Those that know me are aware of my fondness for maps. I could look at maps all day, be they maps of place I’ve already visited, places I’d like to visit, or places I’ve lived all my life. Such was the case this weekend, when I spent a good chunk of time looking over downtown Calgary on Google Maps. Google Maps makes looking at maps even better, as it offers directions via different transportation modes and satellite images. Simply put, I could spend of lot of time looking at Google Maps, and I do.
I had a good chuckle looking over where I’ll spending a lot of time next week during WordFest. With many events taking place at or near the Vertigo Theatre, I looked over where I could be going for lunch if time permits, where the best place to get off the train (should I take transit downtown) would be, and what the best routes are for walking to the Westin, WordFest’s official festival hotel.
As the official hotel, the Westin is likely where I’ll be spending a lot of time writing this very blog throughout the festival, as well as where the hospitality suite will be. This is where I get to hob nob with authors and artists, and share my experiences with you.
Naturally, I figured I’d walk from the Vertigo to the Westin, which should only be about a 15 minute trip. But it is October in Calgary and that can mean very different weather conditions. What if it’s blowing snow with a 20K wind? That could make for a very uncomfortable walk, nay, an unbearable walk.
As for driving, well, parking in downtown Calgary is an expensive hassle, and it’s likely I’ll be without a car each day, so driving is out as an option. Fortunately Google Maps offers transit suggestions for getting from point A to point B. Unfortunately, the transit options suggested for getting from the Vertigo Theatre to the Westin aren’t very practical.
Google’s first suggestion uses the train. It’s no problem really; I walk three blocks to the nearest train station, take it one stop west, and then walk six blocks to the Westin. In short, it’s a longer walk to take the train, and I’d have to wait a few minutes for the train, and, well, it’s a silly option. It isn’t much better on the bus, where there are two options. First I can walk the same three blocks, take a bus around the corner (literally, around the corner at the next stop), then walk the remaining distance. The second option is to catch a bus outside the Vertigo, which would head in the opposite direction from the Westin for three blocks before making a turn North, then West before dropping me off three blocks away.
It then occurred to me I could use the newest transportation option in Calgary, Car2Go. If you aren’t familiar with the program, there are around 200 blue and white Smart Cars parked throughout downtown and the beltline, that one can ‘hire’ for short trips such as this. Actually, this is the exact kind of trip the Car2Go program is designed for. Using the app on my phone, I can locate the nearest car, login, drive to my destination, park out front (free of charge) and end my trip. It gives me the convenience of driving without the hassle of doing so.
Of course I can also just walk, which is faster, easier, and less expensive. And it might make me feel better when I attend “The Price of Oil” on October 11th with Arno Kopecky and Andrew Nikiforuk.