CALGARY: MORE THAN JUST A COWBOY CITY
The city of Calgary is located at the southern grassland portion of the province of Alberta. The city is situated between the foot of the Canadian part of the Rocky Mountain range and the Canadian Prarielands. Calgary has an average elevation of more than 1,000 meters above sea level and covers a land area of 825 square kilometers. There were 1,096,833 people living in the city in 2011 with an average age of around 35 years old. About two-thirds of the population is Christians while about a quarter do not profess any religious affiliation at all. Most people in Calgary are whites and of European descent while the minority are immigrants from Asia. Recently, there has been a rapid growth in the city’s population because of the economic prosperity it has been experiencing. As a result, the city has been experiencing problems regarding transportation and other infrastructure.
Calgary’s climate is usually dry. Together with its elevation, the dry climate often makes summers in the city cool, with temperature reaching 29 degrees Celsius and an average humidity of 45 percent. This is the same as the climate in other areas in the Canadian Prairies and the western portion of the Great Plains.
Most of the people in the city have jobs in the energy sector. The Edmonton-Calgary Corridor is considered a significant economic region in the country with many international oil and gas companies having main offices and headquarters there. The region also houses numerous financial establishments.
HOW IT BEGAN
Although it has been in existence much earlier, Calgary really began to grow rapidly with the operation of the Canadian Pacific Railway there beginning the 1880s. Calgary officially became a town in 1884 and a city a decade later. Many settlers from different countries came there in the late 19th to the early 20th centuries and made ranching and agriculture the main components of Calgary’s economy.
The petroleum sector became significant to the city after World War II even though oil was discovered in Alberta much earlier. Since then, the oil sector has always been linked to the city’s economy. Most of the people in the city have jobs in the energy sector. However, crises in this industry, such as the one which happened in the early 1980s, lead to a significant rise in unemployment in Calgary, so the city has been taking steps in recent decades to diversify itself in terms of the economy. During this transition period, it also tried to transform from being a rather rustic city to one that is more cosmopolitan in sensibilities. Its successful holding of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games was part of this period and reflected the positive results of the city’s efforts to change its reputation. The success of the games also gave the city more international attention. While the petroleum industry is still an important part of the city’s economy, employment is now also significant in other areas like tourism and manufacturing.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT...
╣Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden & Prehistoric Park. Often referred to as "The Zoo," it is one of the biggest zoos in Canada. It has more than a thousand species of mammals, amphibians, birds and reptiles. The Zoo has outdoor and indoor botanical gardens with a wide variety of annuals, rainforest plants and cacti. There are areas specially meant for wildlife indigenous to the Rocky Mountains and the forests in the northern portion of the province.
╣Calgary Spaceport at the Calgary International Airport. It features the latest developments in high-technology communication, space exploration and aviation. It also has an aluminum prototype of the orbiter used by NASA’s space shuttles, as well as displays used by the Canadian Space Agency. Tourists would be glad to know that the Spaceport also has space motion and flight simulators and an exhibit of moon rocks.
╣Calgary Stampede. This is an annual western-themed event which features rodeo competitions, live performances and street parties. It is considered by many as the best outdoor show in the world. It also features chuck-wagon races, a midway, a spectacular show in the grandstand stage, a casino, and lots of free entertainment. The Calgary Stampede attracts thousands of visitors worldwide every year.
╣Calgary Tower. It was built as part of the city’s centenary in 1967. It is situated near the city’s center and rises up 191 meters or 626 feet to give an all-around view of Calgary and the Rocky Mountains. The tower also has a revolving restaurant and lounge. There has been a recent addition of a glass floor just off the tower’s observation deck. The floor is about 36 feet in length and 4 feet deep. You should check it out and have a unique view of the downtown streets while you’re 525 feet in the air.
╣Canada Olympic Park. It was a major venue for the Winter Olympic Games in 1988. It is also Calgary's top sports attraction for tourists, whether they are thinking of learning to snowboard or ski during winter, use the bike trails in the summer, or just see the only Olympic Bobsleigh/Luge Track in the country. Tourists should have a guided tour of the park to have an insight of the city’s Olympic heritage. You should also see the Olympic films featured in the Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as try out the interactive Olympic Challenge Gallery tests for speed, strength, endurance, intelligence and accuracy.
TOURISTS SHOULD KNOW
The station operated by Greyhound Canada has daily rides to Banff, Edmonton and other destinations. There are also Red Arrow luxury bus transits to Edmonton. You can also enjoy rail excursions with cruise-like amenities when you ride the Rocky Mountaineer Railtours. For those interested in renting a car, car rental agencies can be found downtown or at the airport.
With regards to pocket money, you will be glad to know that it is easy to find a bank in Calgary's downtown with many of the branches open for business during Saturday. You can use bank machines and ATMs 24/7.