Head out to the West into Calgary, Canada’s own cowboy city known for its Calgary stampede, rodeo, the Canadian Mounted Police and also skiing in winter. Located in the Alberta province, Calgary is the largest city there and is located near the Canadian Rockies which is the backbone of the West.
This makes Calgary a very interesting and beautiful place to visit for its winter sports facilities that saw it hosting the Winter Olympics in 1988, and ecotourism. Despite being known for its petroleum industry, the city was ranked the cleanest city in the world by Mercer Quality of Living.
Calgary was founded in the late 19th century, and following the discovery of oil nearby early in the next century, resulted in the town prospering further. This also led to the rise of the population to more than one million people. The boom in oil production created new jobs and led to the construction of new skyscrapers which now drape the city centre. This gives a modern outlook amidst the Western and cowboy culture which the city is famous for.
Aside from oil, Calgary is well known for its major annual festivals like the Calgary Stampede, Folk Music Festival, Lilac Festival, Calgary International Festival of the Arts and the Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival.
This led to an inflow of tourists all year round into this prosperous city in the West. Affected by the Chinook winds, which help raise Calgary temperatures during winter, the city is otherwise known as being temperate and at times its winter could be quite extreme.
As mentioned Calgary is famous for its ski resorts and the ones in Banff, which is certainly a beautiful place known for its natural beauty, the Canadian Rockies and lakes in the summer. Located after a 90 minute drive or 180 km from the city, along the way you can see postcard scenery of the Canadian Rockies decorating the skyline.
Banff National Park is the oldest national park in Canada. There are 2 lakes located in the park, Lake Louise and Two Jack Lake which provides a picturesque scenery and an interesting view of the Canadian Rockies during the summer.
In winter, the place is transformed into a winter wonderland with ice powdered snow lighting the slopes and ski resorts making the area a wonderful and challenging course for skiing enthusiasts.
Besides Banff, every July visitor to Calgary could witness the best of Cowboy culture and skills with the Calgary Stampede. This is where the young and old cowboys pit their skills in bull riding, horse-back riding, trick roping and bull catching.
To get a birds-eye view of the rich metropolitan head down to the Calgary tower which is a free standing tower measuring more than 190 metres tall. It provides a scenic view of the city and is a must view as its transparent glass floor provides an awe-inspiring experience similar to being suspended in mid-air.
From Calgary zoo to angling in Bow river
To view the wildlife, there is the Calgary Zoo which is home to more than 1, 200 animals from birds, mammals, reptilian, amphibians, endangered animals and also a botanical garden.
Interested in seeing various type of plants, why not go to the Devonian Gardens at the Calgary city centre. Located on a 2.5 acre indoor garden, there are close to 20, 000 plants from tropical and various varieties. Also waterfalls, fountains , reflecting pools and a permanent art gallery for all to witness, watch and enjoy.
The city also possesses one of the largest Chinatowns’ in Canada, and a visit to Calgary would not be complete without going to the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre. Modelled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, there is a museum, gallery, library, and meeting rooms specifically catered for people wanting to know more about the Chinese culture.
In the summer, nearby Bow River is a popular spot for sports fishing and the number of urban parks near the city makes Calgary, one of the popular places to visit in Western Canada.