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Calgary’s appeal results from the enormous contrasts that surround it. The monumental Rocky Mountains stretch out within the visual range of the city whilst there is a lot of urban hustle and bustle going on between the skyscrapers.

SKYSCRAPERS IN THE FOOTHILLS

Calgary is just a few minutes from adventure in an untouched mountain paradise- a clean, safe city. Calgary’s history began in 1875 when a police post was established on the Bow River to combat the illegal whisky trade. A prairie, which once faired millions of buffalo, was of course perfectly suited for raising cattle, so it was not long before the first cattle farms were founded. Every year in the first half of July, the cowboys meet at the Calgary Stampede, the world’s greatest rodeo. There are competitions in sports such as calf roping and horse breaking (wrangling??). Once the stampede, which also includes breakneck wagon races, is over, the city goes back to business. Since oil was found in the Turner Valley in 1914, this has consisted primarily off oil.

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MANHATTAN ON THE PRAIRIE

The best way to start to get to know Calgary is from the 191 metre high Calgary Tower. The Rocky Mountains reach into the sky in the west, while the endless prairies stretches eastwards. Back on the ground, this city of almost 1 million inhabitants makes a cosmopolitan impression. Everything is available and accessible year round: theatres and galleries, symphony concerts and ballet, dance bands and an interesting range of nightlife. Relax in hundreds of charming restaurants, which blend good value with a wide range of international gastronomic specialities. Shopping on Stephen Street reveals a proud “Prairie Manhattan”: skyscrapers, boutiques, sidewalk cafés, sculptures and sophisticated shopping arcades. The city fathers have built a network of skywalks so that a shopping expedition in Alberta’s icy winters does not turn into a polar expedition. These are heated glass tubes high above the downtown streets.

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