Calgary is open for business after the floods, and hardest hit Calgary Zoo partially re-opened just this last week. Our guest from Calgary Tourism will give us an update and reveal all the exciting attractions of Calgary. The city has a whole program ahead of wonderful festivals to enjoy.
There is so much to see and do in Calgary – from zip lining at the Olympic park to shopping the eclectic neighbourhoods. Famed for juicy Alberta steak, Calgary offers diverse culinary delights. It has vibrant arts and culture, and over fifty Summer Festivals. And it’s close to the Rocky Mountains for outdoor adventure.
Calgary has a thriving culinary scene with award winning chefs almost literally on every corner. Of course, it’s famous for Alberta beef – or venture on the daring side and try some locally raised bison, elk or venison featured at several Calgary dining establishments. But don’t stop there, as Calgary’s cultural diversity shines through with fabulous Italian and French restaurants. And for nightlife, the Ranchmans is the place to be for a truly authentic western experience, where you can learn how to line dance every week or jump on the mechanical bull – if you dare.
The Calgary Tower is a landmark that many people will remember from the 1988 winter Olympics where the flamed burned – making the tower the world’s largest Olympic torch. The torch is still lit today for special occasions, like Canada Day and during the Calgary Flames race for the Stanley Cup.
Calgary offers local theatre, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Alberta Ballet. For a western experience, how about horseback riding – or dare to take a turn on the back of a bull! For adrenalin junkies, how about a trip on the zip line at Canada Olympic Park – or if you visit in the winter, you can feel like an Olympian with a turn on the bobsleigh track. And you are never far from fascinating history about "how the West was won." For instance Fort Calgary is the original site where in 1875 the North West Mounted Police constructed a palisade fort with the aim of suppressing whiskey traffic along the Bow River.
Calgary features over 40 festivals and events from May through September. There are festivals celebrating Jazz, Blues, Food and Wine, Cycling, Circus performance, Comedy, Buskers, Arts and much more! Here is just a taster of 3 major festivals:
The Calgary Stampede - the "Greatest Outdoor Festival in the World" - is in July celebrating Western heritage with a Rodeo, Chuck Wagon Races, Agricultural Show and more - plus a fantastic music concert line up.
Globalfest which takes place in August allows Calgary’s unique cultural communities to come together to showcase arts and crafts, music and dance, food and drink, and activities for all ages. Each night ends with the Trico Homes International Fireworks Festival as it illuminates the night sky with an artistic display of pyrotechnics and music.
Spruce Meadows in an international icon in the show jumping community - they host a variety of international show jumping events including the Spruce Meadows National in June. Spruce Meadows draws Olympic champions to junior riders.
Calgary Trip Showcase
There is so much to see and do in Calgary! Here are some suggestions for the while family:
- Calgary Zoo is a must see. Visitors can discover the Canadian Wilds animals (grizzly, cougar, wolf, and more) – it’s a great preparation ahead of a trip to the Parks for the wild adventure in the Banff. And Dinosaurs Alive! brings the dinosaurs to life, with 26 realistic, scary animatronic dinosaurs! The Zoo Island suffered damage in the recent floods. You can read about the current status of the zoo here and find out how to help rebuild the zoo here.
- TELUS Spark is Calgary's new kind of Science Centre. It is Canada’s first new purpose-built Science Centre in more than 25 years. Facilitators fuel curiosity. Exhibits and programs ignite a sense of wonder and excitement. It is a place for people of all ages and abilities to let go and embrace the desire to explore and discover science, technology and art.
- Glenbow Museum At the Glenbow Museum, intriguing stories from Western Canada connect with extraordinary art and artifacts from around the world. Combining a museum, art gallery, library and archives all under one roof, Glenbow boasts over a million artifacts and some 28,000 works of art in its vast collections and is one of the largest museums in Canada.
- Heritage Park Explore 1860 all the way to 1950 and discover "How the West was Once" at Canada's largest living history museum. With more than 200 exhibits and attractions spread over 127 acres of lush parkland, Heritage Park Historical Village has a lot to offer both the history buff and the pleasure seeker. It’s the perfect balance between historical fact, adventure, discovery and fun that tells the tale of Western Canadian settlement in a unique way.
- Calaway Park Western Canada’s Largest Outdoor Family Amusement Park, Calaway Park has been offering affordable, family-friendly fun and entertainment for over three decades. Calaway Park has no less than 32 rides designed for thrill-seekers of all ages and beautifully choreographed, high-energy entertainment.
- Winsport's Canada Olympic Park Canada Olympic Park is perhaps the most visible legacy of the 1988 Games. It continues as a multi-purpose competition, training and recreation area, designed for year-round use by both high performance athletes and the general public. In the winter Canada Olympic Park is host to more than 290,000 ski and snowboard visitors each year.
- Canada's Sports Hall of Fame The National Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving and celebrating Canada’s impressive and inspiring sport history. Visit 11 galleries representing 58 sports, experience more than 50 interactive visitor experiences, watch a 10-minute feature highlighting great sport moments in history, and learn about Canada’s sporting traditions through artifacts, video and photo collections.
Photos credits The Calgary Stampede and Tourism Calgary plus:
Bears and Dinosaur - Calgary Zoo