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The city evaporates at Fort Whyte Alive

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My life partner once recalled a favoured social studies teacher who always advised taking stock of nearby resources — very often we don’t know what’s available in the larger backyard.
Whereas the Tuxedo neighbourhood may not rate so highly for overall walkability — it gets a car-dependent score of 42 on website Walk Score — it does boast some outdoor riches, literal oases for the ’burbs, to be treasured by the walker and/or avid bicyclist.
One is Fort Whyte Centre, somewhat pretentiously rebranded FortWhyte Alive, first visited by this writer whilst in elementary school to learn the rudiments of outdoor survival. It’s become a frequent destination since I wound up shacked up in Tuxedo and it’s striking how, in writing the place up, so much about it hasn’t previously blinked on my scanner. It reinforces just what a wealth the destination offers.
Heading south to FortWhyte, it’s as if the city simply goes up in a vapour. Turning east at the entrance, the bending road takes you towards the FortWhyte interpretive centre, but first past its farms operation.
For over a decade now, the socially minded FortWhyte Farms program has practised sustainable urban agriculture, while also providing work experience for at-risk city youth and responding to the ever-growing demand for more locally sourced food.
After pulling up and entering reception, there’s great mileage to be gotten even before laying down admission price: breakfast at the Buffalo Stone Café, highlighted by rich coffee and generous portions of delicious pork product, also comes with a soul-nourishing view of the artificial lakes on an outdoor deck.
To aid digestion, there’s the simple thrill of walking along the over 7 km of trails.
As for the artificial lakes: they may not compare to the freshwater giants north of the city, but any need to be in the middle of water is far better fed here than on the more confined local river systems.
That’s in the precious summer months — there’s also heaps to tide one over until then, including snowshoeing and a toboggan slide that’s almost certainly much faster than it looks.
FortWhyte may be perhaps a more convenient, less hardy version of sending the kids off to camp but it’s also easier for we overgrown younglings to join.
I’m already making weekend plans for next winter; if it’s anything like this one, we’ll all need a good list, after all.

Kenton Smith is a community correspondent for Tuxedo. You can reach him at kentonsmith133@hotmail.com

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