The largest city in the province of Alberta in southern Canada and one of the most populous municipalities in the country, Calgary is a major tourist centre with great opportunities for winter sports, entertainment and culture.

The settlement’s earliest recorded history stretches back some 10,000 years and revolves around the dominant Blackfoot tribes. Indeed, the first European contact took place at the end of the 18th century and it was only in 1873 that the first settler, John Glenn, arrived. Taken over by the North West Mounted Police, the settlement was first renamed Fort Brisebois before switching to Fort Calgary, in reference to the Scottish location. Established as a city soon after in 1894, Calgary only came to prominence economically in the mid-20th century with the discovery of huge oil reserves.

After the 1980s depression, Calgary enjoyed a shot in the arm when the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988. Now booming economically and recognised worldwide as a significant site, it’s the perfect time to visit one of Canada’s brightest spots.


The main historical monument in Calgary is the old Fort Calgary. Established in 1875, the Fort has suffered wear and tear over the decades but remains one of the most popular tourist attractions, providing a link to Calgary’s past.

Perhaps the best example of modern Calgary is the Calgary Tower. Completed in 1968, the Tower stands tall amidst numerous skyscrapers at 190 metres. As well as a fabulous panorama of Calgary itself, the Tower also contains a revolving restaurant.

Calgary has a number of picturesque parks and gardens such as the Devonian Gardens, Nose Hill Park and Fish Creek Park. However, you can also visit amusement parks like Calaway Park and the themed Heritage Park Historical Village. One other family attraction is the Calgary Zoo, established in 1929 and one of the best in the country.

The city is home to a number of galleries and museums. Most notable is the Glenbow Museum, the largest museum in Western Canada with some 20 galleries and collections on cultural history, ethnology, military history and mineralogy. Other notable spots include The Military Museums, the Art Gallery of Calgary and Canada Olympic Park, which contains the Olympic Hall of Fame as well as winter sports facilities.

Calgary enjoys a wide array of festivals and events each year, the most popular of which being the Calgary Stampede. First held in 1886 and now marketed as ‘the greatest outdoor show on Earth’, the Stampede is held in July for 10 days at the Stampede Grounds and involves the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, First Nations exhibitions and concerts. Furthermore, the city hosts the Calgary International Film Festival, the Calgary Fringe Festival and the Carifest Caribbean-themed festival.

Sport is a crucial part of life in Calgary, with plenty of local teams. These include the Calgary Flames, who play their games in the National Hockey League at Pengrowth Saddledome, and the Calgary Stampeders, who compete in the Canadian Football League at the McMahon Stadium.


Although not regarded for its shopping, Calgary naturally has its fair share of spots for shoppers. These include the TD Square and Calgary Eaton Centre, both in Stephen Avenue, the Market Mall in NW and the Dragon City Mall in the Chinatown district.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Regarded as a multicultural city, Canada’s local cuisine is necessarily diverse. However, one particular local speciality is the Calgarian penchant for steakhouses, largely due to the regional Alberta beef. One particularly good steakhouse is Saltlik on 8th Avenue SW.

Nevertheless, you can find international alternatives like Vietnamese at DA Lat on 17th Avenue SW and Italian at Il Sogno in 4th Street NE. Also recommended are Rouge and Centini, both on 8th Avenue SE.

17th Avenue SW is an obvious nightlife hotspot in Calgary due to the Red Mile, which encompasses pubs like the Ship and Anchor and other bars. Calgary is also home to nightclubs such as Coyotes in Olympic Way SE, the Back Alley in Macleod Trail South and Cowboys in 9th Avenue SW.

Alternatively, try the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium for a range of concerts, or the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, home to local theatre companies.

Tourist Information

  • Calgary Tourist Office, 200-238 11th Avenue SE, Calgary, AB, T2G 0X8
  • Telephone: +1 403 263 8570
  • Website:


Calgary is served by Calgary International Airport, the fourth busiest airport in Canada.

International and domestic connecting flights are regularly available to many destinations worldwide.

British Airways (London-Heathrow), Air Canada (London-Heathrow) and Air Transat (London-Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester) are among the airlines that use Calgary International Airport to and from British destinations.

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