As the biggest city in Alberta and also the home of Must Do Canada, we were interested in finding some of the most unique, coolest, and fun Calgary facts that make this city what it is.
While Calgary doesn’t have the tourism fame of a city like Toronto, when it comes to beautiful scenery and quality of life, it’s one of the best in the world. One of the special things about Calgary is that it offers all the energy of a large metropolitan city with the warm and welcoming spirit of a connected community. It’s large on the outside but feels kinda small on the inside.
It’s also one of the top cities in Canada for people who love the outdoors. Not only is the city itself full of massive parks, but it’s also very close to the Canadian badlands, the Kananaskis, and Banff National Park.
But enough chit chat. You came here to learn some cool Calgary facts, so let’s get into it.
What is Calgary Known For?
Although Calgary is probably known for its very rich petroleum industry as well as the Calgary Stampede, it’s also starting to become quite diversified into areas like high tech, agriculture, and tourism. Even with the shocking boom and busts that come with being so heavily tied to oil and gas, Calgary has often been ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world.
Other things Calgary is typically known for are some of the world’s best beef, the 1988 winter Olympics, and Banff National Park, which is just an hour’s drive away.
However, there is much more to the city, which is why we’ve gone ahead and researched some of the top Calgary facts for you to learn more about the Western Canadian hub.
6 Quick Calgary Facts
- Calgary is home to more than 1.4 million people
- Calgary is one of the youngest cities in Canada with an average age of 36
- Calgary is the third most diverse major city in Canada with more than 120 languages spoken in the city
- Calgary is quite large at 848 square kilometres (327 square miles)
- Calgary is the cleanest city in the world!
Fun Facts about Calgary‘s History and Culture
- In 1873, John Glenn became the first recorded settler in the Calgary area. In 1884, with a population of 4,000, Calgary was officially proclaimed a city. It’s now the biggest city in Alberta with approximately 1.4 million people.
- Calgary was also named the 4th most livable city in the world in 2018. It consistently ranks high year after year.
- In fact, on a purely eco basis, Calgary was ranked the #1 city in the world by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey in 2010. This means Calgary has excellent scores when it comes to water availability and drinkability, quality of sewage systems, air pollution, waste removal and traffic congestion. Calgary was also ranked the most livable city in North America and the 5th most livable city in the world by the Economic Intelligence Unit.
- Speaking of cool titles, Clearwater named Calgary the cleanest city in the world.
- There are more volunteers per capita in Calgary than any other Canadian city, so it’s a good place to find help.
- The median age in Calgary is less than 36 years, making it one of the youngest cities in Canada.
- Calgary is also a very diverse city. Nearly 25% of Calgarians are foreign-born.
- This diversity brings languages as well and some stats show that Calgary has as many as 120 languages and dialects.
- Even Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, is the first Muslim to become a mayor in Canada. Born in Toronto and raised in Calgary, he was also the first Muslim to become the mayor of any large North American city. In addition, he has won numerous awards, including the 2017 Honorary Peace Patron from the Mosaic Institute for contributions to strengthening the fabric of Canada, and the 2014 World Mayor prize by the City Mayor’s Foundation, becoming the first Canadian mayor to be awarded it.
- Calgary is home to the +15 network, the largest network of its kind. You can literally walk 18 km (11 miles) in downtown Calgary without having to go outside! The Plus 15 is a walkway that connects 100 buildings with 6o suspended bridges 15 feet above the ground.
- The Calgary Stampede features the largest rodeo in the world. This annual 10-day event bills itself as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” Aside from the world’s largest rodeo, it also features concerts, a midway, First Nations exhibits, chuckwagon racing, agricultural competitions, stage shows and a parade. It’s also known for big parties. It’s also an expensive time to visit in terms of accommodation, as it attracts over one million visitors.
- There are four major post-secondary institutions – The University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Alberta College of Art and Design.
- Calgary also has dozens of live theatre companies, making it a great place to catch a show.
- Calgary has a world-class public library. It’s the sixth most used library in North America and was recently ranked as one of the top 52 things to see by the New York Times.
- Calgary has the greatest number of millionaires per capita of any city in Canada.
Fun Facts about Calgary Weather
- Calgary is Canada’s sunniest city, with 333 average sunshine days per year. This also equates to about 2,300 hours of sunshine each year.
- June tends to be the rainiest month, and January tends to be the coldest. Calgary weather follows no rules though and many locals will say, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes”.
- The average rainfall per year is 12.6 inches and the average snowfall is 50 inches.
- During the summer solstice, Calgary gets almost 17 hours of sunlight. The sun rises at 5:21 AM and sets at 9:55 PM.
- During the winter solstice, Calgary gets a little less than 8 hours of sunlight. The sun rises at 8:37 AM and sets at 4:31 PM.
- The coldest temperature ever recorded in Calgary was a bone-chilling -45 °C but this was back in February of 1893. Somewhere between -10°C and -20°C is more normal during peak winter.
- The warmest day ever recorded was 36.1°C (97°F) back in July of 1919. Calgary, and Canada in general, is a land of extremes.
- There are normally 115 consecutive frost-free days – from May 23 to September 15th.
- The temperature reaches 20°C or better 85 days of the year.
- There are 88 days of the year on average with snow on the ground.
- Calgary can be windy too. On average, 36 days of the year have winds with speeds greater than 52 km/h. The windiest days occur in December and January, which is why it can get as cold as -40°C.
- Thunderstorms occur roughly 22 days of the year. In fact, hailstorms are a regular occurrence too and cause a lot of damage to property each and every year.
- Calgary’s altitude of 1,045 m (3,428 ft) makes it the “highest” major city in Canada.
- Another major weather phenomenon in Calgary is the Chinooks. The Chinook winds can raise the temperature by as much as 20 degrees in a matter of hours. These are quite popular in the winter as they provided some relief from the chilly weather. However, the pressure also changes and some people get migraines.
Calgary Facts about Nature and Wildlife
- For those who love to be in nature, Calgary is one of the best cities to live in Canada. From urban parks to the Rocky Mountains, there are endless opportunities for getting out into the great outdoors.
- Fish Creek Provincial Park is the second-largest urban park in Canada and runs throughout a significant portion of south Calgary.
- Banff National Park, Canada’s most visited national park, is only 90 minutes west of Calgary. This includes Canmore and Lake Louise!
- If you head east instead of west, also for 90 minutes, you’ll be in Drumheller, the dinosaur capital of the world and a great place to witness the Alberta badlands.
- The Bow River is one of the top three trout streams in the world. Anglers come from all over the world in the hopes of landing brown trout longer than two feet. The Lower Bow River running through Calgary is reportedly host to 2,500 fish per mile and the average size of fish caught is 17-22 inches.
- Over 260 bird species have been recorded at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.
- The Calgary Zoo is rated the third-best in North America.
- There is over 700 km of bike paths, making it a great city for people who like to peddle bikes. The official City of Calgary website offers tons of resources including maps of bike paths, current path closures, transportation options while taking transit, and more!
Calgary Facts about Sports
- The 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary was the longest ever (at the time) and the first winter Olympics held in Canada. This left a lasting legacy on the city, helping it grow from an oil and gas centre best known for the Calgary Stampede to a city capable of holding many international events.
- Also thanks to the Olympics, Calgary now has an Olympic oval for long and short track speed skating that is open to the public.
- Calgary has two professional sports teams: the Calgary Flames (NHL hockey) and the Calgary Stampeders (CFL football).
- Canada Olympic Park, which is now known as WinSport, is home to a great inner-city ski hill but is also home to one of the few places in the world where you can try an Olympic bobsleigh run.
Fun Facts about Calgary’s Food Scene
- Ginger Beef was created in Calgary. It is said that George Wong, a chef from northern China, invented it at the Silver Inn Restaurant on Centre Street North in Calgary in the 1970s.
- The Caesar was also invented in Calgary. Restaurateur Walter Chell invented the cocktail in 1969 to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant right here in Calgary. The drink exploded in popularity and is now enjoyed around 350 million times each year across Canada.
- There are roughly 5,000 restaurants in Calgary.
- If you like craft beer, there are 50 breweries, distilleries, and cideries in Calgary.
Want more? Well, you’re gonna have to wait because that’s all we have for now. I hope you enjoyed learning about these interesting and fun Calgary facts. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out our article about 200 fun facts about Canada as well as our 89 awesome Alberta facts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to join 14,000 other people who just can’t get enough of Canada.
Do you know any more fun facts about Calgary? Share what you know, or do a little research and see what other fun quirks this city has.
Mount Royal College is now Mount Royal University as of 2009.
Matthew G. Bailey says
Oh right, good catch!