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At the convergence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, in the shadows of the mighty Canadian Rockies, lies the scenic and perpetually booming city of Calgary. The largest city in Alberta, "Cowtown" has become synonymous with high wages, low crime rates, wide open spaces, a bustling economy, luxurious housing, and an off-the-charts quality-of-life index. It's no small wonder the Economic Intelligence Unit has named Calgary the 5th-best place to live in the entire world for three years running. Take that, Edmonton!

Calgary is, first and foremost, a good old-fashioned oil town. In recent decades, however, its economy has expanded to encompass other industries like finance, technology, aerospace, manufacturing, retail, medicine, and tourism as well. With an unemployment rate of just over 5 percent – and more than 30,000 new jobs created between 2013 and 2014 - Calgary is undoubtedly the place to be for the business-savvy soul. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that there’s no such thing as a payroll tax in Calgary and the small business tax is a meager 14 percent. For oil tycoons and small business owners like, it's the perfect place to set up shop.

Demographically speaking, Calgary is one of Canada’s most diverse cities, with more than 200 different ethnic groups calling it home. On any given day in Calgary, you might get the feeling it’s the 1988 Winter Olympics all over again.

It’s also a tourist hotspot, with 3.1 million of the camera-and-brochure-wielding outsiders arriving each year to experience the city’s many attractions and festivals. And no festival in the city is larger than the legendary Calgary Stampede. A 10-day rodeo event (hence, the “Cowtown” and “Stampede City” monikers) that also features chuckwagon racing, a parade, midway, and numerous musical acts, the Stampede is to Calgary what Mardi Gras is to New Orleans or the Carnival is to Rio. Bottom line: Be prepared to channel your inner cowboy or cowgirl every July and party like it’s 1989 again and the Flames just won the Cup.

Although the majority of residents rely on their own set of wheels much of the time, Calgary does have an above-average public transportation system. The C-Train light rail transit is especially ideal for downtown commuters, half of whom ride its rails to get to their workplaces every morning. It even stretches deep into the ‘burbs, allowing suburbanites to avoid the notorious traffic jams that surround the city during morning and afternoon rush hours. Best yet, the downtown C-Train line that runs along 7th Avenue doesn’t cost a dime.

The only drawback? C-Train stations are not enclosed or heated, making waiting for it to arrive on a frigid winter morning an unpleasant and even hazardous experience.

Cyclists, rejoice: Calgary boasts the most expansive urban bikeway system in North America, and bike racks are common at inner city establishments. You can even bring your bike on the C-Train (during non-peak hours) for no extra charge. And if you play it right and find some prime Calgary real estate in the heart of the downtown area, near your office, you can rely solely on your own to feet to get around.    

Calgary is home to 198 distinct neighbourhoods that range from affluent (Arbor Lake, Acadia) to historic (Inglewood, Mount Royal) to eclectic (Forest Lawn, Mission) to high-energy (Eau Claire, Downtown West End). Like most large cities, the younger, hipper areas are situated closer to the urban core, while the outlying suburbs are geared more towards married couples and families.

The city is divided into four distinct quadrants. The Southwest, where many of the most luxurious homes for sale in Calgary can be found, is, many believe, the nicest part of town. Neighborhoods like Acadia, Sundance, and Chinook Park are prime real estate spots, boasting low crime rates, walker-friendly streets, and easy access (via the C-Train) to the downtown area and the 17th Street eateries, bars, and shops.

The Southeast quadrant, on the other hand, is largely industrial and includes some of Calgary’s most affordable real estate. Journey to the southernmost tip of the SE quadrant, though, and you’ll find some newer, family-oriented suburbs like Midnapore and McKenzie Lake whose homes for sale have considerably higher price tags.

The Northeast quadrant, similar to the SE, is home to a mixture of commercial and residential buildings as well as the Calgary Airport. Although not generally considered a hotspot for prime real estate, it remains a popular locale for first-time homeowners, young couples, and immigrants. Real estate options in the NE quadrant are generally among the city’s most affordable as well.

Moving along, the Northwest quadrant is home to several highly regarded, tree-lined neighborhoods like Tuscany, Country Hills, Sunnyside, and West Hillhurst. The Kensington neighbourhood, whose streets are dotted with arts and crafts shops, boutiques, cafes, and watering holes, is a popular choice for bohemian, artsy types. Similar to real estate in the SW, homes for sale in the NW quadrant tend to be on the steeper side. But steep is, understandably, the price you pay for having the Rocky Mountains a stone’s throw from your back window.

Looking to get out and have some fun? Watching broncos buck and chuckwagons soar isn’t the only way to get your kicks in Calgary. Many residents make regular weekend voyages to the Rockies (about an hour’s drive away) to hike, camp, ski, snowboard, or just sit around the campfire cracking open Labatts and Molsons.

If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll feel right at home in C-Town, which boasts nearly 8,000 hectacres of parkland and a plethora of outdoor skating rinks. Ice skates are as critical a piece of winter apparel as wool mittens and insulated jackets. And several of the city’s parks – Fish Creek Provincial and Prince’s Island, most notably – are among Canada’s finest, featuring countless miles of scenic walking and biking trails.

No childhood in Calgary, meanwhile, is complete without experiencing the zany Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm or visiting the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Not just a tribute to the Great White North’s most accomplished professional and Olympic athletes, the Hall features 50-plus interactive exhibits including shadow boxing, wheelchair racing, and 3D baseball. You can even try your hand at minding the net at a 3D hockey interactive or burning rubber at a simulated Formula One auto race.

Calgary is far from Canada’s oldest city – that honor would belong to Quebec – but history buffs will nevertheless find plenty of interesting sites there. Heritage Park Historical Village is a sprawling, 127-acre living history museum that brings western Canada’s storied past to life. The city is also the site of the Military Museums, which honors and reenacts the triumphs and tragedies of the country’s iconic armed forces.

And yes, there is plenty of nightlife as well. Pubs and clubs are spread throughout, but for a guaranteed Rocky Mountain-sized good time, don your Flames gear, bring along your appetite for Moosehead, and spend a night bar-hopping on Calgary's official party street, "Uptown 17." Cheers, and welcome to Calgary!