Set in the province of Alberta with a Wild West image, Calgary is often referred to as “Cowtown”. The city is favorably positioned at the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, providing gushing waterfalls, snow capped peaks, and glassy mirror-like lakes, all within close range. This serves as a wildlife haven for plenty of furry friends including mountain goats, brown bears, moose, and the odd eagle resting on a power pole. Calgary is a youthful city full of energy, with an average age of 35.7. The backbone of the city has been largely shaped by its erstwhile beginnings in agriculture and ranching. There are plenty of old-fashioned highlights that have remained as focal components of its twenty-first century profile. Famous for its blue skies, this is Canada’s sunniest major city, allowing residents to make the most of the staggering outdoors.
Historic landmarks, umpteen theatre companies and an abundance of green spaces give way to a perfect balance. An absorbing urban charge married with spellbinding scenery haloes the city. Calgary Tower is probably the most famous and identifiable physical landmark, and a must on any traveler’s itinerary. Across from the Tower is Glenbow Museum, one of the largest museums in Canada. Strewn across town there are four major post secondary institutions, including the University of Calgary. Navigating your way around is easy with an amazing network of bike trails guiding you through the most scenic routes.
Nearly twenty-five percent of Calgarians are foreign born, opening up the doors for great social integration and a level playing field for all. Given its youthful inhabitants and their forward thinking approach, it’s not hard to understand why Calgary is a popular gay residence and enjoyed by umpteen LGBT tourists that congregate here every year for Pride Parade. The official closing party hosts famous faces and hypnotic performances from major artists.
Another annual event that brings in one million visitors is the “Calgary Stampede”. The rodeo was established in 1912 in order to attract some of the best cowboys in Northern America; it continues to do so today with a prize poll of one million US dollars. Hailed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, it features an internationally recognized rodeo competition as well as stage shows, concerts, Chuckwagon races, First Nations exhibits, a parade, and ambrosial pancake breakfasts around the city. This is more than just a rodeo; a carnival atmosphere pervades the air as the smell of street cooking wafts through the party.
Calgary is alive and kicking with gay-friendly nightspots raising their head in every neck of the woods. “Flames Central” is the perfect venue for sports fans. Supersized television screens are positioned in front of comfortable booth seating, all in the warm quilt of a recently restored historic building. “The Texas Lounge” is another interesting proposition. Attached to “Goliath’s Bathhouse”, this is a basement bar with great karaoke and a welcoming environment. Its next-door neighbors are conveniently attached with a communal entrance. However be aware that the “no sex in the hot-tub” policy is not so well enforced. Approach with caution, this venue is best frequented in pairs.