The skyscrapers of downtown Calgary seem out of place rising unexpectedly from the shallow Bow River Valley. They contrast sharply with the dry, flat prairie stretching off to the east and south, and are dwarfed by the jagged ramparts of the Rocky Mountains looming to the west. Pinched between the slopes of one of the world's most rugged mountain ranges and the soft, fertile waves of the grasslands, Calgary is a city constantly on the move, rarely pausing to catch its collective breath before the next boom sweeps it off its feet.
The city sprawls from the foothills of the Rockies in the northwest to the rolling hills and farm country of the southeast. It is divided into four quadrants intersecting at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, which meet at right angles in the city center. Center Street runs north to south, and Center Avenue east to west, with all streets laid out in a grid expanding outwards from the center.
Less than a century old, the city hasn't had time to develop a rich heritage, but instead, has built a rough and ready character full of youth that thrives on spectacle and excess. Calgary's downtown area is bustling and always on the move. From the noise and bravado of the
The Southwest extends from the forests of Kananaskis Country to the office towers of downtown, and is a mix of residential and business districts. It includes the natural beauty of
The Southeast is home to vast oil refineries, fabrication plants and heavy industry, as well as trendy new housing developments and the world famous
The Northeast is separated from the rest of the city by the Deerfoot Trail, a freeway which carries most of Calgary's commuter traffic and is one of the most dangerous roads in Canada. Comprised mostly of older working-class neighborhoods interspersed with industrial areas, the Northeast is the place to find factory-outlet shopping, as well as the
Northwest In the Northwest you can find many of the city's academic institutions and athletic facilities, as well as its upscale residential districts. Both the University of Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology are located here, as well as the