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Calgary
City of Calgary
Downtown Calgary 2020-3.jpg
Stephen-Ave-West-Szmurlo.jpg
Lougheed house Calgary (36102398304).jpg
Olympic Plaza Calgary.jpg
Sait heritage hall.jpg
Calgary Stampede Rodeo final day 18 - 2011.jpg
From top, left to right: Downtown Calgary skyline, Stephen Avenue, Lougheed House, Olympic Plaza, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary Stampede Rodeo
Flag of Calgary
Coat of arms of Calgary
Coat of arms
Official logo of Calgary
Logo
Nicknames: 
The Stampede City, Cowtown, Mohkínstsis, Wichispa Oyade, Guts'ists'i more...
Motto(s): 
Onward
Calgary is located in Alberta
Calgary
Calgary
Location in Alberta
Calgary is located in Canada
Calgary
Calgary
Location in Canada
Country Canada
Province Alberta
Region Calgary Metropolitan Region
Census division 6
Adjacent municipal districts Rocky View County and Foothills County
Founded 1875
Incorporated  
 • Town November 7, 1884
 • City January 1, 1894
Named for Calgary, Mull
Government
 • Body
Area
 (2021)
 • Land 820.62 km2 (316.84 sq mi)
 • Urban
621.72 km2 (240.05 sq mi)
 • Metro
5,098.68 km2 (1,968.61 sq mi)
Elevation
1,045 m (3,428 ft)
Population
 (2021)
 • City 1,306,784
 • Density 1,592.4/km2 (4,124/sq mi)
 • Urban
1,305,550 (4th)
 • Urban density 2,099.9/km2 (5,439/sq mi)
 • Metro
1,481,806 (5th)
 • Metro density 290.6/km2 (753/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Calgarian
Time zone UTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−06:00 (MDT)
Forward sortation areas
T1Y, T2A - T3S
Area code(s) 403, 587, 825, 368
NTS Map 082O01
GNBC Code IAKID
Major airport Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Highways Alberta Highway 1.svg Alberta Highway 1A.svg Alberta Highway 2.svg Alberta Highway 2A.svg Alberta Highway 8.svg Alberta Highway 22X.svg Alberta Highway 201.svg Alberta Highway 564.svg Alberta Highway 772.svg
Public transit Calgary Transit
Waterways Bow River, Elbow River, Glenmore Reservoir
GDP (Calgary CMA) CA$76.5 billion (2021)
GDP per capita (Calgary CMA) CA$49,805 (2021)

Calgary ( kal-GƏR-ee) is a city in the western Canadian province of Alberta. As of 2021, the city had a population of 1,306,784 and a metropolitan population of 1,481,806, making it the third-largest city and fifth-largest metropolitan area in Canada.

Calgary is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in the transitional area between the Rocky Mountain Foothills and the Canadian Prairies, about 80 km (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies, roughly 299 km (186 mi) south of the provincial capital of Edmonton and approximately 240 km (150 mi) north of the Canada–United States border. The city anchors the south end of the Statistics Canada-defined urban area, the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor.

Calgary's economy includes activity in the energy, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism sectors. The Calgary Metropolitan Region is home to Canada's second-highest number of corporate head offices among the country's 800 largest corporations. In 2015 Calgary had the highest number of millionaires per capita of any major Canadian city. In 1988 it became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.

History

Etymology

Calgary was named after Calgary on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. In turn, the name originates from a compound of kald and gart, similar Old Norse words, meaning "cold" and "garden", likely used when named by the Vikings who inhabited the Inner Hebrides. Alternatively, the name might be Gaelic Cala ghearraidh, meaning "beach of the meadow (pasture)"; or Gaelic for either "clear running water" or "bay farm".

First settlement

The Calgary area was inhabited by pre-Clovis people whose presence has been traced back at least 11,000 years. Before the arrival of Europeans, the area was inhabited by the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan and the Tsuu T'ina First Nations peoples, all of which were part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. In 1787, cartographer David Thompson spent the winter with a band of Peigan encamped along the Bow River. He was a Hudson's Bay Company trader and the first recorded European to visit the area. John Glenn was the first documented European settler in the Calgary area, in 1873.

Calgary Alberta circa 1885
Calgary as it appeared circa 1885

The site became a post of the North-West Mounted Police (now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP). The NWMP detachment was assigned in 1875 to protect the western plains from US whisky traders, and to protect the fur trade. Originally named Fort Brisebois, after NWMP officer Éphrem-A. Brisebois, it was renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 by Colonel James Macleod.

When the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area in 1883, and a rail station was constructed, Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre. Over a century later, the Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters moved to Calgary from Montreal in 1996. Calgary was officially incorporated as a town in 1884, and elected its first mayor, George Murdoch. In 1894, it was incorporated as "The City of Calgary" in what was then the North-West Territories. The Calgary Police Service was established in 1885 and assumed municipal, local duties from the NWMP.

The Calgary Fire of 1886 occurred on November 7, 1886. Fourteen buildings were destroyed with losses estimated at $103,200. Although no one was killed or injured, city officials drafted a law requiring all large downtown buildings to be built with Paskapoo sandstone, to prevent this from happening again.

After the arrival of the railway, the Dominion Government started leasing grazing land at minimal cost (up to 100,000 acres (400 km2) for one cent per acre per year). As a result of this policy, large ranching operations were established in the outlying country near Calgary. Already a transportation and distribution hub, Calgary quickly became the centre of Canada's cattle marketing and meatpacking industries.

By the late 19th century, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) expanded into the interior and established posts along rivers that later developed into the modern cities of Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. In 1884, the HBC established a sales shop in Calgary. The HBC also built the first of the grand "original six" department stores in Calgary in 1913, the others that followed are Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.

Between 1896 and 1914 settlers from all over the world poured into the area in response to the offer of free "homestead" land. Agriculture and ranching became key components of the local economy, shaping the future of Calgary for years to come. The world-famous Calgary Stampede, still held annually in July, was started by four wealthy ranchers as a small agricultural show in 1912. It is now known as the "greatest outdoor show on earth".

Oil boom

Oil was first discovered in Alberta in 1902, but it did not become a significant industry in the province until 1947 when reserves of it were discovered near Leduc. 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 and the relatively low-rise downtown quickly became dense with tall buildings.

Calgary's economy was so closely tied to the oil industry that the city's boom peaked with the average annual price of oil in 1981. The subsequent drops in oil prices were cited by industry as reasons for a collapse in the oil industry and consequently the overall Calgary economy. Low oil prices prevented a full recovery until the 1990s.

Recent history

With the energy sector employing a huge number of Calgarians, the fallout from the economic slump of the early 1980s was significant, and the unemployment rate soared. By the end of the decade, however, 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 the city hosting Canada's first Winter Olympics in 1988. The success of these Games essentially put the city on the world stage.

Thanks in part to escalating oil prices, the economy in Calgary and Alberta was booming until the end of 2009, and the region of nearly 1.1 million people was home to the fastest growing economy in the country. While the oil and gas industry comprise an important part 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 annually 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, e-commerce, transportation, and services.

Widespread flooding throughout southern Alberta, including on the Bow and Elbow rivers, forced the evacuation of over 75,000 city residents on June 21, 2013 and left large areas of the city, including downtown, without power.

Eastern portion of Calgary's skyline from the south, 2016

Geography

Calgary street map
Map of Calgary: Purple indicates industrial zones

Calgary is located at the transition zone between the Canadian Rockies foothills and the Canadian Prairies. The city lies within the foothills of the Parkland Natural Region and the Grasslands Natural Region. Downtown Calgary is about 1,045 m (3,428 ft) above sea level, and the airport is 1,076 m (3,531 ft). In 2011, the city covered a land area of 825.29 km2 (318.65 sq mi).

Two rivers run through the city. The Bow River is the larger and it flows from the west to the south. The Elbow River flows northwards from the south until it converges with the Bow River at the historic site of Fort Calgary near downtown. 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.

The City of Calgary, 848 km2 (327 sq mi) in size, consists of an inner city surrounded by suburban communities of various density. The city is immediately surrounded by two municipal districts – the Municipal District of Foothills No. 31 to the south and Rocky View County to the north, west and east. Proximate urban communities beyond the city within the Calgary Region include: the City of Airdrie to the north; the City of Chestermere, the Town of Strathmore and the Hamlet of Langdon to the east; the towns of Okotoks and High River to the south; and the Town of Cochrane to the northwest. Numerous rural subdivisions are located within the Elbow Valley, Springbank and Bearspaw areas to the west and northwest. The Tsuu T'ina Nation Indian Reserve No. 145 borders Calgary to the southwest.

Over the years, the city has made many land annexations to facilitate growth. In the most recent annexation of lands from Rocky View County, completed in July 2007, the city annexed Shepard, a former hamlet, and placed its boundaries adjacent to the Hamlet of Balzac and City of Chestermere, and very close to the City of Airdrie.

Flora and fauna

Numerous plant and animal species are found within and around Calgary. The Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) comes near the northern limit of its range at Calgary. Another conifer of widespread distribution found in the Calgary area is the White Spruce (Picea glauca).

Neighbourhoods

InglewoodCalgary
Inglewood, inner-city neighbourhood in Calgary

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, Scarboro, Sunalta, 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 suburban communities including Evergreen, Somerset, Country Hills, Sundance, Riverbend, and McKenzie Towne. In all, there are over 180 distinct neighbourhoods within the city limits.

Several of Calgary's neighbourhoods were initially separate municipalities that were annexed by the city as it grew. These include Bowness, Montgomery, and Forest Lawn.

Climate

Weather chart for Calgary
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temperatures in °C
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Calgary experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb). It falls into the NRC Plant Hardiness Zone 4a. According to Environment Canada, average daily temperatures in Calgary range from 16.5 °C (61.7 °F) in July to −6.8 °C (19.8 °F) in December.

Bow River ice fog and hoar frost
Ice fog is common over ice-free currents of the Bow River when temperatures drop to −17 °C (1 °F). Hoar frost forms on vegetation. January 9, 2015 −20 °C (−4 °F), 10:00 am

Winters are cold and the air temperature can drop to or below −20 °C (−4 °F) on average of 22 days of the year and −30 °C (−22 °F) on average of 3.7 days of the year, and are often broken up by warm, dry Chinook winds that blow into Alberta over the mountains. These winds can raise the winter temperature by 20 °C (36 °F), and as much as 30 °C (54 °F) in just a few hours, and may last several days. As well, Calgary's proximity to the Rocky Mountains affects winter temperature average mean temperature with a mixture of lows and highs, and tends to result in a mild winter for a city in the Prairie Provinces. Temperatures are also affected by the wind chill factor, Calgary's average wind speed is 14.2kph, one of the highest in Canadian cities.

In summer, daytime temperatures can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) an average of 5.1 days anytime in June, July and August, and occasionally as late as September or as early as May, and in winter drop below or at −30 °C (−22 °F) 3.7 days of the year. As a consequence of Calgary's high elevation and aridity, summer evenings tend to cool off, with monthly averages below 10 °C (50 °F) throughout the summer months.

Calgary-Northern lights
Aurora beyond Calgary's downtown skyline

Calgary has the most sunny days year round of Canada's 100 largest cities, with just over 332 days of sun; it has on average 2,396 hours of sunshine annually. With an average relative humidity of 55% in the winter and 45% in the summer (15:00 MST),

Calgary International Airport in the northeastern section of the city receives an average of 418.8 mm (16.49 in) of precipitation annually, with 326.4 mm (12.85 in) of that occurring in the form of rain, and 129 cm (51 in) as snow. The most rainfall occurs in June and the most snowfall in March. Calgary has also recorded snow every month of the year. It is uncommon in July, but not unheard of. The last notable event was on July 15, 1999.

Thunderstorms can be frequent and some times severe with Calgary averaging more than 27 days with thunderstorms, with most of them occurring in the summer months. Calgary lies within Alberta's Hailstorm Alley and is prone to damaging hailstorms every few years. A hailstorm that struck Calgary on September 7, 1991, was one of the most destructive natural disasters in Canadian history, with over $400 million in damage. Being west of the dry line on most occasions, tornadoes are rare in the region.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Calgary was 36.1 °C (97 °F) on July 15, 1919 and July 25, 1933. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −45.0 °C (−49 °F) on February 4, 1893.

Arts and culture

Calgary Stampede Park
Calgary Stampede Park

Calgary has a number of multicultural areas. Forest Lawn is among the most diverse areas in the city and as such, the area around 17 Avenue SE within the neighbourhood is also known as International Avenue. The district is home to many ethnic restaurants and stores. Calgary was designated as one of the cultural capitals of Canada in 2012.

While many Calgarians continue to live in the city's suburbs, more central districts such as 17 Avenue, Kensington, Inglewood, Forest Lawn, Marda Loop and the Mission District have become more popular and density in those areas has increased.

The Calgary Public Library is the city's public library network, with 17 branches loaning books, e-books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, audio books, and more. Based on borrowing, the library is the second largest in Canada, and sixth-largest municipal library system in North America. The 22,000-square-metre (240,000 sq ft) Calgary Central Library is under construction in Calgary East Village, and is expected to be completed in 2018.

Calgary is the site of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium performing arts, culture and community facility. The auditorium is one of two "twin" facilities in the province, the other located in Edmonton, each being locally known as the "Jube". The 2,538-seat auditorium was opened in 1957 and has been host to hundreds of Broadway musical, theatrical, stage and local productions. The Calgary Jube is the resident home of the Alberta Ballet Company, the Calgary Opera, the Kiwanis Music Festival, and the annual civic Remembrance Day ceremonies. Both auditoriums operate 365 days a year, and are run by the provincial government. Both received major renovations as part of the province's centennial in 2005.

Alberta Ballet 1
Alberta Ballet at the Nat Christie Centre

The Alberta Ballet is the third largest dance company in Canada. Under the artistic direction of Jean Grand-Maître, the Alberta Ballet is at the forefront both at home and internationally. The dance company has developed a distinctive repertoire and a high level of performance. Jean Grand-Maître has become well known for his successful collaborations with pop-artists like Joni Mitchell, Elton John, and Sarah McLachlan. The Alberta Ballet resides in the Nat Christie Centre.

The city is also home to a number of theatre companies; among them are One Yellow Rabbit, which shares the Arts Commons building with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects and Theatre Junction GRAND, culture house dedicated to the contemporary live arts. Calgary was also the birthplace of the improvisational theatre games known as Theatresports. The Calgary International Film Festival is also held annually, as well as the International Festival of Animated Objects.

MPR01 - Epcor Centre
Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts

Every three years, Calgary hosts the Honens International Piano Competition (formerly known as the Esther Honens International Piano Competition). The finalists of the competition perform piano concerti with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; the laureate is awarded a cash prize (currently $100,000.00 CDN, the largest cash award of any international piano competition), and a three-year career development program. The Honens is an integral component of the classical music scene in Calgary.

Visual and conceptual artists like the art collective United Congress are active in the city. There are a number of art galleries in the downtown along Stephen Avenue; the SoDo (South of Downtown) Design District; the 17 Avenue corridor; and the neighbourhood of Inglewood, including the Esker Foundation. Calgary is also home to the Alberta College of Art and Design.

A number of marching bands are based in Calgary. They include the Calgary Round-Up Band, the Calgary Stetson Show Band, the Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts, and the five-time World Association for Marching Show Bands champions, the Calgary Stampede Showband, as well as military bands including the Band of HMCS Tecumseh, the King's Own Calgary Regiment Band, and the Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders. There are many other civilian pipe bands in the city, notably the Calgary Police Service Pipe Band.

Glenbow Museum in Spring 1
Glenbow Museum

Calgary is also home to a choral music community, including a variety of amateur, community, and semi-professional groups. Some of the mainstays include the Mount Royal Choirs from the Mount Royal University Conservatory, the Calgary Boys' Choir, the Calgary Girls Choir, the Youth Singers of Calgary, the Cantaré Children's Choir, and Spiritus Chamber Choir.

Calgary hosts a number of annual festivals and events. These include the Calgary International Film Festival, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival, Sled Island music festival, Beakerhead arts, science and engineering festival, the Folk Music Festival, the Greek festival, Carifest, Wordfest: Banff Calgary International Writers Festival, the Lilac Festival, GlobalFest, Otafest, FallCon, the Calgary Fringe Festival, Summerstock, Expo Latino, Calgary Pride, Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, and many other cultural and ethnic festivals. Calgary's best-known event is the Calgary Stampede, which has occurred each July since 1912. It is one of the largest festivals in Canada, with a 2005 attendance of 1,242,928 at the 10-day rodeo and exhibition.

Several museums are located in the city. 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 (6,500 m2), 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.

Numerous films have been shot in Calgary and area. Notable films shot in and around the city include: Assassination of Jesse James, Brokeback Mountain, Dances with Wolves, Doctor Zhivago, Inception, Legends of the Fall, Unforgiven and The Revenant.

The Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun are the main newspapers in Calgary. Global, City, CTV and CBC television networks have local studios in the city.

Attractions

CalgaryIsland
Downtown Calgary seen from Eau Claire
Calgary Tower-1
Calgary Tower, reflected in a nearby high rise

Downtown features an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, cultural venues, public squares (including Olympic Plaza) and shopping. Notable shopping areas include such as The Core Shopping Centre (formerly Calgary Eaton Centre/TD Square), Stephen Avenue and Eau Claire Market. Downtown tourist attractions include the Calgary Zoo, the Telus Spark, the Telus Convention Centre, the Chinatown district, the Glenbow Museum, the Calgary Tower, the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC), Military Museum and the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts. At 1.0 hectare (2.5 acres), the Devonian Gardens is one of the largest urban indoor gardens in the world, and it is located on the 4th floor of The Core Shopping Centre (above the shopping). The downtown region is also home to Prince's Island Park, an urban park located just north of the Eau Claire district. Directly to the south of downtown is Midtown and the Beltline. This area is quickly becoming one of the city's densest and most active mixed use areas. At the district's core is the popular 17 Avenue, known for its many bars and nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping venues. During the Calgary Flames' playoff run in 2004, 17 Avenue was frequented by over 50,000 fans and supporters per game night. The concentration of red jersey-wearing fans led to the street's playoff moniker, the "Red Mile". Downtown is easily accessed using the city's C-Train light rail (LRT) transit system.

Attractions on the west side of the city include the Heritage Park Historical Village historical park, depicting life in pre-1914 Alberta and featuring working historic vehicles such as a steam train, paddle steamer and electric streetcar. The village itself comprises a mixture of replica buildings and historic structures relocated from southern Alberta. Other major city attractions include Canada Olympic Park, which features Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, and Spruce Meadows. In addition to the many shopping areas in the city centre, there are a number of large suburban shopping complexes in the city. 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, Sunridge Mall in the northeast, and the newly built CrossIron Mills just north of the Calgary city limits, and south of the City of Airdrie.

The Bow in Calgary
The Bow – EnCana's Headquarters

In nearby Airdrie at the Calgary/Airdrie Airport the Airdrie Regional Airshow is held every two years. In 2011 the airshow featured the Canadian Snowbirds, a CF-18 demo and a United States Air Force F-16.

Tallest buildings

Downtown can be recognized by its numerous skyscrapers. Some of these structures, such as the Calgary Tower and the Scotiabank Saddledome are unique enough to be symbols of Calgary. Office buildings tend to concentrate within the commercial core, while residential towers occur most frequently within the Downtown West End and the Beltline, south of downtown. These buildings are iconographic of the city's booms and busts, and it is easy to recognize the various phases of development that have shaped the image of downtown. The first skyscraper building boom occurred during the late 1950s and continued through to the 1970s.

In total, there are 14 office towers that are at least 150 m (490 ft) (usually around 40 floors) or higher. The tallest of these is The Bow (Encana headquarters), which is the tallest office tower in Canada outside Toronto. Calgary's Bankers Hall Towers are also the tallest twin towers in Canada. As of 2008, there were 264 completed high-rise buildings, with 42 more under construction, another 13 approved for construction and 63 more proposed.

Sports and recreation

Calgary from Nose hill park (15811489540)
The grassy fields of Nose Hill Park overlooking Canada Olympic Park and the Canadian Rockies

Within Calgary there are approximately 8,000 ha (20,000 acres) of parkland available for public usage and recreation. These parks include Fish Creek Provincial Park, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Bowness Park, Edworthy Park, Confederation Park, Prince's Island Park, Nose Hill Park, and Central Memorial Park. Nose Hill Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Canada at 1,129 ha (2,790 acres). The park has been subject to a revitalization plan that began in 2006. Its trail system is currently undergoing rehabilitation in accordance with this plan. The oldest park in Calgary, Central Memorial Park, dates back to 1911. Similar to Nose Hill Park, revitalization also took place in Central Memorial Park in 2008–2009 and reopened to the public in 2010 while still maintaining its Victorian style. An 800 km (500 mi) pathway system connects these parks and various neighbourhoods. Calgary also has multiple private sporting clubs including the Glencoe Club and the Calgary Winter Club.

The peace bridge Calgary
The Peace Bridge is a pedestrian and cycling bridge at Eau Claire Park, suspended over the Bow River.

In large part due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary has traditionally been a popular destination for winter sports. Since hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, the city has also been home to a number of major winter sporting facilities such as Canada Olympic Park (bobsleigh, luge, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and some summer sports) and the Olympic Oval (speed skating and hockey). These facilities serve as the primary training venues for a number of competitive athletes. Also, Canada Olympic Park serves as a mountain biking trail in the summer months.

In the summer, the Bow River is very popular among river rafters and fly-fishermen. Golfing is also an extremely popular activity for Calgarians, and the region has a large number of courses. The Century Downs Racetrack and Casino is a 5+12-furlong horse track located just north of the city.

Calgary hosted the 2009 World Water Ski Championship Festival in August, at the Predator Bay Water Ski Club, approximately 40 km (25 mi) south of the city.

As part of the wider Battle of Alberta, the city's sports teams enjoy a popular rivalry with their Edmonton counterparts, most notably the rivalries between the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, and the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks.

2020 Calgary Saddledome
The Scotiabank Saddledome is a multi-use indoor arena that is home to the NHL's Calgary Flames and the NLL's Calgary Roughnecks.
McMahon Stadium 5
McMahon Stadium is the home stadium for the CFL's Calgary Stampeders and was the Olympic Stadium for the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Calgary is the hometown of the Hart wrestling family and the location of the Hart family "Dungeon", where the patriarch of the Hart Family, Stu Hart, trained numerous professional wrestlers including Superstar Billy Graham, Brian Pillman, the British Bulldogs, Edge, Christian, Greg Valentine, Chris Jericho, Jushin Thunder Liger and many more. Also among the trainees were the Hart family members themselves, including WWE Hall of Fame member and former WWE champion Bret Hart and his brother, the 1994 WWF King of the Ring, Owen Hart.

In 1997 Calgary hosted The World Police & Fire Games hosting over 16,000 athletes from all over the world.

Professional sports teams
Club League Venue Established Championships
Calgary Stampeders Canadian Football League McMahon Stadium 1945 8
Calgary Flames National Hockey League Scotiabank Saddledome 1980 1
Calgary Roughnecks National Lacrosse League Scotiabank Saddledome 2001 3
Cavalry FC Canadian Premier League ATCO Field 2018 0
Amateur and junior clubs
Club League Venue Established Championships
Calgary Canucks Alberta Junior Hockey League Henry Viney Arena 1971 9
Calgary Hitmen Western Hockey League Scotiabank Saddledome 1995 2
Calgary Mavericks Rugby Canada National Junior Championship Calgary Rugby Park 1998 1
Prairie Wolf Pack Canadian Rugby Championship Calgary Rugby Park 2009 1

Sister cities

The City of Calgary maintains trade development programs, cultural and educational partnerships in twinning agreements with six cities:

City Province/State Country Date
Quebec City Quebec Canada 1956
Jaipur Rajasthan India 1973
Naucalpan Mexico State Mexico 1994
Daqing Heilongjiang China 1985
Daejeon Chungnam South Korea 1996
Phoenix Arizona USA 1997

Calgary is one of nine Canadian cities, out of the total of 98 cities internationally, that is in the New York City Global Partners, Inc. organization, which was formed in 2006 from the former Sister City program of the City of New York, Inc.

Contemporary issues

Calgary West End
Condominiums in the Downtown West End

With the redevelopment of the Beltline and the Downtown East Village at the forefront, efforts are underway to vastly increase the density of the inner city, but this has not stopped the rate of sprawl. In 2012, the combined population of the downtown neighbourhoods (including the Downtown Commercial Core, the Downtown East Village, the Downtown West End, Eau Claire, Chinatown, and the Beltline) was 36,228. However, looking at all of the inner-city neighbourhoods, the combined population was 179,304.

Because of the growth of the city, its southwest borders are now immediately adjacent to the Tsuu T'ina reserve. Recent residential developments in the deep southwest of the city have created a demand for a major roadway heading into the interior of the city, the southwest portion of the Calgary ring road project. An initial proposal that would allow the southwest ring road to be built through the Tsuu T'ina Nation lands was rejected by the Tsuu T'ina people in a referendum in 2009. A second referendum by the Tsuu T'ina, in late 2013, approved a new agreement to build the southwest ring road, the construction is scheduled to begin in 2016.

Like most large cities, there are many socioeconomic issues including homelessness. According to the City of Calgary, "Beginning in 1992 with the first Biennial Count of Homeless Persons, The City focused its research efforts on issues of poverty and shelter. An Affordable Housing Strategy was prepared in 2002, which called for a greater understanding of housing need in Calgary. The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness was formed in 2007 consisting of government representatives as well as business and community leaders. The result was Calgary's 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, which was released in 2008 and is being implemented by the Calgary Homeless Foundation." Alberta and Calgary have been leaders within Canada in addressing homelessness. Calgary was the first among Canada's large cities to adopt a ten-year plan to address the issue. As a result, the city experienced an 11.4% decrease in homelessness between 2008 and 2012.

Although Calgary and Alberta have traditionally been affordable places to live, substantial growth (much of it due to the prosperous energy sector) has led to increasing demand on real-estate. As a result, house prices in Calgary have increased significantly in recent years, but stagnated over the last half of 2007, and into 2008. As of November 2006, Calgary is the most expensive city in Canada for commercial/downtown office space, and the third most expensive city (after Vancouver and Toronto) for residential real-estate.

Economy

Employment by industry
Industry Calgary Alberta
Agriculture 6.1% 10.9%
Manufacturing 15.8% 15.8%
Trade 15.9% 15.8%
Finance 6.4% 5.0%
Health and education 25.1% 18.8%
Business services 25.1% 18.8%
Other services 16.5% 18.7%
Labour force (2016)
Rate Calgary Alberta Canada
Employment 66.9% 66.3% 61.2%
Unemployment 10.3% 9.0% 6.8%
Participation 74.6% 72.9% 65.6%

Calgary is recognized as a leader in the Canadian oil and gas industry, and its economy expanded at a significantly higher rate than the overall Canadian economy (43% and 25%, respectively) over the ten-year period from 1999 to 2009. Its high personal and family incomes, low unemployment and high GDP per capita have all benefited from increased sales and prices due to a resource boom, and increasing economic diversification.

Calgary benefits from a relatively strong job market in Alberta, is part of the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor, one of the fastest growing regions in the country. It is the head office for many major oil and gas related companies, and many financial service business have grown up around them. Small business and self-employment levels also rank amongst the highest in Canada. Calgary is a distribution and transportation hub with high retail sales.

Calgary's economy is decreasingly dominated by the oil and gas industry, although it is still the single largest contributor to the city's GDP. In 2006, Calgary's real GDP (in constant 1997 dollars) was CA$52.386 billion, of which oil, gas and mining contributed 12%. The larger oil and gas companies are BP Canada, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy, Encana, Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy, Shell Canada, Husky Energy, TransCanada, and Nexen, making the city home to 87% of Canada's oil and natural gas producers and 66% of coal producers.

As of November 2016, the city had a labour force of 901,700 (a 74.6% participation rate) and 10.3% unemployment rate.

In 2013, Calgary's four largest industries by employee count were "Trade" (with 112,800 employees), "Professional, Scientific and Technical Services" (100,800 employees), "Health Care and Social Assistance" (89,200 employees), and "Construction" (81,500 employees).

In 2006, the top three private sector employers in Calgary were Shaw Communications (7,500 employees), Nova Chemicals (4,945) and Telus (4,517). Companies rounding out the top ten were Mark's Work Wearhouse, the Calgary Co-op, Nexen, Canadian Pacific Railway, CNRL, Shell Canada and Dow Chemical Canada. The top public sector employers in 2006 were the Calgary Zone of the Alberta Health Services (22,000), the City of Calgary (12,296) and the Calgary Board of Education (8,000). Public sector employers rounding out the top five were the University of Calgary and the Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division.

In Canada, Calgary has the second-highest concentration of head offices in Canada (behind Toronto), the most head offices per capita, and the highest head office revenue per capita. Some large employers with Calgary head offices include Canada Safeway Limited, Westfair Foods Ltd., Suncor Energy, Agrium, Flint Energy Services Ltd., Shaw Communications, and Canadian Pacific Railway. CPR moved its head office from Montreal in 1996 and Imperial Oil moved from Toronto in 2005. Encana's new 58-floor corporate headquarters, the Bow, became the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto. In 2001, the city became the corporate headquarters of the TSX Venture Exchange.

WestJet is headquartered close to the Calgary International Airport, and Enerjet has its headquarters on the airport grounds. Prior to their dissolution, Canadian Airlines and Air Canada's subsidiary Zip were also headquartered near the city's airport. Although its main office is now based in Yellowknife, Canadian North, purchased from Canadian Airlines in September 1998, still maintains operations and charter offices in Calgary.

One of Canada's largest accounting firm, MNP LLP, is also headquartered in Calgary.

According to a report by Alexi Olcheski of Avison Young published in August 2015, vacancy rates rose to 11.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2015 from 8.3 per cent in 2014. Oil and gas company office spaces in downtown Calgary are subleasing 40 per cent of their overall vacancies. H&R Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns the 58-storey, 158,000-square-metre Bow Tower, claims the building was fully leased. Tenants such as Suncor "have been letting staff and contractors go in response to the downturn".

Demographics

Federal census
population history
Year Pop. ±%
1891 3,876 —    
1901 4,091 +5.5%
1906 11,967 +192.5%
1911 43,704 +265.2%
1916 56,514 +29.3%
1921 63,305 +12.0%
1926 65,291 +3.1%
1931 83,761 +28.3%
1936 83,407 −0.4%
1941 88,904 +6.6%
1946 100,044 +12.5%
1951 129,060 +29.0%
1956 181,780 +40.8%
1961 249,641 +37.3%
1966 330,575 +32.4%
1971 403,319 +22.0%
1976 469,917 +16.5%
1981 592,743 +26.1%
1986 636,107 +7.3%
1991 710,795 +11.7%
1996 768,082 +8.1%
2001 878,866 +14.4%
2006 988,193 +12.4%
2011 1,096,833 +11.0%
2016 1,239,220 +13.0%
2021 1,306,784 +5.5%
Source: Statistics Canada

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Calgary had a population of 1,306,784 living in 502,301 of its 531,062 total private dwellings, a change of 5.5% from its 2016 population of 1,239,220. With a land area of 820.62 km2 (316.84 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,592.4/km2 (4,124/sq mi) in 2021.

At the census metropolitan area (CMA) level in the 2021 census, the Calgary CMA had a population of 1,481,806 living in 563,440 of its 594,513 total private dwellings, a change of 6.4% from its 2016 population of 1,392,609. With a land area of 5,098.68 km2 (1,968.61 sq mi), it had a population density of 290.6/km2 (753/sq mi) in 2021.

The population of the City of Calgary according to its 2019 municipal census is 1,285,711, a change of 1.4% from its 2018 municipal census population of 1,267,344.

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Calgary recorded a population of 1,239,220 living in 466,725 of its 489,650 total private dwellings, a change of 13% from its 2011 population of 1,096,833. With a land area of 825.56 km2 (318.75 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,501.1/km2 (3,888/sq mi) in 2016. Calgary was ranked first among the three cities in Canada that saw their population grow by more than 100,000 people between 2011 and 2016. During this time Calgary saw a population growth of 142,387 people, followed by Edmonton at 120,345 people and Toronto at 116,511 people.

Religion in Calgary (2011 census)
Religion Percent(%)
Christian
  
54.9%
No religion
  
32.3%
Muslim
  
5.2%
Sikh
  
2.6%
Buddhist
  
2.1%
Hindu
  
1.6%
Jewish
  
0.6%
Other
  
0.7%

The Calgary census metropolitan area (CMA) is the fourth-largest CMA in Canada and largest in Alberta. It had a population of 1,392,609 in the 2016 Census compared to its 2011 population of 1,214,839. Its five-year population change of 14.6 percent was the highest among all CMAs in Canada between 2011 and 2016. With a land area of 5,107.55 km2 (1,972.04 sq mi), the Calgary CMA had a population density of 272.7/km2 (706/sq mi) in 2016. Statistics Canada's latest estimate of the Calgary CMA population, as of July 1, 2017, is 1,488,841.

In 2015, the population within an hour commuting distance of the city is 1,511,755.

As a consequence of the large number of corporations, as well as the presence of the energy sector in Alberta, Calgary has a median family income of $104,530.

Christians make up 54.9% of the population, while 32.3% have no religious affiliation. Other religions in the city are Muslims (5.2%), Sikhs (2.6%) and Buddhists (2.1%).

Ethnicity

According to the 2016 Census, 60% of Calgary's population was of European origin, 4% was of Aboriginal heritage, and 36.2% of the population belonged to a visible minority (that is, non-white, non-aboriginal) group. Among those of European origin, the most frequently reported ethnic backgrounds were British, German, Irish, French, and Ukrainian. Among visible minorities, South Asians (mainly from India and Pakistan) make up the largest group (9.5%), followed by Chinese (6.8%) and Filipinos (5.5%). 5.4% were of African or Caribbean origin, 3.5% was of West Asian or Middle Eastern origin, while 2.6% of the population was of Latin American origin. Of the largest Canadian cities, Calgary ranked fourth in proportion of visible minorities, behind Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. 20.7% of the population identified as "Canadian" in ethnic origin.

Education

Primary and secondary

In the 2011–2012 school year, 100,632 K-12 students enrolled in 221 schools in the English language public school system run by the Calgary Board of Education. With other students enrolled in the associated CBe-learn and Chinook Learning Service programs, the school system's total enrolment is 104,182 students. Another 43,000 attend about 95 schools in the separate English language Calgary Catholic School District board. The much smaller Francophone community has their own French language school board (The Southern Francophone Education Region No. 4), which is also based in Calgary, but serves 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, Edge School, Calgary Christian School, Heritage Christian Academy, and Bearspaw Christian 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 2,035 students (2009) and Sir Winston Churchill High School with 1,983 students (2009).

Post-secondary

Aerial shot of the Olympic Oval
The University of Calgary campus spans approximately 200 hectares (490 acres).

The publicly funded University of Calgary (U of C) is a research university and is Calgary's largest degree-granting facility with an enrolment of 28,464 students in 2011. Mount Royal University, with 13,000 students, grants degrees in a number of fields. SAIT Polytechnic, with over 14,000 students, provides polytechnic and apprentice education, granting certificates, diplomas and applied degrees. Athabasca University provides distance education programs. Both SAIT and the University of Calgary have CTrain light-rail stations on or near their campuses.

Other publicly funded post-secondary institutions based in Calgary include the Alberta University of the Arts, Ambrose University (associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the Church of the Nazarene), Bow Valley College, and St. Mary's University. The publicly funded Athabasca University, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), and the University of Lethbridge also have campuses in Calgary.

Several independent private institutions are located in the city. These include Reeves College, MaKami College, Robertson College, Columbia College, Alberta Bible College, and CDI College.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Public transit and light rail

Downtown Calgary June 2018 (42856099521)
The CTrain is Calgary's light rail transit system, boasting the second-highest ridership in North America.

Calgary Transit provides public transportation services throughout the city with buses and light rail. Calgary's light rail system, known as the CTrain, was one of the first such systems in North America (behind Edmonton LRT). It consists of two lines (Red Line and Blue Line), with 44 stations and 58.2 km (36.2 mi) of track. The Calgary LRT is one of the continent's busiest, carrying 270,000 passengers per weekday and approximately half of Calgary downtown workers take the transit to work. The CTrain is also North America's first and only LRT to run on 100% renewable, wind-generated energy. In early 2020, city council approved construction of the Calgary Green Line, the third light rail line in the city's rapid transit network. It will be the first rail line in Calgary to operate low-floor trains and is the largest public works project in the history of Calgary, about three-and-a-half times bigger than the second-largest project.

Airports

WestJet 737-800 in front of Calgary skyline (Quintin Soloviev)
Calgary International Airport is the gateway to Canada's Rocky Mountains.

Calgary International Airport (YYC), in the city's northeast, is a major transportation and cargo hub for much of central and western Canada. It is Canada's fourth busiest airport, serving 18 million passengers in 2019. The airport serves as the primary gateway into Banff National Park, located 90 minutes west, and the entire Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks system. Non-stop destinations include cities throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Central America, and Asia. Calgary/Springbank Airport, Canada's eleventh busiest, serves as a reliever for the Calgary International taking the general aviation traffic and is also a base for aerial firefighting aircraft.

Pedestrian and cycling

9A Street LRT bridge - Bow River Pathway - panoramio
Calgary has the largest paved pathway network in North America.

As an alternative to the over 260 km (160 mi) of shared bikeways on streets, the city has a network of multi-use (bicycle, walking, rollerblading, etc.) paths spanning over 935 km (581 mi). 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.

Skyway

Calgary +15 (28201581821)
Calgary's +15 skyway network is the world's most extensive elevated pedestrian skywalk system.

In the 1960s, Calgary started to develop a series of pedestrian bridges connecting many downtown buildings.

Today, these bridges connect between most of the city's downtown office towers and make up the world's most extensive skyway network (elevated indoor pedestrian bridges), officially called the +15. The system shields pedestrians from the city's extremely cold winter temperatures. The name derives from the fact that the bridges are usually 4.6 m (15 ft) above ground.

Roads and highways

Calgary lies at the crossroads of Highway 2 and the Trans-Canada Highway, making it an important hub for the transit of goods across Canada and along the CANAMEX Corridor. Stoney Trail forms a nearly completed ring road around the city that will be fully finished by 2024 when the final section opens in west Calgary. Freeways and expressways are mostly called "trails". Highway 2, named Deerfoot Trail, is the main north–south route through Calgary and one of the busiest highways in Canada. Much of Calgary's street network is on a grid where roads are numbered with avenues running east—west and streets running north—south. Until 1904 the streets were named; after that date, all streets were given numbers radiating outwards from the city centre. Roads in predominantly residential areas, as well as freeways and expressways, do not generally conform to the grid and are usually not numbered. However, it is a developer and city convention in Calgary that non-numbered streets within a new community have the same name prefix as the community itself.

Rail

Calgary's presence along the CPR mainline (which includes the CPR Alyth Yard) makes the city an important hub of freight rail throughout the province. There is no inter-city or regional passenger rail serving the city. In June 2020, the Canada Infrastructure Bank signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Alberta to build a 130-kilometre (81 mi) inter-city rail line from downtown Calgary to Banff, and an express line from Calgary International Airport to downtown Calgary. A 350–400 km/h (220–250 mph) high-speed rail line running from Downtown Calgary to Downtown Edmonton is planned as well. In July 2021, EllisDon signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Alberta to build the line, and it is expected to open sometime between 2030 and 2032.

Between 1955 and 1978, CPR operated a transcontinental passenger rail service called the Canadian, running between Toronto and Vancouver via CPR's right-of-way through Calgary. In 1978, Via Rail assumed responsibility over CPR's Canadian rail service. In the aftermath of another round of deep budget cuts made to Via Rail on January 15, 1990, Via permanently discontinued the Super Continental and rerouted the Canadian along the Super Continental's CN route, bypassing Regina and Calgary in favour of Saskatoon and Edmonton. Since then, there has been no intercity rail service to or from Calgary. But two new rail-tour lines have opened along the CPR right-of-way: Rocky Mountaineer and Royal Canadian Pacific. The latter still operates rail-tour services to Calgary, while the former has terminated its westbound services at Banff, two hours to the west.

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Calgary para niños

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