FAQ

Peace Bridge in Calgary
Peace Bridge in Calgary

FAQ

Practical information & services for travelling to Calgary.

Weather

Calgary has more hours of sunshine than any other major city in Canada, making it a great destination any time of year. Be prepared for changes in temperature as weather in Calgary can vary day to day and season to season, and even hour to hour. 

Mild westerly winds called “chinooks” bring warm temperatures to Calgary, raising winter temperatures by as much as 15°C in just a few hours. Be advised that this dramatic change in weather may sometimes cause headaches or fatigue. 

Expect warm summer weather, some cooler temperatures in the winter, and a mix in the fall and spring. You should expect to wear shorts and t-shirts comfortably in summer months and a warm jacket during the winter. 

Calgary sits at an elevation of 1,045 metres above sea level.

Safety & Emergency Services

Calgary is a safe city where you can feel comfortable in most neighbourhoods at any time of the day. Areas previously known for crime have been redeveloped into engaging communities ready for you to explore and visitors should feel at ease to explore the city in almost any area. As with any big city, caution should be taken when travelling alone at night in underpopulated areas, such as alleys. The city enjoys low crime rates, and there is not a specific area to avoid as a visitor. 

Emergency Health Services

If you require an ambulance or emergency service, dial 911. Hospitals will not refuse treatment to anyone requiring medical attention, regardless of health care coverage. Rates vary.

The following hospitals have emergency care departments:

 
 
 
 

Health Insurance

Visitors to Canada should obtain traveller’s health insurance before departing their homeland. Visitors requiring prescription medication should bring a copy of the prescription in case they require renewal in Canada.

Money Matters

Canada’s currency is the Canadian dollar. Visitors can exchange traveller’s cheques and foreign currency for Canadian funds at banks, trust companies, credit unions, ATMs, and at airport and border crossing exchange booths. Banking hours are typically Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., though some banks are open evenings on certain days.

Other currency is not widely accepted. The US Dollar is accepted at some establishments, but is often charged at a premium rate, making it advisable to travel with at least some Canadian currency. 

Goods and Services Tax

Tipping and Gratuities

Gratuities are rarely included in the price for many restaurant and tour operators in Calgary. Tipping approximately 15-20% on the total bill before tax is customary, depending on the quality of service. Many restaurants may charge 15-18% gratuity for large group bookings (six or more guests).

Payments Accepted

Most Canadian retailers, restaurants, and services use point of sale systems that accept major credit cards, like Mastercard, VISA, and American Express. Debit cards are also accepted depending on the conditions of your banking institution and country of origin. All Canadian debit cards are accepted in Calgary. Many point of sale systems accept chip cards that require a pin number in order to complete the transaction.

Customs, Immigration, and Embassies

Visitors from most countries, such as the United State of America, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, require a valid passport to enter Canada. All visitors to Canada arriving from a different country must cross the Canadian border pass through customs. Visitors arriving by air travel will complete the customs process at the airport upon arrival in Canada.

Connect with the consulate general of your home country in Calgary: 

Fishing & Hunting

Parks Admission

National Parks Admission 

Five National Parks are within a day trip of Calgary: Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kootenay National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, and Yoho National Park. These destinations can be accessed by car and organized shuttle and bus tours.

Park passes must be displayed in your rearview mirror or taped to the interior of the windshield while inside a National Park. Parks Canada staff check vehicles for valid passes at various destinations and checkpoints throughout the national parks. Fines are issued to Canadian residents and international visitors if a valid pass is not present.

It is illegal to camp in the wilderness outside of organized campsites in any National Park. 

Provincial Parks Admission 

Calgary is home to and adjacent to several world-renowned Provincial Parks, including Bow Valley Provincial Park, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Carseland Provincial Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Fish Creek Provincial Park, and Nose Hill Provincial Park. Provincial parks do not require the purchase of a park pass.

Moving to Calgary