Getting started in Calgary
Arriving in a new city can be overwhelming. In Calgary, there are many resources and services to assist newcomers, community organizations to help you get settled, and immigrant serving agencies who can help if you’re new to Canada.
The Newcomers Guide to Calgary also provides important information for new residents in an easy to download and print format.
Important telephone numbers to know
311 - For City information or to request a service within Calgary city limits. 311 also offers language translation services in more than 200 languages. If you state the name of your language in English, a translator will be provided.
911 - For emergencies related to health, safety and property. This includes medical distress, fires, crimes in progress, motor vehicle accidents where an ambulance/tow truck is necessary. Translation services available.
It is important to teach all family members about when to call 911. Even if a caller can only say “fire”, “police” or “help”, emergency assistance will be sent.
It is also important to know your location or address when phoning 911. A person’s location is not always automatically known so it is often the most important piece of information needed to get help in an emergency.
211 - Learn how to access to community or social resources in Calgary. This includes financial, social, food and mental health support. This service is free and confidential and translation services are available. Visit informalberta.ca for more information.
811 - Health Link: For health advice and health information services provided by a registered nurse. The nurse may not be able to diagnose your illness but will tell you if you should seek medical treatment or treatment at home. Translation services available
How to get around Calgary
Use Calgary Transit to get around the city in two ways:
By train: The City of Calgary offers CTrain (LRT) service with two main lines - a Red line running north-south and a Blue line running east-west. The CTrain is free downtown – simply hop on at any stop along Seventh Avenue. As long as you get off the train before leaving downtown, no fare is required.
By bus: Bus service is available throughout the city and connects with the CTrain line. To find your route, visit Calgary Transit or download the Calgary Transit app and you can select your origin and destination to find where you are going. You can also pick up a printed schedule from any convenience store or find the schedule online.
Travelling by taxi or ridesharing in Calgary
Calgary’s taxi, limousine and ridesharing companies are regulated by The City of Calgary. Plan ahead and consider peak periods. Other tips:
Look for a taxi plate on the rear bumper to ensure you are taking a licensed taxi.
Be aware of the company, vehicle colour and phone number in case you need to track down lost items or share a compliment or concern about your ride.
You can pay your taxi fare by cash, credit or debit cards.
Taxis can accept rides that are street hailed or booked ahead of time (by phone, website or app). Taxis charge a rate that is capped at a maximum regulated amount. Ridesharing companies can arrange rides with passengers or customers through an app (not through street hails). Ridesharing companies charge unregulated rates not subject to a maximum amount.
Access subsidized City services and programs in one application
Fair Entry enables you to apply for City-subsidized programs and services including Transit and recreation through one application process. You can enroll at Municipal Hall located at 800 Macleod Trail SE or the Village Square Library located at 2623 56 Street NE. For more information please visit Fair Entry.
Know your rights, the Canadian legal system, and how police operate
The Calgary Police Service provides educational programs to foster strong relationships between the Service and Calgary’s diverse communities.
“You and the Law” is a Calgary Police Service 90-minute workshop aimed at helping new immigrants learn about the Canadian legal system, how police here operate and the rights they enjoy as residents of Canada. Visit the Calgary Police Services website for more information.
The Newcomer's Guide to the Calgary Police Service provides information for new Canadians about the role of the Calgary Police Service, how to recognize police officers and how to reach out if they need help.
Get free resources and services from your local library
The Calgary Public Library has 18 library locations in Calgary. There are many books to help adults and children learn English as well as free ESL conversation circles and writing club, settlement desks and citizenship classes. All locations offer free printing, photocopying, computers and internet.
Participate in family-friendly recreation programs and events
Calgary Recreation offers drop-in fitness opportunities, registered programs and plenty of events and festivals all year long. From swimming and skating to arts programs and day camps, we've got more than you think!