If you’re visiting Calgary, or have the pleasure of living in this beautiful city, you might be wondering where to take your camera for the perfect shot. Whether you’re taking a portrait, admiring a landscape, or simply wish to capture the buzz of the city, there’s an ideal location to photograph. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best ones.
When you visit a city, you’ll most likely want to take a few shots of the skyline. Taking your camera out during the day allows you to capture the richness and complexity of the architecture, whilst a night-time shot with its bright illuminations is dramatic and visually striking. To get the best view of Calgary’s skyline, head over to Scotsman’s Hill. You’ll discover a breath-taking vantage point with unmissable opportunities to capture the city at its very best.
Fans of modern sculpture will be enthralled by the impressive Wonderland Sculpture on 6th Avenue. This downtown installation, crafted by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, was unveiled in 2013, and has proven to be popular ever since. The sculpture resembles a face, and its design allows you to stand within the installation, giving you a unique perspective on the city. It’s a great place to take a photo that cannot be replicated anywhere else.
Situated to the north west of downtown Calgary, this stunning area of parkland is directly adjacent to the Bow River, which provides an excellent opportunity to photograph a range of wildlife. If you’re a fan of trains, you’ll enjoy views of the Canadian Pacific Railway that runs through the park. Edworthy Park is a beautiful backdrop for portraits, particularly during the fall, when the colour palette is at its most spectacular.
Need a short break from the excitement of city life? Stroll over to St Patrick’s Island, which is just across the George C King Bridge from East Village, right in the Bow River. The site was recently redeveloped to provide a sanctuary within the city. Wildlife, gentle streams, and an aesthetically-pleasing design combine to make this a great location to take relaxed shots, and capture the skyline from a different angle.
One of the most stunning pieces of architecture in Calgary is the Peace Bridge. Designed by Santiago Calatrav, this pedestrian and cycle bridge is the perfect combination of practical purpose and artistic flair. As much a sculpture as it is a bridge, this is an excellent place to capture not only the bridge itself, but the city around it. Make it the centrepiece of one of your skyline photos; you won’t be disappointed!
For a portrait that evokes memories of the past, make your way to the EV Music Pavilion in the East Village. The Music Pavilion was gifted to Calgary in 2016 by its sister metropolis, Quebec City. With a gorgeous view of the skyline and surrounding parkland, this is the perfect location for a snap that encompasses everything that makes Calgary so enchanting.
Located in the centre of the city, upon the Bow River, is the spectacular Prince’s Island Park. It has unmissable up-close views of the skyline, and enough of its own character to stand out. Enjoy exploring the area, happening upon cute little bridges, wildlife, open spaces to enjoy a picnic.
A short drive from the city center, you can go back in time by visiting the Heritage Park Historical Village. This amazing living museum gives you the opportunity to experience Western Canadian history from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. There are plenty of opportunities to take unique photographs in bygone settings, including a prairie town, steam railway, paddleboat, and antique amusement rides.
Set right in the heart of the city, the Central Memorial Park is a magnificent green space with pristine gardens, a library, and several monuments, including Calgary’s cenotaph. Take a walk along the maze of paths, and enjoy a reprieve from the hustle and bustle just outside the park’s parameters. As well as a great place to take photos, it’s also ideal for quiet reflection.
Take a walk on the wild side by spending a day at Canada’s most visited zoo. There’s plenty to see, and lots of opportunities to capture memories. Almost 800 animals live at the zoo, from 130 different species. Some of the highlights include Siberian tigers, crocodiles, snow leopards, gorillas, penguins, grizzly bears, cariboo, cougars, grey wolves, owls, hawks, and eagles. You’re certain to catch sight of at least one of your favourite animals! Its central location also makes it a great place to catch an alternate view of the cityscape.
A local favourite spot for photos is the top of the tall wooden stairs at McHugh Bluff Park. From the apex, you will discover an incredible view of the city skyline and Bow River right in front of it. As well as a magnificent photo, you’ll also get a substantial workout! Try to catch this vista during the fall; the golden and amber tones of autumn set against the cityscape is truly spectacular.
We’ll close with another stunning vestige of the city’s past. The Rundle Ruins, just south of East Village and adjacent to the Elbow River, are the final traces of Calgary’s second general hospital. Originally built in 1894.
Jose Soriano is a photographer, visual content creator and blog writer with over 10 years of experience. He is working with start-up businesses, top commercial brands, and other amazing people, helping them to achieve their visual goals.