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Calgary's skyline compared to others?

Your favourite skyline in Canada?


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    51

JesseLikesCities

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Hey folks, I wanna hear other peoples opinions on this. When I see other cities skylines I always mentally stack them up to Calgary. I was wondering what other people's thoughts are on Calgary's skyline compared to others across Canada, North America, the world ect.

As for me per capita I think our skyline holds it's own quite well but when surfing other sites like SSC and SSP I noticed Calgary seems to get under represented. I also notice that forumers from other locations across Canada don't take a liking to when we Calgarians take pride in our city.

I've coupled a poll in this post comparing skylines across Canada just to see what you guys think (even though we're all most likely biased). I'm not going to add skylines that are in the metro areas of the cities listed, our major urban metros.
 

JesseLikesCities

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Dang I was hoping this forum were to get posted in the general discussion tab. If any admins @Surrealplaces are able to switch it for me rather than this watch forum or can tell me how to do it that would be cool. Thanks in advance!
 

Surrealplaces

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I'm on the fence for this one between Calgary and Montreal. I like Toronto's for sheer size, and like Calgary's and Montreal's for symmetry.
I think once Telus Sky is completed, I'll be picking Calgary over Montreal, but for a now a tie between those two cities.
 

JesseLikesCities

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I've never been big on the Montreal Skyline, however after looking at it closer recently my appreciation for it has grown. I just find Calgary's sleeker, more modern and it clearly has the height and density in it's favor as well. I will give symmetry to Montreal though. I always tell people I really wished the Bow was in the middle of downtown instead of the East side. I just find from a North or South view it throws the skyline off. Another Reason I really wanna see some taller developments in the East Village.
 

Oddball

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Interesting thread topic. I found myself thinking of this recently too. I am biased I know, but I think in Canada it only comes down to two: Calgary and Toronto.

Vancouver's setting is incredible, but the collection of buildings that make up Vancouver's downtown are fairly nondescript. They certainly have great buildings and some world class projects underway, but for the most part their best buildings aren't big enough or prominent enough to stand out. I think the most common skyline I'm accustomed to is the view from North Vancouver and the only building with sufficient character for me to snap my fingers and go "Ah, Vancouver!" is the ferry terminal, and that's understandably low on the horizon. Even before our recent wave of blue glass beauties, I still would have given the tilt to Calgary over Vancouver. Suncor (then Petro-Canada), the Bankers Hall towers and the Calgary Tower and Saddledome especially as a pair offered a look that screams Calgary. Vancouver would be lucky to have any one of those. Calgary has since built heavily upon that baseline, so nevermind the Bow, EAP, Brookfield and Telus Sky . The day will certainly come that Vancouver gets some landmark architecture. When that happens, I'll be ready to reevaluate my opinion as openly as possible. For now, I consider it a fairly distant 3rd.

Montreal is fourth, but I feel like I have room to grow my appreciation. For one I've never been there to see it in person. It does have some more distinct towers than Vancouver to be sure, but Vancouver's setting has to count for something. It's not just what you build, it's where and how you build it.

Quebec City and Ottawa are home to some truly elegant buildings that any city would be lucky to have (Parliament, Supreme Court, Chateau Frontenac, etc.), but these are generally small parts of small cities. At best they cut a dignified air, but to me they're not skylines in the same way that Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and even Vancouver are.

It was nice of you to include Edmonton and Winnipeg, but they're really not in the running. Edmonton, will have more to speak for it in a few years from now, and the river valley certainly has it's appeal. Winnipeg has some outstanding turn of the 20th century architecture that should make the rest of Western Canada more jealous than most of us know. I think if you're familiar with these cities you can identify them, but otherwise they could be collections of grey boxes anywhere on the continent.

That leaves what I might call the big two. Let's begin with the obvious, TO has not just an impressive skyline, but a globally recognizable one. It has the biggest, the most and certainly much of (but not all of) the best large skyline defining towers in the country. It's intimidating competition, but to some degree, Toronto's scale obliviates it's constituents. The Toronto skyline view, we all know the one I'm talking about, effectively boils down to three elements. Skydome (nuts to Rogers on the naming matter), the CN Tower and then a mass of other structures encircling them. A lot of the best stuff is in that halo, but it just doesn't stick out. Calgary's smaller size on the other hand does it some serious favours. It's much easier to resolve key elements like the Bow and Suncor in Calgary than it is to do the same for First Canadian Place and Scotia Plaza in Toronto. Some of Calgary's lesser known buildings like Canterra are also given their chance to shine as a result. Calgary is also blessed to have more than a single definitive view. Scotsman's bluff has been the angle of choice for decades and Crescent heights is now well caught on too. The western, further northern and south aspects are also very appealing in my opinion. The hilly terrain and lack of natural obstructions gives Calgary more 360 appeal than any other city on the list.

All told, I have to give it to Toronto on account of it's iconographic quality, but I think it's close between Calgary and Toronto these days. Especially with how Calgary has grown in the last 10 years.

Of course, it's all biased. It's just my opinion, not a equally informed or in any way educated one at that. If I'd been to and spent more time in all of the places on the list I might have more to say in defense of the others.
 
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JesseLikesCities

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Great response Oddball. I like what you said about you not being to Montreal factoring in to your decision because that would affect me as well. I included Edmonton because I think with Stantec and the Marriot and other towers involved with the Ice District it is gonna join Calgary, TO, Vancity and Montreal as a skyrise city. I added Winnipeg for the historical buildings. TO takes the cake at the end of the day but I as well think Calgary is runner up.
 

Oddball

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Great response Oddball. I like what you said about you not being to Montreal factoring in to your decision because that would affect me as well. I included Edmonton because I think with Stantec and the Marriot and other towers involved with the Ice District it is gonna join Calgary, TO, Vancity and Montreal as a skyrise city. I added Winnipeg for the historical buildings. TO takes the cake at the end of the day but I as well think Calgary is runner up.
I think if we reconvene in say 5 years on the topic Edmonton will be much more interesting than it is now. It deserves to be on the list now because Canada only possess so many skylines, but it isn't going to get any kind of honourable mention. Even with Stantec and the other tall Ice District towers, it will have a lot of scale to fill in. I also would love to see la Phare du Quebec project go forward in QC. It would be really cool to see the tallest building outside of Toronto, not be from the "usual" players.

I'm curious what people think about Calgary's place on a continental and global scale too. We'd be silly to imagine our skyline as better than places like New York or Hong Kong, but I think most of us would be shocked to learn that the tallest tower in Tokyo is scarcely taller than Brookfield.
 
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JesseLikesCities

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I think if we reconvene in say 5 years on the topic Edmonton will be much more interesting than it is now. It deserves to be on the list now because Canada only possess so many skylines, but it isn't going to get any kind of honourable mention. Even with Stantec and the other tall Ice District towers, it will have a lot of scale to fill in. I also would love to see la Phare du Quebec project go forward in QC. It would be really cool to see the tallest building outside of Toronto, not be from the "usual" players.

I'm curious what people think about Calgary's place on a continental and global scale too. We'd be silly to imagine our skyline as better than places like New York or Hong Kong, but I think most of us would be shocked to learn that the tallest tower in Tokyo is scarcely taller than Brookfield.
Yea I think Edmonton will lock down the 5th position of best skyline in Canada once Ice District is complete. As for Calgary's international recognition I think it depends who ya ask. Calgary just isn't big enough yet to garnish much attention on the international stage, for example when I go to NYC barely anyone there has ever even heard of Calgary, I mean I guess it depends who you ask and maybe the people I've come across just live in a bubble but who knows. Tokyo definitely lacks height for a city of it's size but it's gotta have hundreds if not thousands of high-rises about 100 metres.
 

Spudski

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The hilly terrain and lack of natural obstructions gives Calgary more 360 appeal than any other city on the list.
This is something I've noticed but haven't really appreciated. Calgary is great for the fact that there are so many different angles and locations that really make the skyline distinctly different depending from where you're viewing it from. Great insight!
 

Surrealplaces

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This is something I've noticed but haven't really appreciated. Calgary is great for the fact that there are so many different angles and locations that really make the skyline distinctly different depending from where you're viewing it from. Great insight!
Probably more so than any other city in Canada. Vancouver has lots of good angles you can view from also but I find the skyline looks the same from pretty much every angle. We're blessed in that area for sure.
 

Silence&Motion

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While Toronto added a lot of density to it's skyline over the last decade, that density unfortunately covered up a few iconic elements to the skyline: the Royal York hotel, and the five distinctly designed (and coloured) bank buildings. Nonetheless, it remains the most iconic skyline in Canada and among the most iconic in the world (as can be seen over at UrbanToronto.ca: http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/threads/toronto-skyline.8967/page-121#post-1250476)

Calgary's skyline is great (2nd place, in my view), but the Bow Tower does give it a bit of a lopsided look, sitting off on the eastern side. The Bow also doesn't have a particularly elegant profile.
 

Oddball

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While Toronto added a lot of density to it's skyline over the last decade, that density unfortunately covered up a few iconic elements to the skyline: the Royal York hotel, and the five distinctly designed (and coloured) bank buildings. Nonetheless, it remains the most iconic skyline in Canada and among the most iconic in the world (as can be seen over at UrbanToronto.ca: http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/threads/toronto-skyline.8967/page-121#post-1250476)

Calgary's skyline is great (2nd place, in my view), but the Bow Tower does give it a bit of a lopsided look, sitting off on the eastern side. The Bow also doesn't have a particularly elegant profile.
Depends on the aspect, but it's been called the "chubby" Bow before and not without good reason.
 

Always_Biking

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While Toronto added a lot of density to it's skyline over the last decade, that density unfortunately covered up a few iconic elements to the skyline: the Royal York hotel, and the five distinctly designed (and coloured) bank buildings. Nonetheless, it remains the most iconic skyline in Canada and among the most iconic in the world (as can be seen over at UrbanToronto.ca: http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/threads/toronto-skyline.8967/page-121#post-1250476)

Calgary's skyline is great (2nd place, in my view), but the Bow Tower does give it a bit of a lopsided look, sitting off on the eastern side. The Bow also doesn't have a particularly elegant profile.
Calgary's skyline view from the NE would be much nicer without the Bow IMO, but the Bow works well when viewing it from the NW or SW. I voted for Calgary, probably because I live here, and it still is my favorite probably for that reason.
 

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