Events for Sketchers

Our sketching meetups are open to anyone interested in drawing on location as a group. Sometimes this means only a couple of sketchers with show up, other times we’ll have a dozen, but usually it’s somewhere in between. Typically sketchers bring their favourite mediums, find an appealing vantage and attempt to complete their sketch within the allotted time. Often we reconvene for coffee afterwards to wrap up. We are volunteer run; there is no charge, although this and conflicting schedules mean that sometimes our meetups will fluctuate in their informality.
There is no formal sign up, so just show up to the next event and we’ll be happy to have you join us!

September – October Sketchule

Wednesday, September 4 (6-8pm) – Chicken on the Way, 14 St & Kensington Rd NW. Meet in the parking lot and bring a stool. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Saturday, September 7 (11am-1pm) – CPA Parking Lot 7, behind the Grain Exchange Building, 208 9 Ave SW. There are some great views of the old Stephen Ave buildings from the alley. Meet in the parking lot and bring a stool. In case of inclement weather, meet outside the Glenbow Museum entrance in the lobby to sketch furniture, or the Painters sculpture, or explore the Plus 15.

Friday, September 13 (5:30-7:30pm) – Inglewood Night Market. Meet at the NW corner of 10 Ave & 11 St SE, then reconvene there again at 7:30. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Wednesday, September 18 (6-8pm) – Wolfe and the Sparrows statue, at the southwest corner of the new 12 Street SW Bridge in Inglewood. Event cancelled due to weather.

Saturday, September 28 (10:30am-1pm) – Angels Cafe, 4105 Montgomery View NW in Edworthy Park. There is a large free parking lot east of Angels Cafe, and a smaller one closer to the cafe. In case of inclement weather, we will try and sketch inside the cafe. If it is too busy we will go to Market Mall (south end) and attempt 20 minutes store window sketches.  

Saturday, October 5 (11am-1pm) – Scotiabank Saddledome, 555 Saddledome Rise SE. Meet at the north entrance near the yellow pillar with flames goalie mask, and team logos. There are parking fees on site, so you may want to find alternate parking or take the the train. In case of inclement weather, meet at Crossroads Market, from 10:00 to noon. Meet just inside the doors at the northwest entrance.

Saturday, October 12 (11am-1pm) – River Park off-leash area, 4500 14A St SW. Views of Elbow River valley, city skyline, with Sandy Beach at the bottom of the hill. In case of inclement weather, meet at Monogram Coffee at 4814 16 St SW.

Saturday, October 19 (11am-2pm) – Sketch Crawl East Village. To start, meet at bottom of stairs on east side of the Central Library, then meet up again at the end at the river-facing entrance of the Simmons Building, 618 Confluence Way SE. In case of inclement weather, meet at Luke’s, second level inside the Central Library.

Saturday, October 26 (11am-2pm) – Kensington Art Supply show and tell, 120 – 6999 11 St SE. Come help us promote Calgary Urban Sketchers at Kensington Art Supply! Stay tuned for a full post with all the details.

July – August Sketchule

Wednesday, July 10 (6-8pm) – Scotsman’s Hill, Salisbury St SE, overlooking the Stampede grounds. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Saturday, July 13 (10am-12:30pm) – Centre Street Bridge, either from the upper bridge deck or from Rotary Park, 617 1 St NE (depending on the vantage you prefer). Meet up at the end of the sketch at the south end of the bridge on the east side; if you choose to sketch the bridge from Rotary Park, you can park on the street at the south end. In case of inclement weather, meet in the +15 over 8 Ave, between Bankers Hall & The Core shopping centre.

Wednesday July 17 (6-8pm) – Calgary Rowing Club, North Glenmore Park Rd, SW. Meet on the upper, public deck overlooking the water; you can bring your own stool. Parking lot at club is busy, so park in the nearby North Glenmore Parking Lot A. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Saturday, July 27 (10am-1pm) – West Downtown Sculpture Sketch Crawl – please read the post on the main page, and consider pre-planning your route. For people wanting to meet up at the start and travel as a group, meet at the Ascension statue at 4 Ave & 9 St SW. Otherwise plan to meet back at the Ascension statue at the end to share your sketches.

Saturday, August 3 (10am-12pm) – Heritage Park Plaza in front of Gasoline Alley, 1900 Heritage Dr SW. No park admission required, as we are meeting and sketching just outside the gates. In case of inclement weather, bring cash and we will go inside Gasoline Alley to sketch the vintage automobiles.

Friday, August 9 (5:30-7:30pm) – McDougall Centre, 455 6 St SW. Meet after sketching at the water feature. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Tuesday, August 13 (6:30-8:30pm) – ATCO Park, 5302 Forand St SW. Building closes at 5pm, so we are sketching the exterior. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Saturday, August 24 (10am-1pm) – Reader Rock Garden, 325 25 Ave SE. Free parking at bottom of park on the west side of the hill. Meet at the end of the 3 hours in the cafe. In case of inclement weather, we will meet later in the day at Banded Peak Brewery.

Thursday, August 29 (6:30-8:30pm) – Nose Hill Park, 14 St NW. Meet at 6pm in the parking lot off 14 St, north of the Calgary Winter Club. Views of Downtown or sketch grasslands. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

May – June Sketching Calendar

Sunday, April 28 (2-4pm) – cSpace King Edward, 1721 29th Ave SW, Suite 130.

Saturday, May 4 (11am-1pm) – Eau Claire Market, food court (due to the forecast, the previously scheduled Peace Bridge sketch will be postponed to May 13th).

Monday May 13 (5:30-7:30pm) – Peace Bridge, south endIn case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Saturday, May 18 (10am-12pm) – Stephen Ave, Plus 15 between Glenbow Museum and Telus Convention Centre, 8 Ave SE (due to the forecast, the previously scheduled Celebration Square meet will be rescheduled).

Sunday, May 26 (10:30am-12:30pm) – Barb Scott Park, 1211 9 St SW. Meet at the Chinook Arc sculpture; Dr. Carl Safron Centre is great to sketch too. In case of inclement weather, meet at Memorial Park Library.

Tuesday, June 4 (6:30-8:30pm) – Crescent Heights Lookout, Crescent Rd & 2 St NW. Meet at the top of stairs. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Saturday, June 15 (10am-12pm) – Connaught Park, 14 Ave & 11 St SW. In case of inclement weather, meet at the Good Earth Cafe on 11th St.

Saturday, June 22 (10am-1pm) – East Downtown Sculpture Sketch Crawl – please read the post on the main page, and consider pre-planning your route. Sketch throughout the morning, and we will meet up at 1pm at the Famous Five sculpture at Olympic Plaza to share.

Thursday, June 27th (6:30-8:30pm) – Chicken on the Way, 14 St & Kensington Rd NW. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

March – April Sketching Calendar

We’re trying out a new format for our sketching schedule, where we’ll post a full list of planned events in advance so that people can pick what works for them. Some of the events will be subject to change due to inclement weather and or pending permissions/coordination with venues, but we’ll try to keep to these dates set so that people can firm up their calendars. Check back closer to the dates for any updates!

Saturday, March 9 (10am-12pm) – Golden Acre Home & Garden, 620 Goddard Ave NE

Friday, March 15 (5:30-7:30pm) – Bowness Park Lagoon, ​8900 48 Ave NW; weather-dependent; sketching skaters on the lagoon by the fire.

Sunday, March  24 (10-11:30am) – Amato Gelato2104 Kensington Rd NW

Thursday, April 4 (5pm-7pm) – Glenbow Museum, 130 9 Ave SE; free admission for their “first Thursday” promotion; dry media only. Meet in the lobby at 5pm to practice 20min sketches as a group throughout the museum, otherwise we will meet back at the bottom of the stairs at 7pm.

Saturday, April 13 (10am-12pm) – Suncor Energy Centre, 150 6 Ave SW

Tuesday, April 23 (5:30-7:30pm) – Courthouse Park/Harley Hotchkiss Gardens; meet outside in the park, and if the weather changes, we can move indoors to the Watermark Tower +15.

Glenbow Museum

The Glenbow is hosting a Community Day on Sunday, March 3rd, where admission is free for the day! We thought we could take advantage of this and have a sketching morning there before it gets too busy. The doors open at 9am, and as it’s such a big place, we will likely be fairly spread out, so just find a spot and get started when you arrive. Let’s aim to meet up at the end of our session in the lobby at the bottom of the stairs at 11am and we can all share our sketches for the day. Hopefully this way we will beat the main rush. However, feel free to stay on afterwards, as the museum is open until 5pm.

A few things to note: no paint or liquid mediums are allowed in the galleries, so pencil sketching is requested of us. Given the anticipated crowds, please try to make use of existing seating and not crowd the halls with stools (you might be asked to put them away).

Knox United Church

In an effort to change up our schedule, we’ve arranged for an after-hours sketch at Knox United Church (506 4 St SW) this Friday, Feb 22nd from 6-8pm. Built in 1913, this neo-Gothic church is a fixture of downtown Calgary that also hosts numerous live music events throughout the year, given its excellent acoustics. If you have ever been inside, you’ll likely remember the vaulted ceiling and lovely stained glass. It should be a great practice for interior perspective drawing. Given it is a heritage site, they have requested no liquids during our sketch (specifically paint) so please treat it as an opportunity to practice with dry mediums instead.

There are surface parking lots between 5th and 6th Avenues, on the west side of 4th Street. If you want to park there, we can all walk back to our cars afterwards as a group.

Esker Foundation

Join us on Saturday Feb. 16th at 11am at Esker Foundation in Inglewood! They are located at 444, 1011 – 9th Avenue SE and Chris has arranged for us to come by to sketch for a couple hours. The view from their location on the fourth floor towards downtown is pretty incredible, as you can see, and if the visibility isn’t great that day, they likewise have a great overlook of 9th Avenue. See you there!


Weekday Sketching at Watermark Tower

On Wednesday, Jan. 30th at 1pm, Chris is going to be meeting on the +15 level of the Watermark Tower (530 8th Ave SW) near Caffe Artigiano. The spot is just west of Holt Renfrew, and overlooks the 4th Street C-Train station and the old courthouse. He posted on our main page more details about it, but if anyone is up for a mid-week afternoon sketch, I hope you can join him!

Chinook Mall

My apologies for this late post. I have been overwhelmed with moving preparations. At our last sketch walk, several people mentioned that it might be different to go\ to a mall for our next gathering. Chinook Mall was mentioned and since it is the place where a few of us started the discussion about one day becoming a chapter of it seems to be a reasonable choice. It also has indoor parking as well as accessibility by C-train. (albeit with a few minute walk thrown in for exercise). I’d suggest meeting at the food court in the centre of the mall. From there options abound, or, you may want to hone your people sketching skills right there at the food tables. In any case, 11:00 am on Saturday, Jan.26.

Brookfield Place

On Saturday the 19th, we will meet on the second floor of Brookfield Place (225 6 Ave SW, Calgary) at 11am. This is the +15 level, and should be accessible from the Scotia Centre/Hudson’s Bay across the street too. There are lots of massive windows facing the various neighbouring buildings, and with an atrium space with trees, tables and seating, it’s fairly expansive to spread out in as well. I have checked with security and we should not face any issues. The only downside is that apparently none of the businesses there are open on the weekends, so you’ll need to bring your own coffee from somewhere nearby.

This Saturday as well, we are planning to take a nice group shot of all of us to be used in an upcoming issue of “Drawing Attention” to introduce our chapter. Let’s try to make it a really good turnout!

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Library Day

After a great time sketching on the +15 last Saturday, let’s gather at the upper coffee shop in the Central Library. There are always sketch possibilities but more importantly, there are a few members with ideas about sketch locations and we should toss those areas around. Plus, with my impending departure, we will need someone to step up to replace me as one of our administrators. AND I am hoping some of our newer members will come by and give us a chance to meet them. So, Saturday, the 12th, at 11:00 am at the upstairs coffee bar in the library. See ya.


I trust everyone had a great Christmas and a safe and celebratory New Year. For the three of us who attended the Core sketching session, we were somewhat dismayed to find out that the 150 tree display left the night before we arrived. Who said timing is everything. So we sketched the giant tree that remained and for some, Santa greeting the children and others on his chair at the base of the tree.

For our next session, Belinda has been busy checking the Plus 15 rules and regulations on Saturdays and Discovered that the city needs to update their info. When a sign says weekdays, that may not be the case. The City worker also confirmed that if an area is open, we are welcome to sketch there as long as we don’t impede the flow of traffic. Good News!

Belinda suggested three spots for this Saturday, the 6th of January, but I am suggesting we meet at one of them and decide from there if we want to split the group over a few venues. So, bring a stool to the plus 15 between Suncor and the Bow. It’s a great spot for sketch views in a couple of directions and wide enough that we won’t block anyone’s passage. The time is 11:00 as always and we will have no problem picking a coffee spot to follow our sketching time.


‘‘Tis the Season

Okay, folks, here’s the deal. We are getting close to Christmas, like, danger close. So, when Belinda pointed out that there are 150 trees on display at the CORE downtown, we thought, “What a great spot for our last pre-Christmas/New Year outing.” We can sketch and finish our shopping in one fell swoop. I suggest we meet up at the Tim’s on the 4th level at 11:am or earlier, Saturday, the 22nd, and decide from there how we want to handle the time.


Back to the Books

This Saturday, December 15 we are back to the new library where there are so many sketch opportunities that one of our sketchers commented, “Oh, there are books here?” Personally, I have decided to try and-quick sketch people, which is an attempt to strengthen a weakness I have in this area. So far, in my sketches, one might be led to believe that humans have left the planet (with Elvis?). I am told that there are great views from the upper floors which I haven’t visited yet so I may head up there after we gather at 11 am in the coffee area on the 2nd floor (level? Mezzanine?)

By the way, in the Spring, we have got to back to the Atco Park. Fabulous!

Atco Energy Corporate Headquarters

Sorry I took so long and thank you Deb for a great suggestion. We are heading to 5302 Forand St SW, otherwise known as Atco Park. It is also accessible from Crowchild Trail. Their lobby / coffee shop etc, is open until 2pm on Saturday, the view is outstanding as Deb’s photo shows, and they are open to having us riff-gaff sketchers lazing about. 11:00 am Saturday the 8th of December SKETCH A CHRISTMAS GIFT. BE THERE! There is no c Train close by but there is a bus stop. Also ample parking.

Books and Looks

it has been suggested that if we are not going to switch to a two-week schedule for the winter months, we consider having the new Central Library as our destination every second Saturday. The library presents myriad opportunities for sketching, whether you want a view of some part of the inside of that amazing structure or prefer to take a vantage point overlooking a part of the city from any of the windows on all the levels. And so, this week, the library is the sketch destination on Saturday at 11:00. The C-train to City Hall station practically drops you on the doorstep so that is another plus when the temperature plummets.

11 am, Saturday, December 1,  let’s meet at the coffee bar and go from there. If you have ideas for other upcoming locations, bring them along.

Fair’s Fair Bookstore, Inglewood

Saturday, November 24th at 11am, 907 9 Ave SE. Anyone familiar with the Inglewood neighbourhood has likely stopped in to browse at Fair’s Fair at some point. It’s an expansive second-hand bookstore with a lot of interesting nooks and crannies to explore, and should make for good people watching too. I have contacted the manager, Bob, who is amicable to having us sketch in the bookstore on Saturday morning, although with the disclaimer that Saturdays are their busiest days. He said it should be no problem to accommodate us as long as we’re spread out, and I told him that we’ll plan to leave around noon. I’m going to suggest travelling light and limiting to dry mediums if we can, and take it as a good opportunity to practice doing smaller, quick sketches and studies. Happy sketching and hope to see you there on Saturday!

Back to School


On November12th, Rod and Peter went back to Grade 3 to see if they could get it right. Actually, they had the pleasure of meeting up with the teachers and students of the City Hall School and, after sharing a few sketching ideas and pictures with the students, got to spend time sketching with the the boys and girls at the incredible new Central Library.

And so, we are really excited, Rod and I, and hopefully all of you to go back to the library next Saturday, November 17 at 11:00a.m. The library is an absolute wonder, affording views of the downtown buildings and businesses through multiple floor to ceiling window spaces. It is a hive of activity and yet, when we were there with the children, we still managed to find ample room to sit and sketch. A small stool is an excellent idea if you have one. I suggest we meet at the coffee shop, which I couldn’t possibly direct you to, but if you wind your way up the ramp at the edges of the building, you will find it.

Bad News/Good News

Hello all. The bad news is that I have been so crazy busy that I haven’t come up with a sketch site for us this week. Fortunately, this weekend is the end of the stuff that has occupied my time so completely. If Jeff or Rod have a site in mind at this eleventh hour, they could put it up quickly for all who could make it.

The Good News is that I have contacted the manager of Rosso’s (my son, Jason) and he will arrange with the Rosso’s, Ramsay to expect us there on November 10th. He says that we will have plenty of room there and it should be an interesting spot. One of our group mentioned that a two week schedule through the winter might be more manageable, so we may want to discuss that over coffee on the 10th. Meanwhile, even if we aren’t together, KEEP SKETCHING! Sketch your kitchen, your cat, your garage or those pesky neighbours. And I will see you at Rosso’s on the 10th of November at 11:00 am. 803 24th Ave SE.


Sunalta LRT Station

Let’s face it. The last C-train station sketching was a monumental architectural task. So hey, why not do it again. The Sunalta raised station affords more options for views and angles than the Kerby station did, as evidenced by the photos. And it looks like this may be our last chance at an outdoor gathering until next spring (except for possible surprise Chinooks). I hope for a really good turnout so that we can get the creative group shot that will want when they do a feature on us. 11:00 on Saturday, Oct.27. Hope to see you there! I finally have a Saturday!

The Rundle Ruins

As much as it pains me to suggest it, since I have to be away for a few more Saturdays, I think this warm spell of weather might just be perfect for sketching the ruins of this early hospital. It is one of the earliest examples of the sandstone buildings that were once so prevalent in Calgary’s early days.

Bring coffee with you if you want it because it is some distance to the nearest venders of any description. Great subject, though. 11:00 am at the Rundle Ruin site on Saturday, the 20th of October “IN THE SUNSHINE!”

The Bow Lobby

So, I have no idea whether anyone gathered at the library last week. I am quite sure, however, that following the 30 -40 cm dump of winter we experienced on October 1st, that our days of outdoor sketching are either over, or extremely limited.  I am suggesting, therefore, that we gather on Saturday, October 6 at 11:00 am in the lobby of the Bow building. There are food and coffee services available and opportunities to sketch inside as well as a varied selection of views of the outside. From the upper mezzanine level, you might want to sit, sip, and sketch whatever captures your eye. It is also connected to the +15 system for either access or escape. Hope to see you there.

Memorial Park Library

Saturday, September 29th at 11am near the front (East) entrance. With all three of the USk admins unable to make this weekend, we needed to come up with a plan for a chilly and potentially rainy Saturday. I chose this spot because the brave/bundled among you can sketch the beautiful fall colours of Central Memorial Park or the heritage building that is the library itself from the outside. The inside has a number of lovely architectural details and a great vantage on the west side looking onto the park. This will likely be the perfect weekend for autumn foliage in Calgary, so I hope everyone can take advantage! I have spoken with one of the librarians there, and we shouldn’t expect any issues like we experienced last week at Gulf Canada Square. They simply asked us to be quiet and requested we not photograph any of the patrons. There are a number of cafes nearby to grab a coffee before or after, and they offer weekend tours of the building as well, if anyone is interested in learning more of its history. Happy sketching! I’ll be sad to miss it.

Image result for memorial park library fall
From the Alberta Heritage Register: The heritage value of the Memorial Park Library lies chiefly in its status as the first major public library building built in Alberta. The building also stands as an exquisite example of a classically-inspired public building of the Edwardian era, within a carefully planned landscape environment.

Image result for memorial park library fall Image result for memorial park library fall

Gulf Canada Square

On Saturday, September 22, let’s meet inside Gulf Canada Square at 11:00. There is a beautiful interior if it is cold or wet, including views from the +15 upper level. Outside is a CPR engine and the locale affords us numerous opportunities that we can decide on the spot.


Working on our Core

Now that the weather is the ‘wild card’ in planning our sketching events, I think we need to be prepared for ‘in’ and ‘out’ options every week. So, with the completion of renovations to the Devonian Gardens, that indoor oasis on the 4th floor of the CORE shopping centre, I thought we could meet there, grab a coffee and decide whether we want to brave the elements on Stephen Avenue, the modern architecture surrounding Bankers Hall, or sketch one of the myriad perspectives of the gardens or the Core itself.

So, we meet at 11:00 am, Saturday, September 15, on the 4th floor at the garden end. Hope to see you there! We have been having great numbers. Let’s keep it up.

Back Alley Challenge

Okay, ask yourself, “When was the last time I spent some quality time hanging out amongst the dumpsters in a back alley?” Most of us would probably say, “Never!” But for one of our members (name withheld to protect the guilty), her answer would be, “When I took a ‘Calgary Back Alley Tour.”

So, you guessed it, that’s where we’re headed, next Saturday, September 8th. There is an alley behind the Palomino Smokehouse that has some real character to it and any number of perspectives you might want to explore. The facades of so many city buildings often cloak all manner of original construction materials that for me define ‘Urban.’

So, weather permitting, gather at the corner parking lot just east of Palominos at 11:00am and then we’ll make our way into the alley.


Once in the alley, there is a variety of angles to choose from. You may want to use the alley walls to bracket a focus on the Bay at one end or the Hyatt on the other. Or, you might want to do a close up of some of the great texture of mottled stone or crumbling brick. Any of the choices will surely increase you repertoire of subject matter.

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Oddfellow’s Hall (Chamber of Commerce) 517 Centre St. SW

For those of us, for whom the Labour Day weekend does not include leaving the Calgary precincts for some exotic, exciting getaway, a sketch walk presents another opportunity to get together and do what we love to do before the weather prevents us from doing it so easily. So, for those resigned to a Calgary staycation on SATURDAY September 1st, I am suggesting we gather at 11:00 am on the corner opposite the Oddfellows Hall to sketch this historic 1912 building. It is a classic semi-flatiron style structure and the spacious sidewalk plaza kitty-corner from it provides a great vantage point. It is also easily accessible from the C-train station as the map shows. If you can make it, send me a message here. Being downtown, I think we could find a coffee shop or cafe after our sketching to spend some time together.

The Building



St. Patrick’s Island/ George C. King Bridge

**Please note. We will gather at the north side of the parkway near the Bridgeland Memorial C-Train station. But be warned if you are approaching from the downtown East Village side, the bridge is closed for repair and will be closed until early September at the earliest.**

Since coming to Calgary, I have always been attracted to the view of the bridge afforded from the Bow Valley Pathway, but have never ventured down to sketch it. The easiest access would be from the Bridgeland/Memorial C-train station. It;s only a 6 minute walk along the pathway to a couple of benches and the perfect vantage point. At 11:00 am, which is our usual time, the light hitting the bridge and the city buildings behind should be perfect.

There is also good access from the south side of the river, from the Simmons Building area of East Village. Whatever works. So, we gathered 11:00 am on Saturday, August 25, hoping for “NO SMOKE” at the benches on the Pathway shown on the attached map. A ton of sketch opportunities surround the area. Hope to see you there. Bring a friend!




The West Kerby Krawl

Good news folks. It turns out that Rod’s art show is actually next Sunday, not Saturday so we are on to meet up at the West Kerry C-train station next Saturday, August 18th. We will gather at 11:00 am in front of the Kerby Center, which is next to the eastbound side of the station. Check the map. Since this is Rod’s neck of the woods, we will let him point out the sketchable opportunities.

Hope to see you there. Once again, if you can make it, send a message from the Contact page. And hey, invite a friend! If you are coming from the west or south and plan to arrive by C-train, make sure you take the train bound for 69th St.