Calgary Real Estate
Before the Calgary area was settled by Europeans, it was inhabited by Pre-Clovis people whose presence has been traced back at least 11,000 years. In 1787 cartographer David Thompson spent the winter with a band of Peigan encamped along the Bow River. He was the first recorded European to visit the area, and John Glenn was the first documented European settler in the Calgary area, in 1873.
The site became a post of the North West Mounted Police (now the RCMP). Originally named Fort Brisebois, after NWMP officer Éphrem-A. Brisebois, it was renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 by Colonel James Farquharson Macleod. The NWMP detachment was assigned to protect the western plains from U.S. whiskey traders. Fort Calgary was named by Colonel Macleod after Calgary (Cala-ghearraidh, Beach of the pasture) on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. When the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area in 1883 and a rail station was constructed, Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre. The Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters are located in Calgary today. Calgary was officially incorporated as a town in 1884 and elected its first mayor, George Murdoch. In 1894, it was incorporated as "The City of Calgary" in what was then the North-West Territories.
The oil boom
Oil was first discovered in Alberta in 1902, but it did not become a significant industry in the province until 1947 when huge reserves of it were discovered. Calgary quickly found itself at the centre of the ensuing oil boom. The city's economy grew when oil prices increased with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. The population increased by 272,000 in the eighteen years between 1971 (403,000) and 1989 (675,000) and another 345,000 in the next eighteen years (to 1,020,000 in 2007). During these boom years, skyscrapers were constructed at a pace seen by few cities anywhere. The relatively low-rise downtown quickly became dense with tall buildings, a trend that continues to this day.
Calgary's economy was so closely tied to the oil industry that the city's boom peaked with the average annual price of oil in 1981. The subsequent drop in oil prices and the introduction of the National Energy Program were cited by industry as reasons for a collapse in the oil industry and consequently the overall Calgary economy. The NEP was cancelled in the mid-1980s by the Brian Mulroney federal government. Continued low oil prices, however, prevented a full recovery until the 1990s.
With the energy sector employing a huge number of Calgarians, the fallout from the economic slump of the early 1980s was understandably significant. 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 of 1988, when the city hosted the XV Olympic Winter Games. 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 is now booming, and the region of nearly 1.1 million people is the fastest growing in the country. While the oil and gas industry comprise most 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, transportation, and services. The city has ranked highly in quality of life surveys: 25th in the 2006 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, and 10th best city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Despite the oil industry's dominance in Alberta's economy, Calgary ranked as the world's cleanest city by Forbes Magazine in 2007.