The luxuriously appointed, privately owned “Rocky Mountaineer” runs between Calgary (or Jasper) and Vancouver, cutting westward on the historic Canadian Pacific line through the soaring mountain wall of the Rockies. At Canmore, providing the weather is good, there is a fine view of the snow-capped “Three Sisters.” Soon afterwards, the popular winter resort of Banff is reached. Other highlights on this mountainous section (where peaks top 3,600 meters) include Lake Louise, Kicking Horse Pass, and Rogers Pass.
Where to Stay in Calgary:
Mid-Range Hotels: Right downtown, just a short walk from Prince’s Island Park in the Bow River and offering large suites at an affordable price is the upscale International Hotel. The award-winning, boutique Hotel Arts, an easy stroll from the Calgary Tower, has custom contemporary décor in all the rooms. South of downtown, but very close to Fish Creek Provincial Park, is the Wingate by Wyndham Calgary. With an indoor pool and waterslide, this hotel is a good choice for families.
More than 1000 animals from around the world, many in enclosures simulating their natural habitats, make Calgary’s zoo one of the top rated in North America. The zoo’s well-regarded conservation team study, reintroduce and protect endangered animals in Canada. Besides the animals, the zoo has a Botanical Garden, with changing garden displays, a tropical rainforest, a good butterfly enclosure and the 6½-hectare Prehistoric Park, featuring fossil displays and life-size dinosaur replicas in natural settings. Picnic areas, concessions and cafes dot the zoo. During winter, when neither you nor the animals will care to linger outdoors, the admission price is reduced. To get here, take the C-Train east to the Zoo stop.
Ignite Your Imagination at TELUS Spark
Explore the adventurous side of science and technology at TELUS Spark. Mash up science and art in the open studio, take in a live demo, or travel to the edge of the universe with an immersive visual experience at The Dome Theatre
The iconic Calgary Tower opened in 1968 and is a staggering 191 meters high (about 627 feet). But don’t worry, you won’t have to climb its 762 steps – two 25-passenger, high-speed elevators soar to the top in 62 seconds. Once there, stand on the glass floor observation terrace for a bird’s eye view of the Rocky Mountains and iconic Calgary landmarks. An audio guide is available in 7 different languages (English, French, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and German) and will explain interesting trivia about some of the notable art and architecture in your view. Check out the visitor information centre and souvenir shop at the tower’s base, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on the second floor, and revolving restaurant Sky 360 at the top, which makes a full rotation every 45-60 minutes, allowing you a complete panoramic view of the city as you dine. Admission: general (ages 13-64) $18, senior $16, child (4-12) $9, children three and under are admitted free. www.calgarytower.com
One of Western Canada’s largest museums, the Glenbow features 20 galleries, with permanent exhibitions on Western and Indigenous cultures, military and war history around the world, Asian and African artifacts, and Alberta mineralogy. The museum also plays host to a rotating selection of visiting exhibitions from across the country, and the globe. Glenbow maintains a digital archive of online exhibitions, including some that mirror current in-house galleries, allowing patrons to visit exhibits from afar or at home. Admission: adult $16, senior and student $11, (youth (7-17) $10, children six and under are admitted free, as well as annual membership holders. www.glenbow.org
The Plaza Theatre
The Plaza plays alternative films and functions as a first-run art house cinema. Watch timeless classics or new indie flicks in their single 370 seat auditorium. Movie prices vary, but usually cost under $10. Every Wednesday night the theatre hosts Late Night at the Plaza-a variety show with a selection of entertainment by talented local musicians, artists, comedians, media, dancers, performers, and more. www.theplaza.ca
The Hangar Flight Museum
Formerly known to locals as the Aerospace Museum of Calgary, The Hangar Flight Museum was originally used as a drill hall for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in 1941. The space later turned into the first aviation museum in Calgary. Visit over 20 exhibits that commemorate Canadian flight history, from the first jet combat aircraft to the world’s first certified helicopter. The Hangar Movie Nights feature aerospace-themed films the second Thursday of each month from October to May. Admission: adult $12, seniors (65+) and students (12-17) $8, children (age 3-11) $6, toddlers age 2 and under are admitted free. www.thehangarmuseum.ca
The North West Mounted Police built this National Historic Site in 1875. Located on a 40 acre riverside park where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet, Fort Calgary features exhibits, an interpretive centre, and recreations of the fort’s 1875 palisade and 1888 barracks. Learn stories about Calgary’s past, try on an authentic RCMP uniform, stand behind bars in the jail cell, treat yourself to vintage goodies at the Museum Shop, and visit their Community Garden. Admission: adult $12, seniors and students $11, youth (7-17) $7, children (3-6) $5, children 2 and under are admitted free. www.fortcalgary.com
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