Practical information about Calgary
Calgary has more hours of sunshine than any other Canadian city, making it a great destination at any time of year. Whether you are heading out for the rodeo or for a more rural affair on the prairie it’s a good idea to know the basics before you leave.
When travelling somewhere new, it is a great idea to get a handle of the basic information, so you can concentrate on having a good time. Our comprehensive list of Calgary practical information is a great way for you to keep everything you need to know in one place, so you can focus on making the most of your time, experiencing everything Calgary has to offer. Check out the overview below on the things every traveller should know when travelling to Calgary!
Essential Calgary information for visitors
Emergency numbers Calgary is considered a very safe environment, but it is always advisable when visiting a city to take care, especially if travelling alone. To contact the Emergency Services including Calgary Police Service, Ambulance or Fire Services, simply dial 911, free from any phone line. For non-emergent health issues, call Health Link at 811. For non-emergency police services, you can use 403-266-1234 and for the fire department, you can call 311.
Temperature When visiting Calgary in winter, you can expect rapid changes in temperature. Westerly winds called “chinooks” can drastically change the temperature by as much as 15°C, which is a little respite from an otherwise very cold atmosphere. There is very little rainfall year round, with the most rain occurring in the summer months, so it may be worth bringing a raincoat in case you are caught in a shower. During the winter months, expect average temperatures of around -2°C, and the summer months climb to 23°C.
Currency Calgary uses the Canadian dollar, which is different from the US dollar. It is worth changing money in advance as, while some establishments will take USD, it is charged at a premium rate. Funds can be exchanged at banks, credit unions and ATMs. Restaurants and retailers will also accept credit and debit card payments.
Local Time Calgary runs through the majority of the year on Mountain Daylight Time from March through to October, and changes to Mount Daylight Time from November to February. MDT is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Electricity The standard voltage in Canada is 120 V, with a standard frequency of 60 Hz.
Language In Calgary, you can expect to hear English as the most spoken language, with 70% of the population using it as their mother tongue. French is also used by many Calgary residents, but don’t worry, with English being the most used language there’s no risk of not being understood by the locals.
Required Travel Documents All visitors to Canada must have a valid passport. Visitors from the UK do not require a visa but will have to apply for an eTA, Electronic Travel Authorization. An eTA must be applied for in advance and will be automatically linked to your passport.
Health Before travelling it’s important to make sure you have the required health insurance. At least eight weeks before travel it’s a good idea to check the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) for specific vaccine recommendations. Before travelling to Canada, the WHO recommends vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, polio, and MMR, most of which many will have had as a child.
Tipping and Taxes A tourism levy is charged on hotels in Calgary, which comes in at 4% of your total accommodation charge. Gratuity is not usually included in the price at restaurants and bars, it is customary to offer between 15-20% depending on the level of service. For larger bookings of six to eight people, be sure to check the bill as some restaurants may automatically add service.
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