Calgary, Alberta, Canada

May 21-22, 2015

Local Information

This page provides some local information regarding the meeting venue, transportation, dining, and tourist activities in the Calgary/Banff area.

Meeting Venue

All events related to the CACS/AIC AGM will take place at the Best Western Village Park Inn near the University of Calgary campus.

Getting around Calgary

Calgary has a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, referred to locally as the C-Train. The primary line runs from Tuscany Station in the northwest to Somerset/Bridlewood Station in the south. There is a C-Train station (Banff Trail Station) near the hotel. A southbound train gets you to downtown Calgary in about 10-15 minutes, for dining, shopping, and nightlife.

Trains run about every 5-10 minutes during peak hours, and every 10-15 minutes during off-peak hours. The fare is $3.15 CDN. Tickets can be purchased from machines at any station, and are valid for up to 90 minutes.

Where to Eat

The Best Western Village Park Inn is located in the "motel village", which is a collection of a dozen hotels, motels, and restaurants close to campus, the football stadium, and the athletic fields. A multitude of dining options are available all around you, whether you need a late night snack or a hearty sit-down dinner.

For the fast food junkies, you will find a McDonald's and a Dairy Queen within a 5-minute walk from the hotel. Tim Horton's (good coffee and donuts) and Wendy's are 10 minutes west along 16th Avenue, on the other side of the stadium.

For chain restaurants, there are Boston Pizza, Denny's, and a local favourite called Phil's (breakfast served all day, much like a Denny's or a Smitty's). These are all within a 5-minute stroll from your hotel.

For real restaurants, the "motel village" has Saigon Y2K (big servings of Vietnamese dishes, noodles, and soups; cheap, but very good quality; don't let the dingy exterior fool you), Green Chile (East Indian food, takeout), Big T Barbecue (huge slabs of beef brisket done Texas-style, with choice of sauces, and famous deep-fried pickles), and Nick's Steakhouse and Pizza (mediocre steaks, decent pizza and pasta, a half-block north of the Banff Trail C-Train station).

Another place for a hearty meal is the Courtyard Restaurant in the Best Western Village Park Inn itself. There is also an East Indian restaurant called Swirl on the second-floor of the Aloft Hotel (on the other side of the motel village, about a block south of the Banff Trail C-Train station). It is a bit hard to find, but they offer some interesting Indian fusion cuisine there.

If you are craving some Alberta beef, then try The Keg (steaks done to perfection; a bit pricy but well worth it; reservations recommended (403) 282-0020; located at 1928 Uxbridge Drive in the Stadium Shopping Centre. This is 1.1 km west of the hotel; just go around the stadium and past the apartments, staying on the north side of 16th Avenue). In the same mall parking lot is Redwater Grille, an upscale eatery with an eclectic menu, where we often bring faculty candidates during interview season.

What to Do

Calgary is a vibrant and active city with many opportunities for cultural, educational, recreational, and entertainment outings. The north-west quadrant of the city, in the university area, is admittedly rather quiet, but a short C-Train ride gets you downtown for shopping, dining, museums, bars, and nightclubs. Several college, university, and professional sports teams (e.g., football, baseball, soccer) use the athletic fields near the hotel, with games played primarily on weekends in the summer.

If you have family tagging along for the trip, here are some ideas. The Calgary Zoo is reachable by C-Train, with a simple transfer to the north-east (Saddletowne) line needed in the downtown area. They have just opened a new exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs in their prehistoric park, separate from the real animals in the rest of the zoo. The TELUS Spark Science Centre is also a good place to spend the day, particularly if you have young kids in tow. It is located near the Calgary Zoo.

If you are a golf fanatic (like me!), please send me an email (, especially if you are bringing your clubs along. I can take up to 3 people with me to the Valley Ridge Golf Club either on Wednesday afternoon (2:30pm tee time) or Saturday morning (7:30am tee time). First come, first serve!

Calgary is also known as the "Gateway to the Rockies". From the U of C area, you will see the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains beckoning you. Banff National Park and the Town of Banff are about 90 minutes away by car or bus. A majestic setting for hiking, climbing, wildlife, picture-taking, dining, shopping, and even a refreshing soak in the world-famous hot springs. Well worth the trip, if you have the time to spare! Ski season should be just over, with the leaves, flowers, and wildlife bursting forth in May. Additional information available from the Banff/Lake Louise tourism office.

My favourite hikes include Waterfall Valley (Calgary), Grassi Lakes (Canmore), Bow River Falls (Banff), Sundance Canyon (Banff), Johnston Canyon (outside Banff), Lake Agnes Teahouse (Lake Louise). and Moraine Lake (near Lake Louise). I would be delighted to show you around if you have all day Saturday available!