Alberta

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Destination Information

Primarily known for its placid lakes and towering mountain ranges, Alberta is bordered by the prairies of Saskatchewan to the east and the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the west. Jasper and Banff in the Canadian Rockies are two of the world’s oldest national parks, and they are enjoyable year-round destinations for outdoor activities. In summer, hiking, golf and horseback riding are popular, while in winter, skiing, showshoeing and snowboarding are the primary pastimes. Alberta’s two main cities are Calgary, famous for the Calgary Stampede rodeo festival held every July, and Edmonton, which hosts the annual International Fringe arts festival.

The easiest connection to Banff is through Calgary, a vibrant city of more than a million, set along the Bow River where the prairie meets the low foothills of the Rockies. The main range can be seen about 50 miles to the west. The city celebrates its heritage every July with its best-known visitor event, the Calgary Stampede, and not everyone puts away the cowboy boots and hats when the party’s over. Although gas and oil still drive the economy and Alberta beef is on every menu, the city has a thriving music and arts community, galleries and museums — notably the Glenbow Museum of art and history — attractive parks, and along the lively Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall, scores of boutiques and restaurants that bump up against glittering high-rises.