Calgary’s downtown core is the commercial and entertainment centre of the city. It offers a diverse mix of restaurants and bars, shopping centres, cultural venues and urban parks, including Olympic Plaza. Many of the downtown office buildings are connected by an extensive network of elevated indoor pedestrian bridges.
hese are known as the Calgary +15 Skywalk. Three outdoor footbridges connect downtown Calgary to Prince’s Island Park, which holds many paths and hiking trails that are used in both the summer and winter.
The city offers a diverse range of cultural, entertainment and sporting options. The Arts Commons (formerly the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts) is one of the largest performing arts centres in Canada. It is home to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, and the One Yellow Rabbit theatre company. The venue is also used for art exhibitions and sporting events. The Theatre Junction Grand is a unique culture house that is dedicated to live contemporary arts. The Calgary Jubilee Auditorium (also known as the Jube) is one of the city’s premier event spaces. It houses the Alberta Ballet Company, the Calgary Opera and it used for large-scale musicals, concerts and comedy performances.
The city hosts severalannual festivals and events, the most famous of which is the Calgary Stampede. This ten-day rodeo and exhibition takes place every July and draws crowds upwards of one million people. The city is also home to the annual Calgary International Film Festival, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Calgary Pride Festival, Summerstock, Calgary International Spoken Word Festival and the Calgary Fringe Festival.
There are many museums and galleries in Calgary, including the Glenbow Museum, which is dedicated to the history of Alberta, but also houses an array contemporary art, a First Nations gallery and travelling exhibitions. The Canadian Sport’s Hall of Fame, located in Canada Olympic Park, is an interactive museum that highlights Canadian athletic achievements. Other museums of note include the Military Museum, the Hanger Flight Museum (formerly the Aero Space Museum)and the Chinese Cultural Centre, which is the largest independent cultural centre in Canada.
Shopping in Calgary runs from national and international chain stores to luxury goods retailers. The wide range of shops reflects the fact that the average salary in Calgary is amongst the highest in Canada. Premium city malls include Chinook Centre, CrossIron Mills, Deerfoot Mall, Deerfoot Meadows, Market Mall, North Hill Centre and Marlborough Centre. Other notable shopping areas include Stephen Avenue, Eau Claire Market and the Core Shopping Centre, which houses the Devonian Gardens, one of the world’s largest urban indoor gardens.
Because of its location in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is home to many winter sports enthusiasts. It is a popular destination for many amateur and professional winter athletes, who make use of the facilities that were constructed for the 1988 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Oval is used for speed skating and hockey, while Canada Olympic Park offers bobsleigh, luge, ski jumping, downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing, as well as mountain biking in the summer.
Points of interest outside Calgary include the resort towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore. Tourists are also attracted to Fish Creek Provincial Park, Edmonton, Jasper and the UNESCO site of Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.
Calgary is located within hours of some of the best hiking and skiing in the country, includingCanada Olympic Park, Castle Mountain, Mt. Norquay, Nakiska Ski Area, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, as well as Fernie and Kicking Horse. There are also several lakes and beaches around Calgary, notably Sikome Lake,Sylvan Lake, The Kootenays, The Shuswap and Lake Louise.