The UCalgary main campus is easy to get around. You can walk from one side of campus to the other in about 15-20 minutes. If you need to go between the Main, Foothills, Spy Hill and Downtown campuses, public transit will be your best option, There is a map of the different campuses online, and a room finder tool that you can use to help you find your classes!
Riding a bike is a cheap and sustainable option for most of the year! Cycling can save you money on buses and taxis, and allow you to get around quicker. Check out these resources for more information about biking in Calgary:
- Cycling in Calgary
- City of Calgary Bike Safety
- Bike Calgary
- UBike: students can rent bikes through this Students’ Union Club
- Bike Root: on-campus Bike Shop where you can learn about and get help with bike repairs
Bike Safety and Tips
- Bike helmets are mandatory for anyone under 18, but strongly recommended for everyone
- Do NOT ride bicycles on the sidewalk or on major highways
- Make use of the bike pathways whenever possible
- Cyclists must follow the same road rules as drivers: stop for red lights and stop signs, use hand signals and stay on the right side of the road.
- Bike theft can be a problem, so make sure to lock up your bicycle securely
Many buses now have bike racks and during certain hours you are also allowed to take your bike on the C-Train.
Taking transit is a great way to get around Calgary. Most major destinations in Calgary are accessible by bus and/or C-Train (Light Railway Transit). Transit services are run by Calgary Transit – their website is a great resource to find out how to get between destinations, check buses and trains are running on schedule and find out more about fares and passes.
- The closest C-Train station to campus is University Station. It is on the Red line. For some destinations in the Northeast or West of Calgary, you may need to transfer to the Blue line.
- Trains run approximately every 5 minutes during peak times, and every 10-15 minutes outside of peak hours.
All Undergraduate and Graduate students registered full-time at the University of Calgary are automatically enrolled for a UPass. A UPass is a sticker that is placed on your student identification card. It allows you unlimited public transit access for the semester. It is compulsory for all full-time Undergraduate and Graduate students.
The UPass Centre is located in the International House on the Main Level.
Learn more about the UPass program here.
Driving in Calgary (and the province of Alberta) is regulated by the Alberta Government to ensure everyone’s safety. All drivers must have an adequate license, car insurance, and a registered vehicle (whether owned or rented).
You can drive in Alberta as long as you are registered as a full-time student and you have a valid license from your home country. This is especially relevant if you plan to rent a car. You must have the following documents with you while driving:
- A valid driver’s license from your home country that is current and equivalent to a standard license in Alberta
- A copy of your valid Study Permit and an enrollment verification letter showing your current courses
- A translation of your license if it is not in English. This translation is sometimes called an “International Driver’s Permit”. It goes with your license; it does not replace your license from your home country
- Official identification (such as your passport or an Alberta Identification Card)
Alberta Driver's License
You may have to complete a written exam and practical driving exam to qualify for an Alberta Driver's License. The requirements depend on:
- Whether you already have a valid (not expired) driver's license from another country
- How many years of driving experience you have
- If there is an agreement between Alberta and your home country/region
- Which country issued your license
Consult the Government of Alberta’s Temporary Resident website for more details.
Seat belts: Wearing a seat belt is mandatory for the driver and passengers at all times. Passengers over age 18 are fined if they are not wearing a seat belt. The driver is fined if children are not wearing seat belts.
Speed limits are in kilometres per hour (km/h). Urban and populated areas range from 30-60 km/h; 100 km/h on city highways. Speed limits are usually posted. In Calgary, the speed limit is 40 km/h unless posted.
Hitchhiking is not allowed on major highways. It is not advised anywhere.
Impaired Driving: driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. Review the laws on the Government of Alberta website.
Winter Driving: driving in cold, snowy conditions may be new to you. It can be dangerous for new or inexperienced drivers. Please review these resources and consider taking a winter driving safety course:
Car Rentals: You may rent a car using either your Alberta Driver’s License or your license from your home country. However, different car rental companies have their own policies regarding who may rent cars in the province. Generally the cheapest rates are usually offered to drivers 25 years of age and older. Younger drivers may be subject to additional fees. Most companies will require you to have a credit card in order to reserve and rent a car, as well as at least two pieces of Government-issued photo identification in addition to your driver’s license.
Buying a Car in Alberta: Motor vehicle registration and driving regulations fall under the authority of the Alberta Government. Carefully review the information on their pages about legal processes and recommendations for consumers:
- Purchasing from private seller: https://www.alberta.ca/buying-vehicle-private-seller.aspx
- Purchasing from a dealership: https://www.alberta.ca/buying-vehicle-business.aspx
It is critical that you research your options, watch for fraudulent behavior, and understand your rights and responsibilities as a consumer. Some helpful resources are:
- Alberta Motor Association (AMA):
- Types of searches on vehicle histories: https://ama.ab.ca/registries/auto/vehicle-history-search
- Types of vehicle inspections: https://ama.ab.ca/registries/auto/vehicle-inspection
- Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council:https://www.amvic.org/consumer/buying-a-vehicle/first-time-buyer/
- Better Business Bureau (BBB):
- Buying a used car: https://www.bbb.org/article/tips/14088-bbb-tip-buying-a-used-car
- Buying a new car: https://www.bbb.org/article/tips/14086-bbb-tip-buying-a-new-car
- Reading business profiles: bbb.org
- The taxi fare is calculated by a meter, not the driver, so the amount of money the driver asks for cannot be negotiated. The fare is displayed on the electronic meter beside the driver.
- You can ask for an estimate of the fare if you call ahead and book a ride.
- You can wave for a taxi along any street - there are no designated taxi waiting lines.
- Please note that taking a taxi (cab) can be a very expensive way to travel around the city.
- Ridesharing services like Uber also operate in Calgary.