Calgary Central Library
Completed in 2018, the Calgary Central Library is a beautiful piece of architecture costing close to $250 million dollars. Located in the revitalized Downtown East Village behind the Calgary Municipal Building, it is a welcomed place to just be around. Conference rooms and children’s play area are available free of charge and a library card is free as well! I especially appreciate the section of books relating to Calgary and its history.
Learn more about the Calgary Public Library
Built in honour of Canada’s Centennial, the Husky Tower was later renamed the Calgary Tower. It’s a recognizable structure in the Calgary skyline. You can take an elevator ride up to the top and get a 360° panoramic view of Calgary. There’s also a revolving restaurant on the observation deck. Located about a block away from the historic Fairmont Palliser Hotel and walkable Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue SW), there are plenty of things to explore when visiting the Calgary Tower.
Learn more about the Calgary Tower
The Calgary Peace Bridge is an interesting looking pedestrian bridge connecting the Kensington and Eau Claire neighbourhoods by Prince’s Island Park. It looks like a red Chinese finger trap and is a favourite spot for local photographers due to its unique architecture. Take a stroll through Prince’s Island Park and grab a bite to eat or sit down for a coffee in trendy Kensington.
CFL Stampeders Game
The Calgary Stampeders are a professional football team in the CFL Canadian Football League. Their home stadium is the McMahon Stadium by the University of Calgary. The CFL season runs from June to November. Their outdoor games are always a good time and a true Canadian experience especially in the snow in -20°C weather. During the Summer, tail gate parties start at around Noon on game day. Parking can be tricky in the area, might be best to park further and walk or take Calgary Transit either bus or C-Train. The official colours are red and white, so wear some red to the game and cheer for the Stamps. Interesting tidbit: Dwayne Johnson as in The Rock briefly played for the Calgary Stampeders.
Learn more about the Calgary Stampeders
NHL Flames Game
Calgary Flames hockey games are probably the hottest ticket in town whenever they’re playing. Just look at the TV broadcasts and see the C of Red every home game. You can usually tell when there’s a game downtown. There will be tons of traffic and people walking around everywhere. Regular NHL season runs from early October to April with playoffs lasting until June.
This photo was taken way back in 2004 after the Flames’ Stanley Cup playoff run. I remember it very well, it was my last year at the University of Calgary and the whole city was just buzzing with excitement. Look on the right, #23 himself Martin Gelinas who should’ve won it for us in Game 6 against Tampa.
Learn more about the Calgary Flames
PGA Tour Champions Shaw Charity Classic Golf Tournament
The Shaw Charity Classic is a golf tournament in Calgary held since 2013 played at the Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club around late August / early September. It is a regular event on the PGA Tour Champions formerly known as the Champions Tour and Senior PGA Tour. It is a charity event for several non-profit organizations mainly relating to children and cancer. Go and see what this level of professional golfers can do.
Learn more about the Shaw Charity Classic
You can’t talk about Calgary tourism without mentioning those 10 days in July kicking off with the parade on the first Friday of the month. The Calgary Stampede is a celebration of Western Canadian culture featuring cowgirls, cowboys, rodeo, chuck wagons, pancakes and more. It’s like a citywide 10 day party with fireworks every night. The stampede grounds is the epicentre of the fun and excitement, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing going on in town. Split up the afternoon rodeo and evening chuck wagon races if you plan to see both. We made the mistake of seeing both in one day once and it was just too much.
Learn more about Calgary Stampede
For the rest of the year, the Calgary Zoo is a nice place to visit and take a walk. I especially like the Canadian Wilds exhibit, because it offers some of the animals that one might reasonably expect to find out in Banff National Park just an hour drive away in the Rocky Mountains. Including bears, big horn sheep, bison, cougars, snowy owls, wolves, etc. If you weren’t lucky enough to see them in the wild out in Banff, the Calgary Zoo is a good second. The more exotic animals like tigers, penguins and pandas are a welcomed treat as well, but my personal draw to this year-after-year is probably the local animals. Somewhat like a mini-hike. Calgary Zoo is the second largest zoo in Canada and Calgarians love it enough to host private functions and weddings here. My first date with the missus was to the Calgary Zoo and I knew two co-workers who had their wedding reception there.
Learn more about Calgary Zoo
Heritage Park is a historical village that preserves the look and feel of Western Canada of several eras. From the Wild West of the late 1800’s to the dawn of the automobile of the early 1900’s. There are several buildings from nearby Alberta towns preserved here and restored to working condition. The replica SS Moyie is a half-sized version of the real thing now found in Kaslo British Columbia. You can still find streets that look like Heritage Park in some small towns in Alberta today. So, I’d say it’s a good representation of Alberta heritage.
Learn more about Heritage Park