Top Summer Vacation Spots In Canada – Calgary for the Calgary Stampede

Top Summer Vacation Spots in Canada is a new weekly series on this blog.

Each week I will highlight a popular location in Canada that would be an ideal stop for a fun summer vacation.

The series began last week with a stop at The Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

This week’s stop is in Calgary, Alberta for the annual Calgary Stampede.

Welcome to Calgary!

After Vancouver and Toronto, Calgary is known as one of the most expensive cities in Canada to live in.

While home prices have dropped since 2006, you can find an average 1800 sq foot house with double attached garage in the suburbs for around $430,000. These are usually 2 story homes with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a full basement, that may or may not be finished. Calgary is home to a number of large corporations, but the primary industry is oil and gas.

Calgary Stampede – The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth

Every summer the Stampede kicks off on the first Friday of July with the annual Stampede Parade.

Stampede Parade

While people begin lining the downtown parade route in the middle of the night to find the best viewing spot, streets downtown are closed off to traffic beginning at around 7 am and up until 12:30 pm.

Most companies in Calgary do their best to give their employees the morning off so that they are available to attend the parade if they wish.

calgary stampede parade

Dress Code

Compared to other cities in Canada, Calgary is known for its casual dress code on most any day of the week. However, with Stampede comes a specific dress code that most everyone tries to abide by, whether they are at work, or at a fun event.  No matter what a company's dress code is the rest of the year, during Stampede it is blue jeans and shit kickers for the entire 10 days of Stampede.

Head Over to the Stampede Grounds

As soon as the parade is finished the Stampede grounds open for 10 days of midway\carnival rides, live entertainment, agriculture & livestock exhibits, and many famous food booths.

The Stampede grounds are also host to the Rodeo, ChuckWagon Races & Grandstand Shows that take place every day.

calgary stampede

While the Stampede is quite busy every year, and usually attracts over a million people from all over the world, this year is going to be extremely busy because it is the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.

Line Up for Some Pancakes

Each day begins quite early with outdoor Pancake Breakfasts throughout the city of Calgary.

calgary stampede breakfast

Thankfully in July the sun rises in Calgary around 4:30 in the morning, which makes it very convenient if you want to visit some of the pancake breakfasts on your way to work (not that much work gets done during Stampede).

Most of the pancake breakfasts are free. Find out where the free ones are hosted on

Also, as you walk through the streets of downtown Calgary during these 10 days you will see that many hotels and corporations also participate in hosting free Stampede Breakfasts.

Stampede is a great time for corporations to host corporate parties for their employees, as well as their clients. Many corporations across Calgary typically spend a lot of money during these 10 days hosting a variety of events.

How About a Beer?

Calgary is home to many Country and Western nightclubs, which as you can well imagine, make a killing during Stampede. They usually open around noon, sometimes with a Beef BBQ, and the dancing and drinking continues well into the wee hours of the next morning. They close for a few hours to clean-up and start all over again at noon.

End of the Day

The chuck wagon races run every evening at the Stampede Grounds followed by a live performance by the Young Canadians. Just prior to  shutting down for the night,  a massive fireworks display lights up the night time sky over Calgary. As well, each evening the rest of Canada can watch the Rodeo events as they are broadcast across Canada by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Have you booked your summer vacation yet? Why not come out to Calgary this summer? Get online and book your trip to Calgary for July and we'll see you at the Calgary Stampede!



    • Modest Money

      Modest Money 04/23/2012 9:33 a.m. #

      I've only been to Calgary a couple times, but it seemed like a really fun city. Unfortunately I wasn't able to check out the Stampede since my girlfriend at the time was firmly against it. With the prices of housing and lower taxes, I'd actually considered moving there from Vancouver. Unfortunately there don't seem to be much jobs in my industry though. Still, I'd like to visit the city again sometime.

    • Anthony Thompson

      Anthony Thompson 04/23/2012 12:34 p.m. #

      I don't hear much about Calgary, so I'm glad you posted this. Sicorra. It looks like such a beautiful city, and it's no wonder that it's one of the most expensive city in Canada. The Calgary Stampede sounds like a lot of fun, and I would book a summer vacation to Calgary just to see the parade. Thank you for brightening my day.

    • CanadianBudgetBinder

      CanadianBudgetBinder 04/23/2012 12:57 p.m. #

      Great Idea,
      To be honest I haven't been anywhere but Ontario (very limited)and am yearning to travel. I've been to India,Thailand,Nepal,Norway,Iceland, Portugal,Spain,Czech Republic,UK (obviously) and a few other places in my time.

      Travelling has opened my eyes to so much and has given me an appreciation of life and the world around us. It also has taught me how different cultures come together,love and build on what they have.

      We hope to be able to travel around Canada to experience what hidden treasures surround us in this beautiful country. I look forward to your weekly series.

      P.S I love Pancakes now and maple syrup, something I had only tried when I move to Canada.


    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 04/23/2012 2:01 p.m. #

      @Modest Money - too bad you missed the Stampede. Maybe one day you can take a trip on your own to attend.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 04/23/2012 2:04 p.m. #

      @Anthony - Each week I will do a different post so that you can get a taste of Canada, and then one day if you decide to fly up here, you will already have ideas of where you want to go. Of course your first stop would be for the parade ;-)

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 04/23/2012 2:08 p.m. #

      @CanadianBudgetBinder - I think people that live in the UK or Europe have an easier time of travelling to other countries because if you search enough you can find very low airfares. Versus in Canada where it can cost $500 return from Toronto to Calgary. But perhaps you will make it out here one day. Mind you there are many beautiful places to visit right in Ontario as well, and lots of maple syrup to eat :-)

    • MyMoneyDesign

      MyMoneyDesign 04/23/2012 7:30 p.m. #

      I’ve got to be honest – I’ve never heard of Calgary! But it sounds great. I’m always looking for things to try when I cut through Canada to go to NY.

    • CultOfMoney

      CultOfMoney 04/23/2012 10:33 p.m. #

      I've never been to Calgary, but it seems like a great place to visit. Would you recommend a summer or a winter visit, knowing that I do like me my snowboarding... But it seems like summer would be a great time to visit too.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 04/24/2012 4:49 p.m. #

      @CultofMoney - Hey Karl, I know you love snowboarding, so I think you need to make 2 trips. Stampede and winter :-)

      @MyMoneyDesign - Calgary would be quite a detour from the east coast, but if you did it, you would love it!

Comments are closed.