Calgary Recce Trip

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Travelling to Calgary for a recce

Flights

  • There are several non-stop flights from the UK to Calgary.
  • For more tips on flying, see the Wiki on Travel.

Rental cars

Where to stay during recce

Suburbs

  • If you want to get some sense of what it's like to live in Calgary and to commute to work, you might want to avoid spending your "test" period in the downtown core (city centre).
  • If you have a young family, you're likely to live out in the suburbs. There would be merit in trying to get a feel of what that would be like.
  • At a minimum, you might consider staying in "Motel Village," near the University of Calgary, in the northwest quadrant, or else somewhere along the southern reaches of Macleod Trail.
  • In both these instances, you could find a "suite hotel" that would have a kitchen that would allow some self-catering.
  • In both those instances, especially in the case of Motel Village / University, you also would have good C-Train access to the downtown core.
  • Alternatively, you might want to opt for a bed and breakfast establishment in a suburban neighbourhood. B&Bs vary in their proximity to transit facilities. Some suburban B&Bs may necessitate a car rental (but then it in any case is useful to have a car at one's disposal during a recce trip).
  • If you would like to rent a furnished house for your recce, see the list of rental companies in the Furnished Accommodation section of the BE Wiki article on Renting.

Downtown

  • If you are a single person or childless couple, you may be planning on living close to the downtown core. In that case, staying in a hotel in the downtown core or the nearby Beltline district would give you a fairly realistic idea of what life in the central part of Calgary is like.
  • Alternatively, you may have reasons for staying downtown -- if you will be travelling without your family, if you'll be attending several job interviews, if you may be joining the police service and have to undertake several tests, etc., etc.
  • Note that Calgary hotels tend to be cheaper on weekends, when business travellers are not competing for hotel rooms. The difference between mid-week and weekend rates is most marked in the downtown core. If you really do want to stay in the downtown core, and if you will be doing so on the weekend, you'll be able to get surprisingly good weekend deals on upscale hotels (outside of the Calgary Stampede, of course).
  • You can try bidding on Priceline to see if you can get a cheap rate.

Northeast quadrant

  • The airport is located in the northeast quadrant of Calgary.
  • Hence the NE quadrant is a useful area in which to stay if you are using Calgary as a place in which to change planes and if you will have only a short overnight stay in the city.
  • Most NE hotels are not well served by transit, however, so it is not a convenient district in which to stay if you will be in Calgary for more than an overnight stay and if you want to make some use of transit facilities.

More info on hotel districts

  • For more information on Calgary hotels and which districts are most convenient for different purposes, read TripAdvisor's Wiki entitled Inside Calgary : Hotel Districts.

What to pack for recce

General purpose clothes

  • The Inside Banff National Park section of the TripAdvisor website, has excellent lists of the clothing that you'll need for this area during different seasons.
  • Keep in mind that the above-mentioned lists on the TripAdvisor website are for Banff National Park, which is an outdoorsy, natural environment.
  • The same clothing would serve you for most of your time in Calgary as well.
  • Calgary's weather can be extremely variable throughout the year. Regardless of the time of year at which you visit, you should bring clothing for the current season as well as clothing for cooler and warmer weather than you're anticipating. Please see the temperatures listed in the BE Wiki article on Calgary Climate to understand the variety of weather you could experience.
  • If you visit Calgary during the summer, remember that the evenings here tend to cool off, even after a hot day. If you go out at night, it's always a good idea to take a light weight jacket or cardigan with you, even if the weather feels warm when you set out from your accommodation.
  • If you visit Calgary in the heart of winter -- say December, January, or February -- you clearly should bring proper winter clothing with you, or at least be prepared to buy it immediately on your arrival here. Check the winter clothing list for non-skiers in TripAdvisor's Wiki about Clothing in Banff National Park.
  • Transitional months -- say October / November and March / April -- present something of a puzzle. Calgary can get very cold weather during those months, but often does not. If your entire family is going to do a recce trip over Easter, for example, you may wonder if the investment in winter clothes will be worth it. Your children may wear the clothes for a couple of weeks and then outgrow them before they have another opportunity to wear them. If you're in this position, you do need to get hats, scarves, gloves, warm socks and, most importantly, warm jackets for the entire family. However, you could compromise when it comes to footwear. You may find that your family can get away with runners (trainers) rather than proper winter boots.

Calgary Stampede

The whole city wears denim during the Calgary Stampede, a ten-day, western-themed festival that takes place every July. Even people who normally wear formal attire or uniforms turn into cowboys and cowgirls for the duration of the Calgary Stampede.

Interview clothes

  • If you will be attending job interviews during your recce trip, remember that a business suit is standard attire for an interview for a white collar job, and khaki trousers and a golf shirt are standard attire for an interview for a blue collar job.
  • Notwithstand the fact that most Calgarians will be in western attire, you must wear a business suit if you attend an interview for a white collar job during the Stampede. This is true even if your interviewer is in cowboy gear.

Business attire

  • It has been stated that a business suit is required for job interviews for white collar jobs in Calgary, and that is true. Once you're actually working, however, you'll find that many Calgary offices have converted to "smart casual" or "business casual" attire. For a man this generally means khaki cotton trousers and a shirt with a collar but usually no tie.
  • Only a few office environments in Calgary have remained formal and still require suits and ties. Some legal firms, for example, fall into this category.

School visits

  • If you visit schools during your recce, you can dress casually and comfortably. Jeans, for example, would be fine for a school visit.

Shopping during recce

  • If you need skiing gear while you're in Calgary, Mountain Equipment Coop is a good bet.
  • If you need non-skiing winter gear, Mark's Work Wearhouse is an excellent starting point.
  • If you'll be in the area for only a short time and don't want to invest a lot of money in winter gear, you might consider renting it from the University of Calgary's Outdoor Centre.
  • If you're considering renting, however, do take into consideration the fact that any winter gear that you buy during your recce trip will come in usefully if you ultimately move to Calgary.
  • Children outgrow clothing, so if you're going to be doing a winter recce trip with children, you might consider buying secondhand outdoor gear from Value Village or else renting it from the U of C's Outdoor Centre mentioned above.
  • If you come to Calgary on a recce towards the end of winter, say around Easter, keep in mind that stores will have little winter clothing left. As it will be close to the end of the season, they will have sold out of most of their winter merchandise and will be starting to display spring clothing.

What to do during recce

  • For tips on making the most of your time during a recce trip, please read the excellent BE Wiki article entitled Scouting Trip.
  • If you have some time to spare for touristy activities during your recce trip, please read the BE Wiki article entitled Calgary Fun.
  • This is one of a series of BE Wiki articles about Calgary.