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Getting around Calgary

Public transport

Calgary Transit (tel: +1 403 262 1000; www.calgarytransit.com) runs the city’s bus services and light rail system (known as the CTrain). The service is punctual, clean and cheap.

Buses operate throughout the city, its suburbs and to the airport. The CTrain comprises two lines: the red line runs from Somerset-Bridlewood in the south to Tuscany in the northwest; the blue line runs from Saddletowne in the northeast to 69th Street SW in the west. The stretch where both lines overlap along 7th Avenue is a fare-free zone.

You can buy bus tickets upon boarding (exact change only) and CTrain tickets from vending machines at stations. Transfers (valid for 90 minutes) are available for switching between CTrains and buses. Day passes and books of 10 tickets (slightly cheaper) are available.

Taxis

You can hail a taxi in the city centre at any time. There are numerous taxi operators in Calgary, including Checker Yellow Cabs (tel: +1 403 299 9999) and Mayfair Taxi (tel: +1 403 255 6555). An initial charge applies and the price rises according to the time and distance travelled. Drivers are commonly tipped around 10 to 15% of the fare.

Driving

Calgary is laid out on an easy-to-follow grid system, although the way the city is divided into quadrants, such as Southwest (SW), may be a bit confusing at first. In the city centre, the Bow River divides north from south, while Centre Street separates east and west. Major streets and avenues are named according to number, with avenues running east-west and streets running north-south. Many streets are one way, and even the locals are often confused with the quadrant system.

Street parking is available, although rare in the city centre during the day. Parking in one of the plentiful private lots is more reliable. The Calgary Parking Authority (tel: +1 403 537 7000; www.calgaryparking.com) has details on locations, operating hours and rates.

Car hire

Most major North American and international car hire firms operate within Calgary. Drivers must be 21 years or older, and those under 25 may have to pay a surcharge with certain firms. A full driving licence from your home country is usually sufficient. Insurance is essential and is available from the car hire firm.

Car hire companies include Avis (tel: +1 403 269 6166; www.avis.ca), Hertz (tel: +1 403 221 1676; www.hertz.ca) and Thrifty (tel: +1 403 262 4400; www.thrifty.com).

Bicycle hire

Calgary claims to have North America’s most extensive bike network, with nearly 800km (500 miles) 700km of pathways. A downloadable route map is available from www.calgary.ca. The city is also gradually introducing separated bike lanes on major routes into the centre.

You can hire bikes and rollerblades through Sports Rent, 4424 16th Avenue NW (tel: +1 403 292 0077; www.sportsrent.ca).

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Kensington Riverside Inn

In trendy Kensington (a short walk from the business district), overlooking the Bow River and downtown Calgary, this 19-room hotel is a real gem. The spacious rooms are individually decorated, with plush bedding and free Wi-Fi. Some have fireplaces or garden patios. The Chef's Table restaurant features grain-fed, fresh, organic food.

Hotel Arts

Setting foot in Hotel Arts on a hot day is like arriving at a Miami beach party, with the cool and the beautiful draping themselves, cocktails in hand, by the outdoor pool. Calgary's chic, sexy and independently owned designer hotel is within walking distance of all downtown venues. Rooms are stylish, and the hip Raw Bar serves 'Vietmodern' cuisine.

Fairmont Palliser

The grande dame of Calgary's hotels, the Fairmont Palliser has been welcoming guests since 1914. Rooms are elegant and luxurious, and there's a posh health club and spa with an indoor pool. You can enjoy cocktails and craft brews in the sophisticated Oak Lounge or treat yourself to a fancy afternoon tea.

Centro Motel

Northwest of downtown, near the Bow River, Centro Motel is a little bit of affordable chic. Rooms are smart and spacious, with pillow-top beds and high-end linens and cosy duvets. Wi-Fi, parking and a continental breakfast are all included in the price.

Hotel Elan

Handy for the bars and eateries along nearby 17th Avenue, Hotel Elan has bright, modern rooms, plus one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens and separate living areas. Rates include an extensive continental breakfast and 15MB Wi-Fi. If you're here during Calgary's chilly winter, you're sure to appreciate the heating toilet seats.

Hotel Le Germain

This Montreal hotel has 101 designer rooms. Everything is eye pleasing from the minimalist furniture to the low-lit hallways. If you own an iPad and appreciate nice shoes, this trendy hotel should tick your boxes. Rooms are loft style and have superior cotton sheets, goose down duvets and – ladies will appreciate this - Aveda bathroom products.