By Rachelle Mullings
Every year since 1912, the City of Calgary has played host to the Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth!
On the first Friday of the Calgary Stampede, the show kicks off with the Stampede Parade, which serves as the official opening of the Stampede. Thousands of people fly in from all over the world to experience two weeks of cowboy fun. The event features dozens of marching bands, over 200 floats and hundreds of horses from around the world! It’s a combination of western and modern themes with First Nation’s dancers, the military, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, just to name a few.
A little bit of History
Born in 1885, in Rochester, New York, Guy Weadick was known as a famous working cowboy and a vaudeville entertainer, which traveled in wild-west shows that were popular all over the world in the early 1900s. In 1912, Weadick had a vision of celebrating the romance and authentic culture of the old west in the City of Calgary. In doing so, he wanted to create an event that would happen annually and in doing this, the Calgary Stampede was born.
The Parade Marshall
The Parade Marshall is an honorary title given to an individual by the organizing committee of a periodic parade event. Similar to guests of honor at fan conventions, a grand marshal is selected on any basis relevant to the theme or nature of the parade. The Marshall often leads the parade from the front. This year, Montreal-born, award-winning actor, William Shatner, has been selected to lead Calgary’s Stampede Parade. Joining him will be Olympian speed skaters Gilmore Junio and Denny Morrison, who are serving as honorary parade marshals.
The parade route covers 4.5 kilometers, its starting point is at 6th Avenue and 3rd Street S.E. to the official finish line at 9th Avenue and 4th Street S.E.
The parade takes the following route:
1. Begins at 6th Avenue and 3rd Street S.E. and travels west.
2. Turns south at 6th Avenue and 10th Street S.W.
3. Turns east at 9th Avenue and 10th Street S.W.
4. Finishes at 9th Avenue and 4th Street S.E.
The parade starts at approximately at 8:55 a.m., but it is suggested to head down to the parade route early to ensure you get a great spot!
The sidewalks along 6 and 9 Avenues are available to the general public on a first come, first served basis. It’s best to arrive early to find a prime viewing spot.