I am not a hunter. Please let me emphasize this before I begin my post. I love cute animals, and when I was young, I wished I was Sleeping Beauty so that all the animals of the forest would follow me around and sing with me. I wanted birds to help bake my birthday cake, just like in the cartoon. Of course, I now realize the cake would be riddled with chunks of bird droppings and dusted with a light coating of feathers and parasites, but back then, it was my dream.
|My childhood dream! Image courtesy: http://disneypinforum.com/|
However, I don't completely abhor hunting either. When the animal is used for food, the hunting is legal, and there's no "let's-take-a-trophy-and-leave-the-carcass-to-rot", then I guess I'm okay with it. I myself have never gone hunting, but when one of my students slapped a slab of frozen deer steak on my desk to defrost as a Christmas present one snowy school day, I did take it home and cook it. Mm... gamey.
With that colorful introduction complete, I'd like to discuss one of central Alberta's finest shopping experiences - if you are into that sort of thing. I am talking about one of the most extravagant, over-the-top, and gigantic stores I have ever seen: the Bass Pro Shop in Calgary's Cross Iron Mills Mall.
|Bass Pro Shop in Cross Iron Mills. Image courtesy: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/22637219|
She wants to talk about a store in a mall on her travel blog? How lame.
No, it's really not. This place is unreal. Even if you are not a hunter, like me, you will still want to visit this place just to marvel at its sheer size and, let's face it, utter lunacy. I can't even begin to describe to you just how many dead and stuffed animals there are in this place! There are dioramas of every biome in nature readily available for viewing, replete with taxidermied animals to finish the scene.
|The entrance to Bass Pro Shops in Cross Iron Mills. These glassy-eyed animals are just the beginning...|
You like mountains? There's a diorama for that.
|A peaceful mountain scene... I guess.|
You like forest scenes? There's a diorama for that.
|My sister was rather shocked at the amount of taxidermied caribou in the store.|
You like gophers? Yes, there's even a diorama for that. To view any animal you'd like to see stuffed and mounted, just wander the store for 10 minutes. You'll probably find it. But give yourself time. The Bass Pro Shop at Cross Iron Mills (which technically is in Balzac and not Calgary, located just off the QE2 Highway near Calgary, Alberta) is over 150,000 square feet and has two levels. The store sells everything 'outdoors' - camping gear, bar-be-ques and deck items, clothing, hunting goods, sporting goods, and so much more.
|Watch out for moose!|
I first visited the store when I went skeet shooting with my sister and her then-boyfriend, an Olympic biathlon hopeful. We needed some 'skeet shooting ammo' (I don't know if that actually exists - I don't really know what we bought..), and so we visited Bass Pro. I was stunned at the size, and slightly saddened by the sheer quantity of the mounted animals. After that, I have taken several friends and family members inside the store, just to see it. It really is a stop that everyone should make, even if you aren't interested in purchasing anything.