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Culture of Alberta facts for kids

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The culture of Alberta refers to the art, customs, and traditions of the people of Alberta. Alberta entered into Confederation in 1905, placing her in a tie with Saskatchewan as the country's second youngest province. Despite her short history, the province possesses a rich culture. The vastness of the land and variation of geography – which includes mountains, foothills, grassland, parkland, forest, and rockland – have served as important sources of creative inspiration across all art forms. Alberta's primary industries of farming, ranching, and petroleum also play a major part in the province's culture and identity.


Architecturally, the province takes pride in the work of Douglas Cardinal, whose curved designs lend Red Deer College and other Alberta facilities a distinct flavour. Calgary is known for its New York- or Toronto-style glass-and-steel high-rises while Edmonton boasts many facades from the early 1900s. Sadly, many of the valuable historical buildings of both cities were destroyed in a '60s attempt to "modernize." However, Edmonton's extensive reconstruction of Fort Edmonton, together with themed streets for period architecture (often including the original buildings) ensures that the past is alive and well in the city at Fort Edmonton Park.


Tourism is also important to Albertans. Millions of visitors come to Alberta each year just for the Stampede and for Edmonton's K-Days (formerly called Klondike Days). Edmonton is also the gateway to the only Canadian route to the Yukon gold fields, and the only route which did not require gold-seekers to travel the exhausting and dangerous Chilkoot Pass.

Visitors throng to Calgary for ten days every July for a taste of "Stampede Fever". As a celebration of Canada's own Wild West and the cattle ranching industry, the Stampede welcomes around 1.2 million people each year. Only an hour's drive from the Rocky Mountains, Calgary also makes a visit to tourist attractions like Banff National Park something which can easily be done in a day. Calgary and Banff together host nearly 5 million tourists yearly.

Edmonton is Alberta's number one tourism destination in several key categories and Alberta's top-ranked metropolitan destination in other categories. Edmonton is the number one destination in overall person-visits to Alberta and the number one destination in person-visits from other provinces. Edmonton is also Alberta’s number one metropolitan destination for U.S. visitations and revenues.

Ethnic diversity and multiculturalism

Alberta also has a large ethnic population. Both the Chinese and East Indian communities are significant, and Alberta is home to the largest Francophone population west of Ontario, most of whom live in the north of the province. As reported in the 2001 census, the Chinese represented nearly four percent of Alberta's population and East Indians represented better than two percent. Both Edmonton and Calgary have large Chinatowns. Indigenous Albertans make up approximately three percent of the population.

The major contributors to Alberta's ethnic diversity have been the European nations. Forty-four percent of Albertans are of British descent, and there are also large numbers of Germans, Ukrainians, and Scandinavians. Edmonton's August Servus Heritage Festival brings together nearly four hundred thousand participants from over seventy cultures around the world living in or near the city.

Bangladesh heritage in Alberta

The Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta (BHESA) is a significant contributor to ethnic diversity, dedicated to creating a cohesive and effective voice of Bangladesh community with the aim to make a positive difference in the lives of children, youth and adults. It strives to build cultural enrichment, peace, progress, and prosperity, and the preservation of cultural heritage organization that preserves, promotes and celebrates Bangladesh culture, heritage and history, serving the local community of Bangladeshi-Canadians living in the Edmonton area city of Alberta.

Bangla Culture in Heritage Festival: Celebration of Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New Year) (BPCA)

The Servus Heritage Festival is a three-day event (Saturday, August 1 – Monday, August 3, 2015) where people present their cultural roots and local and national communities. In approximately 60 pavilions more than 85 different cultures will celebrate their heritage. Beside the delicious cultural food, visitors will be able to enjoy a wide variety of crafts, arts and products, and various cultural performances.]], Bangladesh pavilion by BHESA explored its country heritage in the Servus Heritage Festival 2015.

Boishakhi Mela (Feast) The Bengali New Year celebration takes place in mid-April and typically marks the start of spring for Bangladeshis here in North America. In Bangladesh and West Bengal the celebration is known as the Pohela Baishakh, whereas throughout the world it is called Boishakhi Mela, originating from the famous celebration in London, England which is organized on a yearly base by the local Bengali community there. The Bengali community celebrates this day with great enthusiasm, and the New Year Celebration is an important part of the cultural heritage of Bangladesh. The festival is also used as a hub for new and professional artists to showcase their music and dance performances.



A central element of sporting culture in Alberta is the rivalry between teams from Edmonton and Calgary, known as the "Battle of Alberta." This rivalry exists across multiple sports and leagues. Calgary and Edmonton teams have competed against one another in football since around the 1890s. Rivalries between the cities existed via various Calgary and Edmonton clubs that participated in the Alberta Rugby Football Union. Following World War II, the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos formed, in 1948 and 1949 respectively, both of whom played in the Western Interprovincial Football Union, the precursor to the modern CFL West Division. The Stampeders and Eskimos quickly developed into rivals. Every year since 1949 (excluding 1954–1958, 1964–1967, 1973, and 1981), the two clubs have competed against one another in the "Labour Day Classic," which is arguably the province's paramount annual sporting event. The game has always been played in Calgary, with the exception of the years 1949, 1952, and 1953. A newer tradition formed later, the "Labour Day Rematch," in which Edmonton hosts Calgary the week after Labour Day. This game was first played in 1989 and has been held annually since 1992. In 1948 the Calgary Stampeders competed in their first Grey Cup. Along with the team, a delegation from Calgary chartered a train to Toronto to support the team. This delegation took with it a full car of livestock and chuckwagons. Notoriously, members of the Stampeders delegation rode a horse into the lobby of the Royal York after disembarking at Union Station. The ritual of riding a horse into a hotel in the host city is a tradition Calgarians continue today when the Stampeders play in the Grey Cup.


The two cities have likewise competed against one another in hockey since the 1890s. Teams in senior leagues such as the Western Canada Hockey League, and junior leagues such as the Western Hockey League, played against one another for most of the 20th century. It was not until the 1980s, however, that both cities had professional teams that could sustain a rivalry. The Edmonton Oilers first played in the 1972–73 season of the World Hockey Association. After that league folded in the summer of 1979, the Oilers joined the NHL for the 1979–80 season. The Calgary Flames began life as the Atlanta Flames in the 1972–73 season of the National Hockey League, and after a group of Calgary businessmen bought the team, the club relocated to Calgary for the 1980–81 season. The Flames played their first three seasons in the Stampede Corral before moving to the Olympic Saddledome for the 1983–84 season. The golden age of the Flames-Oilers rivalry was the late 1980s, when the two teams were at the pinnacle of their power. During this era both clubs featured a balance of skill and toughness that resulted in many high-scoring, fight-filled games. From 1983 to 1990, the Stanley Cup Finals included either the Oilers or Flames. Since the 1980s, the teams have not been competitive simultaneously, which has meant that the rivalry has diminished to an extent. Edmonton last played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, while Calgary last played in the Finals in 2004. Unquestionably the greatest sports star in Alberta's history is Wayne Gretzky, who played for the Edmonton Oilers from 1979 to 1988.

Junior hockey leagues such as the Western Hockey League and the Alberta Junior Hockey League play an important cultural role in the province's small towns.

Rodeo and chuckwagons

The first rodeo in Canada was held in Raymond, Alberta in 1902, and was organized by Ray Knight. The sport soon became popular across the province and in 1912 Guy Weadick along with businessmen Pat Burns, George Lane, A. J. McLean, and A. E. Cross – collectively known as the "Big Four" – added the first Calgary Stampede to the Calgary Exhibition, which had existed since 1886. The event has taken place annually since then and remains the city's greatest tourist attraction. The province hosts the majority of rodeos in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association season. Other larger rodeos include the Ponoka Stampede and the Guy Weadick Days in High River.

The sport of chuckwagon racing was invented by Guy Weadick, and formal races were first held at the 1923 Calgary Stampede under the name the "Rangeland Derby." The majority of races during the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) season take place in Alberta.


Alberta is bounded on the west by the Canadian Rockies, and consequently, possesses some of the world's finest skiing destinations. During the winter, many Albertans spend their weekends in the mountains. Major ski hills include Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Nakiska, Mount Norquay, Castle Mountain, and Marmot Basin. The alpine skiing at the 1988 Olympics was held at Nakiska. Calgary is home to Canada Olympic Park, which includes the ski jump and bobsleigh track that were used for the 1988 Olympics.

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