Calgary is the little town that could – from humble beginnings it has transformed itself into a cosmopolitan modern city. Before all of that, the Blackfoot people called the area home for centuries. Eventually they were joined by the Sarcee and Stoney tribes on the banks of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.
By the time the 1870s rolled around, the NWMP built a fort and called it Fort Calgary after Calgary Bay on Scotland’s Isle of Mull. The railroad followed a few years later and, buoyed by the promise of free land, settlers started the trek west to make Calgary their home.
Long a center for ranching, the cowboy culture was set to become forever intertwined with the city. For the initial stages of the 20th century, Calgary simmered along, growing slowly. Then in the 1960s everything changed. Overnight, ranching was seen as a thing of the past and oil was the new favorite child. With the ‘black gold’ seeming to bubble up from the ground nearly everywhere in Alberta, Calgary became the natural choice of place to set up headquarters.
The population exploded and the city began to grow at an alarming rate. As the price of oil continued to skyrocket, it was good times for the people of Cowtown. The ’70s boom stopped dead at the ’80s bust. Things slowed and the city diversified.
The 21st century began with an even bigger boom. House prices have gone through the roof, there is almost zero unemployment and the economy is growing 40% faster than the rest of Canada. Not bad for a bunch of cowboys.