|Calgary: Statisical Summary|
|Population (City):||988 193 (2006c); 879 003 A (2001c)|
|Population (CMA):||1 079 310 (2006c); 951 494 A (2001c)|
|Rate of Increase (City):||12.4% (2001-2006); 14.4% (1996-2001)*|
|Rate of Increase (CMA):||13.4% (2001-2006); 15.8% (1996-2001)*|
|Rank in Canada (by CMA in 2006):||Fifth|
|Year of Incorporation (City):||1893|
|Land Area:||(City) 726.50 km2; (CMA) 5107.43 km2|
|Average Daily Temperature July:||16.2ºC|
|Average Daily Temperature January:||-8.9ºC|
|Yearly Precipitation:||412.6 mm|
|Hours of Sunshine Per Hours of Sunshine Per Year:||2405.3|
|*Based on 2001 boundaries|
The earliest indications of human settlement in the Calgary area, dating back some 12 000 years, consist of spearpoints found in ploughed fields east of the city. This period coincided with the end of the last ICE AGE when glaciers from the Canadian Shield receded from the valley of the Bow River. The successive cycle of nomadic hunting peoples over the next 10 000 years included at least 3 dominant cultures. The last, some 2000 years ago, brought the BLACKFOOT from the eastern woodlands.
Among later arrivals were the SARCEE, who came from the north in the 1700s, and still later the STONEY from the Manitoba area. Archaeological evidence of prehistoric peoples is confined mainly to campsites and BISON kills. Fireplaces, storage pits and tipi rings date back more than 4000 years. Sites depicting religious customs also exist in the form of fieldstone medicine wheels, cairns and effigies, while a pictograph panel can be seen on the Big Rock near OKOTOKS, south of Calgary.
The westward movement of the FUR TRADE brought the first Europeans to the area in the late 18th century. David THOMPSON, then of the North West Company, wintered near Calgary (1787), and Peter FIDLER of the same company skirted the Calgary region (1792). In the late 1860s bison hunters from the United States appeared in increasing numbers, joined by illicit-whisky traders who erected a network of fortified posts in southern Alberta from which they sold vile alcoholic concoctions to the native peoples in return for bison robes. One such post was located in the Calgary area near the present-day Glenmore Reservoir.
The whisky traders' activities in part led to the formation of the NORTH-WEST MOUNTED POLICE by the federal government (1873). Their second post was established at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers in 1875, and was named FORT CALGARY in 1876. (The word Calgary, of Gaelic origin, means "bay farm" or possibly "Kali's garden.")
The railway reached Fort Calgary in 1883 and the Canadian Pacific Railway (now CP Rail) subsequently laid out its Calgary townsite west of the Elbow and south of the Bow rivers. Calgary was incorporated in 1884 as the first town in what is now the province of Alberta, receiving city status in 1894.
Calgary's economic growth was closely associated with the development of the RANCHING industry, and with the city's focal position as the chief transportation centre in Alberta. Before 1906 the open-range cattle industry was dominant and Calgary effected its influence commercially, industrially and socially. The city's first millionaire, Pat BURNS, built up the largest integrated meat business in Canada. The beef cattle industry, especially following the crippling winter of 1906-07, contributed a volatile element to Calgary's urban development, despite the boosters who continually referred to the city as a thriving cattle town.
The opening of southern Alberta to cash crop farming in the early 1900s brought rapid growth in Calgary, which increased its population by more than 1000% from 1901 to 1911. Rails stretching in all directions solidified the city's position as the prime distributing centre for south-central and southern Alberta. After 1912 Calgary's development slowed along with that of rural Alberta, appreciably so after the end of the immigration boom and the onset of World War I.
A third and most crucial element in Calgary's economic development has been the oil and natural gas industries. Beginning with the first strike in 1914 at TURNER VALLEY, a few kilometres southwest of Calgary, local entrepreneurs such as William S. Herron, Archibald W. Dingman and Robert A. Brown continually promoted Calgary's future as a major oil centre. Alberta's first oil refinery opened in Calgary (1923). Subsequent important discoveries at Turner Valley (1924, 1936) established Calgary's pre-eminence in Canada's oil and natural gas industries. When the lid was eventually lifted off western Canada's vast oil reserves at LEDUC in 1947, Calgary stood ready to reap the rewards.
The city's subsequent phenomenal growth from an urban expression of southern Alberta to a metropolis of international status is a direct offshoot of its diversifying economy and its increasingly cosmopolitan population base. Another aspect of Calgary's development has been a continuation of a long-standing and intense rivalry with EDMONTON. The 2 Alberta cities have competed keenly at every level, and have produced one of Canada's most identifiable urban rivalries.
The Bow River valley forms the main topographical feature of the city. Three smaller streams, the Elbow River, Nose Creek and Fish Creek, flow through the city into the Bow, creating a configuration of valleys and bluffs. The placement of railways has also affected spatial growth patterns. The main business section is compressed between the Bow River and the CP Rail main line.
Residential development has tended to follow the river valleys, originally along the Elbow, and more recently along the Bow to the northwest and southeast. Other influencing factors include the University of Calgary and the International Airport to the north, and the Glenmore Reservoir, Tsuu T'ina Indian Reserve and Fish Creek Provincial Park to the south. Manufacturing districts are located to the east, in the railway suburbs of Ogden, and in zoned areas along the railways.
Formal planning began in 1911 when an English town planner, Thomas Mawson, was commissioned to prepare a comprehensive scheme. Though his extravagant proposals (1914) were never implemented, his ideas have surfaced periodically in civic planning initiatives. A zoning bylaw was instituted in 1934 and a planning department established in 1950. In 1963 the city adopted its first general plan for controlling future development (revised 1970, 1973). The Alberta Planning Act (1977) directed Calgary to adopt a more regional approach to planning. The current Calgary Plan is a comprehensive document. Its broad scope not only addresses land use, development and transportation, but also matters related to environmental health, economic vitality and social well-being.
Calgary has witnessed steady population growth since World War II, showing only minor decreases in 1983 and 1984 due to the collapse in oil prices. Since the late 20th century, net migration into the city has exceeded natural increase in 1990 and since 1996. During this time Calgary's predominantly Anglo-Saxon population has been steadily falling as a proportion of the overall population, as has those who indicate that English is their mother tongue. Although still relatively young, the city's population is aging. Its median age does continue to be younger than the national average.
Economy and Labour Force
Calgary's economy has historically been associated with commerce and distribution. Its more recent emergence as a world energy and financial centre is reflected in its high-ranking national position in the location of head offices, including those of TRANSCANADA PIPELINES, PETRO-CANADA and Suncor Energy Inc. The workforce, therefore, shows a heavy orientation toward the professional, management and commercial sectors.
"Blue collar" occupations have traditionally been dominated by the building, railway and oil supply trades. Manufacturing has diversified from products for the agricultural, oil and natural gas industries to include products from the food, machinery, furniture, chemicals, fabricated metal, motion picture making and high-technology sectors. In 2003, the Wireless City project gave added impetus to the city's growing role as a wireless technology leader and innovator. Calgary Technologies Inc, a joint enterprise among the city, its Chamber of Commerce and the University of Calgary, manages the University Research Park in northwest Calgary.
Calgary has been one of Canada's fastest-growing and most prosperous cities. Since the 1980s, however, it has remained heavily economically dependent on a single, high-risk industry. It suffered accordingly in the recessions in the oil industry in the mid-and late 1980s and in the early 1990s. Most of the nation's oil and natural gas producers and many of the nation's coal companies are headquartered in Calgary.
CP Rail has world-class freight classification yards at Alyth and major repair facilities at Ogden. Canadian National Railways has container and intermodal services in its Sarcee yards. Calgary's international airport is one of the largest and busiest in Canada. The city's municipal transportation system consists of motor buses supplemented by a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.
Government and Politics
The government of the city has been conducted under powers originally granted by the North-West Territories and later (1905) by the Government of Alberta, most recently through the Municipal Government Act (1968). Before 1909 civic business was conducted almost entirely by council alone. Until 1999 the system of a council and board of commissioners was in operation in one form or another. This system was replaced with a single chief administrative officer, now known as the city manager, and an executive team to oversee city operations and ensure that council's decisions, policies and programs are executed. The mayor and council members (representing the city's wards) fill 3-year terms.
The municipal franchise was reformed to exclude plural voting (1913) and property restrictions (1915). A preferential system of voting was initiated in 1916 and continued until 1958.
Cultural and recreational facilities have reflected Calgary's recent growth. Educationally the city is served by the UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY, Mount Royal College, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Bow Valley College, Alberta College of Art and Design and several other private post-secondary institutions.
Major cultural facilities include the GLENBOW MUSEUM, Fort Calgary Interpretive Centre, Calgary Science Centre and Heritage Park Historical Village. The EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts is home to the CALGARY PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA and 3 professional theatre companies: Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Calgary and One Yellow Rabbit. The centre includes the 1800-seat Jack Singer Concert Hall. Calgary also has a professional opera company, CALGARY OPERA and is home to Alberta Ballet. The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre is patterned after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China, and is located in the city's Chinatown.
Calgary features several major cultural attractions and festivals throughout the year, including the Afrikadey! (African Festival), Jazz Festival, GlobalFest and the Calgary Folk Music Festival. The Honens International Piano Competition attracts performers from around the world, while the Calgary International Children's Festival is a cultural journey for the young.
The greatest concentration of enclosed spectator and exhibition facilities is in Stampede Park, the home of the world-famous CALGARY STAMPEDE. Also, the nearby Pengrowth Saddledome, built for the 1988 Winter OLYMPICS, is home to the CALGARY FLAMES of the National Hockey League. The city's other professional sports teams are the CALGARY STAMPEDERS of the Canadian Football League, the Calgary Vipers, a baseball team of the Northern League, and the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League.
Canada Olympic Park features world-class ski jumping, bobsled and luge facilities. The enclosed 400 m Olympic Oval on the University of Calgary campus is one of the world's best speed-skating venues. Spruce Meadows is an internationally known equestrian show-jumping centre.
Calgary boasts the second largest ZOO in Canada, which includes a prehistoric park. There are 2 large urban parks, Fish Creek Provincial Park and Nose Hill Park. Another attraction is Devonian Gardens, a 1.25 ha indoor garden in the heart of the downtown area. Heritage issues are monitored by the Calgary Heritage Authority, which advises city council and promotes the restoration of heritage buildings within the city. In 2002 Stephen Avenue, formerly 8th Avenue, was designated a national historic district.
Calgary has developed lifestyle amenities consistent with its status as a winter city. Its Plus 15 System is a network of enclosed walkways to most of the downtown buildings. More than 16 km of walkways and 57 bridges facilitate comfortable year-round movement for pedestrians and shoppers. The city is also encircled by 500 km of maintained pathways, ski trails and bikeways that enhance a sense of "the great outdoors," and which enable quality recreational activities regardless of location.
Author MAX L. FORAN
R.P. Baine, Calgary: An Urban Study (1973); B.M. Barr, ed., Calgary, Metropolitan Structure and Influence (1975); Hugh A. Dempsey, Calgary Spirit of the West: A History (1994); Max L. Foran, Calgary, An Illustrated History (1978) and Citymakers: Calgarians After the Frontier (1987); Jean Leslie, Glimpses of Calgary Past (1994); J.W. Grant MacEwan, Calgary Cavalcade (1975); Donald B. Smith, Centennial City: Calgary 1894-1994 (1994) and Calgary's Grand Story: The Making of a Prairie Metropolis from the Viewpoint of Two Heritage Buildings (2005); Fred Stenson, The Story of Calgary (1994); Tom Ward, Cow Town: An Album of Early Calgary (1975).
Links to Other Sites
The official website for the City of Calgary, Alberta. Check out the "City Visitors" link for things to do and places to go in this dynamic prairie city.
International Olympic Committee
A great resource for information about all Olympic sports, events, competitors, and programs. Click on the "Olympic Games" tab at the top of the home page for news about furture games and data from previous events.
The Military Museums
Official website of The Military Museums in Calgary. Click on "Visit" then "Explore" to view photos of display areas representing various eras in Canadian military history.
The official web site of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Includes selected digitized images from their art, community history, military history, and Native North America collections, primarily focusing on the history of Alberta.
The official website for the Calgary Stampede, the world-renowned annual event that celebrates western heritage and traditions.
The official website of the Calgary Tower, the city's most famous and identifiable physical landmark.
Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts
The website for the EpcorCentre for Performing Arts, located in the heart of Calgary's Olympic Plaza Cultural District. Features the latest news about programs and events at this multifaceted cultural facility.
Alberta Theatre Projects
The website for Alberta Theatre Projects, one of the largest theatre companies in Canada.
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
The website for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, the first publicly funded technical institute in Canada (established in 1916). Check out their current technical training and applied degree programs.
Alberta Economic History
This interactive "tutorial" offers an overview of the economic history of southern Alberta. From the University of Calgary.
Geographical Names of Canada
Search the "Canadian Geographical Names Data Base" for the official name of a city, town, lake (or any other geographical feature) in any province or territory in Canada. See also the real story of how Toronto got its name. A Natural Resources Canada website.
Fort Calgary Historic Park
This brief history of Fort Calgary is part of the Applied History Research Group website from the University of Calgary.
Community Heritage and Family History
View Calgary's history as depicted in the "Postcards from the Past" exhibit and other digital archives at the The Calgary Public Library website.
Water Valley Community Association
The website for the Water Valley Community Association. Offers information about local organizations and events, including the popular Water Valley Celtic Festival.
The website for the Calgary Opera. Features their current concert schedule, news about educational programs, podcasts, and more.
An extensive information source about the geological history, human settlement patterns, earth and water resources, and natural hazards found in locations across the country. Click on the red symbols on the interactive map of Canada to explore aerial landscapes, maps, photos, colourful online posters, and more. A Geoscape Canada website from Natural Resources Canada.
Check out the latest news and other online features from the "Calgary Herald" newspaper. A CanWest Global Communications Corp. website.
This nicely illustrated “Travel Alberta” website is a complete guide to planning an Alberta vacation. Offers a searchable directory of accommodations, recreational and cultural opportunities, and much more.
Atlas of Alberta Railways
Climb aboard the "Atlas of Alberta Railways" website for a fascinating multimedia tour of Alberta history. This site will take you to a great collection of fascinating maps, old newspaper articles, scenic photographs, charts, graphs, and much more. From the University of Alberta Press.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.
The HeRMIS website provides access to the Provincial Archives’ described records, selected photographs, archival films, and the library database. From the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
Check out the Theatre Calgary website for this season's performance dates and times, special events, school programs, a profile of the current artistic director, and more. Also lists the many outstanding plays staged by previous artistic directors.
Intelligent Community Forum
The website for the Intelligent Community Forum, a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Click on "Intelligent Communities" at the top of the page for profiles of technologically advanced cities in Canada and around the world.
Rooms with a View
An article about the design of a residential structure in the Bankview neighbourhood of Calgary. Lesley Beale and Jeremy Sturgess are the architects and residents of this project. From the magazine Canadian Architect.
A review of exemplary building projects designed by the Calgary design firm Sturgess Architecture. Includes the elegant Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel in Japan, the Connaught Gardens residential project in Calgary, and the Banff Town Hall, a community landmark. Click on the links for more information and images of each project. From the Architecture.CA website.
An online presentation about the sustainable design features of Calgary's Water Centre. From the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. A PDF file.
Features a detailed overview of the Water Centre, the City of Calgary's largest green building initiative. Designed by Manasc Isaac Architects Ltd and Sturgess Architecture.
Manasc Isaac Architects
The website for Manasc Isaac Architects. Features a multimedia gallery of their projects.
Profiles of AlbertaFirst member communities provide important business, economic and lifestyle information to compliment the statistical information available for all communities.
An article about the backstage history of Theatre Calgary, the city’s oldest professional theatre company. From the Calgary Herald newspaper.
Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives
Check out the digitized archival images of Canadian cities and more at this website for the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives.
Cantos Music Foundation
The website for the Cantos Music Foundation. Check out the Cantos Music Collection, public and educational programming, and the latest news on the Cantos' National Music Centre project.
The website for the acclaimed Alberta Ballet. Features news and videos about the current season, biographies, school programs, and more.
The website for Jane’s Walk, a network of free walking tours that explore the quality and livability of local neighbourhoods based on ideas espoused by Jane Jacobs. Click on "The Community" to access the latest news and photos on their blog and more. Also, check out "Find Your Walk" for maps and descriptions of local walks throughout the country.
PASSAGES TO CANADA: Tu Nguyen
Symbolic of many Vietnamese boat people who escaped the communist government in the 1980s, Tu Nguyen talks about building a new life in his adopted home of Calgary. From "Passages to Canada" at the Historica-Dominion Institute website.
Something You Might Not Know About Canada: Trout Fishing
Actor Manoj Sood reveals the origins of the brown trout population in Calgary's Bow River. From Strombo.com.
Bow River Basin Council
The website for an organization dedicated to the improvement and protection of the waters of the Bow River Basin. Provides publications, photos, and maps of the region.