Calgary is to Canada what Denver is to the United States, a booming metropolis set high in the sky whose residents are proud of their western cowboy heritage and Rocky Mountain landscape.
Outdoor activities abound and Calgarians take full advantage of the city's bounty. And with meandering rivers, sprawling prairies, scenic mountains, and nearby natural landmarks like Banff National Park and Lake Louise, it's no surprise. Since the city so successfully played host to the 1988 Winter Olympics, it has striven to maintain its allure as an athletic-minded retreat and further enhance its appeal as a vacation destination.
Despite significant efforts to broaden Calgary's economic revenue streams with tourism and other business plans, the city, and most of Alberta, remains an oil and gas boom or bust town since the early 20th century. Presently, 40 percent of Alberta's GDP comes from drilling, about the same as in the 1960's and 70's.
As of late, strong North American and World oil demand means Calgary is living large. Its population is the fastest growing in Canada, residential homes are some of the most expensive in the country, and downtown office space is the priciest in all of Canada.
Calgarians know, however, that for every boom there is a bust lurking around the corner. Still fresh in the memories of many residents is the economic roller-coaster following the last "boom cycle" when the cost of oil skyrocketed in the 1970's, enriching the local economy like never before, only to be immediately followed by a multi-year economic recession due to the severe dropping of prices to $10/barrel. Unemployment reached 15%, and 10% of Calgarians lived below the poverty line.
Today, with sexier Canadian cities grabbing most of the prosperity headlines (e.g., Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver), Calgary's blossoming urban renewal chugs along in relative anonymity. But, if world oil and gas consumption trends persist, there is little doubt that Calgary will hold an increasingly important economic and political role throughout Canada and the world.
As a tribute to this oil and gas hotbed, we have discovered plenty of opportunities for you to utilize and replenish your own natural resources and energy. Enjoy!