Calgary is an extremely vibrant, young city living off of the enormous oil wealth of Alberta. Calgary is booming and enormous housing developments are scattered all around the city. Calgary has many different areas with the up-scale southern area to the more restrained northern areas and the central Chinatown.

To get around, for the most part, you can get away with using the light rail transit system (LRT) which provides access to the main attractions and areas of the city though for some more remote areas relying on bus service may not be an adequate option.

Calgary is located (generally speaking) within a small valley with the Bow River flowing through it. Despite being a small river, people enjoy the parks that surround it (it goes right by the Calgary Zoo and, in the core area, the Eau Claire Market is located right on the bank of the river). In the summer open air events are frequent in this area including 'Taste of Calgary' and 'Shakespeare in the Park'.

Downtown is generally for the business crowd though the area is dominated by a large collection of inter-connected malls that stretch for quite a number of blocks along 8th Avenue. The Devonian Gardens are located within this mall area (in TD Square) and are well worth a visit - quite a number of floors above the street completely enclosed by glass and FREE! A nice break from the hustle and bustle of shopping. Free LRT (train) service is provided all along the downtown area.


There are many things to do in Calgary, some of the more popular: The Calgary Stampede Fair

  • Calgary Stampede - For one week every summer Calgary turns into one big massive party for the Calgary Stampede. Work effectively stops and everyone wears jeans with plaid t-shirts, throughout the city free breakfasts are served up by local celebrities and eaten up by many thousands. The stampede is absolutely wonderful excepting the (arguable) suffering of some of the animals used in the show. Around the stampede itself is a large fair with rides and typical fair food. The Stampede is being held from July 9th to July 18th, 1999 and further information can be received by calling (403) 261-0101. The Calgary Stampede itself
  • Calgary Zoo - A wonderful zoo with a wide variety of things to see including a pre-historic park (which I must say appeals to the young crowd) and a first-class zoo. You can get to the zoo by the public transit train system, walking through a tunnel to get to the main entrance. Inside the Calgary Zoo
  • Chinatown - A great Chinatown with a large number of exceptionally good restaurants (to get REALLY authentic avoid the bigger restaurants and travel to some of the smaller streets behind), especially of note is the Dim Sum restaurant in the basement of the cultural center which offers very good food at very reasonable prices (though VERY popular).
  • Glenbow Museum - A smaller museum with a great selection of exhibits of Calgary history but also surprising displays of other cultural artifacts (when I was there they had a great exhibit of Chinese artefacts).
  • Heritage Park Historical Village - Offers a recreation of a 'frontier town' complete with working locomotive offering tours around the site and a number of old shops and period-costumed actors. A great family day out. TIP: Look for the free pancake breakfasts offered here in the summer.

If you have a car in the summer, many Calgarians head to Millarville on Saturday's to the southwest of the city which has a large Farmer's Market. There are market's in the city but most tend not to be held by the farmer's themselves such as in Millarville. A great selection of fresh produce, meat, prepared foods and handycrafts. Millarville also has a special Christmas show every year in early December which is also extremely popular.

In the winter most people head out to see the Calgary Flames play at the Saddledome when games are on. A great night out in a first class venue.


For a great meal, there are many different restaurants to choose from though I would highly recommend heading down to 17th Avenue SW, a trendy area of the city with sheik restaurants and boutiques.

  • Chianti - (ITALIAN) THE Italian restaurant in Calgary. Very fresh cuisine. Moderately priced. Reservations recommended. 1438-17th Avenue SW, phone (403) 229-1600 Rating: NOT REVIEWED
  • Emperor Restaurant (DIM SUM/CHINESE) A good selection of Dim Sum provided on trolleys moving throughout the restaurant. A popular place with the local Chinese community. Moderately priced. Basement of the Chinese Cultural Centre, phone (403) 262-4738 Rating: * * * 1/2
  • Fiore - (ITALIAN) Truly fresh food and a wonderfully busy atmosphere, it becomes very busy on one night a week when many dishes are priced at $5 (Tuesday). Modern twists on classical Italian dishes. 638 - 17th Avenue SW, phone (403) 244-6603 Rating: * * * 1/2
  • Forbidden Flavours - (ICE CREAM) A wonderful selection of 'homemade' ice cream. Always popular in the summer. 101-1011 - 17th Avenue SW, phone (403) 244-8628 Rating: * * * *
  • My Favourite Ice Cream Shoppe Ltd. - (ICE CREAM) A local favourite. 2048 42nd Avenue SW, phone (403) 287-3838 Rating: NOT REVIEWED
  • Singapore Sam's - (MONGOLIAN/CHINESE) A rather busy eatery due to it's proximity to the core area. Food is adequate and certainly very reasonably priced. A la carte dishes are available but really the restaurant caters for a buffer it offers of (american) Chinese dishes and Mongolian stir-fry (with a surprising selection of seafood). 555-11th Avenue SW, phone (403) 234-8088 Rating: * * 1/2
  • Sultan's Tent - (MORRACCAN) Wonderful food served in a wonderful atmosphere, hardly surprising, resembling the inside of a tent (perhaps strange when it may be snowing outside). A fantastic experience that includes the sitting on cushions and eating with fingers that is only eclipsed by the fabulous food. A relaxed evening and reasonably priced. Reservations recommended. 909-17th Avenue SW, phone (403) 244-2333 Rating: * * * * *

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