Calgary Tourist Attractions
ClimateParticularly on days when the chinook, a dry warm fall wind, blows over the Rocky Mountains less than 100 km (60 mi.) away from Calgary, the glaciated mountain peaks on the western horizon appear like an insurmountable barrier rising from the plain.
In winter this west wind, related to the föhn of Alpine countries, sometimes causes temperatures rapidly to rise by over 30°C (90°F) and the snows to melt. Lying as it does in the lee of the Rockies Calgary has little rainfall; summer days are mostly dry, sunny and warm, the nights refreshingly cool.EconomyOn the occasion of the Winter Olympics in 1988 Calgary showed that it is more than just an agricultural arena, a chamber of commerce for the Alberta wheat trade or a trans-shipment center for cattle. In that year visitors from all over the world found a welcome in the city.Calgary can thank the oil being extracted from nearby for its dramatic development during the last 40 or more years from a provincial town to a modern metropolis, to a veritable "Manhattan of the prairies". In the busy city center the glittering office buildings belonging to oil companies, banks and insurance companies tower 30 floors or more up into the sky. Around them stretch numerous suburbs.Calgary boasts a modern high-speed railway systems and the unique, mainly covered-in pedestrian street network known as the "Plus 15" Walkway System. Most of the office buildings, department stores, hotels and multi-story car parks in the city are linked to one another by a system of footbridges totaling some 30 km (20 mi.) in length. A pedestrian zone in the city center with trees and street cafés is a very pleasant place in which to stroll.The city's emblem and a useful guide for those who lose their bearings is the 191 m (627 ft) high Calgary Tower, with a superb panorama to be seen from its viewing platform. As the Rocky Mountains with their well-known national parks are relatively near the city is an excellent choice for a holiday stay. The popular skiing and walking regions in the mountains or the unspoilt wilderness can be reached in one or two hours. Fast-water canoeing, more leisurely canoe or cycle trips and excursions into the interesting countryside round about make Calgary a good starting-out point for trips into western CanadaHistoryThe city developed from a North West Mounted Police (now the RCMP) post which was set up here on Bow River in 1875, with orders to put an end to the smuggling of whisky across the American border. The commandant, named MacLeod and of Scottish extraction, gave this first camp the name of Calgary, which in Gaelic means "quickly-flowing clear water".Even before the first fur-hunters arrived here in the 19th c. this confluence of two rivers was a favorite camping place for the Indians. After the Blackfoot Indians had obtained horses and weapons from the white man they became the dominant tribe. The increasing influx of white fur-traders and settlers into their tribal territories resulted in a number of conflicts, however, but these were finally largely settled under the terms of a treaty signed in 1877. Today many natives live on a number of reservations south of Calgary.The relatively favorable natural conditions persuaded an increasing number of American cattle breeders to leave their over-grazed ranches and settle north of the border. Soon giant herds of cattle were grazing around Calgary, to be followed by large concerns dealing in meat and foodstuffs.When the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Calgary in 1883 the little police post rapidly began to develop. By the end of that year it boasted a population of 600. More and more settlers came to the Calgary region, and by 1891 it had its own power and water supplies. In 1893 the town was granted its charter.Since the turn of the century prospectors have dug for oil in and around Calgary. Finally, in 1914, oil was found in Turner Valley 61 km (38 mi.) to the south-west, resulting in enormous development of the area. Today Calgary is an important center of the Canadian petro-chemical industry. The city is also the financial center of the province of Alberta.More recently Calgary has seen rapid expansion and another period of prosperity largely due to the oil sector.
The Calgary Stampede is the highlight of Calgary's summer. This famous rodeo includes all kinds of cowboy style entertainment. Many local business also celebrate with free pancake breakfasts during the week.
Canada Olympic Park
In the foothills of the mountains to the west of the city rise the strange-looking towers of the Olympic ski-slopes at Calgary Olympic Park, or COP as it's called locally. In 1988 it was the primary site for the XV Olympic Winter Games. The hill is still open to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. As well, the bob-sleigh run and toboggan-run are also here. During the summer months the hill becomes a mountain biking park.Guided tours of Calgary Olympic Park take place every day when a panoramic view of the Calgary skyline can be enjoyed from the top of the 90 m (295 ft) ski-slope.
Address: 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary, AB T3B5R5, Canada
Olympic Hall of Fame
At the Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum (OHOF) in Calgary, memories of the Olympic Games are provided by means of documents, films, Olympic torches, and other memorabilia. Although it deals with Olympic ideals, it is primarily a tribute to the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. There are also interactive and fun displays, including the Virtual Reality Hockey Shootout Display. The Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum is located at the Calgary Olympic Park (COP).
Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey
The luxuriously appointed, privately owned "Rocky Mountaineer" runs between Calgary (or Jasper) and Vancouver. Leaving Calgary, the rich Alberta oil town with its modern skyline, the train heads westward on the historic Canadian Pacific line, to be abruptly confronted by the soaring mountain wall of the Rockies. At Canmore, providing the weather is good, there is a fine view of the snow-capped "Three Sisters". Soon afterwards the popular winter (arid summer) resort of Banff is reached. Other highlights on this mountainous section with peaks up to 3600 m (11,815 ft) are Lake Louise, the Kicking Horse Pass, the two famous spiral tunnels, and the Rogers Pass through the Selkirk Mountains with its two long tunnels - the 9 km (51/2 mi.) Connaught Tunnel, completed in 1916, and the almost 15 km (91/2 mi.) Mount McDonald Tunnel and magnificent 94 m (308 ft)-high Stoney Creek Bridge. The next lap of the journey is across the dry, warm Kamloops basin, enjoying an almost Mediterranean feel, and through the rugged gorges of the Thompson and Friseur rivers to Yale. The final 100 km (60 mi.) follows the well-cultivated Fraser valley to Vancouver.The Jasper-bound section of the "Rocky Mountaineer" takes the route north from Kamloops into the Rockies, passing Mount Robson on its way to and from Jasper.There are a variety of package options ranging from two days to two weeks or more. Longer trips are often combined with a cruise to offer a "rail and cruise vacation". Rail excursions can also include the destination of Whistler.
Heritage Park in Calgary is a typical village from the pioneering period consisting of more than 100 historical buildings has been reconstructed near the Glenmore Reservoir. An old steam engine provides transport to Heritage Park. There is also a paddle-steamer such as was used years ago on the rivers of western Canada which is available for trips around the reservoir. In addition there are nostalgic ferries operating, an historic bakery and the Wainwright Hotel.History comes to life with lively costumed interpreters from four different time periods; an 1860 fur trading fort, 1880s pre-railway settlement, 1910 prairie town and a 1930s urban town square. Heritage Park is one of Calgary's main tourist attractions and is popular with both visitors and locals.
Address: 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2V2X3, Canada
Opening hours: May 22 to Sep 6: 9:30am-5pm
Sep 7 to Oct 11: 9:30am-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Sep 7 to Oct 11: 9:30am-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $19.00, Senior $15.00, Child $14.00
Useful tips: A ride bracelet or individual tickets are available at an extra cost. Consecutive two day admission rates are also available. Rates reduced during the winter months.
Gasoline Alley Museum
Gasoline Alley offers a hands-on, interactive experience with a collection of one-of-a-kind vintage vehicles and oil and gas related artifacts. The bustling street scene allows visitors to investigate who caused the traffic jam, experience a drive-in theatre or explore a 1930s service station.
University of Calgary - Nickle Arts Museum (Closed Temporarily)
TEMPORARILY CLOSEDTHE MUSEUM WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2011 WHEN IT WILL OPEN AT A NEW LOCATION.The Nickle Arts Museum is located on the University of Calgary Campus Campus, near the Olympic Oval. The museum contains and extensive collection of contemporary art as well as a coin collection. The art collection inlcudes prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculptures and decorative arts. The coin collection contains Greek, Roman and Byzantine pieces. In addition to these collections, the Nickle Arts Museum houses the largest collection of rugs, most of which focuses on Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus.The Nickle Arts Museum is also well known for its temporary exhibitions which are both national and international in scope.
Address: 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N1N4, Canada
Opening hours: Sep 1 to Apr 30: 10am-5pm; Thu: 10am-9pm; Sat: 1pm-5pm; Closed: Sun
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $5.00, Senior $2.00, Students FREE, Child 6 & under FREE
Useful tips: Admission is free on Tuesdays.
Facilities: Gift shop
Family of Man (Armengol Scuptures)
Visitors to Calgary will be stopped in their tracks as they wander past 515 Macleod Trail East. The Aremengol sculptures - Family of Man, are towering, skinny figures of humans all holding hands that loom 6.5 m / 21 ft above.The Armengol sculptures known as Family of Man by Mario Armengol was originally commissioned by the British Pavilion of Expo 67 for the celebrations and following the event was purchased by Robert Cummings on behalf of the City of Calgary. The sculptures are in front of the Calgary Board of Education buildings. The naked, raceless, expressionless figures are excellent subjects for photography and the lawns nearby are a pleasant place to relax.
Museum of the Regiments
The Museum of the Regiments in Calgary has a mission: To Preserve, To Remember, and To Educate and in that mission they have been very successful. The Museum of the Regiments is fascinating attraction with a multitude of interesting exhibits on the history of the military in Canada. In front of the Museum of the Regiments are a variety of military vehicles including several tanks. Inside the museum there are 6 major exhibits titled: Behind the Scenes, Alberta Gallery, Calgary Highlanders, Princess Patricia's, King's Own, Lord Strathcona's, and the Imperial Oil Gallery. Regular exhibits rotate through the Calgary Museum of the Regiments ranging and the website provides regular updates.
Calgary Aero Space Museum
The Aero Space Museum focuses on the history of aviation in Canada and in particular, Western Canada. The museum was begun by Canadian pilots who fought in WWII. On display at the Aero Space Museum are a variety of aircraft, simulators, aviation art prints, radio equipment, and information on aviation history. There is also a special exhibit on the "VE Day Tragedy".The Aero Space Museum also present movie nights, in which an aviation movie is featured and followed up with discussion on the aviation history as it relates to the movie.The museum is located in a large building near the Calgary Airport.
Address: 4629 McCall Way NE, Calgary, AB T2E7H1, Canada
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-5pm; Wed: 12pm-9pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in CAD: Family $18.00, Adult $7.00, Students $4.50, Senior $4.50, Child 6-11 $3.50, Child 6 & under FREE
Calgary Zoo and Prehistoric Park
On St George's Island in the Bow River, at 1300 Zoo Rd. N. E., lies the Calgary Zoo, founded in 1912. The owners are particularly proud of their many examples of rare and threatened species of animals as well as of the adjoining botanical gardens. In a prehistoric theme park stand numerous replicas of animals which lived in south-western Canada millions of years ago.Spring is always a fun time at the zoo with the arrival of new born animals. The Zoo features a Destination Africa section, Canadian Wilds, South America, Australia and Creatures of the Night.
Firefighters Museum of Calgary
Those visitors interested in seeing antique firefighting equipment and trucks should stop in at the Calgary Firefighters Museum. Some of the key attractions at the Calgary Firefighters Museum are a 1948 Seagrave 25 m/ 85 ft aerial ladder truck, and a 1928 Godfredson from Weyburn Saskatchewan. Also at the Calgary Firefighters Musuem are numerous interesting photos from Calgary's earliest days tracing its development from a trading fort to the modern, bustling city it is today.Of particular interest is the turn of the century fire fighting equipment including helmets, jackets, logbooks, and hose nozzles.
The first outpost of the North West Mounted Police, Fort Calgary was set up in 1875 at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers. The foundations of the original fort can still be seen. The history of the city of Calgary is illustrated in the on site Calgary Fort Museum.On the other side of the bridge stands Deane House, built in 1906 for the commandant of the outpost, which is now a tea-room.Also on site is the Fort Calgary General Store which sells gifts and RCMP collectibles.Space at this facility is also available for rent.
Address: 750-9th Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G5E1, Canada
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $11.00, Senior $10.00, Students $10.00, Child 7-17 $7.00, Child 6 & under $5.00, Child 2 & under FREE
Useful tips: Group discounts of 15% for groups of 10 or more people.
The McMahon Stadium on University Drive, mainly used for football, is where the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics took place.McMahon Stadium is the home of the CFL team, the Calgary Stampeders as well as a number of other University and Calgary based teams. Although it is an older stadium it has been upgraded with artificial FieldTurf.McMahon Stadium can hold up to 38,000 spectators and is one of the Canada's five largest stadiums. It is located in northwest Calgary.
Calgary C Train
Calgary's C Train is the city's Light Rail Transit System and one of the best ways to get around the city center. This above ground train system provides access to a number of important venues but is still limited in its scope, with only two lines. For travel on 7th Avenue there is no better option than the C Train, which also services the Stampede Grounds. Tickets must be bought in advance of boarding the train.
Sarcee (Tsuu T'ina People's Museum)
South-west of Glenmore Reservoir lies the reservation of the Sarcee (Sarsi) Indians, a tribe which once was linked with the Blackfeet Indians, and now forms part of the Athabask tribe. In 1983, to mark the occasion of the century of its written history, the tribe furnished the Sarcee / Tsuu T'ina People's Museum.On display at the Sarcee / Tsuu T'ina People's Museum are native costumes (headress) and a replica of a teepee dating, along with other cultural artifacts.
University of Calgary Olympic Oval
On the campus of the University of Calgary in the west of the city is the Olympic Oval, the first covered 400 m speed-skating rink to be built in North America.It was constructed for the 1988 Olympic Games held in Calgary. The Olympic Oval is still an important venue for athletes training and is used to hold competitions. It is used not only for skating but also for cycling and running. The facility is also open at specific times to the public for skating or running.
Bow Habitat Station
Bow Habitat Station is located on the banks of the Bow River. As Alberta's first eco-park, the habitat station includes the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery and Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland.The fish hatchery raises 3 million trout each year to be used in stocking public bodies of water. The interpretive wetland serves as an outdoor classroom for schools, individuals and families.
Address: 1440 17A Street SE, Calgary, AB T2G4T9, Canada
Opening hours: 10am-4pm; Closed: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $10.00, Senior over 65 $8.00, Child 5-17 $6.00, Child 4 & under FREE
Useful tips: Hatchery tours at 12:00 and 14:00.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Glenmore Reservoir in the south-west of the city is very popular with water-sports enthusiasts, who can sail, canoe and row here.Around the Glenmore Reservoir are a number of parks and natural areas with walking and biking trails. The parks are very popular in the summer and offer some scenic views beyond the lake to the mountains.
Shakers Fun Center
Shakers Fun Center is a large amusement park with all kinds of activities for kids and families. Some of the options available include laser tag, wall climbing, and indoor playground. In summer there is also mini golf, go karts, and a "water wars" area. Also popular is a games room with all kinds of games that allow you to win prizes.
Calgary International Airport
The Calgary International Airport is located 17 km (10.5 miles) north east of the city center. It services national and international flights and is one of Canada's key hubs. The visitor information booth is located on the first level of the airport and can provide information on the city and events happening in Calgary.
Address: 2000 Airport Road North East, Calgary, AB T2E6W5, Canada
SpacePort is located at the Calgary International Airport. There are four flight simulators, a time machine and a virtual tour of the International Space Station. Hands-on exhibits and displays allow visitors to learn more about the Canadian Space Agency, communication technology, and flight simulation.This is a fun outing for families, with many educational opportunities for children.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary's far south is a huge green space. Walking trails lead through forest areas and along fish creek that runs through the park. Fish Creek Park is a natural area, and perfect for people looking for a taste of nature.
The New Gallery (TNG)
The New Gallery is an artist-run centre showcasing the works of new artists. The center allows emerging artists a venue to display their works. There are regularly changing exhibits involving a variety of media.The New Gallery offers viewers a great opportunity to see what really is new.
Butterfield Acres Children's Farm
Butterfield Acres is a farm on the outskirts of Calgary where visitors can go to experience fun on the farm. Visitors to Butterfield can meet and play with animals such as goats, rabbits, chicks, calves, sheep and llamas. Hands on activities such as milking demonstrations, pony rides, and tractor rides are available.Some of the events at Butterfield Acres are seasonal. In the spring check out the "new arrivals" or spring babies as they're called at the farm. In the fall there are "Harvest Pumpkin Hunts" and in the winter it is possible to arrange a hayride. This is a great place for families.
Address: 254077 Rocky Ridge Road, Calgary, AB T3R1A6, Canada
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Jun 30: 10am-2pm; Sun: 10am-4pm; Sat: 10am-4pm
Jul 1 to Aug 31: 10am-4pm
Sep 1 to Sep 30: 10am-2pm; Sun: 10am-4pm; Sat: 10am-4pm
Jul 1 to Aug 31: 10am-4pm
Sep 1 to Sep 30: 10am-2pm; Sun: 10am-4pm; Sat: 10am-4pm
Entrance fee in CAD: Adult $13.99, Senior over 65 $11.99, Child 17 & under $9.99
More Calgary Pictures
Map of Calgary Attractions