Getting Around Calgary

Getting directions in Calgary

Getting directions in Calgary is easy once you understand the lingo! The city is split into 4 quadrants (NE, NW, SE, & SW). Center street divides the city in the East-West direction and the Bow River divides the City in the North-South direction. Furthermore, AVENUES run East-West and STREETS run North-South. So, an address like "1014 - 14th Ave SW" tells you immediately that the address is in the SW quadrant of the city, is on 14th avenue, and is between 9th street and 10th street. The quadrant is REALLY important or you may find yourself at the correct address but on the wrong side of the city!

The +15 system

Yes...we live in a cold climate but with Calgary's +15 system (pronounced: PLUS-FIFTEEN), we rarely need to go outside on cold winter days. The +15 system is a series of 58 bridges (located approximately 15 feet off the ground) connecting over 100 Downtown office buildings. Inside the +15 system you can walk from one side of the downtown core to the other, shop for almost anything under the Sun (it encompasses a large shopping mall known as The Eaton Centre/TD Square), and find many pubs and restaurants. All in climate-controlled comfort! Click here for a PDF of the +15 system 
The U of C campus has its own +15 system (as well as underground passages) and, thus, it is possible to get almost anywhere on campus without going outside. Maps of the system do not exist and it is something of a rite of passage to get horribly lost at least once!

The C-Train

The C-Train is Cagary's above-ground, Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. The system is cheap, clean, efficient and safe. Adult fares are .25 (one-way) and may be purchased at automatic kiosks located at each train stop. However, the C-Train is free if you are travelling within the downtown core (between the 10th SW and 3rd St. SE stops). It is operated on the honour system so you just buy a ticket and get on the train (security occasionally checks to see if people bought their tickets and hands out hefty fines to those that didn’t!). Click here for a map of the C-Train system

Driving & parking

Calgary is a wide-open, car-friendly city. Driving and parking pretty well anywhere is not difficult. However, Calgary is also a city that has enjoyed explosive growth, and our 1 million inhabitants share a road system designed for half that number. I'd recommend that you avoid driving during rush hours (07:00 - 09:00 and 16:30 - 18:30) and avoid trying to park in the cramped downtown core during work hours.


Due to our population growth, it's getting harder and harder to get a taxi in Calgary. If you're downtown, it's often possible to hail a cab on the street or, even better, walk to a nearby hotel where you will usually find a taxi waiting. Otherwise, call in advance. Some Taxi Companies are:

- Yellow Cab:(403) 974-1111 
- Checker: (403) 299-9999 
- Red Top: (403) 974-4444 
- Associated: (403) 299-1111

Taxis in Calgary will take credit cards and Canadian cash. Some have even begun taking debit cards.

Airport shuttles

There are also shuttle services to and from the airport which are a bit cheaper than a cab. Some examples are: 
Airport Shuttle Express (Not currently running)
Banff Airport Shuttle (If you're going to Banff or Lake Louise)