Alberta is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking places on earth, as vast as it is varied in landscape and experiences. It's a vacation destination you won't soon forget, filled with unique activities, urban charms and cultural jewels.
Located in western Canada, the province of Alberta is bordered by the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the west and vast prairies and badlands to the east. To the north lie the Northwest Territories. The state of Montana is our nearest southern neighbor with which we share an international peace park.
The elements that make the Canadian Rockies a year round dream destination are all right here in Banff National Park, a beautiful 90 minute drive west of Calgary. Established in 1883 after three railway workers stumbled onto a thermal hot spring, it became Canada's first national park in 1885. Today it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled in the heart of the park, the town of Banff and nearby hamlet of Lake Louise have all the creature comforts and are your gateways to year round adventures. Find out why Lake Louise is known as the jewel of the Rockies.
The largest of our Rocky Mountain national parks, Jasper is filled with soaring peaks, ancient glaciers and untouched wilderness covering more than 10,000 sq km (4,200 sq mi) – ample space to reconnect with nature.
Part of a collective UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also the second largest dark sky preserve in the world – and the only one with a human population in the centre of it. The town of Jasper is the heart and soul of the park – an authentic mountain community where the locals welcome you as long-lost friends. Consider it your springboard to outdoor adventure.
A vast playground of over 50 interconnected provincial parks and recreation areas, Kananaskis Country covers 4,257 sq km (1,643 sq mi) of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. Oh, and there's a very cool town called Canmore.
Calgarians consider Kananaskis their personal playground as it's only 45 minutes west of the city. Fifteen minutes further west is the town of Canmore, the heartbeat of Kananaskis Country and an ideal base for your alpine adventures. Plenty of accommodation choices, loads of restaurants – from fine dining to cozy cafés – shops and mountain equipment outlets are at your fingertips.
Calgary is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It has the youngest population per capita in Canada (average of 36 years), and is one of the most highly educated. Given there are a lot of young, smart people here, you can imagine they know how to work hard and play hard. Come see what Calgarians think of as their own backyard.
Edmonton began as a Hudson's Bay fur trading post in 1795, drawing explorers and settlers from all parts of Europe. Today, Alberta's capital city is a vibrant reflection of the traditions of the people that brought their hopes and dreams to a new land.
You'll find evidence of these deep roots just 25 minutes east of the city at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, where you can spend the day experiencing what early settler life was like. Save room for the handmade perogies!
Imagine a journey through alpine forests, rolling foothills, wide open prairies and stunning badlands, all in the course of a day. Sound like something out of a movie? It could very well be – the authentic vistas of southern Alberta are favorite locations for Hollywood filmmakers. To the east, fertile prairie lands suddenly drop away to reveal a world of multicoloured canyons and unusual rock formations known as hoodoos. The Canadian Badlands are home to the largest deposits of dinosaur bones in the world.
Alberta's infinite variety of landscapes provides unforgettable treks to satisfy every hiker's wanderlust. There are thousands of miles of trails for your clients to explore. For an adventure they can really brag about, recommend a heli-hike into a secluded mountain pass with possible sightings of moose, black bear and big horn sheep.
A rewarding way to experience Alberta's spectacular landscapes is from the saddle. Professional outfitters will create the ultimate adventure on horseback, tailored to your clients' skill and time. Perhaps the ultimate Alberta horseback adventure is heading out to a working ranch in the southwest and saddling up on a real cattle drive.
Imagine a golf course where the fairways are carved from the surrounding forests, following the natural contours of an alpine valley surrounded by towering mountains and meandering past glacier-fed lakes. Imagine seeing elk, caribou, or bears on the back nine. This is no pipe dream
Alberta's lakes, rivers and streams number in the thousands. With so many unspoiled waterways, a spot to drop a line is never far away. And Alberta is one of the world's premiere fly fishing regions, especially for stream and river trout. Your clients can choose from a huge array of fishing locations, from the heart of the city to remote fly-in only lodges in the north for trophy fishing in pristine waters.
Some of the most important dinosaur discoveries in the world have been unearthed in the Canadian Badlands and can be seen at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. Your clients can go on an authentic dinosaur dig in Dinosaur Provincial Park. This is the real deal. Fossils are everywhere, exposed by the erosion of millennia. Visitors find teeth, bones, turtle shells and coprolite – the official word for dinosaur droppings!
After working up an appetite in the fresh winter air, treat yourself to first-rate Alberta cuisine. Warm up by a cozy fireplace as you sample renowned Alberta beef. Try a juicy bison burger or elk sausage. Discover the secrets of Saskatoon berries. Fine dining is close at hand in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Canmore, Calgary and Edmonton. In every corner of Alberta top chefs showcase local and sustainable ingredients. Fuel up for another day of exploration.
Alberta knows good shopping. West Edmonton Mall is North America's largest indoor shopping center and entertainment complex with 800-plus stores. Pop into unique boutiques on the main street in Banff, get your cowboy gear in Calgary and check out cutting-edge local designers and top international labels on 17th Avenue or Kensington Village. Best of all Alberta is the only province in Canada with no provincial sales tax. Which means more money for shoes.
History abounds at captivating spaces like Calgary's Glenbow Museum, which boasts over a million artifacts, and Edmonton's Royal Alberta Museum, which tells of Alberta's colorful past, including the Plains Indians, explorers, pioneers and Mounties. Visit national historic sites like the Cave and Basin, the birthplace of Canada's National Parks. Alberta is also home to five of Canada's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Dinosaur Provincial Park. See hundreds of dinosaur skeletons at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.
Get pampered amid the peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains or at a world-class urban day spa. Soak in the healing waters of the mineral pools at the Banff Upper Hot Springs or indulge in an alpine-inspired beauty spa treatment and a relaxing couples' massage. Rejuvenate your mind and body in a serene and luxurious setting so you emerge fully revitalized and ready to discover another Alberta adventure.
Albertans love outdoor events, whether it's summer or winter. In fact, winter plays host to some of Alberta's finest festivals such as Edmonton's Ice on Whyte, featuring amazing ice carving and the Silver Skate Festival. In the Rockies, enjoy Banff Snowdays and Jasper in January. Calgary events include the Calgary Winter Festival and Fort Calgary's Winterfest Carnival. You can always make your own even with a skating or tobogganing party, or take in an NHL hockey game with the Calgary Flames or the Edmonton Oilers.