Photo by Michael Thomson
If, by chance, you ever meet a Canadian cowboy, it’s likely they hail from Calgary. This is after all the heart of the New West and a hub for cowboy culture.
One of the city’s biggest calling cards is the annual Calgary Stampede. Known as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’, the popular ten-day event is held in July and includes a rodeo, exhibition and festival. Over one million people attend the stampede per year, many of which are white-hat wearing cowboys. This year (2012) is the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede and promises to be bigger than ever.
Check out the official website where you can contribute your Stampede story for all to see. Read 100’s of stories with fascinating pictures from years gone by from a 1959 Stampede dream home, to couples who met at the stampede to famous people at the stampede.
Calgary is not all boot-kicking and cowboy hats – although there are a few! If it’s ever expanding skyline is any indicator, Calgary is a modern city with a booming economy. Tourism in Alberta’s largest city is also a strong industry. Along with cheap flights to Calgary, the city’s popularity is largely thanks to Calgary’s impressive location; east of the Canadian Rockies and between the prairies and the foot hills.
While summer is a popular time in Calgary, the cooler months also have much to offer. Just outside of Calgary in Banff National Park is Sunshine Village, one of Canada’s oldest ski resorts. This premier ski location boasts 3,300 acres of skiable terrain and over 100 trails. In 2012 they recorded an all time record of 10m of snow. Already known for it’s champagne powder, perfect for snow boarding and skiing, this year’s consecutive weeks of powder has delighted it’s visitors.
Banff National Park was Canada’s first national park and it started out with just the hot springs reserve. It was only 26 sq km. This expanded to around 6600 sq km, taking in the Rockies, Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway. With some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, it is well worth a visit just to stand in awe of nature. It is home to bears, wolves and caribou so if you are new to Canada, make sure you know what to do if you come across any of these.
In addition to adventure, Calgary has a reputable arts and culinary scene. Including the public “The Art Gallery Of Calgary” and the private “Webster Galleries”. Nightlife is energetic and youthful with numerous clubs catering to a range of sub-cultures and genres.
If you have ever wanted to see a Stampede or visit Banff National Park in the summer, 2012 would be the year to do it as the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede falls this year.