Cowtown. Stampede City. C-Town. Heart of the New West. Whatever you know it as, Calgary is a world-class city nestled into the Canadian Rockies in Alberta. Calgary's year-round outdoor recreation promotes an active lifestyle. The city's vibrant nightlife, ranching and oil drilling history, and rich arts scene are just the beginning of everything there is to find here. If you'd like to learn more about this city's many fascinating and complex aspects, here are some fun and little-known facts about Calgary.
The Calgary Stampede Is the World's Largest Rodeo
Billing itself as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," the Calgary Stampede sets the bar very, very high. The claim is not unfounded, though—the festival was established in 1912 and runs for a full 10 days, drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees and participants from all over the world.
The stampede dates back even further than becoming officially established. In the 1880s, it began as a traditional farmers' fair and market, a place for local ranchers and farmers to network. Over time, it grew and grew into the massive rodeo and festival it is today.
In addition to traditional rodeo events like barrel racing and bull riding, the Calgary Stampede also includes a parade, chuckwagon derby, dog bowl, concerts, animal demonstrations, carnival-style Midway games, and more. It's no wonder that the Stampede is one of Calgary's most popular attractions. The stampede is always held in July, and advance tickets typically go on sale in June.
Calgary Has an Enclosed Walkway That Extends 18 Kilometres
In the winter months, it's not at all uncommon for the daily high temperature in Calgary to be in the single digits. That can pose a host of various challenges, but thankfully, the city has a unique and complex network of enclosed aerial walkways called Plus 15 (also commonly referred to as "the Skywalk" and written out as "+15"). It's not just any enclosed aerial walkway, either; it's the longest climate-controlled, elevated, and enclosed pedestrian walkway in the world.
The Skywalk spans much of the Downtown Calgary community. Sixty individual bridges are suspended about 15 feet in the air—hence the name—connecting more than 100 buildings and counting in the downtown core. It isn't just any type of business included in the Plus 15; restaurants, cafés, department stores, Calgary condos, offices, and even theatres are all accessible along the skywalk.
Interactive touchscreens inside provide directions. The system is extensive enough to become multi-level in some places, with higher levels sometimes referred to as "+30s" and "+45s."
Ginger Beef Was Invented in Calgary
One of the most interesting (and often, little-known) things about Calgary is that it's an incredible food city. As something of a "melting pot" with significant cultural influences from all over the world represented among Calgary's most popular restaurants, there is really no one type of food that Calgary is known for; rather, it's known for being one of the best places to find exceptionally flavorful, complex, and unique dishes.
Ginger beef is one such dish. For anyone unfamiliar with ginger beef, prepare to be delighted. The Canadian-Chinese dish originates right here in Calgary, combining sweet ginger and sauce with savoury beef. It's often described as an "in your face" type of flavour, with copious amounts of both ginger and fresh garlic in the sauce.
Ginger beef is believed to have been invented by a Chinese chef at the still-open Silver Inn Restaurant in the 1970s. Today, the dish is so popular that people try to recreate it in their own Calgary luxury home kitchens, and it's exceedingly rare to find a Chinese restaurant that doesn't have its own version of ginger beef on the menu—not just in Calgary, but throughout all of Canada!
Calgary's Wind Is Known as a Chinook
A Chinook is most commonly known as a salmon species native to the northern Pacific. In Calgary, however, "a Chinook" is the term used for the region's signature warm, dry winds, appearing particularly toward the end of winter and into early spring. The unique weather phenomenon creates notably warm gusts of wind, even when the temperature outside is freezing, and there's a blanket of snow on the ground.
Chinook winds in Calgary are down-sloping winds that commonly occur where the Great Plains and prairie land meet soaring mountain ranges, such as the Canadian Rockies. Bow Valley, just west of the city, acts almost like a natural wind funnel and is the most frequent site of the Chinook.
Early settlers in this region were the Chinook people who spoke the Chinookan language, where the winds' name comes from. Local Blackfoot Indian tribes also refer to the warm Chinook winds as "Snow Eaters" because of their incredible ability to make heaps of snow disappear quickly.
Discover More About Calgary Today
It's clear from these fun facts about Calgary that the city holds many interesting secrets and hidden gems. A long, rich history rooted in agriculture, an extremely pedestrian-friendly downtown, an innovative food scene, and even weather systems of its own—there's a lot to love about Calgary.
Keep in mind, however, that these facts barely begin to scratch the surface. Take the time to visit and delve deeper into Calgary's unique character. You might just fall in love with this city and choose to stay.
If you're interested in Calgary real estate, contact Justin Havre & Associates of RE/MAX First with Calgary Homes at (403) 217-0003 to get in touch with a local real estate agent who can help you find your Calgary dream home today.