Calgary, a cosmopolitan Alberta city with numerous skyscrapers, owes its rapid growth to its status as the centre of Canada’s oil industry. However, it’s still steeped in the western culture that earned it the nickname “Cowtown,” evident in the Calgary Stampede, its massive July rodeo and festival that grew out of the farming exhibitions once presented here.

Main attractions include Calgary Tower, featuring a 1,228m-high observation deck; Glenbow, a museum of art and history; and the Calgary Zoo. The Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall and 17th Avenue offer shops, restaurants, lounges and entertainment. Hiking and biking are popular in sprawling Fish Creek Provincial Park. Olympic Park, built for the 1988 winter games, is a year-round sports hub with a bobsled run. The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary has trails and wildlife. Mountainous Banff, Canada’s oldest national park, is about 130km west of the city.