Calgary is Canada’s BEST city for walking
Yes, it is true. I have walked Canadian cities from coast to coast and this I know is true, Calgary is the best city for walking, by a long shot. What makes Calgary such a walking paradise is the way nature is integrated into all parts of the city. When you add canopies of trees to a street, it makes for a nicer walk. Our urban forests blanket communities thanks to early parks superintendents William Reader and William Pearce.
A walk in Calgary, from most neighbourhoods, can lead to a complete immersion in the wilderness followed by an exit onto a neighbourhood street with varied terrain and a great little coffee shop. Cross one of the many pedestrian bridges that criss cross the Bow and Elbow Rivers and the pedestrian is connected to a new community and interacting with new neighbours.
The variety in Calgary, the rolling topography, the escarpment viewpoints with panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the compact downtown core reaching prominently out of the concrete are breathtaking. The two rivers, the Bow and the Elbow, host paved pathways that connect the city. Over 700 km of these paved pathways snake through and around Calgary. Along these river pathways is nature. Full on nature, along with all the conveniences that come with a city, like access to great restaurants and shops, and of course, cafes. A personal favourite.
No need to stop in the winter since the paved pathways are even cleared of snow in the winter so walkers and cyclists can keep on trekking and rolling. And oh, the winter is so spectacular in Calgary. Big blue skies and snowcapped peaks in the distance.
Single track trails and hidden stairways climb into pockets of wilderness. These hidden pathways connect the urban walker to communities that are not easily connectable by car. The pockets of nature host Saskatoon berries and Wolf-willow shrubs; prairie staples. Grazing opportunities exist everywhere is Calgary.
Calgary’s variety means that you can choose between art and architecture, wildflowers and mountain views, people-populated commercial streets or a hidden oasis of calm. And you have all of these features on one single walkabout. Mix and match based on how you feel.
Or, you could find decadent picnic treats to bring along on the trails, like these macarons from Yann Patisserie on 4 Street, SW.
So, after walking Fredericton and Halifax, Montreal and Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto and also Vancouver and Victoria, I can say, without a doubt, that Calgary is a walking mecca. A pedestrian paradise. An outdoor lovers dream city. Got the point? It is the way that nature is integrated into the city that makes it stand out. That is what makes Calgary unique. I am so privileged to call Calgary my home. What a beautiful city!
Lori is featuring a walk a week on her segment “Walking Wednesdays” on Calgary’s CTV Morning. Tune in or check on-line each Wednesday at 7:55 am to learn about a new walk in Calgary!