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.
This video is a great introduction to Calgary. It starts in the mountains, shows a bit of snowboarding, and the second half highlights events from the Calgary Stampede. (Don’t worry, it’s not a long video)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 FlapJackFinder.com.
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).
Check out the fun, including highlights from the rodeo and the Stampede Parade! Ya-Hoo!!
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!