A poll commissioned by Tourism Calgary suggests Canadians are seeing the city in a new, more cosmopolitan light.

The survey conducted by the firm Return On Insight shows people across the country are becoming aware of Calgary’s burgeoning restaurant, shopping and cultural scenes.

Calgary is gaining a reputation for great restaurants, wine stores, shopping and outdoor activities, the online survey of more than 1,000 people found.

Visitors are realizing the city is not just about cowboy hats and the Stampede anymore, said Gisele Danis, vice-president of marketing for Tourism Calgary.

"They are seeing us a leisure destination from coast-to-coast," she said. "We hang on tight to those Western values. They truly are who we are. But we also offer such diversity in the cultural and the arts the lifestyle and the outdoor and the adventure scene, and the food scene."

"But we are noticing when travellers come to Calgary they are quite surprised," Danis said.

The online was conducted in April and measured how perceptions of Calgary have evolved over the last five years.

  • Seventy-one per cent of Canadians are knowledgeable to at least some degree about Calgary.
  • Sixty-five per cent of Canadians in all regions believe Calgary has changed in the past five years, either a lot or a bit.
  • Seventy-two per cent of Western Canadians think Calgary has changed.
  • Sixty-seven per cent of Ontarians think Calgary has changed.
  • Sixty-two per cent of Canadians think Calgary has changed positively as a tourist destination.
  • Forty-eight per cent say Calgary has a better place to experience artistic and cultural activities.
  • Sixty-two per cent think the city’s availability of great food and restaurants has increased.

"While Calgary’s regional neighbours perceive the extent of change most dramatically, there is a strong sense that Calgary has changed positively as a place to visit in Ontario as well," said Bruce Cameron, president of Return On Insight.