Welcome To Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is the largest city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, approximately 80 kilometers (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. Calgary is the third largest civic municipality, by population, in Canada. As of the 2007 civic census, Calgary's population was 1,019,942. The metropolitan population (CMA) was 1,079,310 in 2006, making Greater Calgary the fifth largest census metropolitan area in the country. Because it is located 300 kilometers (185 mi) due south of Edmonton, statisticians define the narrow populated region between these cities as the "Calgary-Edmonton Corridor". It is the largest Canadian metropolitan area between Toronto and Vancouver.
A resident of Calgary is known as a Calgarian.
Calgary is well-known as a destination for winter sports and ecotourism with a number of major mountain resorts near the city and metropolitan area. Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centered on the petroleum industry; however, agriculture, tourism, and high-tech industries also contribute to the city's fast economic growth. Calgary holds many major annual festivals which include the Calgary Stampede, the Folk Music Festival, the Lilac Festival, One Yellow Rabbit High Performance Rodeo — Calgary's International Festival of the Arts, Wordfest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival, One World Festival (GlobalFest), and the second largest Caribbean festival in the country (Carifest). In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games, and one of the fastest ice skating rinks in the world was built at the University of Calgary to accommodate these games.
Despite the importance of the oil industry to its economic success, Calgary was ranked the world's cleanest city by Mercer Quality of Living in a survey published in 2007 by Forbes magazine.
Before the Calgary area was settled by Europeans, it was inhabited by Pre-Clovis people whose presence has been traced back at least 11,000 years. In 1787 cartographer David Thompson spent the winter with a band of Peigan encamped along the Bow River. He was the first recorded European to visit the area, and John Glenn was the first documented European settler in the Calgary area, in 1873.
The site became a post of the North West Mounted Police (now the RCMP). Originally named Fort Brisebois, after NWMP officer Éphrem-A. Brisebois, it was renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 by Colonel James Farquharson Macleod. The NWMP detachment was assigned to protect the western plains from U.S. whiskey traders. Fort Calgary was named by Colonel Macleod after Calgary (Cala-ghearraidh, Beach of the pasture) on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. When the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area in 1883 and a rail station was constructed, Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre. The Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters are located in Calgary today. Calgary was officially incorporated as a town in 1884 and elected its first mayor, George Murdoch. In 1894, it was incorporated as "The City of Calgary" in what was then the North-West Territories.
Oil was first discovered in Alberta in 1902, but it did not become a significant industry in the province until 1947 when huge reserves of it were discovered. Calgary quickly found itself at the centre of the ensuing oil boom. The city's economy grew when oil prices increased with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. The population increased by 272,000 in the eighteen years between 1971 (403,000) and 1989 (675,000) and another 345,000 in the next eighteen years (to 1,020,000 in 2007). During these boom years, skyscrapers were constructed at a pace seen by few cities anywhere. The relatively low-rise downtown quickly became dense with tall buildings, a trend that continues to this day.
Calgary's economy was so closely tied to the oil industry that the city's boom peaked with the average annual price of oil in 1981. The subsequent drop in oil prices and the introduction of the National Energy Program were cited by industry as reasons for a collapse in the oil industry and consequently the overall Calgary economy. The NEP was cancelled in the mid-1980s by the Brian Mulroney federal government. However, low oil prices prevented a full recovery until the 1990s.
With the energy sector employing a huge number of Calgarians, the fallout from the economic slump of the early 1980s was understandably significant. The unemployment rate soared. By the end of the decade, however, the economy was in recovery. Calgary quickly realized that it could not afford to put so much emphasis on oil and gas, and the city has since become much more diverse, both economically and culturally. The period during this recession marked Calgary's transition from a mid-sized and relatively nondescript prairie city into a major cosmopolitan and diverse centre. This transition culminated in February of 1988, when the city hosted the XV Olympic Winter Games. The success of these games essentially put the city on the world stage.
Thanks in part to escalating oil prices, the economy in Calgary and Alberta is now booming, and the region of nearly 1.1 million people is the fastest growing in the country. While the oil and gas industry comprise most of the economy, the city has invested a great deal into other areas such as tourism and high-tech manufacturing. Over 3.1 million people now visit the city annually for its many festivals and attractions, especially the Calgary Stampede. The nearby mountain resort towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Canmore are also becoming increasingly popular with tourists, and are bringing people into Calgary as a result. Other modern industries include light manufacturing, high-tech, film, transportation, and services. The city has ranked highly in quality of life surveys: 25th in the 2006 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, and 10th best city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Despite the oil industry's dominance in Alberta's economy, Calgary ranked as the world's cleanest city by Forbes Magazine in 2007.
Calgary is located at the transition zone between the Canadian Rockies foothills and the Canadian Prairies, and is relatively hilly as a result. Calgary's elevation is approximately 1,048 metres (3,440 ft) above sea level downtown, and 1,083 metres (3,553 ft) at the airport. The city proper covers a land area of 726.5 km² (280.5 sq mi) (as of 2006) and as such exceeds the land area of the City of Toronto.
There are two major rivers that run through the city. The Bow River is the largest and flows from the west to the south. The Elbow River flows northwards from the south until it converges with the Bow River near downtown. Since the climate of the region is generally dry, dense vegetation occurs naturally only in the river valleys, on some north-facing slopes, and within Fish Creek Provincial Park.
The city is large in physical area, consisting of an inner city surrounded by various communities of decreasing density. Unlike most cities with a sizable metropolitan area, most of Calgary's suburbs are incorporated into the city proper, with the notable exceptions of the city of Airdrie to the north, Cochrane to the northwest, Strathmore to the east, and the sprawling Springbank district to the west. Though it is not technically within Calgary's metropolitan area, the town of Okotoks is only a short distance to the south and is considered a suburb as well. The Calgary Economic Region includes slightly more area than the CMA and has a population of 1,146,900.
The city of Calgary proper is immediately surrounded by two municipal districts, Rocky View No. 44 to the north, west and east; and Foothills No. 31 to the south.
The downtown region of the city consists of five neighbourhoods: Eau Claire (including the Festival District), the Downtown West End, the Downtown Commercial Core, Chinatown, and the Downtown East Village (also part of the Rivers District). The commercial core is itself divided into a number of districts including the Stephen Avenue Retail Core, the Entertainment District, the Arts District and the Government District. Distinct from downtown and south of 9th Avenue is Calgary's densest neighbourhood, the Beltline. The area includes a number of communities such as Connaught, Victoria Crossing and a portion of the Rivers District. The Beltline is the focus of major planning and rejuvenation initiatives on the part of the municipal government to increase the density and liveliness of Calgary's centre.
Adjacent to, or directly radiating from the downtown are the first of the inner-city communities. These include Crescent Heights, Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill, Hillhurst /Sunnyside (including Kensington BRZ), Bridgeland, Renfrew, Mount Royal, Mission, Ramsay and Inglewood and Albert Park/Radisson Heights directly to the east. The inner city is, in turn, surrounded by relatively dense and established neighbourhoods such as Rosedale and Mount Pleasant to the north; Bowness, Parkdale and Glendale to the west; Park Hill, South Calgary (including Marda Loop), Bankview, Altadore and Killarney to the south; and Forest Lawn/International Avenue to the east. Lying beyond these, and usually separated from one another by highways, are the suburban communities, often characterized as "commuter communities". The greatest amount of suburban expansion is happening in the city's deep south with major growth on the northwestern edge as well. In all, there are over 180 distinct neighbourhoods within the city limits.
Several of Calgary's neighbourhoods were initially separate towns that were annexed by the city as it grew. These include Bowness, Montgomery, Forest Lawn, Midnapore, Rosedale and, most recently in 2007, Shepard.
Calgary has a semi-arid, highland continental climate with long, dry, but highly variable, winters and short, moderately warm summers. The climate is greatly influenced by the city's elevation and close proximity to the Rocky Mountains. Although Calgary's winters can be uncomfortably cold, warm, dry Chinook winds routinely blow into the city from the Pacific Ocean during the winter months, giving Calgarians a break from the cold. These winds have been known to raise the winter temperature by up to 15 °C (27 °F) in just a few hours, and may last several days. The Chinook winds are such a common feature of Calgary's winters that only one month (January 1950) has failed to witness a thaw over more than 100 years of weather observations. More than one half of all winter days see the daily maximum rise above 0 °C (32 °F). Some winter days even approach +20 °C (68 °F) on occasion.
Chinook winds over Calgary
Calgary is a city of extremes, and temperatures have ranged anywhere from a record low of −45 °C (−49 °F) in 1893 to a record high of +36 °C (96.8 °F) in 1919. Temperatures fall below −30 °C (−22 °F) on about five days per year, though extreme cold spells usually do not last very long. According to Environment Canada, the average temperature in Calgary ranges from a January daily average of −9 °C (15.8 °F) to a July daily average of +16 °C (60.8 °F).
As a consequence of Calgary's high elevation and relative dryness, summer evenings can be very cool, the average summer minimum temperature drops to +8 °C (46.4 °F), and frosts can occur in any month of the year. Calgary has experienced snowfall even in July and August. Calgary experiences summer daytime temperatures exceeding +30 °C (86 °F) on an average of four days per year. With an average relative humidity of 55% in the winter and 45% in the summer, Calgary has a semi-arid climate typical of other cities in the Western Great Plains and Canadian Prairies. Unlike cities further east, like Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or Winnipeg, humidity is almost never a factor during the Calgary summer.
The city is among the sunniest in Canada, with 2,405 hours of annual sunshine, on average. Calgary International Airport in the northeastern section of the city receives an average of 413 mm (16.3 in) of precipitation annually, with 301 mm (11.9 in) of that occurring in the form of rain, and the remaining 112 mm (4.4 in) as snow. Most of the precipitation occurs from May to August, with June averaging the most monthly rainfall. In June of 2005, Calgary received 248 mm (9.8 in) of precipitation, making it the wettest month in the city's recorded history. Droughts are not uncommon and may occur at any time of the year, lasting sometimes for months or even several years. Precipitation decreases somewhat from west to east; consequently, groves of trees on the western outskirts largely give way to treeless grassland around the eastern city limit.
Calgary averages more than 20 days a year with thunderstorms, with almost all of them occurring in the summer months. Calgary lies on the edge of Alberta's hailstorm alley and is prone to occasional damaging hailstorms. A hailstorm that struck Calgary on September 7, 1991, was one of the most destructive natural disasters in Canadian history, with over $400 million dollars in damage.
General seasons (not well-defined in Calgary due to highly variable climate)
- Winter: November to mid-March
- Spring: mid-March to May
- Summer: June to August
- Autumn: September to November
| Weather averages for Calgary
|Average high °C
|Average low °C
|Average high °F
|Average low °F
|Source: Environment Canada Dec 2006
Calgary's urban scene has changed considerably since the beginning of the city's rapid growth. It is also starting to become recognized as one of Canada's most diverse cities. Today, Calgary is a modern cosmopolitan city that still retains much of its traditional culture of hotel saloons, western bars, night clubs, football and hockey. Following its revival in the 1990s, Calgary has also become a centre for country music in Canada. As such, it is referred to by some as the "Nashville of the North." Calgary is also home to a thriving all-ages music scene of many genres, including metal, folk, pop, rock, punk, indie, blues, jazz, hip-hop, electronic and country.
As a relatively ethnically diverse city, Calgary also has a number of multicultural areas and assets. It has one of the largest Chinatowns in Canada, as well as a “Little Italy” in the Bridgeland neighbourhood. Forest Lawn is among the most diverse areas in the city and as such, the area around 17 Avenue SE within the neighbourhood is also known as International Avenue. The district is home to many ethnic restaurants and stores.
As the population has grown, and particularly as the urban density in central Calgary has increased, so too has the vitality of this area. While the city continues to embrace suburbanism, people are beginning to find a wide variety of alternatives in the inner city. This has led to significant increases in the popularity of central districts such as 17 Avenue, Kensington, Inglewood, Forest Lawn, Marda Loop and the Mission District. The nightlife and the availability of cultural venues in these areas has gradually begun to evolve as a result.
Calgary is the site of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, a 4 million ft³ (113,000 m³) performing arts, culture and community facility. The auditorium is one of two "twin" facilities in the province, the other located in Edmonton, each being locally known as the "Jube." The 2,538-seat auditorium was opened in 1957 and has been host to hundreds of Broadway musical, theatrical, stage and local productions. The Calgary Jube is the resident home of the Alberta Ballet, the Calgary opera, the Kiwanis Music Festival, and the annual civic Remembrance Day ceremonies. Both auditoriums operate 365 days a year, and are run by the provincial government. Both received major renovations as part of the province's centennial in 2005.
Calgary is home to a number of major annual festivals and events. These include the growing Calgary International Film Festival, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival, the Folk Music Festival, the Greek Festival, Carifest, Wordfest Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival, the Lilac Festival, GlobalFest, the Calgary Fringe Festival, Summerstock, Fiestaval, Expo Latino, Calgary Gay Pride, and many other cultural and ethnic festivals. Calgary's most well-known event is the Calgary Stampede, which occurs every July. It is one of the largest festivals in Canada. The event has a 93-year history. In 2005, attendance at the 10-day rodeo and exhibition totalled 1,242,928.
The city is home to several museums. The Glenbow Museum is the largest in western Canada and includes an art gallery and first nations gallery. Other major museums include the Chinese Cultural Centre (at 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m²), the largest stand-alone cultural centre in Canada), the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum (at Canada Olympic Park), The Military Museums, the Cantos Music Museum and the Aero Space Museum. There are also a number of art galleries in the city, many of them concentrated along the Stephen Avenue and 17 Avenue corridors. The largest of these is the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC).
According the 2001 Statistics Canada federal census, there were 878,866 people living within the City of Calgary proper. Of this population, 49.9 per cent were male and 50.1 per cent were female. Children under five accounted for approximately 6.0 per cent of the resident population of Calgary. This compares with 6.2 per cent in Alberta, and almost 5.6 per cent for Canada overall.
In 2001, 9.0 per cent of the resident population in Calgary were of retirement age (65 and over for males and females) compared with 13.2 per cent in Canada; therefore, the average age in Calgary is 34.9 years of age compared with 37.6 years of age for all of Canada.
Between 1996 and 2001, Calgary's population grew by 15.8 percent. During the same time period, the population of Alberta increased by 10.3 percent. The population density of Calgary averaged 1,252.3 persons per square kilometre (3,243/sq mi), compared with an average of 4.6 persons per square kilometre (11.9/sq mi) for the province.
A city-administered census estimate, conducted annually to assist in negotiating financial agreements with the provincial and federal governments, showed a population of just over 991,000 in 2006. The population of the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area was just over 1.1 million, and the Calgary Economic Region posted a population of just under 1.17 million in 2006. On July 25, 2006 the municipal government officially acknowledged the birth of the city's one millionth resident, with the census indicating that the population is rising by approximately 98 people per day. This date was arrived at only by means of assumption and statistical approximation and only took into account children born to Calgarian parents. A net migration of 25,794 persons/year was recorded in 2006, a significant increase from 12,117 in 2005.
Calgary's economy is still dominated by the oil and gas industry, despite recent diversification. The larger companies are BP, EnCana, Imperial Oil, Petro-Canada, Shell Canada, Suncor Energy, and TransCanada, making the city home to 87% of Canada's oil and natural gas producers and 66% of coal producers.
In 1996, Canadian Pacific Railway moved its head office from Montreal to Calgary, and, with 3,100 employees, is among the city's top employers. In 2005, Imperial Oil moved its headquarters from Toronto to Calgary in order to take advantage of Alberta's favorable corporate taxes and to be closer to its oil operations. This involved the relocation of approximately 400 families.
Some other large employers include Shaw Communications (7,500 employees), NOVA Chemicals (4,900 employees), TELUS (4,500 employees), Nexen (3,200 employees), CNRL (2,500 employees), Shell Canada (2,200 employees), Dow Chemical Canada (2,000 employees).
In October 2006, EnCana announced the construction of the Bow, a 59-floor skyscraper in the downtown core of the city. This new corporate headquarters for the company will become, when completed, the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto.
As of 2005, Calgary had a labor force of 649,300 (a 76.3% participation rate). In 2006, Calgary had the lowest unemployment rate (3.2%) among major cities in Canada, and as a result, there is an extreme shortage of workers, both skilled and unskilled. It is common to see signing bonuses for workers in the service industry as well as starting wages for grade school students up to $15 per hour at local fast food eateries. Downtown hotels have had to shut down floors due to a lack of staff to clean all the rooms. Calgary's housing boom, combined with large road construction projects and competition from oil fields with high wages to the north, has created a strain on the labour force.
|Employment of Industry
|Health and education
As a city that has experienced rapid growth in recent years, Calgary has experienced issues such as urban sprawl. With no geographical barriers to its growth besides the Tsuu T'ina First Nation to the southwest and an affluent population that can afford large homes and properties, the city now has only a slightly smaller urban footprint than that of New York City and its boroughs, despite having less than one-eighth the population of New York City proper. This has led to difficulties in providing necessary transportation to Calgary’s population, both in the form of roadways and public transit. It has also led to an interpretation of the city as being a “driver’s city”. With the redevelopment of the Beltline and the Downtown East Village at the forefront, efforts are underway to vastly increase the density of the inner city, but the sprawl continues. In 2003, the combined population of the downtown neighbourhoods (the Downtown Commercial Core, the Downtown East Village, the Downtown West End, Eau Claire, and Chinatown) was just over 12,600. In addition, the Beltline to the south of downtown had a population of 17,200.
Because of the growth of the city, its southwest borders are now immediately adjacent to the Tsuu T'ina Nation Indian reserve. Recent residential developments in the deep southwest of the city have created a need for a major roadway heading into the interior of the city, but because of complications in negotiations with the Tsuu T'ina about the construction, the construction has not yet begun.
The city has many socioeconomic issues including homelessness. Certain portions of downtown core and inner city have been singled out as being home to much higher proportions of disadvantaged residents, as well as some neighbourhoods in the city’s east. The share of poor families living in very poor neighbourhoods increased from 6.4% to 20.3% between 1980 and 1990.
Although Calgary and Alberta have traditionally been affordable places to live, substantial growth (much of it due to the prosperous energy sector and the northern oil sands projects) has led to increasing demand on real-estate. As a result, house prices in Calgary have increased significantly in recent years. As of November 2006, Calgary is the most expensive city in Canada for commercial/downtown office space, and the second most expensive city (second to Vancouver) for residential real-estate.
Even though Calgary has a relatively low crime rate when compared to other cities in North America, gangs and drug-related crime are becoming much larger issues than they have been in the past. Marijuana grow operations busts have decreased in 2005, while possession and trafficking have increased.
For further information about Calgary please visit the websites below:
Information provided from the Wikipedia article found at www.wikipedia.com © 2008 Move In And Out, Inc.
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