City Name
The History Behind Calgary and Its Name

The History Behind Calgary and Its Name

What is the meaning of the name Calgary?

Calgary originates from the Gaelic phrase “Cala ghearraidh”, which means “preserved pasture at the harbour”. This is widely accepted as the city name’s origin, though Colonel Irvine also famously noted the meaning of Calgary as “clear running water.”

Because of Colonel Irvine’s position at the time of Calgary’s role as a military post, this was accepted before the correction pointing to its Gaelic origins. This comes from Colonel James Macleod, who named the city after Scotland’s Calgary Bay.

How Calgary Got Its Name

How Calgary Got Its Name

Calgary used to be called Fort Brisebois. It was an outpost for North-West Mounted Police to improve relations with indigenous people and put a stop to alcohol runners from America. 

It would be renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 and remain so until its title was given to the Crown as part of Treaty 7. When it officially became a city in 1884, it dropped “Fort” from its name.

Because Calgary has long been home to the Blackfoot peoples too, it is called Moh-kins-tsis by the indigenous. This means “elbow” – a reference to the rivers Bow and Elbow surrounding the place. 

Today, Calgary is still home to a large indigenous community and other cultures, being the third most diverse city in Canada. Various community centres and spaces thrive to bring people together and provide resources for various backgrounds to come together.

Other Names For Calgary

Other Names For Calgary

Calgary has a number of nicknames, with the most popular ones being Stampede City and Cowtown. Its former slogan also made the moniker “Heart of the New West.”

Calgary is often referred to as “the Stampede City” because of an exhibition popularized by Guy Weadick in 1912. Weadick would host a rodeo and festival dubbed the Stampede, which drew tons of attention and visitors. 

It would eventually become an annual celebration, with the ten-day event still existing in Calgary today. Its modern incarnation has huge musical performances, parades, racing, rides, and a number of competitions and exhibitions.

Because of the popularity and iconic status of the Calgary Stampede, it remains a testament to Calgary’s culture and knack for great social activities. You can easily find a variety of event planners, party spaces, and outdoor functions that live up to the hype. 

Calgary is also referred to as Cowtown because of its early days as a major cattle-raising destination in the late 1800s. Despite being a modern city with tall buildings and smooth roads, it maintains its reputation for rodeos, animal ranches, and a love of the wild west.

Although “Heart of the New West” is no longer largely used when referring to Calgary, it serves as a good representation of the city and its culture. There are plenty of fun things to try here, but the diverse place is defined by rodeos, clean air, and some good barbeque.

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