Calgary is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the south of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, approximately 80 km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Calgary has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America. Once an "oil only" city that took hard hits whenever the economy changed, Calgary now boasts many diverse interests. From Agriculture to High Tech, from Education to Real Estate, it all combines, making Calgary a very well rounded city.
Calgary lies in the Bow River
Valley between the bold landscape of the Rocky Mountains and the flat prairie
lands of the province of Alberta in western Canada. Calgary is a city of
skyscrapers, of energy, agriculture, manufacturing, research and development,
and of advanced technology. It is a modern, sophisticated city; a center of
commerce and of culture; of youth and vitality.
Calgary is divided into four
quadrants instersecting at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, which
meet at right angles in the city center. Center Street runs north to south, and
Center Avenue east to west, with all streets laid out in a grid expanding
outwards from the center.
The Southwest extends from the
boreal forests of Kananaskis Country to the office towers of downtown, and is a
mix of residential and business districts. It includes the natural beauty of
North Glenmore Reservoir and the fashionable 17th Avenue shopping district. The
Southwest is also home to the Fourth Street Restaurant district and the Elbow
River, which winds its way from Glenmore Reservoir down through the city center
until its rendezvous with the Bow River near Inglewood. The Eau Claire Market
and riverfront trails around Prince's Island Park provide a clean and refreshing
break from downtown, and are popular lunch spots with downtown office workers.
The Southeast is home to vast oil refineries, fabrication plants and heavy
industry, as well as trendy new housing developments and the world famous Spruce
Meadows equestrian facilities. Its western boundary is defined by the Macleod
Trail Strip, 10 miles of flashing neon, huge nightclubs, malls, hotels and
luxury car dealerships. In the north end is the Saddledome and Stampede Grounds,
as well as the historic district of Inglewood and the old town-site of Fort
Calgary's biggest event of
the year is the Stampede, held in early July. For 10 memorable days, the city
is populated by cowboys. Some of these are professional rodeo athletes; others
are hopeful townspeople in costume.
The rest of the year,
Calgary's calendar is a busy mix of festivals (the Chinese Cultural Centre has a
popular New Year's celebration), sporting events (hockey and football games are
popular) and performing arts events (opera, theater, dance, music).
The fastest way to become
oriented is to take a trip to the top of the Calgary Tower, where the entire
city is spread out far below. The restaurant and lounge in the observation deck
rotate slowly, giving you a 360-degree view every few minutes, so you never know
what you will see next when you look out the window.
Tour bus packages are the
easiest way to see the countryside around Calgary in a short time. Several
companies provide motorcoach trips from major Calgary hotels to Banff, the
Columbia Icefield, and Waterton Lakes National Park. There are also luxury train
tours through the Rocky Mountains and southern British Columbia.
To get off the beaten path and
see parts of the mountains invisible from the tour buses, guided horseback rides
are offered at several ranches in Kananaskis Country.
Heritage Park Historical Village and Fort Calgary Historic Park are two sites
that present the pioneer way of life with turn of the century buildings,
artifacts, and guides dressed in period costume. The Glenbow Museum details the
history of Western Canada and cultures the world over.
The Calgary Zoo and Prehistoric
Park is a favorite with children. It contains exhibits of creatures and
habitats found in Alberta 60 million years ago, complete with life-sized
dinosaurs. The Royal Tyrell Museum in nearby Drumheller, (a small town two hours
north of Calgary) is the site of hundreds of dinosaur fossil discoveries.
A relaxing activity is to float
down the Bow River, which runs from Banff to Calgary, in a canoe, raft or drift
boat with the assistance of a guide. Guides point out the best places to fish
for the Bow River brook trout.
Canada Olympic Park, site of
the 1988 Winter Olympics, is open for tours year round. Its most impressive
features include the 90-meter ski jump and the bobsled track.. The Bobsled
Bullet is a modified bobsled on which you can ride at speeds of over 90 km an
hour down the same track featured in the Disney movie Cool Runnings.
Calgary is prepared for all
weather, no matter how severe with its remarkable Plus 15 system, an extensive
network of indoor walkways 15 feet above the ground. The climate controlled
walkways make it possible to see most of the downtown highlights with no
contact with the outdoor wind and chill.
Be sure to include Devonian
Gardens in any sightseeing tour. This is an indoor tropical paradise with
thousands of plants, and an abundance of waterfalls and fountains. In addition
to its many other attributes, it is also a college town. Mount Royal College,
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and the University of Calgary are
based in the city.
Calgary is indeed an amazing place. Calgary Winter Festival takes place for
eleven days in February. The festival utilizes the 1988 Winter Olympics site
for dog sledding, snowboarding, and the Winter Village. The third Wednesday in
May marks the beginning of the 5 day annual Calgary International Children’s
Festival which celebrates music, dance, and storytelling with top performers
from around the world. There is always something happening in Calgary that is
just what you wanted to see or to do. Best of all, you will receive a warm
welcome in Calgary at any time of the year.
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