Calgary Facts

Interesting Facts about Calgary

1. In 2010, the Mercer Quality of Living survey ranked Calgary as the #1 Eco-City in the world, based on water availability and drinkability, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and traffic congestion.

2. Interesting fact: Calgary recently elected Naheed Nenshi as mayor. He is the first Muslim mayor in North America.

3. Fun fact: The 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games Torch Relay lasted 88 days and spanned over 18,000 kilometers, making it one of the longest relays ever.

4. At 58 stories, The Bow will be the tallest office tower in Canada outside of Toronto, when completed.

5. Random fact: Downtown Calgary's Plus-15 system is North America's largest indoor network of walk-ways.

6. Interesting fact: the Trans-Canada Pipeline, completed in 1958, was the longest pipeline in the world for more than two decades. It nearly bankrupted the federal government but it helped make Calgary a petroleum hub.

7. The Calgary Flames moved from Atlanta to Calgary in 1979, winning the Stanley Cup in 1989.

8. Founded by Guy Weadick, the first Calgary Exhibition and Stampede was in 1912. It has become one of the richest rodeos in the world and attracts over 1.2 million visitors per year.

9. Calgary's population has increased nearly 35% since hosting the Winter Olympics in 1988 and crossed the 1 million mark in 2007.

10. Random fact: Deerfoot Trail is named after the legendary long-distance runner, Api-kai-ees, aka Deerfoot, who couriered messages on foot between forts in southern Alberta.

11. Weird fact: Calgary's urban sprawl covers a geographical footprint the same size as New York City but with only about 10% of the population.

12. Calgary is the hometown of Canada's current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, whose riding is Calgary SW.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Quick Facts

Population: 1,071,515

Elevation: 3556 feet

Average Winter Temperature: 19 degrees F
Average Summer Temperature: 62 degrees F

Electricity: 120 volts, 60 cycles, AC

Time Zone: GMT-7

Country Dialing Code: 1
Area Code(s): 403, 587

Calgary is located at the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The city is located 151 miles north of the U.S./Canadian Border, 246 miles east of Jasper, and 176 miles south of Edmonton.

Things to See in Calgary

  • Calgary International Airport
  • Stampede Park
  • Kensington
  • Telus Convention Center
  • Calgary Tower
  • Stephen Avenue
  • Heritage Park

  • Calgary History

    Experts believe that humans have inhabited the Bow River Valley for at least 11,000 years, having made their way down the Bering Straight from Siberia at the end of the last Ice Age. The Piikani (Peigan), Siksika (Blackfoot), Kainai (Blood), Nakoda (Stoney) and Tsuu T'ina (Sarcee) nations lived in what is now Southern Alberta, where they hunted bison and other plains/woodlands animals. David Thompson was the first European to document his interaction with the native peoples, having wintered along the Bow with the Piikani in 1787.

    The Hudson's Bay Company, who owned the lands which comprised the Hudson's Bay watershed, set up trading posts around what was then called Rupert's Land. They traded for animals pelts with the natives, which were transported to Paris, London, and New York and commanded high prices for their quality. The native way of life would not change drastically until the 1870's, when the bison were hunted almost to extinction.

    In 1870, the Dominion of Canada purchased Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company for 300,000 pounds sterling. In 1873, the federal government created the Northwest Mounted Police to protect the native peoples and the fur trade from American whiskey traders. They established Fort Calgary in 1875 and helped to restore order to the region.

    Meanwhile, homesteaders began moving westward into Alberta's fertile prairies. Historians consider John Glenn to be the first settler in Calgary in 1873. By 1884, Calgary incorporated into a town. Ten years later, it incorporated again into "the City of Calgary," which was at that time a part of the Northwest Territories. Hundreds of settlers continued to come west, forever changing the region.

    Due to fears of American expansion into the Northwest Territories, the Canadian government proposed the creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which would connect the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Rocky Mountains posed a huge obstacle, but they managed to work through the Kicking Horse Pass. This decision routed the railroad through Calgary in 1883, dramatically increasing the profile of the city by making it the 'jumping off' point for settlers to the area. The land around Calgary was ideal for homesteaders to grow grains and herd cattle.

    In 1914, oil and gas were discovered in Turner Valley, and by 1919 many of the local ranchers had become wealthy supplying the First World War effort. It was Calgary's first, but certainly not last, oil boom.

    In 1912, Guy Weadick, an American entertainer, founded the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. It did not continue through the war years, but did come back in 1919 as a celebration of the returning troops. After 1923, it became an annual celebration of western culture and rodeo, dubbing itself the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth." It is now one of the most famous aspects of summer in Calgary, attracting 1.2 million visitors per year.

    The oil and gas industry did not assert itself in Alberta until 1948, when Imperial Oil discovered the Leduc formation. This proved to be one of the greatest discoveries of oil in Alberta's history. It also introduced seismic technology to the region, which would lead to major discoveries all over Alberta. Calgary became the financial hub of the oil industry in Alberta in large part because of its proximity to the railroad and is now home to many of the largest energy companies in the world. The industry now employs about 30% of Calgarians.

    During the 1990's, many of Canada's largests corporations also moved the head offices to Calgary from more traditional centers, such as Montreal and Toronto. It is not just oil and gas, anymore, as Calgary has growing electronics and e-commerce sectors. Tourism is also a major industry in Calgary, thanks to the Stampede, the 1988 Winter Olympics, and the nearness of Banff National Park.

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