Calgary is a modern and growing metropolis that proudly maintains its traditional western heritage and way of life. Situated east of the Canadian Rockies in the foothills and prairie region of southern Alberta, the city is the largest Canadian municipality between Toronto and Vancouver. Nicknamed Cowtown by its residents, Calgary is a well-known destination for business, agriculture, tourism and winter sports.
Calgarians love sports and the city is home to a number of professional sports teams. The Stanley Cup-winning Calgary Flames draw huge crowds to their National Hockey League games at the Pengrowth Saddledome, especially during heated Battle for Alberta games against longtime rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. The Saddledome is also home to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League and the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League.
Football fanatics can head to McMahon Stadium to watch the Calgary Stampeders take on Canadian Football League teams like the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Edmonton Eskimos and the BC Lions. The Stampeders have won the CFL's Grey Cup six times.
As part of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games legacy, Calgary is home to several world class winter sports facilities, including Canada Olympic Park and the Olympic Oval. Canada Olympic park continues to serve as a training facility for ski-jumping, luge and bobsleigh. It is also a popular destination for local skiers and snowboarders who do not want to head to the mountains in Kananaskis Country or Banff. In the summer, Canada Olympic Park is open for mountain biking and often hosts competitions throughout the season.
The city has several urban parks that are connected by an extensive system of paths for walking, biking and rollerblading. These include, Fish Creek Provincial Park, Nose Hill Park, Bowness Park, Edworthy Park and Prince's Island Park.
The annual Calgary Stampede runs for 10 days in July. Known as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," the Stampede features the largest and most famous rodeo event in the world, drawing over 1 million people annually. During Stampede, the already friendly Cowtown turns into a giant party as Calgarians put on their western garb and host barbeques and pancake breakfasts all over the city. The Calgary Stampede Grounds in the southeast section of the city serve as the main centre of activity where spectators can catch bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and other rodeo events. The chuckwagon races thrill thousands of fans on a daily basis, while the agricultural exhibition highlights Alberta's farming heritage. Crowds flock to the midway for rides, carnival games and concerts by rock, pop and country acts from around North America.
Calgary is very family friendly and offers a wide range of places to go and things to do in the city. Located on St. George's Island on the Bow River, the Calgary Zoo has over 1,000 animals and exhibits dedicated to Africa, Australia, South America and Canada. The zoo also features botanical gardens and a prehistoric park.
Heritage Park Historical Village is a popular site that explores the city's heritage. Called a living history museum, Heritage Park recreates a Prairie town as it might have appeared in the early 1900s with staff dressed in traditional costumes.
The Calgary Tower has attracted visitors since 1968. Visitors can catch panoramic views of the city and get a bite to eat the Sky 360 revolving restaurant.
With a mix of funky retail neighbourhoods and mid to large size shopping centres, Calgary offers several opportunities for shoppers looking for anything from bargains to high-end goods. The city's largest mall is Chinook Centre with over 200 stores, great restaurants and a multiplex movie theatre. SouthCentre, another popular mall, is a little further down Macleod Trail.
The Deerfoot Outlet Mall in the northeast offers an impressive assortment of brand name shops for those looking for anything from jewelry and clothing to appliances and home furnishings.
Westhills Towne Center and Signal Hill Centre are large outdoor shopping destinations in the Southwest. Both complexes have several well-known, big name retail shops as well as restaurants and entertainment establishments.
In the northern parts of the city, shoppers can head to the areas' largest shopping centres, Market Mall in the northwest and Sunridge Mall in the northeast. Both malls have over 150 shops that will please shoppers of all ages.
The downtown area has several great shopping districts as well. Stephen Avenue is a pedestrian-only mall lined with boutiques, cafés, pubs and art houses. The +15 Skywalk connects several large department stores and high-end establishments. The Eau Claire Market Shopping Centre has several unique shops, galleries and places to eat as well.