What do Calgary, London, New York and Paris all have in common? They all have hop-on, hop-off city tours! If this is news to you, it may be because 2014 marks the first year that Round The Block Tours, a brand new touring company, will be offering Calgary’s only hop-on, hop-off tour bus.
You guessed it! The famous Calgary Stampede is one of the stops on the tour. Bill Church, Calgary Stampede special projects manager, explains “we will be offering training to the bus drivers on the history and features of the Calgary Stampede. They will encourage guests on the tour to visit our public art exhibits, the Grain Academy and the Stampede Store, as well as the Scotiabank Saddledome and other buildings on Park.” Church has been liaising with Tony Pietromonaco, president and founder of Round The Block Tours, to work together on the permit, signage, logistics and the locations of the Calgary Stampede bus stop.
Pietromonaco is a local entrepreneur and his idea for a bus tour began when he noticed that Calgary, unlike other tourism destinations, did not have a company that offered tours that allow you to explore all the city has to offer at your own pace. This realization led him to begin working with Tourism Calgary, the City of Calgary and with various tourist attractions throughout the city. The result of this collaboration was the Energy City Tours. These sightseeing tours offer the ability for guests to explore various locations around Calgary at their leisure, taking in as much or as little as they desire. Tour guests are dropped off and picked up at special tour stops at each tourist destination and a daily schedule allows them to set their pace at each location.
After a team of Calgary Stampede employees returned from the Round The Block Tours media-launch event, they came back bursting with energy and excitement. “We are enthused about Tony’s vision and were pleased that he considered the Calgary Stampede to be one of the stops on his tour. The Calgary Stampede wishes him success and we are preparing to welcome all of his clients with our western hospitality,” says Church.
Lindsay Jardine, Calgary Stampede tourism sales manager, adds “we are very excited to see Calgary get a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which has long been a void for visitors to easily experience our city. We fully support the Stampede Park leg of the tour as it will provide out-of-town visitors access to our year-round gathering place.”
The Calgary Stampede is part of the Heritage Line tour route, which begins service on May 1 and continues until October 31. There are also excursions available to explore central and southern Alberta in order to create the best experience possible for visitors to Calgary. Guests can purchase tickets either online or from various locations in the downtown core. For more information visit: http://www.rtbtours.ca/.
The Energy City Tours are a great way to explore the City of Calgary and include some attractions and driver-commentary that even Calgary-born locals can enjoy!