Outdoor Sports

Golf

Golf is a very popular pastime in Calgary, and there are dozens of courses in and around the city. The season for hitting the links generally runs from May to October.

Popular Public Calgary Golf Courses:  

Climbing

The Calgary area is perfect for rock and mountain climbing, with the Rockies just waiting for you on the city’s doorstep.

Beginners should definitely take classes before venturing out (the resources listed below can help):

When ready to tackle an actual cliff, areas like the west side of Lake Louise and Mount Yamnuska near Canmore are popular locations.

Fishing

Calgary’s Bow River is world famous for trout fishing, and there are kilometres of other fish-filled streams and rivers that stretch from the city south to the Canadian border with Montana, and west to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

There are many trout-filled lakes in the area (they’re generally ice-free by April), including Police Outpost Lake near Cardston and Beauvais Lake near Pincher Creek.

Following is a list of local fishing resources:

All people sport fishing in Alberta require a license, aside from children younger than 16, seniors older than 65 and First Nations peoples. Costs for the license range from under 26 dollars for Canadian residents, to just over seventy dollars for non-residents.

Licenses can be purchased at stores that feature outdoor camping and fishing equipment such as Canadian Tire and Wholesale Sports.

Photo Location: Bow River.
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Spectator Sports

Overview

Calgary is definitely a sports town.

Hockey, without question, is the number one professional sports tickets in the city, but the football and lacrosse teams also draw a significant fan base.

Learn about Calgary’s beloved teams below:

  • Calgarians are ardent followers of the National Hockey League Calgary Flames
  • The Calgary Hitmen are a team of hopeful future NHL’ers who play in the Western Hockey League
  • The Calgary Roughnecks play in the National Lacrosse League, and are affectionately called the Riggers
  • The Calgary Stampeders are the city’s Canadian Football League team
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Parks & Recreation

Overview

Calgary has over 10,000 hectares (100 square kilometres) of parkland and public green spaces, as well as the longest paved urban pathway system on the continent. It runs for more than 800 kilometres and is easily accessible from virtually anywhere in the city. Let your dog run in one of the 150 off-leash areas, or simply sit and relax in one of the over 5,600 public park sites.

Photo: WinSport’s Mountain Bike Park at Canada Olympic Park.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Calgary’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains makes it a snow-lover’s dream. With over four downhill resorts within a two-hour’s drive, the opportunities for skiers and boarders are immense.

The area’s hills see up to 380 centimetres of snow a year, while the scenery is breathtaking.

Learn more about the area’s hills and facilities below:

  • Mount Norquay is a family ski resort
  • Canada Olympic Park has a hill that’s great for beginners, right in Calgary city limits
  • Lake Louise has legendary runs that offer world-class terrain
  • Nakiska is just 45 minutes from Calgary in Kananaskis Country
  • Sunshine Village in Banff National Park sees over nine metres of snow a year in

There is some great cross-country skiing in and around Calgary: you can spend the afternoon on a municipal golf course in the city or head out for days into untouched Rocky Mountain back country.

Following is a list of ski spots and local online resources:

Photo: Skiing and Snowboarding at Canada Olympic Park.

Facilities

Calgary has many great public recreation facilities including athletic parks, baseball diamonds and sports fields, while there are dozens of leisure and fitness centres with pools, ice rinks, weight rooms, gymnasiums, climbing walls and more.

The following public recreation facilities and programs are some of the city’s largest and finest:

  • The Olympic Skating Oval is a multi-sport training and competition facility with 400 metres of track
  • Canada Olympic Park is the city’s destination for skiers in the winter and mountain bikers in the summer
  • The City of Calgary Recreation Program offers workshops and classes at any of 12 city aquatic and fitness facilities
  • The Genesis Wellness Centre offers sport, recreation, wellness and cultural services to northeast Calgary residents
  • The Glenmore Aquatic Centre has a number of pools and classes
  • The Southland Leisure Centre has a water park, fitness facility and weight room
  • The Talisman Centre is a world-class fitness facility just south of the downtown core with pools, a fitness centre, gymnasiums, ice rinks, and an indoor running track
  • Village Square Leisure Centre is the northeast’s major water park, wave pool, and fitness facility
  • Westside Recreation Centre has ice skating, a full-sized arena and enormous fitness area
  • Cardel Place combines the Calgary Public Library with gymnasiums, a fitness centre, swimming pool, and a climbing wall for northwest Calgary neighbourhoods
  • The YMCA and YWCA have facilities, camps and community programs throughout the city 
Photo: Skiing and Snowboarding at Canada Olympic Park.
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Team Sports

Overview

There are several leagues in Calgary for many popular sports. The following is a sample of organizations and resources for team sports in the city, some for kids, some for adults.

  • KidSport - This society provides assistance to children looking to participate in team sports by helping to pay registration fees and by distributing required equipment.
  • Calgary Minor Soccer - The city’s soccer league for youth is for boys and girls, and includes indoor and outdoor programs. 
  • Calgary Minor Hockey - The city’s organized hockey league for youth is for both boys and girls. There are a number of levels, ranging from teams for three and four year olds to teenagers.
  • Calgary Sport and Social Club - This fun league formed in 1996 with a mission to provide well-organized co-ed sports leagues that have a social element, both on the playing field and afterwards at the pub. There are leagues representing everything from basketball to badminton.
  • CalgaryArea.com Community Sports - Provides a handy index of all the leagues and organizations in the city – for both kids and adults – in baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer.
  • Sport Calgary / Calgary Sport Council - Calgarians can find information about 500 sport organizations through the Council's searchable database as well as information about fee subsidies, nutrition, grants and sport news
Photo: Creative Commons: La Roca vs Calgary Foothills 98 by Kevin Burnett, Flickr.
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Watersports

Canoeing/Kayaking

For a land-locked prairie city, you might be surprised how big of a splash you can actually make in Calgary.

There are a number of places to go canoeing and kayaking right in Calgary city limits, the Calgary Canoe Club is a good starting point for interested paddlers: the Glenmore Reservoir, Elbow River and the Bow River. Further west of the city – in Bragg Creek, Banff National Park and Kananaskis – you’ll find fantastic canoe and kayak country.

Photo Location: Glenmore Sailing Club.

Rafting/Rowing

Rafting

Urban rafting is a right of passage in Calgary: every July and August the Bow and Elbow Rivers are jammed with rafters on all manner of floatation devices. Lifejackets are required by law.

Rowing

The Calgary Rowing Club offers training for recreational to fully competitive rowing, with learn-to-row sessions beginning in early May. 

Photo Location: Glenmore Sailing Club.

 

Sailing/Swimming

Sailing

There are several ways to enjoy sailing in Calgary: The Glenmore Sailing School operates on the Glenmore Reservoir for youth and adults. The Calgary Yacht Club can be found on the east side of Chestermere Lake – in neighbouring Chestermere – and offers affordable time-share leasing of boats.

Swimming

Calgary has eight outdoor pools open from mid-June until the Labour Day long weekend and 12 indoor pools open year round. Pools generally offer public swim times and a variety of water-based activities from aquacise to deep-water running. The City of Calgary provides a map of its municipally run aquatic centres.

Photo Location: Glenmore Sailing Club.
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