Arts and Culture in Calgary
By John McKiernan
Calgary is often simply used as a gateway town to the Canadian Rockies. However, it is in itself something of a growing city bursting with cultural events for its inhabitants and visitors alike. There are numerous theatre companies and art galleries as well as a rising number of events that are held year round. Before heading up to Banff National Park or one of its surrounds, take a few days in Calgary to find out what everyone is talking about.
In fact, Calgary has risen in the culture ranking so much that in 2008, it beat off competition from Montreal and Toronto to be voted “Canada’s Most Cultured City” by MacLeans Magazine. Not a bad title to have attached to your name. The title comes thanks to the Calgarians, who are very much involved in the city’s cultural scene. The proud tag comes because over 50% of all Calgarians spend money on attending museums and the performing arts, giving Calgary the highest cultural participation rate in the country.
At the heart of the city lies the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts. This huge building spans almost 2 entire city blocks. It houses five permanent theatres including the stunning 2000 seater Jack Singer Concert Hall. The acoustics here compare well with the best in the world including the Sydney Opera House.
Every night, there seems to be something new going on in Calgary. The centre in particular is always buzzing with some show or another and Calgarians are only too happy to get involved.
The Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium lies in the city’s northwest. It has only recently re-opened after extensive renovations but has once begun to host huge varieties of performances from ballets to operas.
Of course it doesn’t always have to be huge locations. On a smaller scale, keep your eyes open around town as there are some really excellent café , hotel and pub shows. Canada’s music industry in particular is really thriving at the minute so it is a good chance to see some great performers while they are still playing to small crowds.