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Thanks to its oil industry, Calgary is a fast-growing city in the west of Canada. This rapid growth is for example reflected by the large number of skyscrapers that have been built in the last few years and that define the urban landscape these days. The city is located at an altitude of 1000 meters, at the foot of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Because of this altitude numerous records were broken during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, which were held in Calgary.
The Calgary Tower is no longer the city's highest building, but it is still the best place to start your visit to Calgary. The 190-meter-high tower was built to celebrate Canada's centennial and was inaugurated in 1968. From the viewing platform you have a wonderful view of the city, the Rocky Mountains west of the city and the prairies east of Calgary. Part of the platform has a glass floor, which make you feel as if you are 'floating' above the city.
The Saddledome indoor arena where the Calgary Flames play their home games is located in the Stampede Park. Hockey is extremely popular in Canada and when the Flames have won a major prize, 17 Avenue in Midtown fills up with fans dressed in the club's red colors. This is why this street (with many restaurants, cafés and bars) is also called the Red Mile. But Stampede Park has a lot more to offer than just hockey, especially during the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede in July, also called "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth". There are for example rodeos, including chuckwagon races. In addition there are various exhibitions (art, trade, agriculture) and it has a replica of an Indian village.
The Aero Space Museum showcases the history of aviation of Western Canada. From the pioneers who took off in homemade apparatus to people who looked beyond the atmosphere and wanted to discover space. The Glenbow Museum is the largest museum of Western Canada. It focuses on the history of Western Canada, with due attention to both the indigenous population, the Indians, as well as the western colonists. But that's not all, it also has art from other continents, including art from Asia and South America.
The Calgary Zoo is located on an island in the Bow River. Besides thousands of animals (including the famous painting elephant Kamala), the zoo also houses a botanical garden and a section dedicated to prehistoric times with realistic replicas of different dinosaur species.
Just outside Calgary, on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir, lies the Heritage Park, a reproduction of a village that shows what life was like in Western Canada around 1800.
In winter months, the Canada Olympic Park is a great crowd-puller. Here you can for example enjoy skiing, snowboarding and bobsleighing. You can even experience for yourself the adrenalin of a ski jumper on a zip line. The Olympic Park is located at a fifteen-minute drive from Calgary's center. During summer months you can go mountainbiking and bungee jumping here.
Many people visit Calgary not only for the city itself, but especially because of the magnificent nature parks in the surroundings. In the Jasper National Park in the Rocky Mountains live a lot of wild animals: Bighorn sheep, red deer, beavers, moose, mountain goats, reindeer, wolves, grizzly bears and black bears. To caution tourists, signs have been placed everywhere stating "You are in Bear Country". South of this park lies Banff National Park with many glaciers, mountains and rivers. You can easily reach the attractions by rental car by following the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). It runs from Lake Louise to Jasper.
It's not difficult to find a parking space in Calgary. Street parking is allowed in many locations at a fee. Note: A red parking meter means that you can park for no more than 15 minutes. In some streets parking is prohibited after 3.30 pm to improve traffic circulation. We recommend parking your rental car in one of the many parking garages or on a guarded parking lot.
Calgary International Airport is located northeast of the city center. You can easily reach the airport by rental car. The Deerfoot Trail (a freeway) east of the city runs along the airport.