Calgary is the largest city in the province of Alberta, Canada. Alberta borders the United States, with the province of British Columbia to the west, Saskatchewan to the east and the Northwest Territories to the north. Calgary sits within the elevated prairies just east of the Rocky Mountains, where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. From here, in Alberta’s Grassland region, the prairies begin rolling east through central Canada. Calgary is frequently referred to as the gateway to the dramatic Rocky Mountains, with world famous skiing and the town of Banff only a one and a half hour’s drive west.
Calgary has a population of just over 1.2 million people, making it the third-largest municipality and fifth-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Calgary is larger than Edmonton, the province’s capital situated approximately two and a half hours to the north. It is the major urban centre for the entire southern half of the province of Alberta, and is surrounded by an area of profound beauty with an unspoiled, resource-rich natural environment.
Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centered on the petroleum industry, agriculture and tourism. Alberta has the lion’s share of Canada’s oil industry and its reserves, in the form of oil sands, are estimated to be second only to Saudi Arabia’s. Most petroleum companies in Canada have their headquarters based in Calgary, making it one of Canada’s wealthiest cities.
In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympic Games. These games continue to be a benchmark for future host countries on how to run a successful Olympic games, and pioneered the use of community volunteers — something Canadians pride themselves on. Calgary continues to be known for its “can-do” attitude and business-friendly environment.
The Calgary Stampede, which lasts ten days every July, is known as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. It is a rodeo where cowboys from different places gather to showcase their talents. It is a major tourist attraction. Hotels and flights get very busy and expensive during this time, so book early. Most of downtown Calgary shuts down during the stampede to join in the festivities. Calgary is known as “Heart of the new West”.
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