Modern Marvels The discovery of oil near Calgary in the 1900s fueled a growth spurt that even today shows no signs of slowing down. This former cow town has evolved into a cosmopolitan city of skyscrapers, shopping complexes and contemporary housing. The bustling downtown district—including the Stephen Avenue Walk, a popular pedestrian mall that extends from Bankers Hall to the city municipal buildings—has been designed to accommodate crowds of shoppers even during winter, when below-freezing temperatures would normally affect business. Enclosed walkways (called “Plus 15s” in reference to their being 15 feet above street level) connect almost half the downtown buildings.
High above the city streets, an observation deck and resolving restaurant atop Calgary Tower provide a panorama of the city and the nearby Rocky Mountains; a torch burned atop the tower for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. At Canada Olympic Park, travelers can visit Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, an observation level for the ski jump and some of the facilities where Olympic-hopefuls train.
Of course, no discussion of Calgary would be complete without a nod to the city's most famous event: the Calgary Stampede. This 10-day Western extravaganza is billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” and is attended by more than a million residents and visitors.
By CarTwo major highways pass through Calgary. Queen Elizabeth II Hwy. runs north and south through the city; Trans-Canada Hwy. provides access from the east and west. Hwy. 1A, which connects Calgary and Cochrane, also serves as an alternate travel route between Calgary and the towns of Canmore and Banff. Hwy. 8 connects Calgary with Bragg Creek.
Street SystemAAA/Inspector 450
Calgary is divided into quadrants, with Centre Street separating the east and west sectors and the Bow River and Memorial Drive delineating north and south. Streets run north and south, avenues east and west. All are numbered from the intersection of Centre Street and Centre Avenue, just north of downtown. Roads in suburban areas are numbered where they form grids and named where they do not.
The speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour (30 mph) or as posted. A right turn on red after stopping is permitted unless otherwise posted; U-turns are not. Other restrictions apply during rush hours in certain areas; be aware of signs, especially in school and playground zones. Pedestrian crosswalks are designated by “X” signs, and motorists must yield to pedestrians.
ParkingParking is not permitted on major roads in the downtown core during rush hours, between 6:30 and 9 a.m. and 3:30 and 6 p.m. Downtown metered street parking usually is limited to 2 hours at a maximum cost of $5 per hour. Pay parking for extended periods is available at numerous locations. Rates for downtown parking lots range from $2-$4 per half-hour during the day.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
1,048 m/3,440 ft.
The federal Goods and Service Tax is 5 percent and applies to most goods, food/beverages and services, including lodgings. Alberta does not have a provincial sales tax but does impose a 3 percent Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) as well as a 4 percent Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT).
(877) 262-4997 or 511
Foothills Medical Centre, (403) 944-1110; Peter Lougheed Centre, (403) 943-4555; Rockyview General Hospital, (403) 943-3000.
238 11th Ave. S.E. Calgary, AB T2G 0X8. Phone:(403)263-8510 or (800)661-1678
Calgary International Airport
Hertz, with multiple downtown locations and one at Calgary International Airport, offers discounts to CAA and AAA members; phone (403) 221-1676 or (800) 654-3131.
The nearest VIA Rail stations are in Jasper and Edmonton; phone (888) 842-7245.
Red Arrow Express operates luxury motor coaches between Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray and Lethbridge; phone (403) 531-0350 or (800) 232-1958.
Taxi companies include Associated Cab, (403) 299-1111; Checker Yellow Cab, (403) 299-9999; and Mayfair Taxi, (403) 255-6555. Allied Limousine provides town car and limo service; phone (403) 299-9555. Taxi rates begin at $3.80 for the first 120 metres (about .074 mi.) or portion thereof, plus 20c for each additional 120 metres (about .074 mi.) or portion thereof (unless departing from Calgary International Airport, where rates are $8.30 for the first 120 metres, then 20c for each additional 120 metres with a $4.50 surcharge). Cabs can be hailed on the street, but phoning ahead is recommended.
Calgary has both bus and light-rail transit (LRT) service; the latter, known as the CTrain, is free in the downtown core between 3rd Street S.E. and 11th Street S.W. Calgary Transit's office, 125 7th Ave. S.E., has schedules and maps and sells transit passes. Fare is $3.40; $2.35 (ages 6-17). A 1-day pass is $10.75; $7.75 (ages 6-17). Phone (403) 262-1000.