Calgary, Canada

Introducing Calgary

Calgary Budget Travel Guide provides useful tips for people planning to visit Calgary on a budget. I create it to share details on how to go to Calgary and what form of transportation is available for you to explore it on your own. All the tourist attractions of the city is described with information on how you can visit them using public transport.

About Calgary

Calgary is a city in Alberta, Canada. With a population of about one million people, Calgary is the third largest city in Canada and the largest in Alberta. The city is popular among visitors for its winter sports and ecotourism attractions. It became the first city in Canada to host an Olympic Winter Games in 1988.

More on Calgary

There is no complete agreement how Calgary got its name. According to one theory, it comes from the Old Norse words

kald and gart meaning “cold garden”. Another argument supposed that Calgary came from the Gaelic Cala ghearraidh, meaning “beach of the pasture”. In either case, the explanations do not fully make sense.

Saddledome, Calgary
Author: Gorgo (public domain)

The area around Calgary has been inhabited as early as 11,000 years ago. Cartographer David Thompson was the first recorded European to have arrived in 1787 in the Calgary area. It would take another one hundred years before a permanent settlement took shape there.

Calgary only began to blossom with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883. Its location at the entrance of the Kicking Horse Pass makes it a major supply station in the late 19th century.

Old was discovered in Alberta as early as 1902, but it was the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 which pushed oil prices to record highs that fueled the economy of Calgary. Within a span of just 18 years its population grew by 67%. Almost overnight skyscrapers were erected all over the city. The collapse of oil prices in the mid 1980’s also brought an end to the construction boom.

Today Calgary and the rest of Alberta is once again enjoying an uplift in the economy – the fastest growing in Canada – thanks again to the recovery of oil prices. The city is also diversifying into other fields such as tourism and high-tech manufacturing. As the gateway to Banff National Park, Lake Louise and Canmore, Calgary is becoming more and more well known as a tourist destination.

Downtown Calgary
Author: Qyd (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Budget Travel to Calgary

By Plane

The Calgary International Airport (YYC) is the main gateway. Bus Route No. 57 goes between the airport and Whitehorn C-Train LRT station. From there you can take the 202 Line to downtown Calgary. The Bus-cum-LRT will cost you C$2.75. Inform the bus driver you are tranferring to the LRT.

By Bus
Greyhound and Red Arrow are the two major bus companies with services to Calgary.

Budget Travel within Calgary

The most efficient form of transport in Calgary is the light rail transit, called the C-Train. The best thing about the C-Train is that you can ride it for free over a 14 city block distance along 7th Avenue, from the 10 St SW station until the 3 St SE station.

There are presently two lines: Line 201 starts at the Somerset-Bridlewood Station in the south part of Calgary. It passes through the downtown area, and ends at Crowfoot in the northwest. Line 202 starts at McKnight-Westwinds Station in the northeast, goes through the downtown area, and ends at the 10th Avenue station in downtown.

Each ride on the C-Train costs $2.75, and allows for a 90-minute travel connecting to any transit line. You can also buy a day pass for $8.25 or a 10-ticket booklet for $24. If you are planning to stay in Calgary for a while, then a monthly pass for unlimited rides is available for $85.25.

Western Canada Place, Calgary
Author: Qyd (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)


Places of Interest in Calgary

  1. Calgary Tower
    The third tallest structure in the city, with restaurants and an observatory at the top.
  2. Devonian Gardens
    Indoor garden in downtown Calgary.
  3. Eau Claire Market
    Market is numerous specialty stores selling everything from gourmet foods to handicrafts, with a good number of restaurants and cinemas.
  4. Prince’s Island Park
    Tiny island on Bow River.
  5. Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre
    Center modelled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
  6. Glenbow Museum
    The largest museum in Western Canada.
  7. EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts
    A large complex of theaters and a concert hall.
  8. Hunt House and Deane House
    Heritage buildings from the days of the original settlement of Calgary.
  9. Fort Calgary Historic Park
    Reconstructed fort that used to be the original settlement of Calgary.
  10. Saint George’s Island
    Island on Bow River occupied by the Calgary Zoo.
  11. Stampede Park
    Site of the Calgary Stampede, an outdoor festival that includes the world’s largest outdoor rodeo.
  12. Fish Creek Provincial Park
    One of the world’s largest urban parks.
  13. Heritage Park Historic Village
    Historic village housing over 150 historic buildings relocated here from all over Western Canada.
  14. Canada Olympic Park
    Site of the 1988 XV Olympic Winter Games.
  15. Calgary Science Centre
    A popular interactive museum with over 35 exhibits.
  16. Museum of the Regiments
    Museum devoted to documenting the history of the Canadian Armed Forces.

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