that dead gopher and escape the hell that is reality.

Cochrane:

This one may be a little bit too bourgie for the simple student. But if you have the inclination to go to Calgary’s hottest suburb, don’t forget to pack a lawn chair and a beach towel. Catch up on your tan as a chinook blows in while licking the McKay’s ice cream cone you stood in line for over 30 minutes to get in the middle of February.

Brooks:

Listed by Canadian Mortgages Inc. as one of the top 10 worst places to live in Canada, Brooks isn’t all that bad. I mean, the stench from the combination of a meat packing plant and feed lot does give off a certain eau de toilet. But once you get use to it, you won’t find much of a difference between this small Albertan hick town and any other. As an added bonus, you can sit in the parking lot of the McDonald’s, have an existential crisis as you sort out some shit going on in your life and conclude by uttering “let’s get the hell out of Brooks.”

The opposite side of the city from where you live:

What takes longer — flying to Cancun or getting from Tuscany to Somerset? Venture out of your city quadrant for a change of scenery on the opposite side of town. Feel uneasy at the sight of the run-down strip malls, the potholes and broken bus shelters  that are literally the same as the ones you see around the corner from your house. Vow to never return to this hideous part of the city ever again.

This article is part of our humour section.

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