I've lived in Calgary for almost 20 years now. Since then I've amassed a great love [and understanding] of our city. 

As a newer resident, perhaps like yourself, what better way to get to know the city with a series of 5 questions that can commonly come up in conversation. Let's dive in:

Why is Calgary called YYC?
Calgary is referred to as YYC as that is actually what the airport code is. So when you're flying to YYC, you're heading to Calgary! When our country started assigning three letter codes to airports, very few foreign airports began with “Y”, so Canada put a “Y” in front of each nearby train station code to create the airport code and to differentiate it from U.S. airports. A lot of local businesses have even utilized YYC in their marketing, social hashtags, or company names. You will notice this a lot more now that you know the back story. Kind of like thinking about a red car - what do you always tend to see in the next few days?
How cold does Calgary get?

Winter in Calgary can be long and exhausting! Luckily we have chinooks [a warm dry wind which blows down the east side of the Rocky Mountains during end of winter] and a lot of sunny days. With 333 average days of sunshine, Calgary is actually the sunniest major city in Canada. [Yay - more fun facts!] The really cold days can run to -30 and even into the -40s with the wind chill. To our friends south of the border that haven't really experienced winter or know weather based on fahrenheit, ummm it's pretty darn frigid. 

What is the tallest building in Calgary?

Drum roll please! Brookfield place: tower one at 247 meters. In a close second is the Bow at 238 meters and third, recently completed [and architectural delight] Telus sky at 225 meters. The Calgary tower was once the pinnacle for a while - we all remember the old school pictures in the 70s and 80s of the red tower poking out of the downtown, seemingly alone. In comparison to these others, it sits at 158 meters, a shocking difference of 89 meters [292 feet] against Brookfield Place. Wow, out with the old and in with the new. 

How long is it to commute to Canmore + Banff?
Living in Calgary, if you haven't heard yet, is great as we have access to the beautiful rocky mountains. The rockies are simply a must see if you are anywhere near the area. A drive to Canmore from the outskirts of Calgary can run you only around 45 minutes to an hour. Banff is an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. And let me tell you, it will go quick 'cause the scenery on that drive is out of this world! On a clear day you will start to see the wonderful backdrop as soon as you hit the edge of the city limits. With a little fortune you may also witness some of nature in its purest form, as wildlife tend to hang out or walk along the side of the road at times. 
Can you experience Calgary without a car?
Technically yes, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're not staying in the one of the inner city core communities. Calgary is a very spread out city  so if you're here for only a day or two, I'd highly suggest staying somewhere in and around the Beltline district. If not, personally I would say a rental car [or a handful of Uber rides] will be required. With a central location, you have access to the c-train, river pathways, Stampede, Saddledome for Flames games, and a wide variety of shopping, dining + entertainment...and all of this can all be done and enjoyed, on foot. 
There you have it - part 1 of probably many more to come. In answering these FAQs, I'm aiming to help out any new Calgarian navigate their way around our welcoming city. You will find the majority of our residents are more than happy to help out with directions and/or recommendations. Another reason why I'm proud to call this place home.
What other questions would you like answered or how can I assist directly?
Give me a call or text and let's chat: 403 999 8610
Joel Gwillim
Posted by Joel Gwillim on


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