Just south of Calgary, Eau Claire Distillery planted its roots in the historic town of Turner Valley. While many Calgarians often spend weekends in the city or exploring the Rocky Mountains, the foothills are filled with fun activities, interesting excursions and opportunities to learn more about the checkered history of the area! Here are 6 must-see spots to explore on your next day trip to the foothills.
Millarville Farmers Market
This Farmers’ Market, while seasonal, is worth a summer day trip to the foothills in itself! Every Saturday from June to October, the market opens and is full of vendors with local produce, crafts, and more. Stock up and enjoy the fresh country air at the Millarville Race Track.
Turner Valley Gas Plant
Did you know that Turner Valley was the site of Western Canada’s first commercial oilfield and plant? Learn about the origin of Alberta’s world-renowned petroleum industry by taking a guided tour around the exhibit hall, processing plant and surrounding historic buildings to see how Turner Valley began.
Pair a tour of the Turner Valley Gas Plant with an inside look into Eau Claire Distillery’s process with our Distillery to Discovery Well Tour!
Granary Road is an all-encompassing ode to agriculture in Alberta. The venue has something for everyone, including an Active Learning Park, Public Market and Greenhouse operations.
Granary Road’s Public Market is a great place to shop handmade goods, prepared foods and fresh produce from world-class vendors year round at the Granary Road Public Market.
Bar U Ranch National Historic Site
Visit the Bar U Ranch, a National Historic Site of Canada that was at one time home to 30,000 cattle and 1000 Percheron Horses. Today, the ranch is a tourism destination but remains to be a small working farm.
In fact, the Bar U Ranch is significant to Eau Claire Distillery’s operations as a farm-to-glass distillery. Each year, Eau Claire Distillery’s team of Percheron horses use traditional, vintage-style farming equipment to plant and harvest the coveted Alberta malted barley that is then used for the distillery’s award-winning whisky.
Brown-Lowery Provincial Park offers a walk through trees and wildflowers, leading to a stunning view of the countryside to the west at the top of the park. The hike is an easy stroll that can vary in length. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot wildlife like deer, lynx and elk in Brown-Lowery Provincial Park.
The park is located just 20 minutes from Turner Valley and Eau Claire Distillery, making it the perfect companion to your exploration of the rest of the foothills.
Hit up Chuckwagon Café for a mid-morning brunch, followed by a 1pm tour and tasting at Eau Claire Distillery. We may be a little biased but a trip to the foothills is never complete without some craft spirits. Tour our working distillery which is housed in Turner Valley’s old movie theatre or try your hand at mixology with one of our spirit guides! Come enjoy a cocktail made with our award-winning spirits before heading to your next adventure.
Just 10 minutes east of Turner Valley is Black Diamond, another gem in the foothills! Explore the walkable streets of the town by first grabbing lunch at the Westwood before heading to the boutiques down the street including Outlier Mercantile Co. for your next outfit, Bertie’s General Store for vintage finds, and Branch Market for goods and gifts from local vendors!
Planning Your Trip
While we picked out our top 6 places to visit, there’s so much more to explore outside of Calgary’s city limits. If you’re not sure where to start, visit the Foothills Tourism Association website for a full list of business and activities in the Alberta Foothills! Also, be sure to check out Open Farm Days which is a province-wide open house in partnership with various businesses throughout the Alberta prairies on August 17th and 18th. Learn more here.
Eau Claire Distillery is taking part in Open Farm Days with a tour of the distillery, BBQ lunch in the Distillery Gardens, and a live horse-farming demonstration with founder David Farran’s team of Percheron horses. Get your tickets here.