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Destination Calgary, what should we do, see, eat, etc.?

Destination Calgary, what should we do, see, eat, etc.?

Old Jul 25th, 2005, 03:08 PM
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Destination Calgary, what should we do, see, eat, etc.?

We just got back from the wedding of a cousin from the deep South to a girl from Calgary and, we're planning on visiting them up North. I'd like to hear any comments you other travelers have about the town and surrounding area.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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Judy hopefully will give you the full description when she tunes in. I go through Calgary on my way to the Rockies, which for me are the primary attraction.

In Calgary itself, the Glenbow Museum, Heritage Park, Olympic Park, and some of the restaurants are the highlights I remember the most.

From Calgary to Banff and Lake Louise takes about 2.5 to 3 hours depending on traffic, where you go and where you stop along the way.

If you have not been to the Canadian Rockies, I think you will admire the scenery.

Travel Alberta is a great source of information for the entire province.
I think you can phone the office at 800.252.3782

In the past I have always found the staff members to be responsive and helpful with brochures and maps.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 04:04 PM
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I think you can drive to Lake Louise a little faster than I indicated if you start at a place in downtown Calgary. I was thinking of a start from the airport.
It is about 115 miles or so to Lake Louise itself.

Good road.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Hello buongiorno,

As Bob already has mentioned, Calgary is a gateway to the Canadian Rockies. A little west of Calgary are four contiguous mountain national parks that are very scenic : Banff, Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper.

If you had only a day in which to visit the Rockies from Calgary, here is a thread that provides a one-day itinerary:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...9&tid=34652107

However, it would be preferable to have a week or two in which to see the mountains. If you had several days for that, you could split your time between Jasper in the north and one of Lake Louise, Banff or Canmore further south.

Day trips that you can do in other directions from Calgary include the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump between Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek.

The dinosaurs at the Tyrrell are really awesome. I used to think the drive across the flat prairies to Drumheller was boring, but it has grown on me over time. Even back when I thought the drive was boring, I regarded it as more than worthwhile for the sake of seeing the museum.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre depicts the traditional hunting-gathering lifestyle of the First Nations people of the prairies. I find it interesting too. There are two ways of driving there. One is Hwy #2, which is flat. The other is Hwy #22, which goes through pretty scenery in the foothills of the Rockies.

You can treat Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump as a day trip, or you can consider it as a gateway to another beautiful part of the Rockies, namely, Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park and adjacent Glacier National Park in Montana.

If you have the time to spare, Calgary itself is worth a day or two. Calgary is in the heart of cattle country, so local beef is considered to be the thing to eat. Some of the more upscale restaurants also serve local game meat such as bison and elk. We're close enough to the west coast that it's possible to get some very good wild Pacific salmon in our restaurants.

When I first arrived in Calgary in 1977, local cuisine was all about steaks. If you wanted ethnic cuisine you had the option of Italian and Chinese, but there wasn't very much more than that. Since then many different kinds of restaurants have opened, and it's now possible to find quite a wide range of ethnic restaurants that have their roots in all of the world's continents except Antarctica.

We celebrate our cowboy culture during our annual ten-day rodeo festival, which is known as the Calgary Stampede. It's held during the second week of July. It's like a state fair with rodeo events and chuckwagon races. It's always a festive time of year, something along the lines of Carnival meets Cowboy, if you can imagine what that might be like.

Three hours' drive north of Calgary is Edmonton, a city of similar size, that is, just under 1 million. Edmonton also is a pleasant city to visit if you have the time. However, if you have only a short time Edmonton, like Calgary, deserves to take a back seat to the mountains in my opinion.

One of the eternal debates on the travel discussion forums is the timing of a visit to the Canadian Rockies. The mountains of course are beautiful at any time of the year. During the winter they attract the skiing crown. During the spring, summer and fall, they attract people who just want to soak up the scenery, hike, etc.

My own opinion is that it's best to see them between the middle of June through the end of September. That's when you can see the mountain lakes at their turquoise best. However, July and August are busy from the tourist point of view. So the latter half of June and the month of September represent a good compromise amongst all the factors, in my opinion.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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Postscript. Vancouver is a gorgeous city. Many travellers combine the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver in a single trip. Again it depends on how much time a person has to spend. You need an absolute minimum of 10 days to do any kind of justice to that combination. Since you have relatives in Calgary and presumably would need to spend at least a couple of days here, I would say you would need a minimum of 2 weeks if you were going to combine the Rockies and the coast.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 08:07 PM
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Well, if you get hooked on those mountains like I have, you will come back again.
I was there last year, and at times previous to that. Guess what?
I have my next trip in August already planned! Right now, I am storing up energy for the trip.

If you want an eye popping drive, take the Icefields Parkway, all the way to Jasper. There are so many world class views to see that after 4 hours or so I get saturated.

There is one long ridge between the Icefields Center and Jasper known as Endless Chain ridge. The first time I saw it, I had reached that saturation point.

We returned the same way we came up and saw the same ridge early in the day.
My reaction was almost, "Was that here when we drove up?" Of course it was, but a fresh start and a new perspective opened new opportunities for amazement.
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 05:16 AM
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Thanks for the help. I've been to several cities in Canada, a couple of times to Vancouver, but never to Calgary. We're looking forward to it!
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