Calgary Alberta

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This page refers to the city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. For other places with the name Calgary, see Calgary (disambiguation)

Template:Canadian City

Calgary is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the south of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, approximately 80 km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. As of 2004, the metropolitan population (CMA) was at an estimated 1,037,100[1]. Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and the third largest by population in Canada. It serves as the hub of the fifth largest Census Metropolitan Area in the country and is located within the relatively densely populated "Calgary-Edmonton Corridor"[2]. It is the largest Canadian metropolitan area west of Toronto and east of Vancouver. Calgary has the second highest concentration of head offices in Canada. A resident of Calgary is known as a Calgarian.

Calgary is well-known as a destination for winter sports and ecotourism with a number of major mountain resorts near the city and metropolitan area. Calgary's economy is largely centred on the petroleum industry (see oilpatch), with agriculture, tourism, and the high-tech industries contributing to the city's rapid economic growth.


First settlement

North West Mounted Police post, 1875

Before the Calgary area was settled by Europeans, it was the domain of the Blackfoot people whose presence has been traced back at least 11,000 years. In 1787 cartographer David Thompson spent the winter with a band of Peigan Indians encamped along the Bow River. He was the first recorded European to visit the area. By 1860 settlers began arriving to hunt buffalo and sell illegal whiskey.

The first recorded settler in Calgary was rancher Sam Livingston in the early 1870s, and in 1875 the site became a post of the North West Mounted Police (now the RCMP). Originally named Fort Brisebois, after NWMP officer Éphrem-A Brisebois, it was renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 because of questionable conduct on the part of that officer. The NWMP detachment was assigned to protect the western plains from US whiskey traders. Fort Calgary was named by Colonel James Macleod after Calgary (Cala-ghearraidh, Beach of the pasture) on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. When the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area and a rail station was constructed, Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre. The Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters are located in Calgary today. Calgary was officially incorporated as a town in 1884 and elected its first mayor, George Murdoch. In 1894, Calgary became the first city in what was then, the Northwest Territories.

The oil boom

Oil was first discovered in Alberta in 1914, but it didn't become a significant industry in the province until the 1960s when huge reserves of it were discovered. Calgary quickly found itself at the centre of the ensuing oil boom. The city's economy grew when oil prices increased with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. The population grew from 325,000 in 1974 to 647,000 in 1987. During this time, Calgary skyscrapers were constructed at a pace seen by few cities anywhere. The relatively low-rise downtown quickly became dense with tall buildings: a trend that continues to this day.

Calgary's economy was so closely tied to the oil industry that the city's boom peaked with the average annual price of oil in 1981. [3] The subsequent drop in oil prices and the introduction of National Energy Program, were cited by industry as reasons for a collapse in the oil industry, and consequently the overall Calgary economy. The NEP was cancelled in the mid-1980s by the Brian Mulroney federal government. But, continued low oil prices, prevented a full recovery until the 1990s.

Recent history

With the energy sector employing a huge number of Calgarians, the fallout from the economic slump of the early 1980s was understandably significant. The unemployment rate soared. By the end of the decade, however, the economy was in recovery. Calgary quickly realized that it could not afford to put so much emphasis on oil and gas, and the city has since become much more diverse, both economically and culturally. The period during this recession marked Calgary's transition from a mid-sized and relatively nondescript prairie city into a major cosmopolitan and diverse centre. This transition culminated in February of 1988, when the city hosted the XV Olympic Winter Games. The success of these games essentially put the city on the world stage.

The economy in Calgary and Alberta is now booming, and the city of over a million people is still among the fastest growing in the country. In fact, Calgary is now second only to Toronto for its concentration of corporate head offices. While the oil and gas industry and agriculture still comprise a huge part of the economy, the city has invested a great deal into other areas. Tourism is perhaps one of the fastest growing industries in the city. Over 4.5 million people now visit the city on an annual basis for its many festivals and attractions, as well as the Calgary Stampede. The nearby mountain resort towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Canmore are also becoming increasingly popular with tourists, and are bringing people into Calgary as a result. Other modern industries include light manufacturing, high-tech, film, transportation, and services. Calgary now boasts a higher GDP per capita than any other major Canadian city. The city has also ranked high in quality of life surveys.


Although Calgary's winters can be downright cold, Environment Canada still ranks the city as having the 3rd most temperate climate in the country after Victoria and Vancouver. This is due in large part to the dry Chinook winds that routinely blow into the city from the Pacific Ocean during the winter months. These winds have been known to raise the winter temperature by up to 20°C and may last several days.

Nevertheless, Calgary is a city of extremes, and temperatures have ranged anywhere from a record low of −45°C in 1893 to a record high of +36°C in 1919. Although summer temperatures in the +30s are not all that uncommon, it rarely gets colder than −30°C, even in the dead of winter. On average the temperature ranges from a minimum −15°C in January to a maximum of 23°C in July and August.

With an average relative humidity of 65% in the winter, Calgary is a dry city and receives very little rain or snow relative to other Canadian cities. Despite this, blizzards in the winter and thunder and hail storms in the summer are not uncommon. Calgary receives an average of 400mm (15.7in) of precipitation annually, with 301mm (11.8in) of that as rain, and the remainder as snow. Most of the precipitation occurs from May to August.

The seasons in Calgary are generally:

  • Winter: November to mid-March.
  • Spring: mid-March to May
  • Summer: June to August
  • Autumn: September to November

Other climate periods:

  • Heavy snowfall season: March to early May
  • Heavy rainfall month: June (known to some locals as the "monsoon month")
  • Thunderstorm/hail season: late May to early September
  • Chinook season: late October to early April (its effect is most pronounced in the cooler months, though Chinooks can occur at any time.)

Layout and geography

File:69 Calgary.jpg
Calgary in 1969

Calgary is located within the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is relatively hilly as a result. Calgary's elevation is approximately 1048 metres (3440 feet) above sea level downtown, and 1139 metres (3736 feet) at the airport. The city proper covers a land area of 721 km2 (as of 2001). There are two major rivers that run through the city. The Bow River is the largest and flows from the west to the south. The Elbow River flows northwards from the south until it converges with the Bow River near downtown. Since the climate of the region is generally dry, dense vegetation only occurs naturally in the river valleys and within Fish Creek Provincial Park, the largest Urban Park in Canada.

The city is quite large in physical area, consisting of an inner city surrounded by various communities of decreasing density. Unlike most cities with a sizable metropolitan area, most of Calgary's suburbs are incorporated into the city proper, with the notable exceptions of the city of Airdrie to the north, Cochrane to the northwest, Strathmore to the east, and the sprawling Springbank district to the west. Though it is not technically within Calgary's metropolitan area, the town of Okotoks is only a short distance to the south and is considered a suburb as well. The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) includes slightly more area that the CMA and has a population of 1,146,900.

Because of the growth of the city, its southwest borders are now immediately adjacent to the Tsuu T’ina (Sarcee) Nation Native Indian reserve. Recent residential developments in the deep southwest of the city have created a need for a major roadway heading into the interior of the city, but because of complications in negotiations with the Sarcee about the construction, the much-needed construction has not yet begun.

Calgary's neighbourhoods

Main article: List of Neighbourhoods in Calgary

The downtown region of the city consists of eight neighbourhoods: Eau Claire (including the Festival District), the Downtown West End, the Stephen Avenue Retail Core, the Downtown Commercial Core, the Entertainment District, the Government District, Chinatown, and the Downtown East Village (part of the Rivers District). Distinct from downtown and south of 9th Avenue is Calgary's densest neighbourhood, the Beltline. The area includes a number of communities such as Midtown, Victoria Crossing and a portion of the Rivers District. The Beltline is the focus of major planning and rejuvenation initiatives on the part of the municipal government to increase the density and liveliness of Calgary's centre.

Adjacent to, or directly radiating from the downtown are the first of the inner-city communities. These include Crescent Heights, Sunnyside, Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill, Hillhurst (including Kensington), Bridgeland, Renfrew, Mount Royal and Inglewood. The inner city is, in turn, surrounded by relatively dense and established neighbourhoods such as Rosedale and Mount Pleasant to the north, Bowness and Westgate to the west, Park Hill, South Calgary, Altadore and Killarney to the south, and Forest Lawn/International Avenue to the east. Lying beyond these, and usually separated from one another by highways, are the suburban communities, often characterized as "commuter communities". The city's deep south is probably expanding the fastest and includes communities such as Heritage Pointe and McKenzie Lake. In all, there are over 180 distinct neighbourhoods within the city limits.

City sights

Calgary's downtown can easily be characterized by its numerous skyscrapers (including the tallest office tower in Canada outside of Toronto). To connect many of the downtown office buildings, the city also boasts the world's most extensive skyway(skywalk) network, elevated indoor pedestrian bridges, known locally as the +15 system because the bridges are usually 15 feet above grade. The city's downtown also features an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, cultural venues, shopping (most notably, TD Square, Calgary Eaton Centre, Stephen Avenue, and 17th Avenue), and public squares such as Olympic Plaza. Downtown tourist attractions include the Calgary Zoo, the Telus World of Science, the Telus Convention Centre, the Chinatown district, the Glenbow Museum, the Calgary Tower, the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, and Eau Claire Market. At 2.5 acres (10,000 m²), the Devonian Gardens is one of the largest urban indoor gardens in the world, and it is located on the 4th floor of TD Square (above the shopping). Downtown is also home to Prince's Island Park, an urban park located just north of the Eau Claire district. Directly to the south of downtown is Midtown and the Beltline. This area is quickly becoming one of the city's densest and most active mixed use areas. At the district's core is the popular "17th Avenue", which is known for its many bars and nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping venues. During the Calgary Flames' playoff run in 2004, 17th Avenue was frequented by over 50,000 fans and supporters per game night. The concentration of notorious red jersey-wearing fans led to the street's playoff moniker, the Red mile. Downtown Calgary is easily accessed using the city's C-Train rapid transit system.

On the west side of the city, on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir, is Heritage Park Historical Village. Highlights include a working steam train, a historic Calgary streetcar shuttle from the lower parking lots, and an antique midway. The village is comprised of historic buildings relocated from Southern Alberta towns, or in many cases, replicas of these buildings. Other major city attractions include Canada Olympic Park (and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame), Calaway Park amusement park, and Race City Motorsport Park. In addition to the many shopping areas in the city centre, there are a number of large suburban shopping complexes in Calgary. Among the largest are Chinook Centre and Southcentre in the south, Market Mall in the northwest, and Sunridge Mall in the northeast.

Attractions and landmarks

Northwest North



Downtown East

South Southeast

Arts and culture

Calgary's cultural scene has changed considerably since the city has grown. Today, Calgary is a modern cosmopolitan city that still retains much of its traditional culture of hotel saloons, hockey and western music. As a relatively ethnically diverse city, Calgary also has a number of major multi-cultural areas. It has one of the largest Chinatowns in Canada as well as a burgeoning “Little Italy” in the Bridgeland neighbourhood. Forest Lawn is among the most diverse areas in the city and as such, the area around 17th Avenue SE. within the neighbourhood is also known as International Avenue. The district is home to a wide variety of ethnic restaurants and stores.

Calgary is the site of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, a 4 million cubic foot (113,000 m3) performing arts, culture and community facility. The auditorium is one of two "twin" facilities in the province, the other located in Edmonton. The 2,700-seat auditorium was opened in 1957 and has been host to hundreds of Broadway musical, theatrical, stage and local productions. Annually, over 850,000 visitors frequent the performance space. The "Jubes" as they are known, are the resident home of the Alberta Ballet, the Calgary opera, the Kiwanis Music Festival, and the annual Canadian Legion Remembrance Day Ceremonies. The two auditoria are run by community-based non-profit societies and operate 365 days a year. The two auditoria have recently completed a $91 million renovation. They reopened on the Province's Centennial, September 1, 2005.

File:Olympic Plaza.jpg
Olympic Plaza in the Arts District

Calgary is also home to the internationally-renowned contemporary theatre company, One Yellow Rabbit. The company shares the massive EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and two more established theatre companies, Theatre Calgary and Alberta Theatre Projects. Calgary was also the birthplace of the improvisational theatre games known as Theatresports. The Calgary International Film Festival is also held in the city annually.

The city is also home to several museums. The most well known of these, the Glenbow Museum is the largest in western Canada and includes an art gallery. Other major museums include the largest Chinese Cultural Centre in North America, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (at Canada Olympic Park), the Museum of the Regiments, and the Aero Space Museum. There are also a number of art galleries in the city and many of them are concentrated along the Stephen Avenue and 17th Avenue corridors. The largest of these is the Art Gallery of Calgary.

Calgary is affectionately called the Nashville of the North, and took a large part in the country revival of the 1990s. Currently, some of the city's most popular bars trade on the image of cool country, playing contemporary country music to young twenty-somethings.

Calgary also holds many major annual festivals including, The Calgary Stampede, the Folk Music Festival, The Lilac Festival, and the second largest Caribbean festival in the country (Carifest).

Calgary is also home to a thriving all-ages music scene.

The Stampede

The city is famous for the Calgary Stampede, a very large agricultural fair and rodeo every July. The Stampede officially bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth". It features an internationally recognized rodeo competition, a midway, stage shows, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon races, First Nations exhibitions, and pancake breakfasts around the city, among other attractions. It is among the largest and most well known festivals in Canada. The event has a 93 year history.

The Calgary Stampede was inaugurated in 1912 by Guy Weadick, an American trick roper. Weadick wanted to put on a world-class rodeo event and Wild West show that would bring the best cowboys from across the continent. The first Stampede was the richest rodeo competition in North America with prize money totaling $20,000. It drew more than 100,000 spectators. In 1923, the Stampede was combined with the Calgary Exhibition and the chuckwagon races were added. In 2004, the rodeo prize money was doubled to $1 million to put the Stampede on par with other major rodeos such as the National Finals Rodeo.

In 2005, attendance at the 10-day rodeo and exhibition totalled 1,242,928, which set a new record. Attendance at the "Stampede Parade" (North America's second longest parade), which takes place downtown on opening day is usually somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000. During Stampede Week, many of the city's residents dress in country attire, and many businesses decorate their stores and offices in this "western" style.

Other annual festivals

  • Winter Festival (February)
  • Rodeo Royal (March)
  • Calgary Independent Film Festival (March)
  • Visaki Mela (Punjabi Spring Harvest Festival) (May)
  • International Children's Festival (May)
  • 4th Street Lilac Festival (May)
  • Carifest (June)
  • International Jazz Festival (June)
  • Greek Festival (June)
  • Chariot Festival of India (July)
  • Folk Music Festival (July)
  • Heritage Day (August)
  • Dragonboat Festival (August)
  • Afrikadey! (August)
  • International Reggae Festival (August)
  • GlobalFest - One World Festival and International Fireworks Competition (August)
  • Expo Latino (August)
  • Barbecue on the Bow (September)
  • Artcity - Festival of Art, Design and Architecture (September)
  • Calgary International Film Festival (September / October)
  • Banff Festival of Mountain Films (October)
  • Twelve Days of Christmas (December)


According the 2001 Statistics Canada federal census, there were 878,866 people living within the City of Calgary proper. Of this population, 49.9 per cent were male and 50.1 per cent were female. Children under five accounted for approximately 6.0 per cent of the resident population of Calgary. This compares with 6.2 per cent in Alberta, and almost 5.6 per cent for Canada overall.

In 2001, 9.0 per cent of the resident population in Calgary were of retirement age (65 and over for males and females) compared with 13.2 per cent in Canada, therefore, the average age is 34.9 years of age comparing to 37.6 years of age for all of Canada.

In the five years between 1996 and 2001, Calgary's population grew by 15.8 percent. This is contrasted with an increase of 10.3 percent for the province of Alberta. The population density of Calgary averaged 1,252.3 persons per square kilometre, compared with an average of 4.6, for the province.

(based on single responses)

Calgary is the main city of Census Division No. 6 and the Calgary Regional Partnership.

Statistics are from the 2001 Statistics Canada census [4].

Political scene

File:Calgary Old City Hall.jpg
Calgary's Old City Hall was built in 1911, using the Romanesque Revival style, made of sandstone, and featuring a 70 foot clock tower.

Calgary is traditionally a conservative city, dominated by traditional small-c social conservatives and more modern fiscal conservatives. As the city is a corporate power-centre, a high percentage of the workforce is employed in white-collar jobs. During the 1990s the city's mainstream political culture was dominated by the right-wing Reform Party of Canada federally, and the Alberta Progressive Conservatives provincially. The Reform Party was founded in Calgary.

However, as Calgary has grown, its politics have become diverse. One growing alternative movement was recently active during the 2000 World Petroleum Congress demonstrations and the J26 G8 2002 protests. Protesters were a mix of locals and outsiders. In early 2003 in response to the War on Iraq, according to organizers, 5,000 to 10,000 people from southern Alberta, and elsewhere, converged outside the U.S. Consulate General's office. The city has chapters of various activist organizations, as well as an Anti-Capitalist Convergence. Left-wing provincial and federal Liberals tend to distance themselves from the activist movement which also claims support from the left. The Green Party of Canada has also made inroads in Calgary, although they have never achieved more than five per cent of the popular vote in any city riding. Another alternative, represented by the right-wing Alberta Alliance, became active during the 26th Alberta general election and campaigned for fiscally and socially conservative reforms, and has managed a growing percentage of support in the past Provincial election.

Prior to the November 22, 2004 General Election, all 21 provincial MLAs representing Calgary were Progressive Conservatives. The province's premier and leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, Ralph Klein, has his seat in Calgary. The Alberta Liberals won three seats in the provincial legislature during that election, two of which were new as a result of redistricting.

Currently, all eight of Calgary's federal MPs are members of the Conservative Party of Canada. The CPC's predecessors have traditionally held the majority of the city's federal seats. The federal electoral district of Calgary-Southwest is currently held by the CPC leader Stephen Harper. Coincidentally, the same seat was also held by Preston Manning, the leader of the Reform Party of Canada, a predecessor of CPC. Joe Clark, former Prime Minister and former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (also a predecessor of the CPC), held the seat in the now-abolished riding of Calgary Centre.

Contemporary issues

As a city that has experienced rapid growth in recent years, Calgary is having its share of growing pains. Among the most significant is that of urban sprawl. With no geographical barriers to its growth besides the Tsuu T'ina First Nation to the southwest and an affluent population that can afford large homes and properties, the city now has only a slightly smaller urban footprint than that of New York City and its boroughs, despite having less than one-eighth the population of New York City proper. This has led to difficulties in providing necessary transportation to Calgary’s population, both in the form of roadways and public transit. The result has also been a downtown which has traditionally lacked life on the evenings and weekends. It has also led to a somewhat misguided interpretation of the city as being a “driver’s city”. With the redevelopment of the Beltline and the Downtown East Village at the forefront, efforts are underway to vastly increase the density of the inner city, but the sprawl continues nevertheless.

Calgary has also struggled to find its own unique identity. On the one hand, it has relentlessly tried to maintain its western heritage. This has led to the popular nickname, "Cowtown". At the same time, the city has branded itself as being a modern economic and business centre. In recent years, Calgary has also become one of Canada's most cosmopolitan cities and has been quickly evolving into a major cultural centre. These very different images have often resulted in ambiguity and confusion with regard to the direction of Calgary's continued development.

Even though Calgary has a relatively low crime rate when compared to other cities in North America, gangs and drug-related crime are becoming much larger issues than they have been in the past. Gang “warfare” is becoming more common all the time and contributes to a number of homicides in the city annually. Drug busts (particularly of Marijuana grow operations) are also becoming very common, especially in suburban communities where anonymity is possible.

More socioeconomic issues have also found there way into the city’s urban fabric in recent history. As the population grows, so does the rate of poverty and homelessness in the city. Certain neighbourhoods along with portions of downtown have commonly been singled out as being home to much higher proportions of disadvantaged residents. Many neighbourhoods in the city’s east have been particularly (and perhaps unfairly) stereotyped this way.


University of Calgary Campus

About 97,000 students attend K-12 in about 215 schools in the English language public school system run by the Calgary Board of Education.[5] Another 43,000 attend about 93 schools in the separate English language Calgary Catholic School District board.[6] The much smaller francophone community has their own French language school boards (public and Catholic), which are both based in Calgary, but serve a larger regional district. Also, there are now several public charter schools in the city.

Calgary is the site of four major public post-secondary institutions. The University of Calgary is Calgary's primary large degree-granting facility. Currently, nearly 30,000 students are enrolled there. Mount Royal College is the city's second largest institution (13,000 students), and it grants degrees in a number of fields. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology provides polytechnic education. The Alberta College of Art and Design is also located in Calgary.

The new St. Mary's University College is a private Catholic liberal arts institution located in the south part of the city. There are also a number of other smaller private colleges in the city. Calgary is also home to DeVry Career College's only Canadian campus. Calgary was also the home of the Milton Wiliams School for Education Through the Arts, a national centre of excellence in arts immersion education for children between the fifth and ninth grades; however, in early 2005, the aging school was demolished. However, the school is still active on the grounds of the Willow Park Elementary School.

Sports and recreation

Ski Jump and Chair Lift at Canada Olympic Park Summit

Calgary held the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. Many of the Olympic facilities continue to function as major high performance training facilities for athletes around the world. Among the most notable of these are Canada Olympic Park and the Olympic Oval.

Calgary's multipurpose arena, the Pengrowth Saddledome is shown at the right. The Olympic Saddledome (as it was formerly known) was the first modern arena in North America capable of accommodating an Olympic regulation-sized ice rink. Calgary's primary open-air stadium, McMahon Stadium, was the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and is currently the venue for Calgary's Canadian Football League team, the Calgary Stampeders. The stadium has a capacity of nearly 40,000 and is the fifth largest in Canada.

The Olympic Oval is primarily a speed-skating arena that can also accommodate hockey and high-performance training. The rink's ice is world-renowned, and it brings some of the best speed skaters in the world to the facility for training and competition. It was at this place where the likes of Catriona LeMay Doan and Cindy Klassen trained for their Olympic and world stardom. Calgary is also the home of "The Dungeon", the pro wrestling training camp founded by the late Stu Hart. Two of Hart's sons trained there & went to be some of the greatest competitors the sport has ever seen: Brett Hart & the late Owen Hart. Many Canadian wrestlers trained at the Dungeon, including Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, & fellow Calgary native, Lance Storm.

Current professional franchises

Logo Club League Venue Established Championships Calgary Stampeders logo Calgary Stampeders Canadian Football League McMahon Stadium 1935 5 Calgary Falmes logo Calgary Flames National Hockey League Pengrowth Saddledome 1972 as Atlanta Flames 1 Calgary Roughnecks Logo Calgary Roughnecks National Lacrosse League Pengrowth Saddledome 2001 1

Amateur teams

Outdoor recreation

Calgary is next to some of the most pristine natural scenery in the world. Banff National Park is about 125 km northwest of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. 30 km west of the city is the town of Bragg Creek (and region). Another 45 km west of Bragg Creek is the Kananaskis Country improvement district.

Many Calgarians and millions of tourists enjoy activities such as biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, camping, and fishing in these great parks every year. The town of Banff hosts nearly five million visitors annually.

Within Calgary itself, people make extensive use of the city's network of bike paths and large urban parks. For more extreme adventure, Canada Olympic Park offers bobsledding, luge, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, downhill skiing, and snowboarding in the winter. The Bow River is very popular among fly-fishermen. Golfing is also an extremely popular activity for Calgarians and the region has a very large number of courses.

Major parks in Calgary and vicinity


Calgary is a major Canadian transportation centre and a central cargo hub for freight into and out of north-western North America[7]. The city also sits at the junction between the "Canamex" highway system and the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1 in Alberta). The Calgary International Airport serves the city as well as the international traffic for Alberta and Saskatchewan. The airport saw 9.1 million passenger movements in 2004. In December of that same year, it was the third busiest airport in Canada after Toronto Pearson International Airport and the Vancouver International Airport. It is marginally busier than Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. It is one of Canada's busiest cargo airports as well. Calgary is also by far, the largest Canadian city without any intercity passenger rail service as all VIA Rail service to the city was terminated in the late 80's and early 90's by the Conservative government.

Calgary's mass transit system is operated by Calgary Transit. The light rail transit (LRT) system, known as the C-Train, in the city consists of 42.1 km of track connecting 36 stations and was one of the first such systems in North America. Until very recently, Calgary, Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta were the only two, under 1 million population cities in North America, to operate mass rapid transit systems. The Whitehorn-City Centre line serves downtown and the Northeast, while the Dalhousie-Somerset line runs between the Northwest and South Calgary via Downtown. Travel between stations along 7th Avenue in downtown is free-of-charge. Unique to the C-Train system, its power is completely wind generated and is thus completely free of emissions. As well as the LRT, Calgary Transit has an effective system of buses, and has routes stretching all over the city. It has won several prestigious awards for its efficiency and its environmental responsibility. It consists of over 160 bus routes and three C-Train lines (two routes) stretching over 4,500 km.

The City of Calgary maintains an impressive network of paved bicycle paths. The dedicated path network in Calgary is among the most expansive in North America and spans 583km. There are also about 200km of bike lanes. A PDF Map is available from the City of Calgary Website. The pathways connect many of the city's parks, the river valley, residential neighbourhoods, and downtown. Even the airport is on the path network. Thousands of people make year-round use these paths for walking, running, and cycling to various destinations, including to work. Calgary's system of elevated walkways or skyways downtown (known as the +15 system) is the most extensive in the world. These walkways not only serve to connect buildings, but also contain restaurants, shops, and services. The system is 16 kilometres long.

Calgary has an extensive, efficient, and well-maintained street network. Smaller roads are supplemented with a number of major arteries and freeways, the largest of which is the north-south running Deerfoot Trail (Queen Elizabeth II Highway/Highway 2). Other major expressways include Glenmore Trail, Macleod Trail (although it is only a principal arterial road north of Anderson Road), named for one of the city founders, Colonel James MacLeod, and Crowchild Trail, named for the 1800s Blackfoot leader Chief Crowchild. Note that the vast majority (but not all) of the main expressways and freeways are Trails, as well as some of the main arterial roads that do not fit in the numbering grid.

The city is divided into four quadrants, commonly known as the Northeast, the Northwest, the Southeast and the Southwest. Traditionally, Calgary's roads were built on a grid system with numbered Streets (running north-south) and Avenues (running east-west) on a quadrant system, with most addresses ending in suffixes NW, NE, SE or SW. The central point of the quadrant system is the Centre Street Bridge, with Centre Street and Centre Avenue forming the boundaries (although the points vary; most of the south end has Macleod Trail as a boundary, except near Chinook Centre where Macleod dives westward slightly; in the west end, the Bow River forms the boundary for the most part). An interesting quirk is that the numbers actually start at 100 for addresses on Avenues and 0 for addresses on Streets. For example, 550 8th Avenue SW is between 4th and 5th Street SW and 550 8th Street SW is between 5th and 6th Avenue SW. Numbered roads exist all the way into the suburban and rural areas outside the city, although those are mixed in with named streets and only used when they roughly fall in place on the grid.

Industry and Employment

Despite much diversification in recent years, Calgary's economy is still dominated by the oil and gas industry. The larger companies include EnCana, Petro-Canada, Shell Canada, Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy, and TransCanada.

In 1996, Canadian Pacific Railway moved its head office to Calgary, and is now among the city's top employers. Furthermore, in 2005, Imperial Oil moved its headquarters from Toronto to Calgary, relocating roughly 400 families in the process.

Other large employers include the Forzani Group, ATCO, and Fluor Canada.

Military presence

Despite the 1995 closing of Canadian Forces Base Calgary, the city is still home to a significant military presence, including HMCS Tecumseh (Naval Reserve), the HMCS Tecumseh Band, and the 746th Communications Squadron (Communications Reserve). Several units of the Army Reserve are located in Calgary, including:

Additionally, there are several squadrons of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Navy League Cadets, Royal Canadian Army Cadets, and Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

Local media

Daily newspapers

  • Calgary Herald - The largest newspaper in Calgary. Generally conservative, covers more world news than the Calgary Sun. Owned by CanWest Global Communications.
  • Calgary Sun - A division of SUNMEDIA, a Quebecor company. Tabloid format, focus on local news, sports and entertainment.
  • FFWD - Weekly alternative arts paper.
  • Dose - Free daily paper published by CanWest Global Communications.

Radio stations



Television stations

The cable television provider in Calgary is Shaw Cable. Network programming from the United States is received on cable via affiliates from Spokane, Washington.

Other names

Calgary is also known by other names:

  • Cowtown
  • C Spot

Sister Cities

Related topics

See also

External links


North: Rocky View No. 44
West: Tsuu T'ina Nation 145
Calgary East: Rocky View No. 44
South: Foothills No. 31

North: Airdrie
West: Cochrane
Calgary East: Chestermere
South: Okotoks


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