As bold as the west, Canada’s third largest city saw downtown skyscrapers spear into the sky during the 1970’s oil bonanza, transforming a sleepy western town into a stimulating combination of big city life and wilderness adventure.
The first Canadian city to host a winter Olympics in 1988, Calgary is still a home to sport enthusiasts who enjoy watching and participating in athletic competitions and year-round outdoor activities.
Calgary is well-known for a tradition dating back to 1912, the iconic Calgary Stampede – a rodeo extravaganza that takes place in July and is often called the greatest outdoor show on earth. The Calgary Stampede Showband kicks things off with a parade the first Friday of the event, leading the revelers and participants on a route that travels through the downtown core of the city. Throughout the Stampede there are loads of free events – try the Pancake Breakfast held daily at Olympic Plaza and chow down on pancakes, sausages and drinks while enjoying live entertainment.
For the littlest buckaroos, the fun is centered at the aptly-named Buckaroo Stampede area. Kids can catch a Wild West Show there, or watch pint-size competitors in events like the pedal tractor pull. There’s a midway sized for small ones, a toddler play area, and thrilling rides and carnival food vendors for older children and teens. The main events are hotly contested, so families can watch from the grandstand to take in all of the action: bronco riding, chuckwagon racing, steer wrestling, mutton-busting, and barrel racing. Get into the spirit by dressing Calgary-style in boots, jeans, and Stetsons! Take a peek at the dog show held on the grounds, or wander through an authentic Indian village complete with tipis and traditional dancing and crafts. The blacksmith competitions contested most days are unique and fascinating to kids of every age.
Calgary offers a blend of family-friendly activities and city sophistication, with dining choices from elegant adult eateries to cafes, bistros, and family dining…and a host of outdoor options in every season with lush parks, miles of hiking and biking trails, cross-country skiing and ice skating, major league baseball and NHL hockey games, and the gorgeous outdoor scenery this beautiful Alberta area is known for.