Guides

Arts and Culture in Calgary

Hotel search

It was named Cultural Capital of Canada in 2012, and Calgary’s already-thriving arts and culture scene has gone from strength to strength since then. The city boasts a vibrant performing arts scene, not to mention a menu of museums telling fascinating stories about local history and the epic landscape all around.

 

Magnificent museums

 

Calgary does a stand-up job of preserving its unique culture and shouting about it to the world. You’ll find an impressively diverse range of specialist museums, celebrating everything from Canadian sports heroes to the Western Canadian wilds. Here are a couple of blockbuster attractions every visitor should set aside some time for.

 

The Glenbow Museum

 

This imaginatively curated, innovative museum is home to Western Canada’s largest art collection, which includes an amazing selection of North American paintings, and Inuit art from the first days of commercial art production. The museum also celebrates world culture, with an astonishing selection of Asian sculptures dating back as far as the 1st century.

 

130 9th Avenue SE, Calgary AB T2G 0P3. Tel: +1 403 268 4100

 

The Glenbow Museum website

 

The Military Museums of Calgary

 

Devoted to the incredible triumphs and tragedies of the Canadian Forces throughout history, this complex encompasses several separate museums and galleries. It brings history to life with interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to walk through a First World War trench, and experience an air mission briefing in a real World War 2 Nissen hut.

 

4520 Crowchild Trail SW, Calgary AB T2T 5J4. Tel: +1 403 410 2340

 

The Military Museums of Calgary website

 

Performing arts

 

Calgary’s theater scene is richly diverse, with venues specializing in mystery plays, improvisation, one-act plays, and community theater. There are also long-established, larger venues offering more mainstream fare.
EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts

 

The EPCOR Centre is the beating heart of Calgary’s performance scene. It features an amazingly eclectic year-round program of toe-tapping musicals, acclaimed dramas, children's shows, concerts, and arthouse film screenings. Whatever your interests may be, this is your one-stop destination for a first-rate cultural fix.

 

205 8th Avenue SE, Calgary AB T2G 0K9. Tel: +1 403 294 9494

 

EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts website

 

Public art

 

Perhaps Calgary’s most striking cultural attraction is its extensive collection of public artworks. An array of abstract sculptures and vibrant murals give a unique, futuristic edge to an ever-evolving cityscape. Here are a couple of pieces worth going out of your way to see.

 

Wonderland

 

World-famous Spanish artist Jaume Plensa has created jaw-dropping sculptures in major cities all over the world, from Chicago to Singapore. His contribution to Calgary’s cultural landscape is a giant wire mesh sculpture of a young girl’s head, installed at the base of the city’s tallest tower, The Bow.

 

500 Centre Street SE, Calgary AB T2G 1A6

 

Chinook Arc

 

This unique, interactive sculpture is an intriguing addition to the Beltline neighborhood. It’s best viewed in the evening, as it’s illuminated in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors. You can even create your own light sequence by waving your hands, or playing a video on your phone in front of it.

 

Barb Scott Park, Calgary AB

 

 

Religious landmarks

 

Whether you're a true believer yourself or not particularly religious, it's well worth checking out the spiritually-orientated landmarks in Calgary. Baitun Nur Mosque

 

Calgary is home to one of the largest mosques in North America. This vast, gleaming white structure dominates the local skyline with its strikingly modern, shimmering steel dome and steel-capped minaret tower. In its prayer hall hangs a staggering, 400kg chandelier. Visitors are more than welcome to explore this unique landmark at their leisure, and guided tours are also available.

 

4353 54 Avenue NE, Calgary AB T3J 4L3 . Tel: +1 403 590 8008

 

Baitun Nur Mosque website