Past the mountain peaks of the Canadian Rockies lies a town still tied to its Wild West past. Calgary, Alberta, serves as the center of the ranch and financial industry of western Canada.
The cowboy heritage is remembered every July at the Calgary Stampede Park, where thousands of people congregate to watch rodeo sporting events such as barrel racing, bull riding and chuck-wagon racing.
“The Calgary Stampede is basically a big party that takes place each year,” said Lindsey Jardin, tourism sales manager for Calgary Stampede Park. “It all got started because of testosterone. The chuck-wagon drivers would race each other to the next cowboy outpost.”
Popular artists such as Kenny Chesney, Katy Perry and the Backstreet Boys also give concerts during the event. The rodeo’s park features painted murals for photo ops and a year-round Western shop to find Canadian cowboy souvenirs.
I sampled a little of Canada’s Western flavor at Calgary’s Mavericks restaurant. The buffet-style food and cowboy-themed interior created a fun, relaxing atmosphere for the evening.