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CALGARY, ALBERTA—Calgary is the gateway city for Banff and even a lot of people who are going to be heading onwards to Jasper National Park too. It is the third biggest city in Canada and has to be considered one of the most up and coming cities. If you are coming to the Rockies especially to get away from the big city, it is probably best to grab the first bus to the mountain towns like Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore. However, if you want a true Canadian experience, why not stay in Calgary for a few days?
Calgary is an interesting city of opposites. You could go and watch the Calgary Flames ice hockey team (probably lose) and then the next night attend a jazz festival or ballet. Though it may not have the former biggest mall in the world (Edmonton has this prize), Calgary, I’m told has some shopping to die for and the way my girl-friends talk about it, they probably would die for it.
Aside from the actual activities to do in Calgary, there are tours you can do to the Rockies with companies like Banff Travel The first mountain town from Calgary (Kananaskis) is only about an hour away. There are buses that can bring you into Banff or all the way to the famous Colombia Icefield with a company like Brewster. Calgary has all the amenities you would expect from a big city and with far less tourists, you are guaranteed a true Canadian Experience.