One of the best things to do when meeting fellow travellers, whether on the road or at home, is to exchange the insider scoop on what to see and do in our home countries. Everyone is proud of their countries and like to show off the good bits to others if they come to visit. We have been lucky enough to experience living in a few different western Canadian locations. So here are some of our insider scoops from our time in Calgary, Alberta.

Photo Credit: Virgin Holidays

The number one must see even if you only have a day is perhaps the crown jewel of all Canadian park area, Banff and Lake Louise! This was the first Canadian national park, established in 1885. There is a very good reason why this remains one of the countries most popular destination for both Canadians and visitors from abroad. Absolutely stunning natural beauty. Soaring mountains, glaciers, forests and abundant wildlife. It is a year round wilderness playground. World class ski resorts in the winter including the necessary apres-ski lodging. Summer takes things up a notch with everything from quaint town shopping streets, through golfing, to face to face encounters with local wildlife. There are many hiking trails that range from fully accessible pathways to rugged multi-day backcountry adventures. Every outdoor activity you can imagine is found in this area. Just go.

Photo Credit: NailaJ

A very close second and for the 10 days in July every year, possibly number one, the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede has been running in Calgary for over 100 years celebrating a history of ranching, agriculture and First Nations in the southern Alberta region. It is billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth and there is no reason to doubt it. The whole city dresses in western wear for the entire 10 day run. Normally straight laced business offices are converted to the western theme and if you aren’t wearing boots and jeans you may be sent home for dress code violations. The Stampede features a rodeo during the day, chuckwagon races in the evening, an over the top grandstand show, a midway, numerous beer gardens, concerts, farm animal and equipment demonstrations, competitions for show animals, art displays and enough fried food to stop the heart of everyone in the city.

Photo Credit: laszlo-photo

For number three, I highly recommend a trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. The drive alone is worth the trip as you drop out off of the prairies and into the Red Deer River valley badlands. The badlands are caused by natural river erosion, the same erosion has revealed a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is great interactive museum that retells the history of the area using many of the local fossil finds. There are massive full skeleton displays of the local favourite Albertosaurus, a fearsome predator from the Late Cretaceous Period. This is a working museum and the area has active excavations. There are many areas throughout the valley to explore including more recent history like the Atlas Coal Mine historic site.