Calgary is situated where the prairies end and the foothills begin. As such, it is the eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountains and an important centre of trade and tourism for the western prairies. Calgary is the heart of the largest metropolitan area between Toronto and Vancouver, with over 1,220,000 people as of 2009, making it Canada's fourth largest metropolitan area. Downtown features an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, cultural venues, public squares and shopping centres. In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.
Prince's Island Park
Prince's Island Park is an urban park in the city of Calgary. It is developed on an island on the Bow River, immediately north of downtown Calgary. The island has a surface of 20 hectares and is linked by three bridges to Eau Claire and downtown Calgary and a north bridge to Memorial Drive and the community of Crescent Heights. It is part of the pathway and hiking trail system lining both sides of the Bow River. The southern arm of the river has been landscaped, while the eastern end of the island re-creates a wetland environment. The park hosts many festivals such as the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Canada Day celebration.
The Calgary Tower is a 191 metre free standing observation tower in Downtown Calgary. The tower was built at a cost of $3,500,000 and weighs approximately 10,900 tonnes, of which 60% is below ground. It opened to the public on June 30, 1968 as the tallest structure in Calgary, and the tallest in Canada outside of Toronto. It was renamed the Calgary Tower in 1971. A glass floor extension was constructed on the north side of the tower's observation deck and opened on June 24, 2005. When standing on the glass, one can look straight down on 9th Avenue South and Centre Street.
View from Calgary Tower towards the north east
The Calgary Zoo is located in Bridgeland just east of the city's downtown and adjacent to the Inglewood and East Village neighbourhoods. It is accessible via Calgary's C-Train light rail system, by car via Memorial Drive and by bicycle and footpath via the Bow River pathway. The Calgary Zoo is the second largest zoo in Canada. The animal exhibits are organized by geographic region. The current exhibits include, Destination Africa, Canadian Wilds, Australia, Botanical gardens, Eurasia, Prehistoric Park and South America.
Telus World of Science
The Telus World of Science is a science museum with interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations and educational demonstrations. The Discovery Dome Theatre features films from across North America. In 2006 the Creative Kids Museum opened at the Telus World of Science, offering art-based learning. The Telus World of Science also hosts astronomy courses, school programs, youth programs, sleepovers, birthday parties, and various spring and summer science and art camps.
Devonian Gardens is a large indoor park and botanical garden located in the downtown core of Calgary. Located on the Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall between 2 Street SW and 3 Street SW, the park is completely enclosed with glass and covers 2.5 acres on the top floor of The Core Shopping Centre (formerly TD Square). It is maintained by The City of Calgary Parks.
Canada Olympic Park
Canada Olympic Park is located in Calgary. It is currently used both for high performance athletic training and for recreational purposes by the general public. During the 1988 Winter Olympics, Canada Olympic Park was the primary venue for ski jumping, bobsleigh, and luge. In the winter, the park is also used for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. In the summer, COP is used for warm-weather sports such as mountain biking and is also the site of a number of summer festivals. The park is home to the Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum, a summer challenge course and zip line. Many summer camps are available.
The Core Shopping Centre
The ski jumping hills at Canada Olympic Park
in Calgary during July
The Core Shopping Centre, which consists of TD Square, the Holt Renfrew building, and the former Calgary Eaton Centre, is the dominant shopping complex located in the downtown core of Calgary. It spans three city blocks and contains approximately 160 retailers on four levels. The property also contains four major office towers and the historic Lancaster Building. It is the busiest shopping centre in the city by pedestrian count, with around 250,000 visitors passing through each week. It also contains the Devonian Gardens, a unique 2.5-acre (1.0 ha) glass-enclosed indoor botanical park.
Core Shopping Centre
The Glenbow Museum in Calgary is one of Western Canada's largest museums, with over 93,000 square feetof exhibition space in more than 20 galleries, showcasing a selection of the Glenbow's collection of over a million objects. The museum has four primary collections: cultural history, ethnology, military history and mineralogy. The Glenbow's art collection comprises 28,000 works, mainly dating from the 19th century to the present, primarily historical, modern, and contemporary work from or pertaining to the northwest of North America. The Glenbow's library contains 100,000 books, periodicals, newspapers, maps, and pamphlets with relevance to Western Canada, from the time buffalo roamed the plains, to the coming of the railroad and settlement of the West, to political, economic and social events in Alberta today.
National Holidays & Festivals
New Year's Day
January 1 every year
New Year's Day is the first day of the year. It is a public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts.
Canada Day is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act which united three British colonies into a single country, called Canada, within the British Empire. There are usually many outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts.
Canada Day celebrations, Barrie
Last Monday in May before May 24
Victoria Day is a federal Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the last Monday before May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. Several cities will hold a parade on the holiday. Other celebrations include an evening fireworks show, such as that held at Ashbridge's Bay Beach in the east end of Toronto, and at Ontario Place, in the same city. For many across the country Victoria Day serves as the unofficial marker of the end of the winter social season, and thus the beginning of the summer social calendar.
Toronto view from CN tower
Second Monday in October
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, occurring on the second Monday in October (since 1957), is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada. While Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a large family meal, it is also often a time for weekend getaways. Similar to the United States, traditions such as parades and football can be a part of Canadian Thanksgiving.
Quebec's National Holiday, Montreal
National Holiday (Quebec)
June 24th every year
Quebec's National Holiday is celebrated annually on June 24th and since 1978 it is publicly financed and organized by a National Holiday Organizing Committee. It is a paid statutory public holiday and celebrated as a festival of French Canadian culture. Celebrations have included in the past fireworks over the Parliament Building of Quebec, free public concerts and parades.
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The TIFF is now one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. In 2010, 339 films from 59 countries were screened at 32 screens in downtown Toronto venues. Many Hollywood studios premiere their films at TIFF due to the festival's easy-going non-competitive nature, relatively inexpensive costs (when compared to European festivals), eager film-fluent audiences and convenient timing.
Calgary Stampede rodeo
Photo: Chuck Szmurlo
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It is organized by thousands of volunteers and supported by civic leaders. The ten day event attracts over one million visitors per year and features the world's largest rodeo, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions. It is one of Canada's largest festivals and a significant tourist attraction for the city. Calgary's national and international identity is very much tied to the event.
Canadian National Exhibition
Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is an annual event that takes place at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada during the 18 days leading up to and including Labour Day Monday. With an attendance of approximately 1.3 million visitors each season, it is Canada’s largest fair and the fifth largest in North America. The fair itself consists of a variety of pavilions, exhibits, shows, concerts, a working farm, horse show, casino, and a large carnival midway with rides, games and food.
Canadian National Exhibition