Calgary © Dhinakaran Gajavarathan
Calgary is situated on the banks of the Bow River
below the Rocky Mountains, 200 miles (322km) north of the US
border. Although Alberta's second city, Edmonton, is the state
capital, Calgary is the largest, offering all the trappings of
urban life as the territory's commercial and cultural centre, along
with the pleasure of enjoying the dramatic countryside that
surrounds the city.
Splendid national parks flourishing on Calgary's
doorstep act as a magnet for hikers, fishermen, and lovers of the
great outdoors. Set on the Trans-Canada highway, the city is also
the gateway to the Rocky Mountain resorts which attract skiers from
all over the continent during winter.
The downtown area of Calgary not only serves as a
shopping, entertainment, cultural, and recreation centre for
locals, but it is also a tourist centre for more than four million
visitors a year who come for the annual attractions and festivals,
wonderful parks, and open spaces, and a selection of excellent
shops, restaurants, cafes and bistros.
The city is perhaps best known for the Calgary
Stampede, a world-class cowboy carnival and rodeo that draws more
than a million people every year to watch the action and be
entertained by its accompanying festivities.
For over 10,000 years, the site on which Calgary sits
today was home to the Blackfoot Indians; the first European
settlers did not arrive until 1860. Colonel James Macleod
established the small trading post, Fort Calgary, named after
Calgary Bay on his native Isle of Mull in Scotland. The Pacific
Railway reached the town in 1883, but it was not until the
discovery of oil in Turner Valley, 22 miles (35km) southwest of the
city, that the population started to explode.
Wander the streets in your Stetson beneath the
sparkling skyscrapers built on the back of the oil boom or dine on
a juicy steak in a saloon with country music playing in the
background. It will be hard to decide whether you are in Calgary or
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