Established in 1875, Calgary is world famous for hosting the Winter Olympics of 1988, and for its Calgary Stampede. Calgary covers the largest area of any city in Alberta, and lies between the eastern foothills of the Rockies and the Prairies. It is a sophisticated place, with skyscrapers, galleries, first class shopping, and theaters, but it retains the air of a frontier town where pick-up trucks and cowboy boots are the norm. bbNoted for its proximity to Banff National Park, Calgary's center, with its offices and stores, is 120 km east of Banff Townsite.
Visit the Calgary Tower for the most incredible views of where you can see across to the Rockies and eastward over the vast plains of the Prairies. The Calgary Tower has 18 elevators, which hurtle to the top in 62 seconds, and two emergency staircases composed of 762 steps a piece. From street level to the top, the tower measures 191 meters. At the top there is a restaurant and an observation deck to enjoy the stunning views.
Another popular tourist draw is Saint George's Island which sits on the edge of the Bow River near downtown Calgary. The island houses the magnificent Calgary Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, and Prehistoric Park. The zoo prides itself on the exciting presentations of its animals, which can be seen in their appropriate habitats. The zoo is surrounded by the Botanical Gardens, which has a vast greenhouse displaying plants from different climate zones from around the world. The Prehistoric Park offers a reconstructed Mesozoic landscape, where visitors can picnic among the life size dinosaurs.