Fun & Fabulous

4 things people from Calgary need to explain

Is the Calgary Stampede really the greatest show on earth? Does the weather really change every 5 minutes?
calgary-stampede

If you’re from Calgary, you probably find yourself repeating and explaining the same few things over and over again. Much like the age old question “do blondes really have more fun?”, we thought we’d get to the bottom of the most common observations shared, and questions asked about YYC.  

Straight from the locals — here are four things you’ll hear and see if you spend any time in the Stampede city.

1. Chinooks are the real deal

calgary-alberta-chinooks-at-the-park
Dave Bloggs

Have you ever heard of a chinook? Spend some time in Calgary, and you’re bound to find out and experience one for yourself. Once that warm, dry wind that descends from the slope of the mountains hits your skin, you’ll be thanking mother nature, or hiding indoors with a killer migraine. Think of it as an immediate heat wave coming over from the Rockies, which is why some people refer to them as “ice eaters.” And, no, they aren’t due to global warming — which the locals will undoubtedly affirm.  

Favourite chinook activity: put together a picnic basket full of popular local snacks (including Sylvan Star Cheese, Rosso Coffee and Drizzle Honey), and head to Prince’s Island Park.

2. It’s not as flat as you think — pinky swear

driving-rocky-mountains-from-calgary
Sabrina Ariana

People who aren’t from Alberta, Manitoba or Saskatchewan are generally quick to judge the prairies, assuming that it’s nothing but flat land for miles and miles. While that might be true in certain parts of the area, that’s not the case for those living in Calgary. Just one quick hour-long car ride to the west, and you’ll be in the heart of the magnificent Canadian Rockies before you know it. Tourists love to visit Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise — but so do the locals. Living in Calgary makes weekend getaways far too easy, and who can turn down snowboarding, hot tubbing and unique nightlife when offered the chance?

Favourite mountain activity: Wake up bright and early to go canoeing on Lake Louise, enjoy a midday hike in Banff area, and finish the day with dinner at the popular restaurant The Grizzly House.

3. No PST? No problem

calgary-candy-shop-kensington
Dave Bloggs

If you’ve ever gone shopping in Calgary, you may have noticed that your bills are a little lower or your receipts seem to be missing that standard line under GST. No, it’s not that the inflation hasn’t hit out west yet, it’s merely because there is no provincial sales tax (PST) in Alberta. The next step is to take those extra nickels and splurge on a couple of caesars (they’re from Calgary, too, don’t you know?)

Favourite cost-effective activity: Window shopping along Stephen Avenue, strolling the streets of Kensington and exploring the art in downtown Calgary.

4. The Calgary Stampede is a huge deal

calgary-stampede
Bernard Spragg

No, seriously. You might have heard in your previous travels that the Calgary Stampede is a pretty big affair for those who live in Alberta — but in reality, it’s much bigger! The Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and celebration of everything that is good about Canada’s wild west. Think of every town fair and carnival that you have ever visited, and triple it. The best part? The Calgary Stampede is for everyone, and locals love it. You’re not going to see just out-of-towners flocking to the “greatest outdoor show on earth,” but companies and locals who like to show a little bit — cough — a lot of that cowboy spirit.

Favourite Stampede activity: Free pancake breakfasts throughout the city, enjoying the wild flavours of food and checking out the many shows such as chuckwagon races or music.

For those who are just visiting, moving or planning a vacation, these are the essential facts that you need to know about “cowtown.” It’s a beautiful place to visit, and an even more attractive place to call home. Is Calgary on your mind? It should be!

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.