Calgary takes the travel spotlight with a top recommendation from CNN
Toronto Star West Coast Bureau Chief Petti Fong has this report, along with files from Jim Byers.
If a Canadian city could be on a roll, that spot would be taken this week by Calgary. CNN International has just picked Calgary as one of the best places to visit in 2012. The number five spot grabbed by the city means Calgary beat out London, which was two places behind at number seven. That despite the fact London will host the 2012 Summer Olympics, not to mention the coming celebrations surrounding the Queen's 60th anniversary on the throne.
“Every summer, Canada’s cowboy epicenter, Calgary, Alberta, hits its boot-kickin’, bronco-bustin’, team-ropin’, chuckwagon-fare-samplin’, Duke-&-Duchess-of-Cambridge-attendin’ stride at the annual Calgary Stampede -- a treasured national event that’s been dubbed the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” CNN International wrote.
In 1912, a traveling vaudevillian launched the event, aiming to preserve old western values and heritage. In celebration of its 100th anniversary the Calgary Stampede is expecting more than 700,000 visitors this July.
The city has big plans for attracting travellers in 2012. Not only is it the Stampede's centennial, but the city will celebrate its designation as the cultural centre of Canada. Hundreds of grassroots events, exhibitions, festivals, music concerts and installation will be held throughout the year highlighting the city's cultural events.
“This is great news,” said Randy Williams, Tourism Calgary President & CEO. “Stories and lists like this, especially from credible, global media sources, provide urgency to visit Calgary now – not at some undetermined time in the future.”
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi shows the Toronto Star around his favourites spots in his city in this weekend's travel section.
The top seven places chosen by CNN International was based on where to go to get the most out of your travel budget. The top choice was Yeosu in Korea, which also is getting a fair bit of publicity these days. Yeosu has a beautiful island archipelago, and the city also will host a World Expo (not that those attract the attention they used to) from May 12 to Aug. 12.
Number two was Antartica, followed by Poland/Ukraine (hosting the Euro soccer championships June 8 to July 1). Next was Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which has a new, $56 million visitor centre. Then came Calgary, followed by Myanmar (just recently opening up to tourism) and London.
Calgary also made CNN International's list of top places to party in 2012, so that's an added bonus.
Toronto, just fyi, was number two on the list of Travel + Leisure's top places for 2012. Other spots mentioned in various magazines as Canadian destinations of note included Muskoka, the Bay of Fundy and Halifax, owing to this year being the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.