Calgary Travel Guide, AlbertaLocated at the junction of the Bow and Elbow rivers, Calgary is a big metropolis that since its foundation has known a rapid development. Now it has a population of about 900,000 and a skyline that rivals any big city’s skyline. The pace of life here is pretty fast and still the many parks give the city a friendly and relaxed feel.
The year when the first settlement was established is 1875, when Fort Calgary was established by a detachment of the Northwest Mounted Police. The secure fort and the rich land around have attracted many settlers and the population began to climb. When the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1883 even more people were attracted to the area. The main business was ranching and it was going so well that Calgary grew into a cattle metropolis.
Later the oil boom changed the structure and the face of the city even more. People flocked to the area; lots of new buildings were built in a short period, lots of national companies building their headquarters here. But not only the economic advantages attracted people to the area, the beautiful surroundings with the Rockies as its backdrop and the plains also added to the city’s charm.
The city shaped up even more in February 1988 when it hosted the Winter Olympics. The city’s skyline was enriched with facilities like the Canada Olympic Park. The city’s structure is tourist friendly as it is not difficult to find your way. If you are in the centre of the city the two main focal points you have to guide you are Centre Street and Centre Avenue.
As a tourist in Calgary you can’t miss visiting the city’s historic district which was declared a National Historic District in 2002. You can see more than 40 restored, turn-of-the-20th-century sandstone buildings in the downtown core which are still in use, some of them functioning as shops and restaurants. The place is full of people especially in summer and it’s a pleasure to sit in one of the outdoor patios watching people go by.
Besides the historic district there are other interesting parts of the city as Kensington district with Victorian-style houses, the smart Eau Claire district, 4th Street and Uptown 17th neighbourhoods, Chinatown with a spectacular Chinese Cultural Centre and other. There is plenty to see in each of them and a good idea would be to go on a guided city-sightseeing excursion which includes different routes but most of them cover the important sights like Canada Olympic Park, Olympic Speed skating Oval, Stampede Grounds, Calgary Tower and Fort Calgary.
If you have time to explore the nearby area there are buses that take you to Columbia Icefields, Banff or Lake Louise Lake Minnewanka, Moraine Lake, Johnson's Canyon, and the Banff Gondola and you shouldn’t miss the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those who are passionate about dinosaurs should heat to Royal Tyrrell Museum where they can find out interesting things about them and even can participate in one of the digs. If you enjoy the digging you can extend your stay to 7 days and enter the Field Experience Program at Dinosaur Provincial Park. The area around the Red Deer River is a vast cemetery of Cretaceous life making it the heaven for palaeontologists.
With abundant activities, a lively nightlife, and a varied, youthful population Calgary is so appealing you'll probably want to scrap your itinerary and linger a few days extra.
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