With a skyline filled with modern tall buildings and office blocks, and branded as the ‘Heart of the New West‘, you could be forgiven for thinking that Calgary does not have much to offer those interested in looking back in time to a bygone era. However a little exploration reveals a city rich in culture and proud of its history, and a visit to any or all of the following excellent museums would be a fantastic start to appreciating that history for yourself.
Located a short distance from downtown Calgary in the trendy neighbourhood of Inglewood, Fort Calgary is an interpretive centre based in an accurately re-built version of an original 1875 North West Mounted Police post. The Fort has its own history to tell with stories of the Mounted Police who originally inhabited the settlement, and also tells the history of the city of Calgary from 1875 to the 1940s. Highlights include a ride in a virtual streetcar through scenes of Calgary’s past, historic stores and places of work, pleasant pathways through a community garden, and a general store where you can buy RCMP and Canadiana souvenirs. Also on site is the historic Deane House Restaurant which offers excellent lunch and brunch menus.
Fort Calgary is open year round and is not to be missed!
For further information and for opening times, prices and special events visit www.fortcalgary.com
Aerospace Museum of Calgary
Aptly located close to Calgary Airport, the mission of the Aerospace Museum of Calgary is “to promote the appreciation of Western Canadian contributions in aviation and space”. Exhibits include full aircraft in a large hangar including a Lancaster Bomber from World War 2, a Sopwith Triplane from World War 1, civil aviation and recreational aircraft, and vintage helicopters. Other highlights include a collection of 58 aeronautical engines and aircraft memorabilia including artwork and interesting wartime photos.
The museum is a must-see for aviation enthusiasts and even visitors with just a passing interest are sure to be impressed by the larger exhibits of these magnificent vintage aircraft.
For more information, visit www.asmac.ab.ca
Both a museum and an art gallery, the Glenbow is certainly Calgary’s most famous and most popular museum with an eclectic range of exhibits that finds appeal with visitors with a wide range of interests. Located in the heart of downtown opposite the Calgary Tower, the impressive building houses permanent exhibitions which have a strong focus on the history, heritage and culture of western Canada, including an excellent portrayal of native cultures from Alberta and across the country. Also of note are the Asian Gallery, the Mineralogy Exhibition, and an exhibition dedicated to 5 centuries of warriors and war in different cultures across the world.
There are also many temporary exhibitions from the Glenbow’s own collections and travelling exhibitions from international museums.
Such is the quality of this museum, many people visit Calgary specifically to visit the Glenbow, and if you are in Calgary for other reasons, you really owe it to yourself to include it in your itinerary.
For further information, and to find out more about the current exhibitions visit www.glenbow.org