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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