Calgary, located in the Province of Alberta, is one of Canada’s most understated cities, one that is often overshadowed by its more dazzling sister Vancouver on the west coast, or it’s big brother, Toronto, in the far east. But Calgary is one of those quintessentially Canadian cities that provides its visitors with experiences they won’t have elsewhere.
Every major Canadian city has an impressive means to get a birds eye view of all the action and Calgary is no different. One of the best ways to orient yourself around any city is to get above it all and the Calgary Tower, some 1228 meters above sea level gives you a 360 view of the city. The 62 second trip from the bottom takes you to the first observation deck where you and 249 of your closes friends can enjoy sweeping, uninterrupted views.
The ten-day Calgary Stampede is the highlight of Calgary’s summer, cementing the Alberta city’s reputation as a “cowboy town”. This famous rodeo, held in July, includes all kinds of cowboy-style entertainment and pancake breakfasts. The population dresses accordingly, and blue jeans and brightly colored Stetsons become the order of the day. Events include rodeo competitions, neck-breaking chuck wagon races, an authentic First Nations village, as well as agricultural shows.
Heritage Park in Calgary is a typical village from the pioneering period, with dozens of reconstructed historical buildings and lively costumed interpreters from four different time periods – ranging from an 1860 fur-trading fort to a 1930s town square. An old steam engine provides transport at the park, and the Gasoline Alley museum offers a hands-on, interactive experience with one-of-a-kind vintage vehicles. The village is located near Glenmore Reservoir, which is popular with sailing, canoeing, and rowing enthusiasts.
On the 4th level of the Core Shopping Centre, visitors will come somewhat unexpectedly upon the floral paradise of Devonian Gardens. Covering about one hectare, the indoor gardens feature lovely tropical palms, sculptures, fish ponds, fountains, and a living wall. About 10,000 plants make up the displays, and despite Calgary’s cold winters they thrive under a glass ceiling. The Devonian Gardens are free and open for the public to wander.
Canada is hockey country, with 7 NHL teams and millions of fans across the country. The province of Alberta is home to two Stanley Cup champion teams, the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, home of the ‘Great One’, Wayne Gretzky. If you have the opportunity to visit Calgary between the months of October – April, treat yourself to some of the most exciting, fast-paced hockey in the league by seeing either team play.