What is Calgary Famous For? 15+ Fun Facts About Calgary

Posted by Justin Havre on Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 at 12:23pm.

What Is Calgary Known For?

Calgary is a city that most people have at least heard of before, even if they don't know exactly what the city is famous for. People living in Calgary already know about the Olympics, hockey, or its impressive views of the Canadian Rockies. But there's more to it than that. It's time to set the record straight on the history and culture that's made Calgary famous.

What Is Calgary Known For?

  1. Calgary Stampede: Known as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," this annual rodeo, exhibition, and festival is one of Calgary's most famous events.

  2. Calgary Tower: An iconic observation tower offering panoramic views of Downtown Calgary and the Rocky Mountains.

  3. 1988 Winter Olympics: Calgary hosted the XV Olympic Winter Games, which put the city on the global map.

  4. Cowboy Culture: The city has a strong western heritage, reflected in its cowboy culture and events.

  5. Banff National Park: Proximity to this stunning national park makes Calgary a gateway to the Canadian Rockies.

  6. Stephen Avenue Walk: A historic street known for its shopping, dining, and entertainment.

  7. Glenbow Museum: One of Canada's largest museums, featuring art, history, and culture exhibits.

  8. Calgary Zoo: One of the top-rated zoos in North America, known for its diverse animal exhibits and conservation efforts.

  9. Heritage Park Historical Village: Canada’s largest living history museum, showcasing life in Western Canada from the 1860s to the 1950s.

  10. Calgary Flames: The city’s professional NHL hockey team, which has a passionate local following.

  11. Bow River: A picturesque river running through the city, offering recreational activities like fishing, rafting, and riverside parks.

  12. Canada Olympic Park (WinSport): A multi-sport complex used for winter and summer sports, training, and events.

  13. Chinook Centre: The largest shopping mall in Calgary, featuring a wide range of stores and entertainment options.

  14. Covered Walkways: The Plus15 network connects Downtown Calgary in all seasons with numerous climate-controlled walkways.

  15. Economy and Oil Industry: A major hub for Canada’s oil and gas industry, contributing significantly to the city's economy and skyline.

The History That Made Calgary Famous

Calgary's history is deeply rooted in its origins related to the area's First Nations.  In 1875, a small trading post was established by the North West Mounted Police. Originally named Fort Brisebois, it was soon renamed Fort Calgary in honor of Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. The area quickly became a vital hub for trade and agriculture, benefiting from its strategic location at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883 marked a significant turning point, transforming Calgary from a modest outpost into a bustling transportation and economic center. 

The discovery of oil in Turner Valley in 1914 further propelled Calgary's growth, positioning the city as a cornerstone of Canada's burgeoning oil and gas industry. The subsequent oil boom periods, especially during the mid-20th century, attracted a wave of investment and an influx of workers, solidifying Calgary's status as the "Energy Capital of Canada." This economic prosperity led to the construction of iconic landmarks, such as the Calgary Tower and the Saddledome, and the establishment of renowned events like the Calgary Stampede. Despite the economic fluctuations tied to the oil industry, Calgary has continued to diversify its economy and develop into a modern, vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage, embodying the resilient and pioneering spirit of its early settlers.

Calgary Is All About Quality of Life

Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and the fifth largest in Canada. The city is found on the Bow River and about 80 kilometres from the Canadian Rocky Mountains. With a population of nearly 1.1 million, this is a very large city with a variety of residents.

Calgary ranks high for quality of living according to the Mercer Quality of Living Surveys and is listed as one of the cleanest cities in the world by Forbes Magazine. Along with these awards, Calgary was ranked as the best city overall to live in Canada by MoneySense and the fifth best in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Compared to Toronto, Calgary boasts a more affordable cost of living and lower population density.

Some of the things Calgary is known for include:

  • The Canadian Pacific Railway Headquarters

  • The Calgary Fire of 1886

  • The Calgary Stampede

  • Calgary Flames - NHL Hockey Team

  • Red Mile - Sea of Red Jerseys during the NHL playoffs of 2004

  • Hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics

  • Hosting the 2009 World Water Ski Championship

  • Calgary Stampeders - CFL Football Team

Calgary Is Surrounded by Bow River & The Canadian Rockies

Calgary's Famous Mountain Views

Located on the Bow River just 80 km from the Rocky Mountains, it's one of the cleanest cities in the entire world (as rated by Forbes). Outdoor lovers from all over the world come to Calgary to test their hand at everything from white water rafting to ice fishing to bobsledding. Other nearby bodies of water lend themselves perfectly to boating, fishing, and lakefront real estate.

It's no wonder that Calgary was chosen as the location for the 1988 Winter Olympics and the 2009 World Water Ski Championship. There are few places in the world that have both the beauty and the infrastructure so residents and visitors can really enjoy themselves.

The Calgary Stampede Is World-Famous

One of Calgary's more famous yearly events is the Calgary Stampede, which takes place every summer. Run by a not-for-profit organization, the event's purpose is to preserve the culture and history of the West. This festival is a celebration of all things Calgary, featuring everything from big-name concerts to rodeo shows. This 10-day event attracts about a million visitors every year to this incredible city. While the major headliners can be found in early July, visitors can find events all year round. Whether coming for the parades or the exciting rodeo round-ups, visitors will be delighted to see the many attractions in this amazing city.

Calgary Is Known For Fun in the Sun

Calgary proudly holds the title of the sunniest major city in Canada, basking in an average of 2,396 hours of sunshine annually. This abundance of sunlight not only brightens the city's picturesque landscapes but also provides opportunities for home solar systems. The plentiful sunshine supports a vibrant outdoor lifestyle, encouraging activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing in the nearby Rocky Mountains. It also contributes to the city's agricultural success, particularly in producing Alberta's renowned beef. Moreover, the sunny climate fosters a positive and energetic atmosphere, attracting tourists and new residents who appreciate the cheerful, welcoming environment. This unique weather pattern helps distinguish Calgary as a dynamic and appealing place to live, work, and visit.

Downtown Calgary: The Heart of the City

Iconic Downtown Calgary at Night

Downtown Calgary is the vibrant heart of the city, serving as a bustling hub for business, culture, and entertainment. The area is characterized by its impressive skyline, dominated by iconic structures such as the Calgary Tower and the Bow Building. As the financial center of Alberta, Downtown Calgary is home to numerous corporate headquarters, particularly in the energy sector, which drives much of the city's economic activity. The downtown core's well-designed infrastructure, including the Plus 15 Skywalk system, allows residents and visitors to navigate the area comfortably year-round, enhancing the urban experience. Moreover, the presence of high-end restaurants, boutique shops, and lively nightlife spots make downtown Calgary a dynamic destination for both work and leisure.

Beyond its economic significance, Downtown Calgary plays a crucial role in the city's cultural and social landscape. The area boasts a rich array of cultural institutions, including the Glenbow Museum, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, offering a diverse range of artistic and cultural experiences. Public spaces such as Olympic Plaza and Prince's Island Park provide residents with green spaces for relaxation and recreation amidst the urban environment. Festivals and events, like the Calgary International Film Festival and the annual Stampede Parade, draw crowds to the downtown area, fostering a strong sense of community and city pride. By combining economic vitality with cultural richness and social engagement, downtown Calgary serves as the beating heart of the city, shaping its identity and enhancing the quality of life for its inhabitants.

Calgary is Canada's Railway Headquarters

The Canadian Pacific was first incorporated in 1881, and the organization chose Calgary as its headquarters. History buffs will appreciate coming to Calgary to learn more about how the city's location, engineering prowess, and people changed and shaped transportation as we know it. This track runs for 20,000 km in both Canada and the US, and served major cities like New York City, Chicago, Vancouver, and Montreal. Today, the railroad still services various rural areas throughout the country.

Nothing Says "Calgary" Like the Flames

The Calgary Flames are an integral part of Calgary's identity, playing a significant role in the city's sports culture and community spirit. Founded in 1972 and relocating to Calgary in 1980, the Flames quickly became a beloved team in the National Hockey League (NHL). Their success on the ice, highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 1989, has fostered a strong and passionate fan base. The team's home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome are more than just sporting events; they are community gatherings that bring together people from all walks of life, united in their support for the Flames. The team's presence has also spurred the growth of youth hockey programs and local sports initiatives, inspiring the next generation of hockey players and fans.

Beyond their performance in the NHL, the Calgary Flames significantly impact the city's culture and philanthropy. Through the Calgary Flames Foundation, the team actively supports numerous charitable endeavors, focusing on health and wellness, education, and amateur and grassroots sports. This community involvement extends the Flames' influence beyond the rink, helping to address local needs and improve the quality of life for Calgary residents. The Flames' dedication to their city, both on and off the ice, cements their role as a defining feature of Calgary's identity, symbolizing the city's resilience, community spirit, and passion for hockey.

In 2004, a stretch of 17 Avenue SW in Calgary was nicknamed the Red Mile after the Flames faced off against Tampa Bay during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With so many red jerseys there to represent the Flames, the entire street turned crimson with adoring fans.

Industries Found in Calgary

Along with its history and attractions, Calgary's top employers operate in many industries, including:

  • Agriculture

  • Manufacturing

  • Trade

  • Finance

  • Business Services

  • Health and Education

Top companies found in the area include BP Canada Suncor Energy, Shell Canada, Nova Chemicals, Telus, Shaw Communications and Dow Chemical Canada. These are all huge employers in the area, along with the University of Calgary and the Calgary Board of Education.

What's So Special About Alberta Beef? Famous Calgary Flavour

Alberta beef is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality, flavor, and tenderness, a distinction that stems from the province's unique environment and rigorous production standards. The fertile plains and pristine natural resources of Alberta provide ideal conditions for raising cattle, resulting in high-quality, well-marbled beef.

Alberta ranchers employ sustainable farming practices, ensuring that cattle are raised with a diet primarily consisting of locally-grown grains. This commitment to excellence and the province's stringent health and safety regulations contribute to the premium reputation of Alberta beef, making it a sought-after choice for consumers and chefs alike who value superior taste and texture in their culinary creations.

Calgary Is Known For Being the Best Canadian City!

Calgary is a city that embodies a dynamic blend of tradition and modernity, making it a unique and vibrant place known for much more than just its picturesque landscapes and towering skyscrapers. From the world-famous GlobalFest and the storied history of the Calgary Flames to its role as a gateway to the stunning Canadian Rockies, Calgary offers a rich tapestry of cultural, recreational, and economic attractions. Its thriving arts scene, diverse culinary landscape, and deep-rooted cowboy culture provide a welcoming environment expected in all the most livable cities. Whether you're drawn to its natural beauty, sporting events, or bustling city life, Calgary's multifaceted charm ensures there's something for everyone to discover and love.

If you're interested in Calgary real estate, contact Justin Havre Real Estate Team with eXp Realty with Calgary Homes at (403) 217-0003 to get in touch with a local real estate agent who can help you find your Calgary dream home today.

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