Fun & Fabulous

5 little known facts about Calgary

Think Cowtown is only about hockey, political highlights and hoe-downs? Think again. Here are five facts about this great Albertan city
5 little known facts about Calgary, Alberta
Provincial Archives of Alberta

There’s much more to Calgary than oil, steak and a Stanley-cup winning hockey team. Calgary, AB is a city with a lot of history. While it continues to raise a flag to its ‘wild west’ history, it’s also a Canadian economic powerhouse an artistic hub and a city built with frigid weather in mind. Here are five interesting facts about Calgary you may not know.

No. 1: 
There’s an above-ground network of walkways

Skywalk-Plus15-Calgary-facts
Wikimedia Commons / Qyd

Did you know that Calgary is home to the world’s largest indoor pedestrian skywalk network? A skywalk is essentially a protected tube that connects one building to another. In Calgary, it’s called the +15 network, because each tube is roughly 15 feet above the ground. The reason for this large above-ground skywalk, as opposed to an underground network found in most major cities in Canada, is because of the cost of excavation. As a result, the city now has an interesting way to get around the downtown that allows you to enjoy the city from a bit of a different perspective and avoid the blustery winter weather.

No. 2: 
Sandstone helped to build the city

Old-City-Hall-Calgary-sandstone-building-facts
Wikimedia Commons / Rockies77

In 1886, the city of Calgary experienced one of its biggest fires in history. The fire ravaged building, causing the destruction of a large portion of the city. In response to this, those tasked with rebuilding the city opted for a different material: sandstone. The biggest rationale for using sandstone was to keep fire insurance costs low, but it also left its mark on this urban centre from an architectural perspective. The era of sandstone building ended at the beginning of World War I, but some of the original sandstone buildings are still in use and stand as a testament to the resiliency of local Calgarian solutions.

No. 3: 
Canada’s first Winter Olympics

Calgary-Winter-Olympics-1988-facts
Family Fun Canada

Another important fact about Calgary’s history, in 1988, Calgary hosted the first Winter Olympics on Canadian soil. This was a momentous occasion, as some of the world’s finest athletes descended upon the city and brought about a level of excitement that those inside the city boundaries and in surrounding areas thoroughly enjoyed. Remember, these were the games that saw Eddie the Eagle (the British downhill skier) as well as the Jamaican bobsled team (which actually inspired the movie Cool Runnings).

No. 4:
The oldest neighbourhood is also ground zero for hipsters

Inglewood-Calgary-neighbourhood-facts
Wikimedia Commons / Greenwood714

Nowadays, Inglewood is known as a hip and happening place. It’s a fun, quirky section of town, filled with some of the best restaurants, boutiques, sights, and sounds in the city. But did you know it’s also the city’s oldest neighbourhood? At one point, Inglewood was actually the city’s “main drag.” These days it’s a bit of ground-zero for hipster culture, but there are loads of things to do and see for everyone—including a bird sanctuary!

No 5.
It put Canadian live theatre on the worldwide stage

One-Yellow-Rabbit-Calgary-theatre
One Yellow Rabbit (From left to right: Michael Green, Denise Clarke and Andy Curtis)

A few decades ago a few artistic and creatively inspired performance artists, writers, musicians and dancers decided to create their own opportunities. They launched One Yellow Rabbit (OYR), an alternative, live theatre production house that served to showcase the city’s burgeoning artistic talent. Over the years the group and its individual members garnered praise and accolades, but it was their annual live theatre showcase—known as High Performance Rodeo—that really pushed Canadian live theatre onto the world stage. While the Rodeo attracted talent from across the globe, it also went on tour—taking Canadian talent and showcasing it across European venues. Sadly, one of OYR’s founders, Michael Green, was killed in a horrible weather-induced car accident in 2016, but his work (and the work of his co-creators) continues on. The next High Performance Rodeo is scheduled for January 3 to January 28, 2018. To really experience Calgary’s best and brightest creators, check it out.

Max Specht
Max Specht

Nothing makes Max Specht happier than telling people where to go and what to do—and not in an authoritative sense. He prides himself on being a tour guide par excellence and has the recommendations to prove it.