In Calgary Today…
I spent the day in Calgary today and went to the Winter Olympic training center where the 1988 Olympics were held. It was pretty cool to get up-close to the various venues, e.g. the ski jumps, bobsleigh, etc. In the summer months the park is used for mountain biking, zip lines and a host of seasonal kid activities.
I happen to be in Calgary during a very busy week…the week of “Stampede!”(That’s “Rodeo” for you City Folk).”
The Stampede actually becomes its own city and ends up being the third largest in Alberta during the event, with 120,000 daily visitors. Stampede Park features most everything you would see in a city: restaurants, cafes, medical services, a police detachment, security force, logistics team, recycling plant, shopping centers, nightclubs, etc.
The city of Calgary stands at the base of the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The skyscrapers rise out of older suburban neighborhoods and seem oddly superimposed in this breathtakingly diverse western landscape.
The oil that lies beneath Calgary drives the city’s vibrant economy; the nearby mountains attract legions of skiers and other enthusiasts during the chilly winters; and, during balmy summers you’ll see lots of backpackers, bike riders and fisherman.
As well as being the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary also grew into a tourist destination in its own right. Visitors flocked to take in the city’s burgeoning cowboy culture, expressed every year in the Calgary Stampede (held formally for the first time in 1912).
The Rocky Mountains and, in particular, Banff National Park, attracted thousands more who were drawn by the parks stunning alpine beauty and its famous hotel. As the popularity of winter leisure sports (such as downhill skiing and bobsleighing) increased, so did Calgary’s own popularity, all culminating in the city’s hosting of the XV Olympic Winter Games in 1988.