It made the headlines as the host of the Winter Olympics, and Calgary has been going strong ever since. Just east of the Canadian Rockies, it’s a favorite winter sports destination. But Calgary is popular year-round, with arts and cultural festivals often overlapping with each other in the summer months. The city loves music, especially country-western twang, and is often called the “Nashville of the North.”
The gay community is large and enthusiastic. Fairy Tales Queer Film Fest, the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival takes place in late May. The Canadian Rockies International Rodeo, put on by the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association (ARGRA), is a late June event at the Strathmore Agricultural Grounds that includes a three-day music festival. Pride Calgary, one of the city’s biggest annual events, runs from late August through early September.
The Third Street Theatre is "Calgary's Queer Theatre Company," with performances at the Arts Commons Centre for Performing Arts. The Artist's Collective Theatre company presents new works, showcases and develops artists in ensemble, and mentors emerging artists, at the Pumphouse Theatre.
Calgary International Airport is the city’s main gateway. Buses and taxis take you downtown. Calgary Transit public bus transportation to and from Calgary International Airport includes Route 300 Airport BRT (express to Downtown Calgary), Route 100 with connections to McKnight-Westwinds Light Rail Transit Station and the Route 430 North Crosstown. The fare is $9.50, tickets on sale at Mac's Convenience Stores in the terminal, or at Ticket Vending Machines located in the bus zone.
Buses and light-rail trains get you around town. See Calgary Transit for info, single rides cost $3.15 and a day pass is $9.50. You might also like to do as the locals do and hop on a bike as there are plenty of paths worth exploring. The city has no bike sharing program, so for information and rental shop listings, see the Bike Calgary website.
Most bars and clubs are located downtown called the Beltline, between 1st and 14th SW and 9th and 17th Ave SW, not far from the river. But community events range far beyond the few gay clubs, with special parties popping up all over town. Check local media for the latest event information.
Media & Resources
Gay Calgary magazine has local news, reviews, features, Alberta business and events listings, and an online reader of current issues.
Be sure to check out Daily Xtra for news and features about LGBT Western Canada.
ARGRA, the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association, sponsors rodeos and also music concerts and festivals, along with fund-raising community events around town. (Note: activities suspended August 2016 - check website for updates).
Westways Guest House maintains good online listings and local events links pages.
Beat Route is a monthly guide to the arts and culture in Calgary. The Calgary Journal is the Mount Royal senior journalism students' monthly magazine, in print and online, covering A&E, sports, local news and their perspectives on transforming journalism in the 21st century.
Fast Forward, the weekly alternative paper, sent their final issue to press in March 2015, after 20 years in print. For now their facebook page remains online.
The International Avenue online directory lists the ethnically diverse businesses along 17th Avenue SE, from 26-61st streets, including over 60 restaurants and 6 groceries, plus cultural events from around the world.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Calgary listings pages.
Bars & Clubs
628 Stage & Lounge (628 8 Ave SW), live music and performing arts stage, cocktail lounge.
BackLot (209 10th Ave, SW), neighborhood bar with fireplace and back patio; before dance club drinks and gatherings, karaoke; ARGRA cowboy/rodeo, Imperial Court and fetish events, Lesbian Dance Parties, theme nights.
Pint Pub (1428 17th Ave, SW), gay-friendly pub with burgers, sandwiches, poutine and other comfort foods; Saturday/Sunday brunch.
Pure Pride entertainers from all over North America and the world to Calgary and Edmonton for Pride and dates throughout the year - now appears innactive.
Texas Lounge (308B - 17th Ave SW), basement bar at Goliath's men's bathhouse, karaoke, DJ sets, live performances, Sunday afternoon movies; aka "the Bunker.”
Twisted Element (1006 11th Ave, SW), big and lively dance and show club, karoake, variety and drag shows; mixed crowd, strip contests for cash.
Goliath's (308 17th Ave SW), the only local men's tubs, jacuzzi, steam room, open daily 11am to 1am with Buddy, Student and Uniform nights; HIV/STD testing. The Texas Lounge bar is attached.
11th Sreet Lodging Bed and Breakfast (1307 11th St SW), downtown guest house, trendy street, parks, restaurants and shops. Sun porch, Light Rail Transit, Bow River Park & Pathway, Stampede Grounds nearby.
Calgary Westways (216 25th Ave SW), gay B&B near gay clubs; heritage home with Arts and Craft accents, all comforts of home, clothing optional therapeutic hot tub, five-course candlelight dinners.
See another dozen hotel & guesthouse suggestions at our Calgary map & listings section.
Adult Source (1540 – 16th Ave NW) 24-hour adult entertainment retail stores; DVDs, sex toys, oils, lubes, etc. Also at three more locations: 4310 - 17 Ave SE; 10210 Macleod Trail SE; and 2323 – 32 Ave NE.
Priape.com website and the Montreal store are open for business with casual and sexy clothing, underwear and swimwear, leather and toys, lubes, books and magazines, DVD videos. Their Calgary store on 17th SW closed in 2013.