History of Calgary

Named after Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, Calgary means 'clear running water' in Gaelic. Originally home to the Blackfoot First Nations, the site of Calgary saw rivalry when the Blackfoot were joined by the Stoney and the Sarcee in the 1800s.

The Northwest Mounted Police built Fort Calgary in the late 1870s to make way for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Once connected to the rest of Canada by rail, Calgary saw a huge jump in population, spawned from the free land give away by the government.

Farms and cattle ranches began to grow in numbers and Calgary quickly became the cattle centre of Canada and maintains this important status even today.

In the 1960s Calgary saw a huge change. Cow town became a gleaming metropolis of high-rise office buildings. This was due to the discovery, in vast quantities of oil across Alberta. Over 450 oil companies set up base in Calgary employing 70% of the population. During an economic slump in the 1980s this caused huge unemployment and hardship amongst the city residents. Fortunately the 1988 Winter Olympics boosted the economy and the oil market picked up again.

Calgary has learnt its lesson the hard way and has now invested in a lot of other industries to broaden its economic base. Particular emphasis has been put into tourism making Calgary a delightful and eventful city to visit.

Calgary Features

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