The moment you are moved by unique experience

For Calgary, energy informs cultural innovation and is fuelled by cultural risk-takers. A captivated community, the city loves and embraces its visual and performing arts, literature, architecture, festivals and fashion.

From the Balcony

“Dense, lush terrain… where you’ll have an unforgettably good time” is what Swerve magazine calls Calgary’s arts scene. The Globe and Mail says “with its thriving theatre community, exciting new works commissioned by its opera and orchestra, and a provincial ballet company attracting international attention, the city has demonstrated a remarkable cultural appetite.” Local arts leader Michael Green says “Every city is a cultural centre and ours is no exception. Culture is what people do. It defines the human experience.”


  • National Music Centre
  • Mount Royal Conservatory
  • Film Centre
  • Honens
  • Opera in the Village
  • Sled Island
  • Folk Fest


Beyond the heady line up of major concerts at the Saddledome, Calgary’s biggest musical gatherings share festival status. Festivals run year-round in the city, many of them inviting you to explore neighborhoods, cultures, and new genres of music.

During the summer, Prince’s Island Park is home to a number of festivals in the city, including the Calgary Folk Festival, Reggae Fest, Expo Latino, and Afrikadey. Dig your toes into the grass while sitting with hundreds of your new found friends and dancing to eclectic headliners. Calgarians Jann Arden and Feist have both played here.

From the raucous to rich and dubstep to folk, every June, live indie entertainment takes over Calgary when the Sled Island Music and Arts Festival rolls into town. It draws 40,000 people and overtakes fifty venues through the Calgary core and Beltline. 2016 marked the festival’s 10 year anniversary of celebrating rising and established local talent alongside national and international music matched with comedy, film, and art.


Music attractions all year-round

The Bella Concert Hall at the heart of the Mount Royal Conservatory, the newest addition to the City’s concert hall venues, opened its doors on August 26, 2015. With 787 seats, the intimate concert hall is music to your ears to listen and see some of the most talented performers around the world, including alumni. The conservatory has a pivotal role in Calgary’s performing arts scene, with more than a century of providing quality instruction in music, speech, arts and drama to people of all ages and levels of development. Every year, it welcomes tens of thousands to festivals, concerts and special events.

What if a visit to the museum was as exciting as going to a music festival? Opened July 1, 2016, the National Music Centre (NMC) is 160,000 square feet of musical awesomeness, an incredible hub for all things music, and a gateway to the revitalized community of East Village. It also houses over 2,000 musical instruments and artifacts, where the collection is a ‘living collection’, meaning it is available to artists to use 16th century to rare contemporary instruments and equipment, creating new music and sounds. No other place in the world give artists an opportunity to use rare instruments. That sense of excitement, discovering new artists, hearing new sounds and celebrating with friends, is the reason that NMC is a cultural destination that gives Canada a place to celebrate the love, sharing and understanding of music.


Alberta Ballet has ushered the music of Sir Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan onto the dance stage with global premieres. Next for the company and its artistic director Jean Grand-Maitre is the world premiere of a full-length ballet based on k.d. lang’s music called Balletlujah!

Springboard Performance is an exciting and innovating dance organization that supports and enhances the dance community in Calgary and nationally. With over 20 years of creative movement, the company produces a number of shows and also offers programs and classes. Don’t miss their annual Fluid Movement Arts Festival, where you’ll have an opportunity to witness the most beautiful performances from regional, national, and international artists.


From the Revenant to Brokeback Mountain, Britain’s Tin Star and Canada’s Heartland, the Calgary region has shown up in plenty of award-winning films and TV shows. Alberta has garnered more Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy® Award nominations than any other jurisdiction in Canada, not bad considering we are the fourth-largest filming jurisdiction in the country. Our diverse geography—from prairie to mountains—and vibrant urban neighbourhoods have stood in for everything from the deserts of Afghanistan to a Beverly Hills restaurant. There is always somebody shooting something in Calgary.

On May 16, 2016, the Calgary Film Centre officially opened its doors. With three sound stages equaling 50,000 sq. ft. and three warehouse workshops and multi-purpose production support areas, the centre is able to meet almost every production need.


Calgary’s downtown Cultural District houses the Art Gallery of Canada, Art Central and the intimate Contemporary Calgary, which features exhibitions from the West to Warhol. The largest space is the Glenbow Museum with more than 20 galleries – a museum, art collection, library and archives – in 93,000 square feet and with more than a million objects in its collection. It will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016. The Esker Foundation is the largest privately funded, non-commercial contemporary art gallery in Calgary. It  connects the public to contemporary art through relevant, accessible, and educational exhibitions that  reflect on current developments in local, regional, and international culture.

For the top 10 must-see contemporary art galleries in Calgary, take a look at this article from the Culture Trip.

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