• Calgary International Airport - Pretty much the only airport, and it has only one terminal. It is well laid out and easy to find your way around.
• WestJet - Canada's main discount airline makes its hub here.
• Air Canada - The national carrier serves the airport well.
In addition there are numerous American and International carriers that serve Calgary's airport.
The easiest way to leave the airport is by cab or car rental. Cab rides to the city center are about $27.00 Canadian. A cheaper alternative is using the door-to-door shuttle service that is available. The airport is not well served by public transit.
This is essentially the prairies; crossing the vast expanses in the comfort of your own vehicle is the main method of transportation. Calgary is just over an hour's drive East of Banff (on the Transcanada highway, #1), and about 3 hours South of Edmonton on highway #2. It is likely that you will want to rent a car to explore Calgary and its surroundings.
• Greyhound - The main terminal is located an unpleasant 1 km walk west of the edge of Downtown.
• Red Arrow - Provides service to several Alberta cities, including Edmonton, with a somewhat more accessible bus stop on 9th Ave at 1st St SE.
There is no VIA RAIL service to Calgary.
Calgary has a strong economy and generally low unemployment, with an economy driven primarily by the Canadian oil industry. Busking is common in the summertime, along Stephen Avenue downtown at lunch time, near Eau Claire on weekends, and along 17th Avenue at night. Busking permits are available for Stephen Avenue; busking in Eau Claire Market proper is restricted to auditioned performers, ruling this option out. 17th Avenue has potential, if you can deal with drunken hecklers.
One common pick-up spot for day labour is Centre Street south, between 12th and 13th Avenues. Arrive early for black market jobs, especially in the summer (construction) season.
Calgary happens to be the sunniest place in the whole of Canada, but this does not mean that you won't experience extremes in weather. Summers tend to be sunny and often warm, usually accompanied by short, but heavy thunder storms. Winter doesn't tend to be as harsh in Calgary as in other parts of Canada, but -30c is a common temperature in January and February, and sometimes in the coldest part of the year for 1 or 2 weeks the temperature can get to -35 or lower. Although the temperatures seem low, the lack of humidity reduces the winter chill. In fact, the Winter in Calgary depends on the prevailing winds more than anything - sometimes a winter will be somewhat similar to Vancouver with constant winds blowing from the west, and other times one will have a full month of below -20. Recently however, Calgary has had a string of warmer than average winters. Spring and Autumn is a mixed bag. You can expect snow even as early as September and as late as May (in fact, there have been early May snowstorms several times in the last few years). Because of the sudden change in temperatures, the year seemingly only has two seasons: Winter and Summer. Calgary is blessed to receive relief from winter, in the shape of warm westerly winds called Chinooks. This can raise the temperature by 20-30 degrees Celsius (36-54 degrees Fahrenheit) in the space of a few hours.
• Calgary Stampede - Yearly, July. For ten days the whole city goes western! Billed as "the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", the festival has events all around the city. The Stampede grounds have a daily rodeo and show events, a fairground and trading stands.
• Calgary Flames Hockey Club - Yearly, October to June. Calgary's NHL team are much improved over recent years, and tickets may be hard to come by. Expect a great atmosphere and game if you're lucky enough to get tickets. Price range from $40-$200
• Calgary Stampeders Football Club - Yearly, June to November. Calgary's CFL football team is another city sports attraction. The CFL plays 3 down football, with only 20 seconds between plays, so watching a CFL game is quite different to watching an NFL game!
• Calgary Hitmen - Yearly, September to May. Calgary's Junior Hockey team play in the Western Hockey League and at the Saddledome when the Flames are not in town. Usually as fun as the Flames, but cheaper!! Prices range from $15-40.
• Calgary Roughnecks - Yearly, January to May. Calgary's National Lacrosse League team was Champions in 2004. The sport is fast, rough and tough. Features loud music throughout and a great experience. Prices range from $15-30.
• One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo (January)
• PlayRites (January / February)
• Winter Festival (February)
• Rodeo Royal (March)
• Calgary International Spoken Word Festival (April)
• International Children's Festival (May)
• Carifest (June)
• International Jazz Festival (June)
• Greek Festival (June)
• Calgary Stampede (July)
• Folk Music Festival (July)
• Dragonboat Festival (August)
• Global Fest - One World Festival and International Fireworks Competition (August)
• Afrikadey! Festival (August)
• Festival on the Bow / Barbecue on the Bow (September)
• Artcity - Festival of Art, Design and Architecture (September)
• Calgary International Film Festival (September / October)
• Banff Festival of Mountain Films (October)
• Twelve Days of Christmas (December)
The city centre is not exactly a outdoor shopper's paradise. There are several shops scattered around the centre but the majority are centred on 8th Ave between 5th Street SW and Centre Street. Calgary does have several large malls for shopping, most of which are easily reached via transit. Chinook Centre (SW) and Market Mall (NW) are the two largest. Calgary's largest indoor shopping complex is situated downtown, centred on 8th Avenue at 2nd and 3rd Streets SW, where Eaton Centre, TD Square, Scotia Centre and Bankers Hall are all connected by indoor pedestrian walkways. Eau Claire Market is also situated downtown beside the Bow River.
Although Calgary is generally a very safe place, walking at night should be avoided in Acadia, Bowness, Shawnessy, Southwood, East Calgary (Forest Lawn, Dover, Penbrooke and vicinity), and Downtown east of 3rd St E. East Calgary has what passes for gangs in Calgary, which tend to fight more with words and spray paint than knives or guns, although the homicide rate is fairly high considering population. The east part of Downtown is the center of Calgary's homeless population, drug use, drunkenness and panhandling are very common. Though other parts of the city such as the upper south east, lower north east and some communities in the south west have notable drug and crime rates.
Take care when crossing LRT tracks, as the trains are large, silent, fast and deadly. There are no electrified rails. Boaters on the Bow River should note the Weir, located downstream of the Calgary Zoo; heed the warning signs.
Driving within Calgary can be extremely frustrating during the winter months. This is because despite its lack of heavy snow, temperatures still remain below freezing and thus allow ice to form on many roads. The most dangerous times are when the ice is a clear sheet which resembles the road, and is rightly called "Black Ice".
Nearby Banff and Jasper are both well-known winter ski areas, and are mountain summer escapes. Kananaskis Country and Canmore are other mountain destinations about an hour car travel away. Edmonton is the nearest urban, metropolitan centre to the North and host to the world's largest mall and many summer festivals.
Located south and east of Calgary are 2 of Alberta's 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is a 90 minute drive south of Calgary - it's excellent interpretive centre is open year round. Dinosaur Provincial Park, 2 hours east of Calgary, is a 73 sq km park boasting one of the best dinosaur fossil beds in the world. Additionally the world famous Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, located in Drumheller (90 minutes east of Calgary), houses many palaeontological specimens. South of Calgary (a 45 minute drive) is the Turner Valley Gas Plant National and Provincial Historic Site where you can tour a pioneering gas plant and see how natural gas from Canada's largest gas field was processed prior to WWII.
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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