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How to Summer Like You’re a Kid in the ’80s

Longing for those lazy, languid days of your carefree ‘80s childhood? (Congratulations, you’re retro.) Since we’re squarely in the era of the reboot, now is the perfect time for a fence-hopping, hopscotching, hide-and-seek summer. So dust off your mason jar — or empty its contents of kale — because tonight, we’re hunting fireflies. Consider this your digital Yellow Pages for a smooth summer throwback that’s too cool for school.

Slippity Slide

Between Slip ‘N Slide, Super Soakers and Dippity-Do gel, Gen Xers know a thing or two about getting wet. Take a long, slippery ride down memory lane in your own backyard, or go big — like, ‘80s hair big — at WinSport’s The Plunge. It’s a high-velocity, 246 meter slide that’s totally tubular. (Literally. You ride on a tube.)

Where: WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, 88 Canada Olympic Road SW
When: July (details available soon)

I Scream, You Scream

Hear that sound? It’s the seductive melody of an elusive ice cream truck weaving through your neighbourhood. Make a mad, shoeless dash in its direction and take ice cream from a stranger (he’s not a stranger, he has ice cream). Or visit Lic’s in the city’s Northwest, established in 1982, for a hard scoop of tiger tail or moon mist.

Where: Leavitt’s Ice Cream Shop, 3410 3 Ave NW
When: All summer long!


Escape the searing sizzle of city sidewalks and leap feet-first into one of Calgary’s outdoor community pools. Revive your favourite stroke from your childhood swimming lessons (or improve your stroke with adult lessons!) and summon a time when staying afloat was a literal challenge, not a metaphorical one.

Where: Throughout the city
When: All summer long!

Choose Your Own Adventure

Your journey begins at your local public library, where a re-acquaintance with your inner adventurer is long overdue. Let the friendly face behind the circulation desk be your guide as your literary quest unfolds. If you choose to lose yourself among the stacks and spend an afternoon at total ease, turn to the next page.

Where: Calgary Public Library
When: All summer long!

Sticky Fingers

Corn syrup, glucose and gluten, oh my! Satisfy your taste buds (and spoil your supper) with lollipops, Pop Rocks and pockets full of penny candy. Freak Lunch Box on 17th Ave. SW offers a sugary smorgasbord of nostalgic treats, sweets and trinkets. It’s memories by the mouthful.

Where: Freak Lunch Box, 614A 17 Ave. SW
When: All summer long!

Video Star

Channel your inner video game wizard for an afternoon wasted (winning) at one of Calgary’s gnarly arcades. The ‘80s were the golden age of video games (Pac-Mac, Ms. Pac-Mac, Donkey Kong) and Boogie’s Burgers on Edmonton Trail has them, in all their electro-mechanical glory. Just insert coin to play.

Where: Boogie’s Burgers, 908 Edmonton Trail NE
When: All summer long!

X Marks the Spot

Who needs a treasure map when you have a smartphone? (That ironically, costs a fortune.) Download one of Calgary’s self-guided scavenger hunts — or create your own — to navigate the city’s familiar landmarks as well as some new-to-you neighbourhood haunts. You never know what treasure awaits the brave. (And remember: Goonies never say die.)

Where: Throughout the city
When: All summer long!;;

Heels on Wheels

The ‘80s brought the best of both worlds when it comes to skates, dates and figure eights: the dying days of roller disco (and deadly roller fashion) and the birth of oh-so-radical Rollerblades. Wear white under the black lights of Lloyd’s roller rink on MacLeod Trail and boogie on down.

Where: Lloyd’s Rollersports Centre, 7520 Macleod Trail SE
When: All summer long!

Mischief (managed)

It’s 10 pm. Do you know where your kids are? Well, here’s a PSA: there once was a time when parents didn’t know your every move. Hop a fence, build a ramp, skin your knees on a playground slide. Stay at the park ‘til dark. Capture the magic (play Capture the Flag!) of a totally unsupervised summer. Just don’t do anything illegal.

Where: Community parks, like Prince’s Island Park Playground
When: All summer long!

A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

E.T., sci-fi, moon boots — the ‘80s were out of this world. Be an astronomer now that you’ve grown up. Leave the light pollution behind and trek south of the city for a night of stellar stargazing at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory. Its Milky Way Nights are open for public observing for perfectly moonlit, midnight sightings.

Where: Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, Priddis, AB (30 kms southwest of Calgary’s city center)
When: July 20-22 and August 17-19, 2017

By Shannon Cleary