Calgary is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately 80 km (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. In the 2011 census, the City of Calgary had a population of 1,096,833 and a metropolitan population of 1,214,839, making it the largest city in Alberta, and the third-largest municipality and fifth-largest census metropolitan area (CMA) in Canada.
The economy of Calgary includes activity in the energy, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism sectors. The Calgary CMA is home to the second-most corporate head offices in Canada among the country's 800 largest corporations.
Calgary anchors the south end of what Statistics Canada defines as the "Calgary–Edmonton Corridor".
In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.
Calgary is recognized as a Canadian leader in the oil and gas industry as well as for being a leader in economic expansion. Its high personal and family incomes, low unemployment and high GDP per capita have all benefited from increased sales and prices due to a resource boom, and increasing economic diversification. Because of these strengths, Calgary is designated as a global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Also, Calgary was one of the top 200 cities worldwide, by theBrookings Institution, that had a top performing local economy for 2011. The city was ranked first nationally, and 51st in the world, in that aspect. Additionally, Calgary was voted third in quality of life among North American cities by the 2011-2012 issue of American Cities of the Future. The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Calgary to lead the country in GDP growth through to 2016.
Calgary benefits from a relatively strong job market in Alberta, is part of the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor, one of the fastest growing regions in the country. It is the head office for many major oil and gas related companies, and many financial service business have grown up around them. Small business and self-employment levels also rank amongst the highest in Canada. It is also a distribution and transportation hub with high retail sales.
Calgary has a number of multicultural areas. Forest Lawn is among the most diverse areas in the city and as such, the area around 17 Avenue SE within the neighbourhood is also known as International Avenue. The district is home to many ethnic restaurants and stores. Calgary was designated as one of the cultural capitals of Canada in 2012.
While many Calgarians continue to live in the city's suburbs, more central districts such as 17 Avenue, Kensington, Inglewood, Forest Lawn, Marda Loop and the Mission District have become more popular and density in those areas has increased. The nightlife and the availability of cultural venues in these areas has gradually begun to evolve as a result.
The is the city's public library network, with 17 branches loaning books, e-books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, audio books, and more. Based on borrowing, the library is the second largest in Canada, and sixth-largest municipal library system in North America. A 240,000-square-foot (22,000 m2) central library is under construction in Calgary East Village, and is expected to be completed in 2018.
Calgary is the site of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium performing arts, culture and community facility. The auditorium is one of two "twin" facilities in the province, the other located in Edmonton, each being locally known as the "Jube". The 2,538-seat auditorium was opened in 1957 and has been host to hundreds of Broadway musical, theatrical, stage and local productions. The Calgary Jube is the resident home of the Alberta Ballet Company, the Calgary Opera, the Kiwanis Music Festival, and the annual civic Remembrance Day ceremonies. Both auditoriums operate 365 days a year, and are run by the provincial government. Both received major renovations as part of the province's centennial in 2005.
The Alberta Ballet is the third largest dance company in Canada. Under the artistic direction of Jean Grand-Maître, the Alberta Ballet is at the forefront both at home and internationally. The dance company has developed a distinctive repertoire and a high level of performance. Jean Grand-Maître has become well known for his successful collaborations with pop-artists like Joni Mitchell, Elton John, and Sarah McLachlan. The Alberta Ballet resides in the Nat Christie Centre.
The city is also home to a number of theatre companies; among them are One Yellow Rabbit, which shares the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts with theCalgary Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects and Theatre Junction Grand, culture house dedicated for the contemporary live arts. Calgary was also the birthplace of the improvisational theatre games known as Theatresports. The Calgary International Film Festival is also held in the city annually, as well as the International Festival of Animated Objects.
Every three years, Calgary hosts the Honens International Piano Competition(formally known as the Esther Honens International Piano Competition). The finalists of the competition perform piano concerti with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; the laureate is awarded a cash prize (currently $100,000.00 CDN, the largest cash award of any international piano competition), and a three-year career development program. The Honens is an integral component of the classical music scene in Calgary.
Visual and conceptual artists like the art collective United Congress are active in the city. There are a number of art galleries in the downtown along Stephen Avenue; the SoDo (South of Downtown) Design District; the 17 Avenue corridor; and the neighbourhood of Inglewood, including the Esker Foundation. Calgary is also home to the Alberta College of Art and Design.
A number of marching bands are based in Calgary. They include the Calgary Round-Up Band, the Calgary Stetson Show Band, the Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts, and the four-time World Association for Marching Show Bands champions, the Calgary Stampede Showband, as well as military bands including the Band of HMCS Tecumseh, the Regimental Band of the King's Own Calgary Regiment, and the Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders. There are many other civilian pipe bands in the city, notably the Calgary Police Service Pipe Band.
Calgary is also home to a choral music community, including a variety of amateur, community, and semi-professional groups. Some of the mainstays include the Mount Royal Choirs from the Mount Royal University Conservatory, the Calgary Boys' Choir, the Calgary Girls Choir, the Youth Singers of Calgary, the Cantaré Children's Choir, and Spiritus Chamber Choir.
Calgary hosts a number of annual festivals and events. These include the Calgary International Film Festival, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival, the Folk Music Festival, the Greek Festival, Carifest, Wordfest: Banff Calgary International Writers Festival, the Lilac Festival, GlobalFest, the Calgary Fringe Festival,Summerstock, Expo Latino, Calgary Pride, Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, and many other cultural and ethnic festivals. Calgary's best-known event is the Calgary Stampede, which has occurred each July since 1912. It is one of the largest festivals in Canada, with a 2005 attendance of 1,242,928 at the 10-day rodeo and exhibition.
Several museums are located in the city. The Glenbow Museum is the largest in western Canada and includes an art galleryand First Nations gallery.Other major museums include the Chinese Cultural Centre (at 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2), the largest stand-alone cultural centre in Canada), the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum (at Canada Olympic Park), The Military Museums, the Cantos Music Museum and the Aero Space Museum.
Numerous films have been shot in Calgary and area. Notable films shot in and around the city include: Assassination of Jesse James, Brokeback Mountain, Dances with Wolves, Doctor Zhivago, Inception, Legends of the Fall, and Unforgiven.
The Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun are the main newspapers in Calgary. Global, City, CTV and CBC television networks have local studios in the city.
Downtown features an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, cultural venues, public squares (including Olympic Plaza) and shopping. Notable shopping areas include such as The Core Shopping Centre (formerly Calgary Eaton Centre/TD Square), Stephen Avenue and Eau Claire Market. Downtown tourist attractions include the Calgary Zoo, the Telus Spark, theTelus Convention Centre, the Chinatown district, the Glenbow Museum, the Calgary Tower, the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC), Military Museum and the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts. At 2.5 acres (10,000 m2), the Devonian Gardens is one of the largest urban indoor gardens in the world, and it is located on the 4th floor of The Core Shopping Centre (above the shopping). The downtown region is also home to Prince's Island Park, an urban park located just north of the Eau Claire district. Directly to the south of downtown is Midtown and the Beltline. This area is quickly becoming one of the city's densest and most active mixed use areas.At the district's core is the popular 17 Avenue, known for its many bars and nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping venues. During the Calgary Flames' playoff run in 2004, 17 Avenue was frequented by over 50,000 fans and supporters per game night. The concentration of red jersey-wearing fans led to the street's playoff moniker, the "Red Mile". Downtown is easily accessed using the city's C-Train light rail (LRT)transit system.
Attractions on the west side of the city include the Heritage Park Historical Village historical park, depicting life in pre-1914 Alberta and featuring working historic vehicles such as asteam train, paddle steamer and electric streetcar. The village itself comprises a mixture of replica buildings and historic structures relocated from southern Alberta. Other major city attractions include Canada Olympic Park, which features Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, andSpruce Meadows. In addition to the many shopping areas in the city centre, there are a number of large suburban shopping complexes in the city. Among the largest are Chinook Centre and Southcentre Mall in the south, Westhills and Signal Hill in the southwest, South Trail Crossing and Deerfoot Meadows in the southeast, Market Mall in the northwest,Sunridge Mall in the northeast, and the newly built CrossIron Mills just north of the Calgary city limits, and south of the City of Airdrie.
Downtown can be recognized by its numerous skyscrapers. Some of these structures, such as the Calgary Tower and the Scotiabank Saddledome are unique enough to be symbols of Calgary. Office buildings tend to concentrate within the commercial core, while residential towers occur most frequently within the Downtown West End and the Beltline, south of downtown. These buildings are iconographic of the city's booms and busts, and it is easy to recognize the various phases of development that have shaped the image of downtown. The first skyscraper building boom occurred during the late 1950s and continued through to the 1970s. After 1980, during the recession, many high-rise construction projects were immediately halted. It was not until the late 1980s and through to the early 1990s that major construction began again, initiated by the 1988 Winter Olympics and stimulated by the growing economy.
In total, there are 14 office towers that are at least 150 m (490 ft) (usually around 40 floors) or higher. The tallest of these isThe Bow (Encana headquarters), which is the tallest office tower in Canada outside Toronto. Calgary's Bankers HallTowers are also the tallest twin towers in Canada. As of 2008, there were 264 completed high-rise buildings, with 42 more under construction, another 13 approved for construction and 63 more proposed.
To connect many of the downtown office buildings, the city also boasts the world's most extensive skyway network (elevated indoor pedestrian bridges), officially called the +15. The name derives from the fact that the bridges are usually 15 ft (4.6 m) above grade.
In large part due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary has traditionally been a popular destination for winter sports. Since hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, the city has also been home to a number of major winter sporting facilities such as Canada Olympic Park (bobsleigh, luge, cross-country skiing, ski jumping,downhill skiing, snowboarding, and some summer sports) and the Olympic Oval(speed skating and hockey). These facilities serve as the primary training venues for a number of competitive athletes. Also, Canada Olympic Park serves as a mountain biking trail in the summer months.
In the summer, the Bow River is very popular among fly-fishermen. Golfing is also an extremely popular activity for Calgarians and the region has a large number of courses.
Calgary hosted the 2009 World Water Ski Championship Festival in August, at the Predator Bay Water Ski Club, approximately 40 km (25 mi) south of the city.
As part of the wider Battle of Alberta, the city's sports teams enjoy a popular rivalry with their Edmonton counterparts, most notably the rivalries between the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, and the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos.
The city also has a large number of urban parks including Fish Creek Provincial Park, Nose Hill Park, Bowness Park, Edworthy Park, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary,Confederation Park, and Prince's Island Park. Nose Hill Park is the largest municipal park in Canada. Connecting these parks and most of the city's neighbourhoods is one of the most extensive multi-use (walking, bike, rollerblading, etc.) path systemsin North America.
Calgary is renowned in professional wrestling tradition as both the home-city of the prominent Hart wrestling family and the location of the infamous Hart family "Dungeon", wherein WWE Hall of Fame member and patriarch of the Hart Family, Stu Hart, trained numerous professional wrestlers including "Superstar" Billy Graham, Brian Pillman, the British Bulldogs,Edge, Christian, Greg Valentine, Chris Jericho, Jushin Thunder Liger and many more. Also among the trainees were the Hart family members themselves, including WWE Hall of Fame member and former WWE champion Bret Hart and his brother, the 1994 WWF King of the Ring, Owen Hart.
In the 2011-2012 school year, 100,632 K-12 students enrolled in 221 schools in the English language public school system run by the Calgary Board of Education. With other students enrolled in the associated CBe-learn and Chinook Learning Service programs, the school system's total enrollment is 104,182 students. Another 43,000 attend about 95 schools in the separate English language Calgary Catholic School District board. The much smaller Francophone community has their own French language school boards (public and Catholic), which are both based in Calgary, but serve a larger regional district. There are also several publiccharter schools in the city. Calgary has a number of unique schools, including the country's first high school exclusively designed for Olympic-calibre athletes, theNational Sport School. Calgary is also home to many private schools including Mountain View Academy, Rundle College,Rundle Academy, Clear Water Academy, Calgary French and International School, Chinook Winds Adventist Academy,Webber Academy, Delta West Academy, Masters Academy, Calgary Islamic School, Menno Simons Christian School, West Island College and Edge School.
Calgary is also home to what was Western Canada's largest public high school, Lord Beaverbrook High School, with 2,241 students enrolled in the 2005–2006 school year. Currently the student population of Lord Beaverbrook is 1,812 students (September 2012) and several other schools are equally as large; Western Canada High School with 2035 students (2009) and Sir Winston Churchill High School with 1983 students (2009).
The publicly-funded University of Calgary (U of C) is Calgary's largest degree-granting facility with an enrolment of 28,464 students in 2011. Mount Royal University, with 13,000 students, grants degrees in a number of fields. SAIT Polytechnic, with over 14,000 students, provides polytechnic and apprentice education, granting certificates, diplomas and applied degrees. Athabasca University provides distance education programs.
Other publicly-funded post-secondary institutions based in Calgary include the Alberta College of Art and Design, Ambrose University College (associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the Church of the Nazarene), Bow Valley College, Mount Royal University, SAIT Polytechnic, St. Mary's University College and the U of C. The publicly fundedAthabasca University, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), and the University of Lethbridge also have campuses in Calgary.
Several independent private institutions are located in the city. This includes Reeves College, Robertson College, Columbia College, and CDI College. DeVry Institute of Technology announced its Calgary campus operations close on June 30, 2013.