Calgary is the third largest municipality in Canada, but there’s a lot more to the city than oil, beer, and cowboy hats.
Even so, any one fact would be just scratching the surface of this great city, so below is our list of 10 cool things you may have never known about Calgary.
You read that right. The delicious and world-renowned Canadian-Chinese dish was invented right here in Calgary… probably. Several restaurants and chefs claim to have invented ginger beef, but the most widely accepted origin story is that the dish was first created by chef George Wong at Calgary’s Silver Inn.
The City of Calgary didn’t stop its culinary creativity with ginger beef. Restaurateur Walter Chell invented the cocktail in 1969 to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant right here in Calgary. The drink exploded in popularity and now around 350 million Caesar’s are enjoyed every year across Canada.
We might get some brutal winters here, but we make up for it by being the brightest and sunniest city in the whole country, with around 2,396 sunny hours a year. Vancouver, eat your heart out.
How is it that when it gets so bitter cold in Calgary, everyone doesn’t just decide to pack up and move to Toronto or Vancouver? Well, we get a little help through the winter by every Calgarian’s best friend, the chinook wind.
Unique to the Canadian prairies, these winds bring warm coastal temperatures over the Rocky Mountains to warm our skies. A strong Chinook can melt 30 cm of snow in one day and can raise winter temperatures from -20 degrees to 10 degrees.
They can also cause a pretty bad migraine, to be honest, but at least it’s a little warmer!
Held between February 13 and 28, the 1988 Winter Olympics were not only the first Winter Olympics held in Canada, but were also the first held over a whole two week period. The 1988 Olympics has left a lasting legacy on the city, having helped it grow from an oil and gas centre best known for the Calgary Stampede to a city of global renown that has gone on to host many other international events.
You can’t host the Winter Olympics without winter, and Calgary certainly gets its fair share of the darkest season. The coldest it’s ever been in our city was -45°C on February 4, 1893. That’s only 18°C from the coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada, which was in Snag, Yukon at -63°C on February 3, 1947.
It’s not just bitter winter conditions here in Calgary, (we’re the sunniest city in the country, remember?) as we also get some brilliant summers. The hottest day in this city was July 15, 1919 at 36°C. That’s only 9°C away from the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada, which was in Yellow Grass Saskatchewan at 45°C on July 5, 1937.
Calgarians love biking around town, and there’s lots of support to make it easier for people. The official City of Calgary website offers tons of resources including maps of bike paths, current path closures, methods to use your bike while taking transit, as well as educational programs and information on how to ensure your safety while biking across the city.
The people of Calgary are a diverse lot, with many of us identifying as a visible minority. Point in fact, the 2016 census found that 477,780 Calgarians identified as a visible minority or Canadian Aboriginal. There are also 23 languages other than English and French that Calgarians speak as their “mother tongue.”
Born in Toronto and raised in Calgary, Naheed Nenshi is the first Muslim to become a mayor in Canada — in fact, he was the first Muslim to become the mayor of any large North American city.
That’s hardly his only achievement, as he’s been the mayor of Calgary during a period of fast growth and development and has managed to remain in office for three terms now. Nenshi has also been the recipient of several awards including the 2017 Honorary Peace Patron from the Mosaic Institute for contributions to strengthening the fabric of Canada, and the 2014 World Mayor prize by the City Mayor’s Foundation, becoming the first Canadian mayor to be awarded it.