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6 Things Calgary Is Famous For

6 Things Calgary Is Famous For

Calgary is known for being the third most livable city in the world. It is also known for a variety of historical events and attractions, such as the Calgary Stampede, Calgary Tower, the Rocky Mountains, the 1988 Winter Olympics, and its clean living and energy.

Below, we look into each of these famous moments and landmarks. 

Calgary Tower

Calgary Tower

Calgary Tower is a popular tourist attraction in the heart of the city. It looms over the bustling streets at 626 feet, with a view that’s hard to beat. 

The tower has a very rich history that dates all the way back to 1967. It was originally built by Marathon Realty Company in partnership with Husky Oil and was initially named Husky Tower. 

This name stayed until 1971 when it received its current name as a tribute to the city’s citizens. It truly is an apt change of name because of how intrinsically linked the tower has become to Calgary and its people. 

To this day, visitors can go up the tower and experience a unique, panoramic view of the city. There is also a revolving restaurant inside called Sky 360, which revolves once every 45 minutes during lunch and once every dinner hour. 

Going up can also be quite a trip in itself. Taking the elevator, you can reach the top in just 62 seconds. 

It’s a fun experience to visit the tower, but simply looking upon it is enough to see its significance as a symbol of Calgary. The tower is also known as a founding member of the World Federation of Great Towers, which recognizes iconic monuments across the globe. 

Certain events and functions reserve Calgary Tower at times, but it is open to the public on most days. You can buy tickets at the tower’s ticket desk or purchase them online. 

Calgary Tower Info
ScheduleAddressTicket Prices
Monday - Sunday: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

(Check website for closure notices and events)

101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1J9General (Ages 13-64): $19

Senior (Ages 65 up): $17

Child (Ages 4-12): $9

Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is arguably the most iconic event that the city is known for. After all, this is the event that put the city on the map and continues to bring in millions of attendees every year.

The first iteration of the Calgary Stampede as we know it was held in 1912. It featured exciting rodeo action that started tourist buzz around the city. 

A hundred years later, its popularity has boomed and endured. Even after the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, its attendance saw over 1.2 million people coming together.

The standard is for the Stampede to last ten days, complete with rodeos, midway rides, live music, tons of food, and different activities. The biggest draws are its main events – bull riding, saddle bronc, tie-down roping, bareback riding, and barrel racing. 

These events truly embody the rodeo culture embraced by the people of Calgary. Its popularity has reached such heights that it regularly attracts major international talent from different genres like Kiss, Tim McGraw, T-Pain, and Katy Perry. 

The festival is more than a celebration and a bunch of enjoyable activities, too. The major tournaments have huge prizes that can net winners over $100,000.

Exhibitions also offer a good mix of excitement and tribute to the agricultural roots of the city. Some highlights include the Rangeland Derby, the Midway carnival, and the Agriculture Zone. 

The festival also has a bustling lineup of local vendors, so you can support local businesses and artists while enjoying different kinds of food and goods. 

You don’t have to go for all ten days, but it’s worth the experience to go as much as you can to explore everything the festival has to offer. If you’re pressed for time, you should get a well-rounded experience if you attend for two days.

If you want to leave the premises, make sure you get a stamp so that you can come back. 

Calgary Stampede Info
ScheduleAddressTicket Prices
Annually held on July (check their website for specific dates)1410 Olympic Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1Admission: (General) $23

(Seniors) $15

(Child) $14

(Under 7) Free

Afternoon Rodeo (includes admission to Stampede Park): $100 - $500

Evening Show (includes admission to Stampede Park): $55

Stampede Park (ride-all-day): $53 on weekdays$58 on weekends

The Gateway to the Rocky Mountains

The Gateway to the Rocky Mountains

Calgary is referred to as the “gateway to the Rocky Mountains”, and serves as the connection between the modernity of Alberta today and the natural beauty of the Rockies. 

The city is just two to four hours away from the Rocky Mountains, depending on which quadrant you’re coming from. 

Although there is no shortage of grand amusement parks and other recreational sites in Calgary, its proximity to the magnificent mountains is a real highlight. You can easily fill a vacation with the Rockies and the wide landscape of the city combined.

The Canadian Rockies have an elevation of 3,954 metres, with the entirety of the mountain range extending over 4,800 kilometres from Canada to New Mexico. 

The natural wonder is hard to beat, with majestic peaks, crystalline waters, vast glaciers, and beautiful wildlife. Those thinking of visiting might consider the off-season between May to June and September to October. 

You can take tours, go through hiking trails, and even visit the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. They fall under the World Heritage Convention and help preserve the area’s natural resources. 

You can get a day pass to enter Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Waterton Lakes, and Elk Island. The Discovery Pass gives access to more national parks, historic sites, and conservation areas and is valid for a full year from purchase.

Tickets are available online, at park entrances, and in select physical centres. 

Rocky Mountains Info
ParkScheduleAddressTicket Prices
Banff National ParkOpen 24 hours year-round224 Banff Avenue Banff, AB T1L 1A1Discovery Pass:

Family / Group - $145.25

Adult - $72.25

Senior - $61.75

Jasper National ParkOpen 24 hours year-roundJasper, AB T0E 1E0Day Pass:

Family / Group - $21

Adult - $10.50

Senior - $9

Youth (17 below) - Free

Clean Living

Clean Living

Calgary is known as one of the cleanest cities in the entire world. The quality of life in the city is greatly sustained due to its efforts to maintain livability along with its steady progression.

The city’s Air Quality Health Index is rated at 2, meaning it is very clean with minimal pollution. Outdoor activities are great for both the general population and those with sensitivities. 

In general, the air quality is commendable and poses minimal risk to those with relevant health conditions. Of course, those with low tolerance to any exposure should still confirm their state with a medical professional. 

Many a year, Calgary is even considered the cleanest in the world largely due to its eco-friendliness. The recycling rate is over 75 percent and you won’t see an excess of waste in the city. 

While raw water is not meant to be consumed, Calgary has many water treatment plants that produce clean and drinkable water for its residents throughout the year. 

The cleanliness of Calgary is a major part of its local culture, with habits trickling down from the government to businesses and citizens alike. You can easily find extremely reliable services in a variety of cleaning avenues – be it air duct cleaning, office and commercial spaces, or gutter maintenance

Quick Facts on Calgary’s Cleanliness Info
Air Quality Health Index2 (Excellent, Low Risk)
Recycling RateOver 75% (Excellent)

The 1988 Winter Olympics

The 1988 Winter Olympics

Calgary famously hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, considered one of the most expensive Olympic games of the era. It also held many historical footnotes, including the first time Jamaica competed, the “Battle of the Brians”, and Michael Edwards’ big ski moment.

This event marked the very first Winter Olympics that the Jamaican bobsleigh team would participate in. They became extremely popular during this bout and gained much attention throughout their debut. 

The fame they garnered from this would eventually inspire the film Cool Runnings, which is now touted as one of the best sports films to date. 

The Battle of the Brians was a widely covered rivalry between Brian Orser and Brian Boitano, Olympic figure skaters who represented Canada and America respectively. They competed heavily against each other and would become major figures in the press.

The hype over their rivalry is largely due to their equal standing across previous championships. Up to now, the Battle is still regarded as one of the most popular rivalries in men’s figure skating. 

Finally, Michael Edwards would create Olympic history this year because of his feats in ski jumping. He was the first to represent British ski jumping in sixty years and would finish dead last in both the 70m and 80m events. 

Despite his failure to place, he became known as “Eddie the Eagle” and gained worldwide attention for his commitment and spirit. His performance would also influence ski jumping rules for every Olympic event since.

To this day, love of sports remains a fixture in Calgary, be it in major rodeos like the Stampede or in the many sports bars you can find throughout the city.

Energy, Energy, and More Energy

Energy, Energy, and More Energy

Calgary is famous for being a massive producer of energy, particularly through oil and natural gas. The city is Alberta’s largest producer of these energy resources and is poised to be a leader in the transition to renewable energy. 

As for oil, Calgary produced 388 m³ of oil in 2021. Although its oil production has seen a decrease throughout the last decade, the city is still one of the biggest producers of both conventional and non-conventional oil.

Despite its move towards new energy sources, you can still see its massive production in scale. Because of Calgary’s effective management of resources, the city remains one of the cleanest in the world and generally sustainable. 

The balance makes the city a standout in today’s call for progress in the energy sector. For instance, you can easily seek out accessible solar power installations while still having access to great gas companies in Calgary. 

In 2021, Calgary produced 623,300 m³ of natural gas. That number is no small feat, but is still a move toward more sustainable sources as it is actually almost 96 percent lower than it was in 2016.

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