Calgary

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With the eastern face of the Rockies as its backdrop, the crisp concrete-and-steel skyline of Calgary, Alberta, seems to rise from the plains as if by sheer force of will. Indeed, all the elements in the great saga of the Canadian West—Mounties, local people, railroads, cowboys, cattle, oil—have converged to create a city with a modern face and a surprisingly traditional soul.

The city supports professional football and hockey teams, and in July the rodeo events of the Calgary Stampede attract visitors from around the world. Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, and the downhill slopes and miles of cross-country ski trails are at Kananaskis, less than 90 minutes west of town. The city is also the perfect starting point for one of the preeminent dinosaur-exploration sites in the world, a world-class dinosaur-exploration tour at Dinosaur Provincial Park near Brooks and the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. The Glenbow Museum is one of the top museums in Canada, and the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts showcases theatre and musical performances.