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38 Fun & Interesting Facts About Calgary

I’m heading to Calgary permanently – so before I moved I wanted to learn some fun and interesting facts about the city.

Here are 38 interesting facts about Calgary I’ve discovered.

  • Calgary is referred to as Cowtown by some and it still has the Wild West image.
  • The Calgary Stampede, an annual 10 day event (starting this year on Friday, July 6th) bills itself as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” It features the world’s largest rodeo, concerts, a midway, First Nations exhibits, chuckwagon racing, agricultural competitions, stage shows and a parade. Good luck finding somewhere to stay – as it attracts over one million visitors.
  • It’s a youthful city and full of energy. The average age is 35.7 years.
  • Nearly 25% of Calgarians are foreign born; my physician friend backs this up saying she sees great diversity in her patients.
  • More than 120 languages are spoken in the city.
"Calgary at dawn on a winter day"

Calgary at dawn on a winter day

  • According to Forbes.com, Calgary is the cleanest city in the world!
  • Calgary has a young (39 years old), Muslim mayor – Naheed Nenshi. He is the first Muslim to become a mayor of a major Canadian city. He won 28,000 more votes than his second place rival.
  • The Calgary region is home to more than 1.3 million people.
  • There are more volunteers per capita than any other Canadian city.
"Buffalo sculpture in downtown Calgary"

Buffalo sculpture in downtown Calgary

  • Calgary sits at 1048 meters (3,438 feet) above sea level.
  • The sun shines on average of 2,300 hours a year. It’s Canada’s sunniest major city.
  • A Chinook in Calgary (a warm wind) can raise the temperature by as much as 15C and in a few hours you can go from parkas to shortsleeves.
  • The average rainfall per year is 12.6 inches and the average snowfall is 50 inches. This year the extra spring rain has produced a bumper crop of mosquitoes. Not so nice. And there’s no spraying permitted either.
  • The coldest temperature ever recorded was -45 C (-49F) in February, 1893. The warmest day ever recorded was 36.1C (97F) in July, 1919.
  • June gets the most rain of any month on average. January is the coldest month. Usually. It was bloody cold when I was there this past year in February and March.
  • There are normally 115 consecutive frost free days – from May 23 to September 15th.
  • The temperature reaches 20C or better 85 days of the year.
  • There are 88 days of the year on average with snow on the ground.
  • On average 36 days of the year have winds greater than 52 kms per hour. The windiest days occur in December and January – that’s why you get windchills down in the -40C range…or worse.
  • Look for thunderstorms on 22 days of the year. Hailstorms are a regular occurrence too.
"Downtown sculpture - looks like antlers to me"

Downtown sculpture – looks like antlers to me

  • On the summer solstice, the sun rises at 5:21 am and sets at 9:55 pm. On the winter solstice, the sun rises at 8:37am and sets at 4:31pm.
  • In 1873 John Glenn became the first recorded settler in the Calgary area. In 1884, with a population of 4000, Calgary was officially proclaimed a city.
  • The city was ranked #28 in the world in 2010 in the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. It was ranked number one in the world on an eco basis – based on water availability and drinkability, quality of sewage systems, air pollution, waste removal and traffic congestion.
"Sitting Eagle aka John Hunter"

Sitting Eagle aka John Hunter

  • According to my realtor, Calgary is the mortgage fraud capital of Canada.
  • Calgary has the greatest number of millionaires per capita of any city in Canada.
  • There is no provincial sales tax in Calgary – or Alberta for that matter, so you only pay 5% tax on Goods and Services.
  • You can walk 18 kms (11 miles) in downtown Calgary without having to go outside! The Plus 15 , a feature unique to Calgary, is an inside walkway that connects 100 buildings with 6o suspended bridges 15 feet above the ground.
  • Calgary has two professional sports teams – the Calgary Flames (NHL hockey) and the Calgary Stampeders (CFL football).
  • There are four major post secondary institutions – The University of Calgary, Mount Royal College, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Alberta College of Art and Design.
"Calgary at dusk"

Calgary at dusk in June – about 10:15pm

  • In 1988 Calgary hosted Canada’s first Winter Olympic games. As a result there’s an Olympic oval for long and short track speed skating. And it’s open to the public.
  • There is an amazing network of bike trails. In total there are 550 kms of pathways and 260 kms of on street bikeways.
  • At the Canada Olympic Park you can try a bobsleigh or luge ride, and ski of course.
  • The Calgary Zoo is rated the third best in North America.
  • Banff National Park is only 90 minutes west of Calgary; Waterton Lakes National Park is a three hour drive south of Calgary on the Alberta-Montana border.
  • Over 260 bird species have been recorded at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.
  • There are dozens – yes dozens, of theater companies in Calgary.
  • Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centered on the petroleum industry though high tech, agriculture and tourism also contribute to the economic growth.
  • The Bow River is one of the top three trout streams in the world. Anglers come from all over the world in the hopes of landing brown trout longer than two feet. The Lower Bow River running through Calgary is reportedly host to 2500 fish per mile and the average size of fish caught is 17-22 inches.

Do you have any more fun and interesting facts about Calgary you’d like to share?

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Leigh McAdam


Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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