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Tucked between the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian prairie, Calgary is a city full of surprises. And while this is cowboy country – the annual rodeo is the hottest ticket in town – a Calgary holiday offers more than Stetsons and horseback riding. Canada’s third biggest city also boasts a thriving arts scene, innovative architecture and spectacular scenery on its doorstep.
Named by The Economist in 2018 and 2019 as the most liveable city in North America, it’s fair to say that locals have it good. But you don’t have to live in Calgary to get in on the fun. The city’s cultural calendar is packed throughout the year, with everything from Beerfest to the Folk Music Festival.
The city is also home to some inventive architecture. Along with admiring its world-famous skyline, check out the iconic Peace Bridge to discover why it’s earned itself the nickname ‘Finger Trap Bridge’. Likewise, the recently opened Calgary Central Library is well worth a visit for its open atrium filled with wood and glass (and, of course, its collection of books).
For outdoorsy types, Calgary’s surrounds are some of the most stunning in North America. Legendary mountain resort towns Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore are a hiker’s heaven, with trails passing alpine meadows, mountains, canyons and glaciers.
There are scenes worth admiring within the city, too. McHugh Bluff is a park with unobstructed views of downtown and the Bow River, while Calgary Tower offers panoramic vistas of the city, mountains and peaceful prairies.
Enjoy sports on snow and ice? Calgary has you covered. Skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes at one of three resorts within Banff National Park. Or, you can follow in the tracks of Olympians at WinSport, one of the venues for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
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