Calgary City Information



Here are some basic facts about Calgary:

Location

Calgary is nestled beside the Rocky Mountain foothills, where they meet the prairies. The city is at 5103' north latitude, 11405' west longitude. We are in Mountain standard time, two hours earlier than Toronto and New York, and 8 hours earlier than western Europe (by coincidence, these are almost the flying times).

Name

Calgary was named by Col. James Macleod of the North West Mounted Police ("the Mounties") after Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull on the Scottish west coast. It was a port for poor refugees heading for North America.
"Calgary" means "clear running water" in Gaelic, though Calgary Bay was originally called Cala-ghearridh, which translates in Gaelic to "bay-side pasture." The spelling evolved over centuries to become "Calligourie," then "Calligory" and eventually "Calgary".

Population

Calgary has over 1,000,000 people (2007) and is the sixth largest city in Canada, and the largest between Vancouver and Toronto. Calgary has grown by about 250,000 people since the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. Calgary's footprint in 2001 (when it had 900,000 residents) was about 94,000km2 or 9.9 hectares/person, the largest ecological footprint of any Canadian municipality. Calgary also happens to be Canada's second-biggest head office city, second only to Toronto.
Alberta, which joined Canada as a province in 1905 is the most westerly of Canada's three prairie provinces. Alberta has 3.3 million residents. The province has an area of 661,185 square kilometres (264,474 square miles) which is about the same area as Texas, or twice the size of Japan.

Industries

The major industries in Calgary reflect that of the whole province. Oil & gas is the top job-creating industry, followed by agriculture and tourism.

Weather

Daytime and nighttime temperatures can differ widely, because of Calgary's dry air (there is little atmospheric moisture to slow temperature swings) and its proximity to the mountains.

In the summer, overnight temperatures often drop close to freezing (Calgary can get snow in ANY month of the year), yet reach daytime highs of 30° C (90° F) by noon. In the winter time, "chinook" winds can raise the temperatures as much as 50° C (100° F) over a few hours, evaporating snow so fast that the slush stage is skipped.

Dress with multiple layers no matter what the time of year or the weather forecast. Because of the dry air, it's a good idea to use skin moisturizers and lip lubricants.

Here are the avearage temperatures for Calgary:

    Month

    Hours of
    Sunshine

    High

    Low

    C

    F

    C

    F

    January

    57

    -5.3

    23

    -14.9

    5

    February

    99

    -0.1

    32

    -11.3

    13

    March

    131

    3.8

    40

    -7.9

    18

    April

    155

    9.0

    49

    -2.8

    27

    May

    197

    14.2

    57

    1.5

    34

    June

    197

    18.7

    66

    5.4

    42

    July

    259

    22.1

    71

    7.4

    45

    August

    211

    21.6

    70

    6.8

    44

    September

    167

    16.1

    60

    2.7

    38

    October

    126

    10.1

    50

    -1.1

    31

    November

    81

    0.5

    32

    -8.2

    18

    December

    44

    -5.3

    23

    -13.8

    7

An approximate guide to Celsius Temperatures is as follows:

Metric-Imperial temperature conversion chart

Alberta

has significant variations in temperature between seasons and between locales. South-eastern Alberta has some very hot, dry summer days has the most hours of sunshine of any province. Because of the dry climate, temperatures rise quickly in the day, and fall quickly at night; temperatures can range as much as 20C (45F) on any given day. In central and northern Alberta (from Red Deer north), rainfall is slightly more frequent during spring and summer, and temperatures are more consistent over a day. Mountain areas are usually warm in mid-summer, spring and fall, yet cool at night. Winter temperatures are milder in southern Alberta than most people expect, often with the highest temperatures in Canada.

Tipping

Some hotels include tips or gratuities with group programs to simplify bookkeeping. This will usually include gratuities for housekeeping, bell service and food service. In a hotel, bell service should be tipped about $1 per bag, and housekeeping $1 to $5 dollars a day (in proportion to your room rate). Visitors should know that the standard tip in restaurants is 10%-15% (on restaurant bills, an average tip will be 150% of the GST), with 20% (double the GST) for very outstanding service. This is especially important for visitors from countries where tipping on meals is not done: here the waitering staff depend on tips for a significant portion of their incomes. Tip taxis about 10%, and a dollar a bag they carry for you (not just unload), or at the very least round fares up to the nearest dollar.
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