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Photo ©Carolyn B. Heller

If you wan­der amidst the glass-and-steel tow­ers that dom­i­nate down­town Calgary, Alberta, you’ll like­ly see some famil­iar names – at least if you’re famil­iar with major inter­na­tion­al oil com­pa­nies. Companies like Shell, Esso, BP, Imperial Oil, and Petro-Canada all have a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in Calgary, and ener­gy-based busi­ness­es account for a con­sid­er­able per­cent­age of Calgary’s jobs.

Beyond the oil indus­try, Calgary has a devel­op­ing high-tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor, report­ing the largest num­ber of tech­nol­o­gy start-ups per capi­ta in Canada. Calgary’s con­struc­tion and real estate indus­tries are boom­ing, and the region is a Western trans­porta­tion hub. Calgary’s edge-of-the-prairies loca­tion means that agri­cul­tur­al busi­ness­es have long been based here, while its near-the-moun­tains set­ting has made it a start­ing point for Rockies tourism.

Why set­tle in Calgary? A clerk in a down­town out­door-gear store put it this way: From Monday through Friday, Calgary works hard. But by Friday after­noon, it’s time to play.

And whether that play involves head­ing for the moun­tains to ski, snow­board, bike, or hike, or stay­ing in the city to jog in the park or meet your pals for drinks, Calgary plays hard. From hip eater­ies and side­walk cafes to river­front paths filled with skaters and cyclists, Calgary bris­tles with ener­gy–and it doesn’t all come out of the ground.

– Excerpted from the book, Living Abroad in Canada. To read more, buy the book.

Photo ©Carolyn B. Heller