When it comes to cowboy hats (still omnipresent in this rodeo-crazy town), Calgarians wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything but a Smithbilt. The local hat factory—started in 1919 by Morris “Kosher Cowboy” Shumiatcher—has outfitted the likes of Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, and yes, George W. Bush. This summer the company moved to a new, larger factory (now closer to the Stampede rodeo grounds) with a better showroom, where it custom-fits hats made of straw, wool, or luxuriant beaver fur. For boots, the best in the Canadian West is the Alberta Boot Company, near the heart of downtown. The bootery custom-builds thousands of styles on-site in a sprawling workshop (which you can tour), taking precise measurements, then pimping feet in a menagerie of skins: kangaroo, stingray, and the always-slick gator.
4. Insider's Tip
Published on Aug 28, 2007 as a web exclusive.