Calgary Recent History

Calgary Recent History

With the energy sector employing a huge number of Calgarians, the fallout from the economic slump of the early 1980s was understandably significant, and the unemployment rate soared. By the end of the decade, however, the economy was in recovery. Calgary quickly realized that it could not afford to put so much emphasis on oil and gas, and the city has since become much more diverse, both economically and culturally. The period during this recession marked Calgary’s transition from a mid-sized and relatively nondescript prairie city into a major cosmopolitan and diverse centre. This transition culminated in February 1988, when the city hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. The success of these games essentially put the city on the world stage.

Thanks in part to escalating oil prices, the economy in Calgary and Alberta was booming until the end of 2008, and the region of nearly 1.1 million people was home to the fastest growing economy in the country. While the oil and gas industry comprise an important part of the economy, the city has invested a great deal into other areas such as tourism and high-tech manufacturing. Over 3.1 million people now visit the city annually for its many festivals and attractions, especially the Calgary Stampede. The nearby mountain resort towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Canmore are also becoming increasingly popular with tourists, and are bringing people into Calgary as a result. Other modern industries include light manufacturing, high-tech, film, e-commerce, transportation, and services. Calgary is considered a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group. The city has ranked highly in quality of life surveys: 25th in 2006, 24th in 2007, 25th in 2008, 26th in 2009, 28th in 2010, and 33rd in the 2011 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, and tied for 5th best city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Calgary ranked as the world’s cleanest city by Forbes Magazine in 2007. Mercer also ranked the city as the world’s first-placed eco-city for 2010.

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