We flew to Calgary from Toronto's Pearson Airport using WestJet.
We felt the flight was good value. It cost around $270 dollars each (approx £123 each - including taxes etc), and took approximately 2 hrs.
Staff were friendly, services was good. We were also lucky enough to get good weather so managed to witness some stunning views, especially as we were preparing to land.
Not the only company to fly from Toronto to Calgary, but we had no complaints and happily recommend WestJet to anyone in the area. We would happily use them ourselves again.
Airport Shuttle Express
We found out about the Airport Shuttle Express service from the guys who owned the B&B we would be staying in.
It's a great service. They go from the airport to any hotel, B&B, Inn etc within Calgary, 24hrs a day. Much more convenient and practical (and no doubt friendlier) than just jumping in a cab.
You can find the Airport Shuttle Express counter in the main terminal of Calgary Airport on the arrivals level (just outside Canada Customs).
The service uses mini buses that hold around 6-8 people, so you will have to share.
It cost around $20 total for 2 of us.
The Airport Shuttle Express is well worth considering if you haven't already arranged transport from the Airport to your hotel (or other accomodation).
- Budget Travel
Western Canada’s railways are not geared for passenger travel. The cities are just too far apart. There are trains of course. It was the building of the railway that brought British Columbia into the Canadian confederation. However, rail traffic is almost exclusively for freight (grain, ore, consumer goods).
Having said that, there has always been a market for sight seeing through Western Canada’s Rocky Mountains. With specially made observation cars, Rocky Mountaineer, is a superb way to combine travel with sight seeing.
I was impressed with my short walk through this airport. I was tired, and had to pee .... so that fact that I was impressed is saying an awful lot!
Landing in the international terminal, I took the glass walkway over the top of the departure gates. There was artwork, children play areas, and comfortable seating at most of the gates I passed. The journey from my gate, to customs and immigration was not very long, despite landing at the furthest gate :)
After exiting immigration, I entered a nicely laid out arrival hall - filled with waiting friends and family. There was a wonderful sculpture of horses (sorry, the pic was horrid, I had to delete it ..), and I again noticed the duplication of signs: English and French versions were everywhere.
In case you are interested, there is a Tim Horton's in the arrivals hall ...... you know, just in case :)
I'm also proud of my very first CANADIAN passport stamp!!! Woo-Hoo!!!!
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
Small Rental Car
Because we had one daughter living in Cold Lake, on the border with Saskatchewan, and another in Calgary we booked our flight into Edmonton, which is roughly half-way between the two places.
I got a pretty good deal on the rental car from Budget, a Compact Toyota Echo with automatic transmission and unlimited mileage. It ended up costing us US$270 for the 10 days, plus gas of course (prices were about US$0.58 per litre). By the time we had driven from Edmonton to Cold Lake to Calgary and back to Edmonton we had put almost 2000 km on it. It was amazing how far it could go for the cost of gas - the 3-hour drive to Cold Lake only took US$13 to top the tank up again. I did miss cruise control a bit but the temperatures were pleasant so I did not really miss having no A/C either!
The Echo was great for driving around in Calgary since some of the streets near my daughter's place had parking along both sides, so it could be a little tight when meeting on-coming traffic. It was also handy for squeezing into any available parking spot at the Best Western Suites. I was amazed at the size of its trunk (boot) - it could handle three large suitcases and still had room to spare!
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Driving the freeway (Deerfoot Trail)
When driving through Calgary on the Deerfoot, be prepared for fast speeds and crazy drivers!
There were two signs prevalent alongside the road:
"Smart Decisions Reduce Collisions"
"No Slow Drivers"
Hello? Does that make sense to anyone else?
- Road Trip
I was in Calgary for 5 days and took the C-train on numerous occasions to get around, and thought it was great way to get around for only 2 dollars (and even cheaper if you buy tickets in advance).
However, of all the times I took the C-train nobody ever asked to see my ticket...actually I easily could have just walked on as there were no attendants on either the platforms or the trains themselves. I wonder how they enforce this? The only way I can see this work is random checks and a very stiff fine.
Tip for cheaper travel to other cities!
Best deal around: GreyHound Bus Lines offeres a lower price ticket called a "companion fare" for 2 people traveling together on the same trip. Although they must be book 3 days or more in advance, this is a great 2 for 1 deal to most of thier destinations, and will cut your cost in half!
- Budget Travel
The C-Train is very handy, and cheap. It runs all the way from Northwest Calgary, through dowtown (on 7th Ave ... which is an excellent position for those who want to walk to pubs and bars) and then to the Northeast and South. Provides direct access to hot spots like The Calgary Zoo, The Stampede Grounds, Kensington district (trendy coffee houses, IE: The Roastery, record shops, etc.), the SaddleDome / Corral (for larger concerts).
Singular rides (a transfer good for 1.5 hrs. for an adult cost $2 CAD, and I believe a pass for the whole month is just under $70 CAD.)
- Budget Travel
Good Bus and train system
Calgary has a pretty good lay out of buses and c-trains but because of the hudge growth in the last 5-10 years it is struggeling to keep up with demands. During rush hour it is not the place you want to be. You can get to most area's with the buses and our c-train system but some of the newest area's are a little harder. It costs about $2 a trip and is not based on how far you go. You can also get what is called a tranfer so you don't have to pay for the next connecting bus. There are monthly, day and i think week passes. available. IT is a resonable way to get around. IT is also very good at catering to seniors, and the diabled. A lot of busses lower when stoped so as to make it easier to get on. There is also the Greyhound bus system which will take you out of Calgary to many destinations.
- Budget Travel
Cabbies in Cowtown
There are always tonnes of cabbies waiting to drive you to your destinations all aaround town. The Only time you have problems getting one is during the Stampede, and New Years Eve (good luck unless you call 2 days in advance)...
There are various companies throughout the city, Checker, Associated, Mayfair, Co-op, etc. Checker is our fav since all you have to remember is 299-9999...after a long night the last thing you want to do is waste your time looking in a phone book!!!
- School Holidays
It gets around
The LRT (or C-Train as we affectionately call it) runs throughout Calgary, and if you look athe maps at the station and /or ask questions, you can usually make it relatively easily from one end of the city to the other, depending on how much time you have.
The C-Train is extremely busy during times such as early mornings on weekdays (epecially in the winter as no one likes to drive on the icy roads), during events downtown such as Flames games, and especially during Stampede in July. During special holidays like New Years the trains will run until as late as 1 am, however usually they finish around 11 at night. If you do not live near a train station, most of the buses in the city will take you to one, you just need to ask them let you know.
While this does only visit certain parts of the city is a great above ground system that can get you anywhere you want quickly and cheaply! The cost for a day ticket was $5.60 and considering you can get to basically section of the city thats a good deal. I took it from the University to the Zoo in about 10-15 minutes, I was very impressed.
Cab Service is Great!
I needed to take Cab's a few places around town, first off they are very attentive and everywhere. Plus since the city isn't to big they know the area very well. The cars I rode in where modern and had good prices! Highly recommended!
- Road Trip
A Car is Probably Best
Even though the city has vastly improved it's transit system, a car is still the best choice for transportation in Calgary and surrounding areas. If you need to go downtown during the weekdays, the transit system is your best bet, as you'll pay a premium for parking, if you can find it!
The bus and LRT (light rail transit) system runs well during rush hours and fairly well during the day, but really slows down in the evening after 6:00pm. Adult fare is $2.00.
LRT service is free in the downtown core, from 10th St NW, to 1st St. SW.; good to know when you're lugging all those heavy shopping bags.
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