Calgary is a diverse and prosperous city in the province of Alberta. It sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, and is framed by fresh air, open spaces, parks and pathways, and mountains and rivers.
Calgary enjoys more days of sunshine than any other major Canadian city and is less than an hour’s drive from the majestic Rockies.
A number of immigrants are attracted to Calgary, because of the lowest tax rate in the country, strong oil and gas and agriculture industries and above all, affordable housing.
Close to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary experiences a dry, humid continental climate, with long, cold, dry, but variable winters, and short, moderately warm summers.
The city is among the sunniest in Canada however, with an average of 332.9 days every year. Even on cold, snowy days, you may still feel warmed by the sun.
The average temperature in Calgary ranges from a January daily average of −8.9 °C to a July daily average of 16.2 °C.
The chinook is a distinctive characteristic of the Calgary winters which can be uncomfortably cold sometimes. The Chinook is a warm, moist wind from the Pacific Ocean that may raise the temperature by as much as 15 degrees in a few hours.
Calgary Transit offers public transportation services across the city with buses, shuttle buses and light rail (C-Train). The light rail network is the backbone of the system and consists of four lines on 58.2 km of track. It is free downtown – simply hop on at any stop along 7 Ave. As long as you get off the train before leaving downtown, no fare is required.
You can purchase one-way tickets can directly from bus drivers, vending machines at LRT platforms and stations, and from selected vendors. The fare is a flat rate as Calgary Transit does not have a system of zones which require further payment; one fare will get you to any destination in the city. Click here for a list of fare prices.
Calgary International Airport (YYC), in the city’s northeast, is a transportation hub for much of central and western Canada. In 2010, it was the fourth busiest airport in Canada by passenger movement, and third busiest by aircraft movements.
The city’s presence on the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline also make it an important hub for freight.
Calgary offers as well a network of shared and multi-use (bicycle, walking, rollerblading, etc.) paths spanning over 800 km.
Calgary lies at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and the QE2 Highway, an hour east of the Rockies.
The city uses a numbered street system laid out on a grid; streets run north-south, while avenues run east-west. The numbers radiate outwards from the city centre. However, you may find some roads in predominantly residential areas as well as freeways and expressways that are not numbered and in that case, non-numbered streets within a new community will have the same name prefix as the community itself so that streets can more easily be located within the city.
For information on driving in Alberta and how to get a licence, see Driving.
The City of Calgary is protected by the Calgary Police Service. In emergency call 9-1-1 immediately. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, the fire department or an ambulance. If the situation doesn’t require immediate attention, call 403-266-1234.
You can also volunteer with the Calgary Police to help the Service with a variety of its programs. Opportunities are available with the community police stations, district offices, Victim Assistance Team, and YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre.
For more information about volunteer opportunities with the Calgary Police Service, send an email to [email protected] or call the Service at 403-428-8321 or 403-428-8322.
Places of worship
In keeping with the multi-cultural makeup of Calgary, the city is home to a number of faith communities. To find out about different places of worship in Calgary, click here.