Know about Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is the largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and Elbow River in the southwestern part of the province, about 80 km east of the Canadian Rockies.

Calgary, well-known for its breathtaking natural scenery, booming economy, and dynamic culture, provides both locals and tourists with an exceptional fusion of urban refinement and outdoor exploration.

Calgary's proximity to the magnificent Canadian Rockies is among its most recognizable attributes. With their soaring peaks, glistening lakes, and abundance of wildlife, Banff and Jasper National Parks are only a short drive away. They provide countless opportunities for hiking, skiing, and outdoor exploration all year long.

Calgary has a thriving arts and culture sector. The Stephen Avenue Walk downtown is dotted with stores, galleries, and eateries. Nearby, the Arts Commons hosts various events, from comedy and music to theatre and dance.

Calgary has a flourishing restaurant industry, with a wide range of establishments serving anything from globally inspired cuisine to locally produced Alberta beef. Gourmets can visit the city's numerous specialty stores, farmers' markets, and food festivals to sample delectable cuisine from around the globe.

Calgary's economy is focused on the energy, financial services, transportation, logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism sectors. 

Calgary has the second-largest number of corporate head offices in Canada and the highest number of millionaires per capita of any major Canadian city in 2015.

The city is known for its modern, attractive downtown, the Bow River that runs through it, and the Rocky Mountain backdrop. Calgary is considered one of the most livable cities in the world, ranking 3rd globally and 1st in Canada in 2022. It was the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1988.

Calgary has a diverse population, with over 41% visible minorities. It is a young city, with an average age of 37. The city is known for its friendly people, extensive outdoor pathways and bikeway networks, and easy access to the Rocky Mountains for outdoor recreation.

History of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Calgary was founded in 1875 when the North-West Mounted Police (later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) established a post called Fort Brisebois, which was later renamed Fort Calgary. The fort was established to bring order to the illegal whiskey trade in the region.

In 1877, the British and Canadian governments signed Treaty 7 with several First Nations groups, leading to the rapid conversion of the region to a cattle ranching frontier. 

Calgary's growth was closely tied to the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883, which connected the city to central and eastern Canada and the west coast.

Calgary was incorporated as a town in 1884 and as a city in 1894 before the creation of the province of Alberta in 1905. The city's population grew rapidly, from a few hundred settlers in 1884 to nearly 4,000 by 1894.

In the early 20th century, the city became a major shipping center for the cattle industry, earning it a reputation as a "cow town." Oil was discovered near Calgary in 1914, and an oil refinery opened in the city in 1923, leading to further economic growth.

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics and has continued to grow and thrive as a major economic and cultural center in western Canada, with a focus on the energy, financial services, transportation, and tourism sectors.

Geography of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Here are the key points about the geography of Calgary, Alberta, Canada:

Location and Topography

  • Calgary is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and Elbow River, in the southwestern part of Alberta, about 80 km east of the Canadian Rockies.
  • The city is located in the transitional area between the Rocky Mountain Foothills and the Canadian Prairies. The downtown elevation is around 1,048 meters (3,440 feet) above sea level.
  • Calgary has a relatively hilly terrain. The city is divided into two sections by the two main rivers that run through it.


  • Calgary has a semi-arid, highland continental climate with long, dry, highly variable winters and short, moderately warm summers.
  • The city experiences extreme temperature swings, from record lows around -45°C (-49°F) to record highs around 36°C (97°F).
  • Chinook winds from the Pacific Ocean can bring rapid temperature increases during the winter months.
  • Calgary is one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with an average of 2,405 hours of sunshine per year.

Geography and Urban Development

  • The city proper covers a large land area of 721 square kilometers (278 square miles), more extensive than many other major cities.
  • Much of Calgary's suburban development has occurred in the form of identical subdivisions as construction companies have struggled to keep up with housing demand.
  • The city's downtown is compressed between the Bow River and the Canadian Pacific Railway, while residential areas have tended to follow the river valleys.

Demographics of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Here are the key demographics of Calgary, Alberta, Canada:


  • The city of Calgary had a population of 1,306,784 as of the 2021 census.
  • The Calgary metropolitan area had a population of 1,481,806 in 2021.
  • Calgary's population has been growing rapidly, with an annual growth rate of around 1.07% between 2016 and 2021.

Age and Gender:

  • The median age in Calgary is 38.0 years old.
  • The largest age group is 35-44 years old, making up 16.1% of the population.
  • The population is split fairly evenly between males (49.6%) and females (50.4%).

Ethnicity and Language:

  • Calgary has a diverse population, with over 41% visible minorities.
  • The largest ethnic groups are European (57.98%), South Asian (10.46%), and East Asian (7.7%).
  • English is the mother tongue for 67.8% of the population, followed by Tagalog (3.3%), Punjabi (3.3%), Cantonese (2.8%), and Mandarin (2.4%).
  • 95.8% of the population speaks English, while 1.3% speaks French.

Employment and Income:

  • Calgary has an unemployment rate of 12.5%.
  • The most common occupations are in sales and service (24.9%), business/finance/administration (19.2%), and trades/transport (16.4%).
  • The median household income is $98,000, and the median after-tax household income is $85,000.

Economy of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Here are the key points about the economy of Calgary, Alberta, Canada:

Economic Sectors

  • Calgary is the administrative and financial headquarters of Canada's petroleum industry. It has a strong history as a cattle ranching capital.
  • The city's economy is focused on the energy, financial services, transportation, logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism sectors.
  • Calgary is home to the second-largest number of corporate head offices in Canada.
  • The city is an emerging center of excellence and innovation in the global aerospace industry, with expertise in areas like autonomous systems and manufacturing.
  • Calgary is also a hub for agribusiness, with technical talent and the application of agricultural technologies.

Economic Performance

  • Calgary's GDP was CDN$338.2 billion in 2018, making it a major economic center in Canada.
  • The city's economy is expected to fare better than the rest of Canada in 2023 and 2024, with real GDP growth forecast at 3.1% in 2023 and 3.7% in 2024, compared to 2.9% and 1.9% for Alberta and 1.4% and 0.8% for Canada.
  • This resilience is attributed to factors like strong population growth, a revitalized energy sector, and relative housing affordability attracting migration.
  • However, the economy is still expected to face headwinds from global economic conditions, inflation, and interest rates, which could dampen consumer spending and growth.

Economic Diversification

  • While the energy sector remains a key driver, Calgary has been working to diversify its economy in recent years, with growth in sectors like technology, aerospace, agribusiness, and creative industries.
  • This diversification is seen as crucial to the city's long-term economic sustainability, as it reduces reliance on the volatile energy sector.

Education in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The education system in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, offers diverse options to suit students of all ages, from kindergarten to post-secondary education

In Calgary, children can attend public school for free. The public school system is divided into elementary (Kindergarten to Grade six), junior high (Grades seven to nine), and high school (Grades 10 to 12). 

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) is the largest school district in Western Canada. It provides inclusive education opportunities for all students, including Special and Exceptional Education programs. 

The CBE offers various specialized programs, such as French Immersion, arts, science, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB). 

Additionally, the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) offers education from Kindergarten to Grade 12, focusing on faith-based Catholic education. 

Apart from public schools, there are private schools in Alberta, including registered private schools and accredited funded private schools, each with its own curriculum and fee structure. 

Parents in Alberta also have the option of home education, where children are educated at home under two programs supervised by a school authority or not supervised by a school authority. 

The education system in Calgary emphasizes quality learning, supportive environments, and a wide range of educational opportunities for students.

Calgary offers excellent options for tertiary education, including the University of Calgary, which is gaining a reputation as an excellent research and interdisciplinary academy. 

The University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, is well-known for its health sciences faculty and consistently ranks as one of Canada's top universities. 

Private schools in Calgary provide additional choices for families, with over 80 institutions offering unique programs and world-class education, albeit at higher tuition fees. 

Charter schools in Calgary, operated independently under performance contracts, focus on specific learning styles, teaching approaches, or philosophies. They offer programs like traditional learning, girls-only education, and science and technology programs.

Education in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is characterized by a well-funded system that provides high-quality education from kindergarten through to tertiary levels. Various public, Catholic, private, and charter school options are available to meet the diverse needs of students and families in the city.

Transportation in Calgary

Public Transit

  • Calgary's primary public transportation system is Calgary Transit, which operates a light rail transit (LRT) system known as the C-Train and an extensive bus network.
  • The C-Train has two main lines - the Saddletowne-69 St. line and the Tuscany-Somerset–Bridlewood line - and covers 58.5 km with 45 stations. It is one of the busiest light rail systems in North America.
  • Calgary Transit also operates regional bus services to nearby towns and cities like Cochrane, Okotoks, and High River.
  • The city has been working to expand and improve its public transit system, including adding dedicated bus rapid transit routes and studying extensions to the LRT network.

Roads and Highways

  • Calgary is situated at the junction of the "Canamex" highway system and the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1 in Alberta).
  • The city has an extensive road network to accommodate its large geographic area and car-oriented development.

Active Transportation

  • Calgary has an extensive network of over 900 km of paved multi-use pathways for walking, running, and cycling.
  • The city also has about 345 km of signed on-street bicycle routes.
  • Calgary's downtown features an extensive +15 elevated walkway system, one of the largest in the world, connecting buildings and providing pedestrian access.


  • Calgary is the largest Canadian city without intercity passenger rail service, as Via Rail service was terminated in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • The city has a major freight rail infrastructure, with Canadian Pacific and Canadian National rail lines running through the city.

Calgary has a diverse and well-developed transportation system centered around its public transit network, road infrastructure, and active transportation options, though it lacks intercity passenger rail service.

Living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, offers a vibrant and diverse lifestyle with a range of opportunities and amenities. 

The city is known for its welcoming community, outdoor recreational activities, and a growing economy that attracts professionals and families alike. Calgary's unique location at the meeting point of the prairies and mountains provides residents with stunning natural landscapes and a wealth of outdoor adventures. 

The city boasts a strong community spirit, cultural diversity, and a thriving arts and culinary scene. With a reputation as one of the most livable cities in the world, Calgary offers a high quality of life, affordable housing options, and a range of career opportunities across various sectors. 

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a young professional, or a family looking for a welcoming and inclusive community, Calgary provides a dynamic and fulfilling environment to call home.

Tourist places in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Here are some of the top tourist attractions and places to visit in Calgary, Alberta, Canada:

Major Attractions

  • Calgary Stampede - An annual 10-day rodeo and festival celebrating the city's Western heritage.
  • Calgary Tower - An iconic observation tower offering 360-degree views of the city and surrounding landscapes.
  • Fort Calgary - A historic site where the North-West Mounted Police established a post in 1875, now a museum.
  • Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo - One of the largest zoos in Canada, home to over 1,000 animals.
  • The Military Museums - A complex of museums showcasing Canada's military history.
  • Devonian Gardens - An indoor botanical garden in the downtown CORE Shopping Center.
  • Gasoline Alley Museum - A museum celebrating the history of the automobile industry.
  • Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre - An interactive music museum and performance venue.
  • Olympic Plaza - A public plaza that was the site of medal ceremonies during the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Other Notable Attractions

  • Nose Hill Park - A large urban park with hiking trails and scenic views.
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park - A UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich fossil deposits.
  • Prince's Island Park - A downtown island park along the Bow River.
  • Heritage Park Historical Village - Canada's largest living history museum.

Calgary offers diverse attractions, from its iconic Western heritage sites to modern cultural institutions, making it an appealing destination for visitors.

Healthcare facilities and services in Calgary, Alberta

Major Hospitals

Calgary has four major adult acute care hospitals and a children's acute care hospital under Alberta Health Services.

Medical Facilities

Several medical facilities, such as the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, provide various care in the city.

University Partnership

The University of Calgary Medical Clinic partners with the Calgary Health Region at the Foothills Medical Centre.

Public Healthcare System

  • Calgary's public healthcare system is part of the Alberta Health Services (AHS), the single provincial health authority that delivers medical care on behalf of the Alberta Ministry of Health.
  • The city has four major adult acute care hospitals - Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital, and South Health Campus. It also has a dedicated children's hospital, the Alberta Children's Hospital.
  • These hospitals, along with other medical facilities like the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre and Tom Baker Cancer Centre, provide a wide range of healthcare services to Calgary residents.
  • The public healthcare system in Alberta, including Calgary, is funded through the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), which provides comprehensive coverage for legal permanent residents.

Access and Quality

  • Calgary's healthcare system is generally regarded as high-quality. The city's hospitals employ over 11,500 people and have a combined total of more than 2,164 beds.
  • However, like other parts of Canada, Calgary's healthcare system faces challenges such as long wait times and physician shortages in some areas.
  • To supplement the public system, Calgary has a walk-in clinic network that provides basic medical services, especially on evenings and weekends.

Private Healthcare

  • Expats and other non-permanent residents in Calgary may need to purchase private health insurance to cover services not included in the AHCIP, such as prescription drugs, dental care, and mental healthcare.
  • Leading private healthcare providers in Calgary include Manulife, Sunlife, and Great-West Life.

Calgary benefits from a comprehensive public healthcare system as part of Alberta's provincial network but also has a private insurance market to address gaps in coverage for certain services.

Traditional Dishes Of Calgary

While Calgary itself doesn't have a distinct cuisine per se, it reflects the diverse culinary influences across Canada. However, several dishes are commonly enjoyed in Calgary and throughout Alberta. Here are a few traditional dishes you might encounter:

  • Alberta Beef: Known for its high-quality beef, Alberta is famous for dishes featuring locally raised beef. Whether you're looking for a perfectly grilled steak, hearty beef stew, or classic Alberta beef burger, you'll find plenty of options to satisfy your carnivorous cravings in Calgary.
  • Bison: Bison, often referred to as buffalo, is another popular protein choice in Alberta. Leaner and slightly sweeter than beef, bison is often featured in dishes like bison burgers, steaks or even in hearty stews and chili.
  • Alberta Beef and Barley Soup: This hearty and nutritious meal is especially popular during the cold winter months. It's made with tender chunks of beef, barley, vegetables, and savory broth. It's a classic comfort food that warms the soul.
  • Saskatoon Berry Pie: Saskatoon berries are native to the prairies of Western Canada, including Alberta. These small, sweet-tart berries are often used in pies, jams, and desserts. Saskatoon berry pie is a beloved treat in Calgary. It features a flaky crust filled with juicy Saskatoon berries and is often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Alberta Beef Poutine: A Canadian classic with a local twist, Alberta beef poutine combines crispy fries, squeaky cheese curds, and savory beef gravy topped with tender slices of Alberta beef. It's a hearty and indulgent dish perfect for satisfying cravings or fueling up after a day of outdoor adventure.

These are just a few examples of traditional dishes you might encounter in Calgary and throughout Alberta. Whether indulging in a juicy steak at a local steakhouse or sampling regional specialties at a food festival, you will surely find plenty of delicious fare to enjoy in this vibrant Canadian city.

Calgary is a city of contrasts, where urban sophistication meets rugged wilderness and residents embrace the thrill of adventure and the warmth of community. With its stunning natural beauty, thriving economy, and vibrant culture, Calgary truly offers something for everyone.


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