Calgary, known by several monikers like Cowtown, Stampede City, C-Town, and Heart of the New West, is a first-rate city located in Alberta, Canada, surrounded by the Canadian Rockies. Its year-round outdoor activities encourage an active lifestyle, while its diverse arts scene, historical significance in ranching and oil drilling, and bustling nightlife are only a few examples of what the city has to offer. For those seeking to learn more about this captivating and multi-faceted city, here are some entertaining and lesser-known facts about Calgary.
The Calgary Stampede raises the bar high with its self-proclaimed title as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” and rightfully so. Established in 1912, the festival spans ten days and draws in thousands of attendees and participants from around the globe.
However, the Stampede’s roots run even deeper, tracing back to the 1880s when it started as a conventional farmers’ fair and marketplace, where ranchers and farmers networked. As time passed, it expanded into the colossal rodeo and celebration it is now.
The Calgary Stampede goes beyond the conventional rodeo events like bull riding and barrel racing, featuring a parade, chuckwagon derby, dog bowl, concerts, animal demonstrations, and carnival-style Midway games, among others. It’s no surprise that the Stampede is one of Calgary’s most famous attractions, held annually in July, with advance tickets typically on sale from June.
During winter in Calgary, it is common for the daily high temperature to be in single digits, presenting various challenges. However, Calgary has an innovative network of enclosed aerial walkways known as Plus 15, also called “the Skywalk” and symbolized by “+15.” It is the world’s longest climate-controlled, elevated, and enclosed pedestrian walkway.
The Skywalk spans across the Downtown Calgary neighborhood, connecting over 100 buildings, including restaurants, cafés, department stores, offices, Calgary condos, and even theatres through 60 suspended bridges about 15 feet in the air. The Plus 15 isn’t just an ordinary pedestrian walkway as interactive touch screens provide directions for users. In some areas, it is multi-level, with higher levels referred to as “+30s” and “+45s.”
Calgary is a fascinating food destination, with various cultural influences represented in its popular restaurants. Rather than being known for a particular cuisine, Calgary is renowned for its diverse and extraordinary dishes that are rich in flavor and complexity.
One of Calgary’s signature dishes is Ginger Beef, a Canadian-Chinese fusion dish that combines sweet ginger and sauce with savory beef. The dish is known for its assertive flavor profile, featuring generous amounts of ginger and fresh garlic in the sauce.
According to popular belief, the dish was invented by a Chinese chef at the Silver Inn Restaurant in Calgary during the 1970s. Ginger beef has become so popular that it is a favorite among Calgary luxury home chefs, and it’s rare to find a Chinese restaurant in Canada that does not offer its own version of this iconic dish on the menu.
While a Chinook is primarily known as a species of salmon native to the northern Pacific, in Calgary, the term refers to the region’s warm, dry winds that occur mostly at the end of winter and early spring. These unique winds create warm gusts, even during freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. The down-sloping winds are typical in areas where the Great Plains and prairie land meet the soaring mountain ranges, such as the Canadian Rockies. The Bow Valley, located just west of Calgary, is the most common site for Chinooks. The name Chinook comes from the Chinookan language of the Chinook people who were early settlers in the region. The warm winds are also known as “Snow Eaters” to the local Blackfoot Indian tribes due to their ability to make large piles of snow disappear rapidly.
Calgary boasts a plethora of intriguing secrets and treasures, as evident from these fun facts. From its agricultural heritage to its walkable downtown, vibrant culinary landscape, and distinct climate patterns, there’s plenty to admire about this city. But, be aware that these details only skim the surface, and to truly appreciate Calgary’s exceptional qualities, a visit is necessary. You may even develop an affection for the city and decide to make it your home.