is a city of 700,000, with a modern high-rise downtown.
It was not much more than an overgrown cow town in the
1960s; then the Canadian oil and gas industry made the
city its headquarters and Calgary became the prosperous
corporate city it is today.
Highlights of the city include:
It's a large, modern city next to the
Museums of History and Science offer the history of the region;
Only an hour from Banff National Park and
Waterton Lakes National Park in the
Exercize yourself at The Olympic Games Sports complex;
Enjoy skiing, & summer recreation in
Kananaskis Country and the nearby Rocky Mountains.
The city's history goes back to 1875 when
the Northwest Mounted Police arrived to establish law and
order in an area where buffalo hunters, whiskey traders,
and Indians had clashed. Typical of the rest of Canada,
there was never any great conflict, but the NWMP (the
predecessor of the RCMP) brought an added measure of
security and Calgary became a center for neighboring
ranchers and a stopping place for travelers on their way
to Banff National Park.
Best known around the world for hosting the
1988 Winter Olympics, Calgary is the gateway to an
incredible range of recreation opportunities in the Rocky
Mountains which lie just west of the city. Not only is
Banff National Park less than two hours' drive from town,
but the newly-developed Kananaskis Country on the eastern
slopes of the Rockies offers skiing, summer hiking, and
other pleasures even closer than Banff.
Calgary is at the edge of the great
Canadian prairie, with the foothills of the Rockies
almost touching the city. Because of the climactic effect
of the mountains, Calgary often has mild winter
temperatures, caused by the chinook winds that blow over
this area of southwestern Alberta.
The city's tourist information centre is
downtown, at 237 8th Avenue SE. It's easy to find, at the
base of the Calgary Tower. The centre is open year-round.
Other info centres are located along the main highways
into the city. These outlying kiosks are all seasonal
operations. For advance information, call the Calgary
Convention & Visitor's Bureau at 800-661-8685.
to See & Do
Calgary is a social and cultural center
which boasts the finest museum in Western Canada (some
say in all of Canada), the Glenbow Museum. Located
at 130 9th Avenue SE, across the street from the Calgary
Tower (another popular attraction), the Glenbow houses
displays documenting the history of Western Canada,
including Native history and cultures, the great European
explorers who mapped the west and the Rockies, the North
West Mounted Police, and western settlers. The museum
also features displays on the building of the Canadian
Pacific Railway which tied Canada together shortly after
the nation was founded.
The Calgary Science Centre offers
interactive displays and traveling exhibits directed at
children and adults. It's located at the corner of 11th
Street and 7th Ave. SW.
Calgary's annual celebration is the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo and exhibition held
during ten days in early July. The site of the rodeo,
Stampede Park, is used year-round. The Olympic Saddledome
is home to the city's hockey team, the Flames, while The
Grandstand has thoroughbred and harness racing. Stampede
Park is at 17th Avenue & 2nd Street SE.
Those interested in natural history should
drive south of Calgary to visit the Royal Tyrrell
Museum of Palaeontology, situated in the Alberta
Badlands near the town of Drumheller. The Dinosaur
Trail is found 6 km (3.7 miles) north of Drumheller.
160 km (100 miles) south of Calgary via Highways 2 and
785 is Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, a world heritage
site and the best preserved buffalo jump in North
America. An interpretive center contains displays on
prairie life and wildlife. The Buffalo Jump and badlands
can be explored in a one-day trip from Calgary.
Bow Valley Ranch also offers
exhibits that cover the past 8,000 years of history in
the area. Located in Fish Creek Park, south of town on
Bow Bottom Trail, the ranch house was built by William
Roper Hull in 1902. There are guided tours available from
the visitor centre.
Heritage Park is another historical
exhibit, comprised of more than 100 buildings and
exhibits that re-create a village from early Canada,
prior to 1915. There's a steam train ride, a paddle
wheeler that plies the Glenmore Reservoir, and antique
fair rides, which make this a terrific place to bring
kids for a half-day or more of looking at the past
through having fun. The park is located at 1900 Heritage
Drive SW. It's open weekdays until 10 p.m.
Devonian Gardens is a 2.5-acre
indoor park in downtown Calgary, displaying 200,000
plants, including local and tropical varieties,
reflecting pools, waterfalls, fountains. What is
interesting about this garden is that it's on the 4th
floor of the Toronto Dominion Square, at 8th Avenue &
3 Street SW. Also interesting is the admission price:
Day Trips and Outdoor Adventures
Kananaskis Country is the name given
to a year-round recreation area which is 90 km (56 miles)
west of Calgary (and 60 km, 37 miles, from Banff). On the
eastern slope of the Rockies, this area combines a ski
hill built for the Calgary Olympics, cross-country
skiing, camping, staying at resort lodges, and mountain
hiking. There is also good fishing in the area, which is
less populated by tourists than Banff National Park and
has scenery almost as exciting
The Kananaskis region includes Peter
Lougheed Provincial Park (named for a former Alberta
premier). This is the province's largest park, in a
setting of high peaks, a beautiful valley, and a number
of high lakes, including Upper and Lower Kananaskis
Lakes. Park campgrounds are available, with hiking trails
(ski trails in the winter), picnic areas, a store, and
cafeteria. All of this is reached by taking the
Trans-Canada Highway (#1) west from Calgary and turning
south onto Highway 40. Farther along Highway 40 is
Highwood Pass, the highest driveable pass in Canada, with
an elevation of 7,306 feet (2,227 meters). The road to
the pass is open from about June 15th to Nov. 30 and
there are interpretive trails at the pass. You can
continue as a loop trip via High River to Calgary.
A morning's drive of 264 km (164 miles)
south of Calgary, is Waterton
Lakes National Park, which joins Glacier
National Park at the U.S. border as an
International Peace Park. Waterton shares with Glacier
the wondrously rugged beauty of the Rockies. There is a
resort hotel with an 18-hole golf course inside the park,
plus camping, alpine riding, good fishing, tennis, and
mountain trails. To reach Waterton Lakes, take Highway 2
south from Calgary and turn west onto Highway 6 at
Cardston. To continue on to Glacier National Park, stay
on Highway 2, crossing the border with Montana at Carway.
There's a shorter route from Waterton Park via Highway 6
to the border at Chief Mountain.