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Calgary Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Calgary

Calgary is a cosmopolitan city in Canada's Alberta province, renowned for its high-rising skyline, symbol of wealth earned by the local oil industry, and the famous Calgary Stampede, massive annual rodeo festival. Among the city's main landmarks are Olympic Plaza, Calgary Tower, Stephen Avenue and more. To find your way around these and other key local attractions, follow this orientation walk.
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Calgary Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Calgary Introduction Walk
Guide Location: Canada » Calgary (See other walking tours in Calgary)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: AnnaO
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Olympic Plaza
  • Old City Hall
  • Cathedral Church of the Redeemer
  • Glenbow Museum
  • Stephen Avenue
  • Calgary Tower
  • The Grand
  • Devonian Gardens
  • Chinese Cultural Centre
  • Prince's Island Park
  • Eau Claire Market
Olympic Plaza

1) Olympic Plaza (must see)

Olympic Plaza is one of the popular tourist attractions in Calgary, Canada. This plaza was constructed during the 1988 Winter Olympics exclusively as a venue for medal presentation. Here you will find a legacy hall that commemorates the winners through display of plaques. Today, Olympic Plaza is used for hosting festivals and concerts.

Olympic Plaza is abuzz with activities during the cheery summer months. There are festivities and music in the air and sparkling water fountains. During lunch hour, downtown patrons frequent the park. The Stampede breakfast and the exciting Latino-fest are held at this plaza. If you think this park is deserted during the chilly winter months, think again. The wading pool is converted to a skating rink and people come in large numbers to enjoy skating.

Many popular events continue to be held at the Olympic Plaza on a regular basis; among them are Canada Day fireworks, New Years Eve celebrations, Pride celebrations and a public thank you rally that took place in June 2004 after the Calgary Flames reached the NHL finals.

Olympic Plaza is the epicenter of Calgary’s culture. Epcor Center of Performing Arts hosts many shows here throughout the year. On your trip to Calgary, do not miss a chance to visit this wonderful tourist attraction.
Old City Hall

2) Old City Hall

Old City Hall is an iconic building in Calgary that celebrated its 100 years recently. Robert Borden, the Conservative opposition leader opened the new sandstone city hall building in 1911 as a venue that would host sessions to discuss questions of interest to Canadians.

This building was constructed after the Old City Hall was torn down. Designed by architect William M. Dodd, it reflects the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Built at a much higher cost as compared to the estimate, this city hall saw its sandstone supply coming from Bone and Oliver quarry on 17th Avenue SW. Sandstone has indeed withstood the vagaries of the weather and the building stands firm today after 100 years. Its exterior was restored in the 1980s and the interior was redone between 1995 and1997.

Do not miss the beautiful and elegant interior of this building that is one of the few classic, original city halls still in existence in Canada. On your trip to Calgary, be sure to include the Old City Hall in your itinerary.

The Old City Hall is a significantly important heritage building in Calgary that is especially known for its architectural beauty located in the urban and economic center of Southern Alberta.
Cathedral Church of the Redeemer

3) Cathedral Church of the Redeemer

Constructed in early twentieth century, Cathedral Church of the Redeemer is one of the major tourist attractions in Calgary. This building is built with rusticated sandstone and is located in downtown Calgary close to the Olympic Plaza.

The church has one and a half stories and has attractive features such as stained glass windows, red metal roof and stone walls. Many interesting landscape elements surround this charming church.

Cathedral Church of the Redeemer holds the distinction of being a standing example of Gothic Revival architecture skillfully integrated with other styles and influences. In Alberta, this church is also associated with early Anglican Church presence.

Some of the most significant elements that define the character of this church include its massing, form and size, buttresses that are non-load-bearing, usage of rusticated Paskapoo sandstone from the famed Oliver quarry, separate articulating gable roofs, gallery on the West end, lower side aisles, first metal roofing in the city, fish-scale roof cladding, heavy timber cross bracing and roof rafters and much more.

At the cathedral, you will also find the 1906 original Casavant Freres organ with refurbishments. You will certainly be impressed with the elaborate and intricate woodwork. Do not miss out the stunning oak reredos in the sanctuary.
Glenbow Museum

4) Glenbow Museum (must see)

A trip to Calgary is certainly incomplete without a visit to Glenbow Museum. This museum features a total of 20 galleries with 93,000 square feet of exhibition space. As this largest museum in Western Canada displays over one million objects, it is recommended to keep an entire day for your visit here. There is a permanent First Nation’s Gallery here.

You will find four permanent collections here including Ethnology, Cultural history, Mineralogy and Military history. As you browse through the collections, you will learn a lot of interesting things about Canada and its rich history.

Over 100,000 objects from all over the world are on display at the cultural history collection. Right from the 1800s, you will gain a deep insight into the life, culture and history of Western Canada.

This museum also features the largest military collection in Western Canada. Displaying over 26,000 items, this collection features Asian, European and North American firearms and other interesting artifacts spanning five centuries.

Browse through the Glenbow ethnology collection to find at least 48,000 items that take gives you a peek into those indigenous people of North America’s Northern Plains. Glenbow Museum also features Canadian medals, decorations and orders and Japanese arms and armor. Browse through the mineralogy collection to find interesting semi-precious and precious stones as well as minerals from across the world.
Stephen Avenue

5) Stephen Avenue (must see)

Downtown Calgary is where all the action is and this is the hub of Calgary shopping and sightseeing. On your trip to this city, you must not miss a visit to the major pedestrian mall Stephen Avenue.

This street features some of the best cafes, bars and pubs and finest restaurants. If you love shopping this is where you must be. Stephen Avenue is a shopper’s delight with its high end retail stores and exclusive boutiques.

Some of the major shopping centers here include The Bay Department Store, Scotia Center, Fashion Central, Bankers Hall and The Core Shopping Center. Other attractions located on this street include hotels such as Calgary Marriott and Hyatt Regency Calgary and the famous Telus Convention Center.

Stephen Avenue is also where you can find many ancient, historic buildings. In 1992, the Canadian government declared this street as a Canadian historic site. Stephen Avenue got its name from the first Canadian Pacific Railway president and the first Baron Mount Stephen, George Stephen.

As you walk around the street, you will be impressed by the majestic, sandstone buildings that were built specifically to withstand fire following the 1886 fire that damaged most of the city. Remember to enjoy a visit to this popular street on your trip to Calgary.
Calgary Tower

6) Calgary Tower (must see)

Located in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Calgary Tower stands 191 meter tall. Originally known as the Husky Tower, this observation tower came into existence in 1967 as a part of the urban renewal plan. It was constructed in joint cooperation between Husky oil and

Realty Company Limited. The tower was also built to celebrate the 1967 centennial of Canada. It was in 1971 that this World Federation of Great Towers founder member was renamed Calgary Tower.

Calgary Tower was designed and constructed by W. G. Milne & A. Dale and Associates. It took fifteen months to complete building this tower at a cost of C$3.5 million. It can withstand winds up to 161 kilometers per hour and earthquakes.

On your visit to this tower, check out the column that was built in a unique manner by pouring concrete continually for 24 days. Enjoy a delicious meal at the revolving restaurant here. Called Sky 360, the restaurant offers an amazing view. +15 Skyway network connects the base of the tower to Fairmont Palliser Hotel, One Palliser Square and EnCana Place.

762 steps lead to the observation deck that is not open to public. Calgary Tower features a carillon that was presented in 1975 for the centennial celebrations by the Dutch community. Enjoy a visit to this interesting tower on your trip to Calgary.
The Grand

7) The Grand

The GRAND as it is corporately styled is an ancient theatre building used today as a hub for contemporary performing arts. This building is Calgary’s culturehouse and is a part of Lougheed Block.

Also known as The Sherman Grand Opera House, The Grand, owned by Lougheed and Taylor, was constructed in 1912 by architect L.R. Wardrop. Originally, this building served many purposes and housed a variety of offices, retail stores and living quarters on the ground level and the Sherman Grand Theatre.

This theatre attracted many celebrity stars such as Sarah Bernhardt, Marx Brothers, Ethel Barrymore, Fred Astaire, Paul Robeson, Arthur Rubinstein and George Burns predominantly due to its reputation of being one of the best theatres in the Pacific Northwest.

This complex saw a lot of political and social activities. Many important political debates, rallies and speeches were held here by both Conservative and Liberal Parties. The original theatre has a main floor and a gallery that combined to seat 1,350 people.

In the days when it first came into existence, this theatre was well known for its modern setting and convenient features such as electric lighting and hot and cold water in all fifteen changing rooms. The automatic sprinkler here was indeed a luxury. Be sure to visit this interesting structure on your trip to Calgary.
Devonian Gardens

8) Devonian Gardens (must see)

On the top floor of The Core Shopping Center, you will find a beautiful indoor garden called Devonian Gardens. This garden is maintained by the City of Calgary Parks and is one of the major tourist attractions in the city. After a major, big budget renovation, Devonian Gardens will be all set to be opened to the public in the summer of 2012.

This interesting and unique park is spread over 2.5 acres and is completely covered by glass. It was designed by J.H. Cook Architects and Engineers and constructed at a cost of $9 million in 1977.

After the park was constructed originally and opened to the public, it contained over 20,000 plants. The garden also had attractive koi ponds, bridges, waterfalls and sculptures by local artists.

The renovated park will feature a skylight extending to a length of three blocks and a taller and wider circulation space in the mall. Due to delay in construction, many tropical plants were unable to find a place in Devonian Gardens this year. This is because, these delicate plants have to be transported to the fourth storey garden through cranes and will be vulnerable to damage due to extreme cold climate. If you visit Calgary after the Summer of 2012, enjoy a visit to this impressive and interesting tourist attraction.
Chinese Cultural Centre

9) Chinese Cultural Centre (must see)

In the early eighties, a plan was put in place to redevelop the Chinatown Area after intense negotiations with the City of Calgary. After completion of this process, the Chinese Cultural Center came into existence.

The goal was to construct a cultural center that will aid with the development of the fast disintegrating Chinese community in Canada. This center today serves as a motivation to infuse life and help the Chinese community to expertly integrate with the mainstream society. All ethnic groups can access the activities and amenities offered at this center.

Construction of the Chinese Cultural Center started in 1991 and was completed in 1992 at a cost of $10 million. This unique project was made possible through support from the City, Provincial and Federal government and enthusiastic and generous volunteers and donors.

This cultural center reflects the Canadian spirit of multiculturalism by fostering cultural exchange between West and East and by promoting active integration of the Chinese community into the Canadian society.

A grand opening ceremony in September 1992 marked the beginning of a long stretch of enthusiastic community activities. This center has been the focus of various activities and offers a highly motivating and stimulating atmosphere for fostering talent through cultural activities. Do not miss a visit to the Chinese Cultural Center on your trip to Calgary.
Prince's Island Park

10) Prince's Island Park (must see)

A visit to any city is incomplete without an enjoyable evening at its most popular park. Prince’s Island Park is one of the most famous parks in Calgary frequented by thousands of tourists and locals every day. This park is the ideal place for relaxing and watching a wide variety of tourists and locals enjoying themselves.

Catch some Vitamin D on hot summers at this 20 hectare park even as you soak in the vibrant atmosphere around. Prince’s Island Park is situated behind Eau Clair Market. The park is not just a hub of activity in summers. In winters, the pathways are filled with enthusiastic people enjoying whizzing around in roller blades and cross country skiing. You will find romance in the air at the quiet, charming River Café.

On your visit to Prince’s Island Park, do not miss the experience of watching the geese in the wetland. Gaze for hours at the amazing natural surroundings that include a lagoon, water fountains and flower gardens. During summers, paddle along the sparkling river.

During summers, you will find the park filled with frantic activities as it is a host to various summer festivals and events. Learn how the wetland serves as an important support for the habitat, wild life and water quality by taking a stroll along the environmental learning pathway.

This enchanting park is definitely the highlight of Calgary and tourists flock here from around the world to enjoy the serene ambience.
Eau Claire Market

11) Eau Claire Market

One of the popular markets namely the Eau Claire Market is located to the north of downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada. You will find Bow River to the north of the market and 4th Avenue to its south. This market is extremely popular among tourists who come here to enjoy browsing through shops, urban parkland, public plaza, hotels, restaurants and riverside condominiums. You will also find Calgary’s Festival District at Eau Claire Market.

This market was created in an industrial land that was reclaimed. Prince Island’s Park lies to the north of the market and is very popular for hosting various summer festivals such as the Shakespeare in the Park and Calgary Folk Music Festival.

Eau Claire Market is strategically located along the Bow River pathway well connected to the huge pedestrian trails and pathways network. This market derived its name from the sawmill from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This transplanted sawmill was one of the original industries in Calgary that predominantly employed Norwegian workers.

Enter this unique and interesting market and you will find a variety of galleries, shops, food courts and movie theatre. Shop to your heart’s content here and enjoy delicious food at the eateries. Include Eau Claire Market in your Calgary trip itinerary.

Walking Tours in Calgary, Alberta

Create Your Own Walk in Calgary

Create Your Own Walk in Calgary

Creating your own self-guided walk in Calgary is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Downtown Calgary, Part 3

Downtown Calgary, Part 3

Another walk in downtown Calgary, this time mostly focused on the historic aspects of the city. The Stampede Corral will take you back in time to the glorious moments of the '88 Winter Olympics, the beautiful Stephen street will reveal its rich architecture of the past century, and the museums and the historic buildings on your way will unveil the stories Calgary has to tell. Take this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
University Heights Walking Tour in Calgary

University Heights Walking Tour in Calgary

Officially founded in 1963, University Heights is a rather small residential district in Canada. However, the neighbourhood has its share of interesting attractions, from important landmarks that hosted the Winter Olympics of '88 to the renowned University of Calgary. Take this walking tour and enjoy the best of University Heights and its surroundings.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Downtown Calgary, Part 1

Downtown Calgary, Part 1

As the biggest city in Alberta, Calgary has quite a few things to offer. One should definitely start getting acquainted with the city in its downtown area. Not only will you find the most prominent landmarks, but you will also get an idea of what Calgary is like. Take this walk to discover the eastern part of downtown with its rich cultural and historic heritage.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Downtown Calgary, Part 2

Downtown Calgary, Part 2

Let's continue our walk in downtown Calgary. Awaiting you here are such major attractions as Chinatown with its unique Cultural Center and the alluring Prince's Island Park. If you are interested in shopping, look for the Dragon Mall and Eau Clair Market. Enjoy this walking tour as it takes you to the Western part of downtown.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Inglewood Walking Tour in Calgary

Inglewood Walking Tour in Calgary

This walking tour will be mostly about Inglewood, a friendly and picturesque neighbourhood on the bank of Elbow River. Explore the natural pearls of Calgary by visiting the Bird Sanctuary or the Bow Habitat Station, and learn about the history of the city at Fort Calgary. Take this tour and enjoy a stroll in central Calgary.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Sculptures in Calgary Walking Tour

Sculptures in Calgary Walking Tour

This tour is all about Calgary's outdoor sculptures: some of them weird, some of them outstanding, some of them merely amusing. You won't find imposing grey monuments with tones of history behind them. It's all about those small unrevealed sites in tourist handbooks, those colourful places captured in photos. Take this tour and discover Calgary's creative spirit.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles