About Calgary and Calgary Information
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Where the grassy, rolling foothills meet the majestic Rocky Mountains lies the city of Calgary, Alberta. It is the largest city in the province of Alberta, with more than 1.1 million people calling Calgary home. Residents in this modern city are referred to as Calgarians.
Since 2001, more than 220,000 people have moved to Calgary, making it one of Canada’s fastest growing city over the past 15 years.
Calgary is very proud of its western heritage, hosting the “World’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” every July – The Calgary Stampede. This event sees Calgarians put on cowboy hats, serve up free pancake breakfasts each morning and host a huge fair, complete with rodeo and nightly fireworks.
Geography Information About Calgary
Calgary’s downtown core sits at an elevation is approximately 1,048 metres (3,440 ft) above sea level. The city’s property covers a land area of 726.5 km² (280.5 sq mi), making it larger in area than Toronto.
There are two major rivers that run through the city. The Bow River is the largest and flows from the west to the south. The Elbow River flows northwards from the south until it meets with the Bow River near downtown. In the summer season, locals can often be found taking a relaxing float down either river by raft.
Since the climate of the region is generally dry, dense vegetation occurs naturally only in the river valleys, on some north-facing slopes, and within Fish Creek Provincial Park – located in the south part of the city.
The city is large in physical area, consisting of an inner city surrounded by various communities of decreasing density.
Unlike most cities with a sizable metropolitan area, most of Calgary’s suburbs are found within the city limits. As you get further away from the downtown area, the population gets less dense.
The city of Airdrie is located 15 minutes to the North of Calgary. To the East, the towns of Chestermere and Strathmore are a 15-to-30 minute drive and the town of Cochrane is just a sort drive to the west of the city. And Though it is not technically within Calgary’s metropolitan area, the town of Okotoks is only a short distance to the south.
Climate Information About Calgary
Calgary has a fairly dry climate with long, dry, highly variable, winters and short, moderately warm summers. The climate is greatly influenced by the city’s elevation and close proximity to the Rocky Mountains.
While the odd winter day can see temperatures drop to around minus 30 °C, they often don’t stay that low for long. Warm, dry Chinook winds routinely blow into the city from the Pacific Ocean during the winter months, giving Calgarians a break from the cold. These winds have been known to raise the winter temperature by up to 20°C (36°F) in just a few hours, and may last several days.
The Chinooks are such a common feature of Calgary’s winters that only one month on record (January, 1950) has failed to witness a thaw. More than one half of all winter days see the daily maximum rise above 0 °C (32 °F). Some winter days even approach +20 °C (68 °F) on occasion.
According to Environment Canada, the average temperature in Calgary ranges from a January daily average of −7 °C (15.8 °F) to a July daily average of +16 °C (60.8 °F).
History of Calgary
The Canadian Pacific Railway reached Calgary
in 1883 and a rail station was constructed. Once that happened, Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre. The Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters are still located in Calgary today.
Calgary officially became a town in 1884 and elected its first mayor, George Murdoch. Ten years later, in 1894, it became “The City of Calgary” in what was then the Northwest Territories.
The Oil Boom
Oil was first discovered in Alberta in 1902, but it did not become a significant industry in the province until 1947 when huge reserves of it were discovered.
Calgary quickly found itself at the centre of the ensuing oil boom. The city’s economy grew when oil prices increased with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. The population increased by 272,000 in the eighteen years between 1971 (403,000) and 1989 (675,000) and another 345,000 in the next eighteen years (to 1,020,000 in 2007).
During these boom years, skyscrapers were constructed at a rapid pace. The relatively low-rise downtown quickly became dense with the tall buildings you see today.
Calgary’s economy is so closely tied to the oil industry that the city’s boom peaked with the average annual price of oil in 1981. Shortly after that, oil prices dropped with the introduction of the National Energy Program. Industry experts pointed at the program as the reason for a collapse in the oil industry and consequently the overall Calgary economy.
The program was cancelled in the mid-1980s by the Brian Mulroney federal government. Despite the cancellation, oil prices remained low until the 1990s
With the energy sector employing a huge number of Calgarians, the fallout from the economic slump of the early 1980s was understandably significant. The unemployment rate soared during this time period.
By the end of the decade, the economy was in recovery. Calgary quickly realized that it could not afford to put so much emphasis on oil and gas, and the city has since become much more diverse, both economically and culturally.
The period during this recession marked Calgary’s transition from a mid-sized and relatively nondescript prairie city into a major cosmopolitan and diverse centre. This transition culminated in February of 1988, when the city hosted the XV Olympic Winter Games. The success of these games essentially put the city on the world stage.
Calgary Economic Development
While the oil and gas industry comprise most of the economy, the city has invested a great deal into other areas such as tourism and high-tech manufacturing. Over 3.1 million people now visit the city on an annual basis for its many festivals and attractions, especially the Calgary Stampede.
The nearby mountain resort towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Canmore are also becoming increasingly popular with tourists, and are bringing people into Calgary as a result.
Other modern industries include light manufacturing, high-tech, film, transportation, and services.
Despite the importance of the oil industry to its economic success, Calgary was ranked the World’s Cleanest City by Mercer Quality of Living in a survey published in 2007 by Forbes Magazine.
- CREA – Canadian Real Estate Association
- MLS – Multiple Listing Service
- ABREA – Alberta Real Estate Association
- CMHC – Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation
- AMBA – Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association
- CAHPI – Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors
- ICX – Canada’s Commercial Listing
- AB Business Investment
- Property Assessment
The downtown region of the city consists of five neighbourhoods: Eau Claire (including the Festival District), the Downtown West End, the Downtown Commercial Core, Chinatown, and the Downtown East Village (also part of the Rivers District).
The commercial core is itself divided into a number of districts including the Stephen Avenue Retail Core, the Entertainment District, the Arts District and the Government District.
Distinct from downtown and south of 9th Avenue is Calgary’s densest neighbourhood, the Beltline. The area includes a number of communities such as Connaught, Victoria Crossing and a portion of the Rivers District. The Beltline is the focus of major planning and rejuvenation initiatives on the part of the municipal government to increase the density and liveliness of Calgary’s centre.
Adjacent to, or directly radiating from the downtown are the first of the inner-city communities. These include Crescent Heights, Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill, Hillhurst, Sunnyside (including Kensington BRZ), Bridgeland, Renfrew, Mount Royal, Mission, Ramsay and Inglewood and Albert Park/Radisson Heights directly to the east.
The inner city is, in turn, surrounded by relatively dense and established neighbourhoods such as Rosedale and Mount Pleasant to the north; Bowness, Parkdale and Glendale to the west; Park Hill, South Calgary (including Marda Loop), Bankview, Altadore and Killarney to the south; and Forest Lawn/International Avenue to the east.
Lying beyond these, and usually separated from one another by highways, are the suburban communities, often characterized as “Commuter Communities”. The greatest amount of suburban expansion is happening in the city’s deep south with major growth on the northwestern edge as well. In all, there are over 180 distinct neighbourhoods within the city limits.
Several of Calgary’s neighborhoods were initially separate towns that were annexed by the city as it grew. These include Bowness, Montgomery, Forest Lawn, Midnapore, Rosedale and, most recently in 2007, Shepard.
Education in Calgary
- University of Calgary – 28,500
- Mount Royal University – 13,000
- Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) – 14,000
- Bow Valley College – 10,000
- Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) – 1,200
There are also several private liberal arts institutions including Ambrose University College, official Canadian university college of the Church of the Nazarene and the Christian and Missionary Alliance and St. Mary’s University College.
Calgary is also home to DeVry Career College’s only Canadian campus.
School system and K-12
In the 2011–2012 school year, 100,632 K-12 students attended 221 English speaking schools run by the Calgary Board of Education. Another 43,000 attended about 95 schools in the separate Calgary Catholic School District board.
Calgary’s small Francophone community has their own French language school boards (public and Catholic), which are both based in Calgary, but serve a larger regional district. There are also several public charter schools in the city.
Calgary has a number of unique schools, including the country’s first high school exclusively designed for Olympic-calibre athletes, the National Sport School. Calgary is also home to many private schools including Mountain View Academy, Rundle College, Rundle Academy, Clear Water Academy, Calgary French and International School, Chinook Winds Adventist Academy, Webber Academy, Delta West Academy, Masters Academy, Calgary Islamic School, Menno Simons Christian School, West Island College and Edge School.
Calgary is also home to what was Western Canada’s largest public high school, Lord Beaverbrook High School, with 2,241 students enrolled in the 2005–2006 school year. Currently the student population of Lord Beaverbrook is 1,812 students (September 2012) and several other schools are equally as large; Western Canada High School with 2035 students (2009) and Sir Winston Churchill High School with 1983 students (2009).
Things To Do In Calgary
Calgary holds many major annual festivals and events which include the Calgary Stampede, the Folk Music Festival, the Lilac Festival, Wordfest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival, One World Festival (GlobalFest), and the second largest Caribbean festival in the country (Carifest).
Other festivals include the growing Calgary International Film Festival, FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival, the Greek Festival, the Calgary Fringe Festival, Summerstock, Expo Latino, Calgary Gay Pride, and many other cultural and ethnic festivals.
Calgary is also home to a number of contemporary and established theatre companies. Among them are One Yellow Rabbit, which shares the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Theatre Calgary, and Alberta Theatre Projects.
The city is home to several museums. The Glenbow Museum is the largest in western Canada and includes an art gallery and first nations gallery.
Other major museums include the Chinese Cultural Centre (at 70,000 sq ft, the largest stand-alone cultural centre in Canada), the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum (at Canada Olympic Park), The Military Museums, the Cantos Music Museum and the Aero Space Museum.
There are also a number of art galleries in the city, many of them concentrated along the Stephen Avenue and 17th Avenue corridors. The largest of these is the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC).
Downtown tourist attractions include the Calgary Zoo, the TELUS World of Science, the TELUS Convention Centre, the Chinatown district and the Calgary Tower. At 2.5 acres (1.01 ha), the Devonian Gardens is one of the largest urban indoor gardens in the world, and it is located on the 4th floor of TD Square (above the shopping)
Calgary Flames – NHL
Amateur and Junior Teams
Calgary Hitmen – WHL
Calgary is well-known as a destination for winter sports and ecotourism with a number of major Rocky Mountain ski resorts and Provincial parks near the city and metropolitan area.
In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games, with one of the fastest speed skating rinks in the world built to accommodate these games. World speed skating records fall almost every year in this building.
The city has also been home to a number of major winter sporting facilities such as Canada Olympic Park (luge, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and some summer sports) and Winsport sporting complex. These facilities serve as the primary training venues for a number of competitive athletes.
In the summer, the Bow River is very popular among fly-fishermen.
Golfing is also an extremely popular activity for Calgarians and the region has a large number of courses.
The city also has a large number of urban parks including Fish Creek Provincial Park, Nose Hill Park, Bowness Park, Edworthy Park, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Confederation Park, and Prince’s Island Park. Nose Hill Park is the largest municipal park in Canada. Connecting these parks and most of the city’s neighbourhoods is one of the most extensive multi-use (walking, bike, rollerblading, etc) path systems in North America.
Shopping in Calgary
Calgary’s downtown features an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, cultural venues, shopping (most notably, TD Square, Calgary Eaton Centre, Stephen Avenue and Eau Claire Market), and public squares such as Olympic Plaza – where festivals and celebrations will often be held.
In addition to the many shopping areas in the city centre, there are a number of large suburban shopping complexes in Calgary. Among the largest are Chinook Centre and Southcentre Mall in the south, WestHills and Signal Hill in the southwest, South Trail Crossing and Deerfoot Meadows in the southeast, Market Mall in the northwest, and Sunridge Mall in the northeast.
Calgary is considered a transportation hub for much of central and western Canada. Calgary International Airport (YYC), in the city’s northeast, is the third largest in Canada by passenger movements and is also a major cargo hub.
Non-stop destinations include cities throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Central America, and Asia. Calgary’s presence on the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline also make it an important hub for freight.
Calgary no longer has regular interurban passenger rail service but CPR still operates a passenger railway station for rail tour companies at Palliser Square.
The City’s municipal government maintains a major streets network and a freeway system in Calgary. Much of the system is on a grid where roads are numbered with avenues running east-west and streets running north-south. Roads in predominantly residential areas as well as freeways and expressways do not generally conform to the grid and are usually not numbered as a result.
Calgary Transit provides public transportation services throughout the city with buses and light rail. Calgary’s rail system, known as the C-Train was one of the first such systems in North America and consists of two lines (four routes) on 58.2 kilometres of track. This train system carries roughly 270,000 people to the downtown core during a weekday. Light rail transit use within the downtown core is free.
As an alternative to Public transit or driving, Calgary has over 260 km of shared bikeways on streets, the city has a network of multi-use (bicycle, walking, rollerblading, etc.) paths spanning over 635 km. The Peace Bridge provides pedestrians and cyclists, access to the downtown core from the north side of the Bow river. The bridge ranked among the top 10 architectural projects in 2012 and among the top 10 public spaces of 2012.
In the 1960s, Calgary started to develop a series of pedestrian bridges, connecting many downtown buildings, which is now the the world’s most extensive skyway network (elevated indoor pedestrian bridges). Officially called the +15, the name derives from the fact that the bridges are usually 15 ft above grade.
Utilities & Services
Home Service Providers – Phone, TV, Internet
- Shaw, Bell, Telus, Rogers
- Transalta, Enmax, ATCO
Newspapers – The Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Metro Calgary
Television Stations – Global, CityTV, CTV, CBC
Radio (popular stations)
- AM Stations – 660 News, AM 770, Fan 960, 1010 CBC Radio One
- FM Stations – AMP 90.3, CJAY 92, X 92.9, 9 Jack FM, 5 Virgin Radio, Country 105
Calgary has four major hospitals – Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital and the South Health Campus – as well as, one major pediatric care site – the Alberta Children’s Hospital. The Calgary Zone of the Alberta Health Services, formerly the Calgary Health Region, oversees their day-to-day operations. The four main Calgary hospitals have a combined total of more than 2,100 beds, and employ over 11,500 people.
Calgary is also home to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (located at the Foothills Medical Centre), the Grace Women’s Health Centre, and the Libin Cardiovascular Institute.
In addition, the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre (a large 24-hour assessment clinic), and the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre (RRDTC), as well as hundreds of smaller medical and dental clinics operate in Calgary.
The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Calgary also operates in partnership with Alberta Health Services, by researching cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes, joint injury, arthritis and genetics.
Above information found on Wikipedia.com – Calgary