F&B and Beyond: Shoe and Canoe

Shoe and Canoe / Delta Calgary Downtown

CHIL Interior Design / Adèle Rankin, lead


Delta Hotels began in British Columbia in 1962 and branched out over the decades into a four-star brand. Marriott International bought the chain in 2015; it now boasts 63 hotels and resorts worldwide. Rankin’s firm has worked closely with Marriott for several years and is deeply involved in the repositioning of its Delta properties to “streamline the customer experience, make it more immersive.”

Traffic patterns were closely studied to allow for easier transitions from the lobby to and through the bar and dining area. Rankin purposely turned the upscale-casual bar serving local food and craft brews into a community hub. Seating varies from communal to private, in addition to “non-committal space allowing flexibility without necessarily dining.” A good example of this is the intimate “family room” feel at the bar lounge’s centre, which features a homey fireplace and throw-pillowed couches.

The restaurant’s concept pays homage to 19th century Canadian explorer David Thompson, a surveyor and mapmaker known for getting around either by foot or boat, hence a stylized canoe greets arrivals either in the logo or suspended in the lobby.


Woven throughout the space are homages big and small to Welsh-Canadian explorer David Thompson, whose daring exploits Rankin equates to Calgary’s Can-do spirit. Thompson’s geographic explorations of Western Canada and parts of the States (“by shoe and canoe,” hence the hospitality area’s moniker) began seven years before the much more lauded Americans Lewis and Clark started their own cartographic adventures. In tribute, Rankin uses a palette inspired by forests and rivers, and “natural materials like wood, copper and rope, plus bespoke wool fabrics reminiscent of old tailoring.” Above the bar hangs a pen-and-sepia map of present-day Calgary and an upside down canoe-cum-light-fixture graces its lounge.

Photography by Jaime Anholt