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Downtown Calgary, Part 1 (Self Guided), Calgary

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.
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Downtown Calgary, Part 1 Map

Guide Name: Downtown Calgary, Part 1
Guide Location: Canada » Calgary (See other walking tours in Calgary)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: AnnaO
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Old City Hall
  • Olympic Plaza
  • Burns Building
  • EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts
  • Glenbow Museum
  • Cathedral Church of the Redeemer
  • Calgary Tower
Old City Hall

1) 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.
Olympic Plaza

2) 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.
Burns Building

3) Burns Building

Ask any tourist back from Calgary and he will tell you that no matter what, one should not miss a visit to Burns Building. Located at 237-8th Avenue right across the City Hall and Olympic Plaza, this six storied edifice was constructed by Pat Burns, the meat baron, and was meant to serve as a flagship market and corporate headquarters for Burns Foods. Burns building was constructed during the historically significant year of 1913 when many prominent buildings, such as Lancaster Block, Palliser Hotel, Hudson’s Bay Store and Canada Life Building, came into existence. The building was exchanged for Glengarry Ranch by Pat Burns in 1923.

Immediately after construction, the Burns Building housed a retail meat market on the ground floor. Enter this level and you will find a dozen towering Doric marble columns that are 25 foot high each. A variety of different tenants occupied the other 35,000 square feet of office space in the Burns.

Burns Building was constructed in Edwardian Classical architectural style. You will find ornamental sculpted moldings including lion heads on the terracotta exterior. The main corridors and stairways of the building are finished with green and white Italian marble. Even back then, this structure featured conveniences such as ventilation and steam heating. Every single office had natural gas lighting apart from electricity. Pay a visit to this historically significant building on your trip to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts

4) EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts

Located in the Olympic Plaza cultural district, the EPCOR Center for the Performing Arts is a popular arts center in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This center is located in Burns Building, one of the ancient surviving city blocks. This building is named after Pat Burns, a famous Calgarian.

This building was demolished in the 70s and the Calgary Center for Performing Arts was built on the land. Construction was completed and the center was officially opened in September 1985. This performing arts center was renamed EPCOR Center for the Performing Arts after it received a huge donation from a utilities company based in Edmonton called EPCOR.

The center occupies a total of six levels in the building and is among the top three largest centers in Canada. Apart from vast performance spaces, EPCOR center features offices, theatre workshops, rehearsal halls, radio station, a café, meeting rooms, gift store, salon spa and galleries.

Each year, at least 1800 events and performances such as children’s events, reading and spoken word, dance, live theatre, art exhibits, experimental theatre, training sessions, weddings, public forums, arts education activities, award ceremonies, sporting competition and events and folk, jazz, symphony, rock, world and blue concerts are held here attended by 400,000 people. Be sure you visit this interesting center on your trip to Calgary.
Glenbow Museum

5) 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.
Cathedral Church of the Redeemer

6) 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.
Calgary Tower

7) 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.

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.
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
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
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 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
Calgary Introduction Walk

Calgary Introduction Walk

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...  view more

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