The Cows of Calgary: A Visitor's Guide to the Udderly Art Legacy Pasture

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Have you ever been fascinated by something and suddenly found yourself learning intently learning about it? This is what today's post is all about. A fascination that resulted in the desire to share the interesting things I've learned.

During the pandemic, my hidden desire to travel has been extra strong. But with all the protocols, restrictions, and risks of traveling, I resorted to the internet to bring me and discover interesting places.

I happened to stumble upon Calgary, Alberta, and some of its captivating history.

Calgary is a city that holds on tight to its history of ranching and cattle raising. 

Although times have changed and it’s becoming a tech hub, it still respects and cherishes the history it came from. Because of this, it almost shouldn’t surprise anyone that one of its biggest art exhibits is a herd of fiberglass cattle!

If all of this sounds strange to you, these are the top things you should know about the Udderly Art Legacy Pasture and what it means to the people of Calgary.

What is the Udderly Art Pasture?

In 2000, when most people were excited and hopeful about the new millennium, a major art organization decided that it would be a great idea to create a community art project.  Named 'Udderly Art,' the project attempted to connect modern Calgary with its long history with cows.

One hundred twenty-five large white fiberglass cows were created and sold to local businesses and individuals for $5,000 each. They could paint and decorate them however they wanted and set them on whatever property they had a right to.

Many companies jumped at the chance and personalized the cows to advertise their shops, decorating them to match with logos and fun, quirky nods to the city's past.

Many of these cows were later sold at auction after being donated by the shops that bought them, making over a million dollars for Canadian and American charities.  Seventeen of them now live downtown near the Centennial Parkade, in a cute little pasture of cows called the Udderly Art Legacy Pasture.

Some are still visible in the city itself, but these are becoming harder and harder to stop.

Is This Public?

Yes! You can visit the Udderly Art Legacy Pasture and pet the cows whenever you want to. However, the ones within the city itself are more fun to find, like an Easter egg hunt, so don't be afraid to keep looking for them even after leaving Legacy Pasture.

What Do Others Think of Them?

Most Calgary locals love these cows because they show off their commitment to the arts and its history. They've become a kind of symbol to the locals, and merch of the different cows can be found on everything from bags to tee-shirts: some have even gotten a cow or two tattooed!

Can I Take Pictures of Them?

Absolutely! Most cows won’t be repainted or changed in any way since they're a part of the city's history, so don't be afraid to take a picture with them so you can prove you were there! There are hashtags for many of the cows since they have unique names like Midnight Cowgirl and Chew-Choo, so make sure to check out their social media presence while you're there!

Are There New Cows?

Unfortunately, there currently aren't any plans to add more cows. Although they're popular, most are tucked away and harder to find than affordable Calgary homes for sale. If you ask around, you may find someone who knows where one is hidden, but no new cows are currently in the plans.

Is this a place you'll be interested in visiting one day? I surely want to go visit and explore more of Calgary!

Post a Comment