Ideas for spending time in calgary

Old Jun 16th, 2006, 06:25 AM
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njs
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Ideas for spending time in calgary

We need some ideas for spending time in calgary for 6 hours (2:30 pm to 9 pm) before we travel to Rockies on the next day.

We would be staying at the Holiday Inn in Calgary - 4206 macleod Trail south.
We will be out of Calgary airport at 2:30-3pm in a rental car.

We wanted to see Devonian gardens. But it seems that it is going to close at 6pm, june 19 onwards.
My question is, how do I get to Devonian gardens from the airport? If we reach at 5pm will 1 hour be enough?
If we drive how easy/where/inexpensive is it to park in devonaiun gardens area? Is there any other option? Like parking at our hotel and then take a train?

We also want to get a skyline view of the downtown area. Where do we need to go to get it?
Are there any other downtown attractions? Our interests are beautiful sceneries, buildings, photography.
Thanks
njs
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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As a Calgarian I can't honestly see why you'd want to spend time at the Devonian Gardens. With the amount of time you have, I wouldn't bother. Unfortunately your hotel is not in the downtown core, so you can't do any walking from there. I'd suggest that you go directly to your hotel to check in and go back downtown. You can wander around and take a trip up the Calgary Tower that would give you a view of all of Calgary. Parking downtown is ugly at the moment, but in the evening there are some lots that offer a flat rate after 6:00 p.m. I have no doubt that Judy_in_Calgary will be able to give you lots of suggestions.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 10:48 AM
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One hour should be enough for the Devonian Gardens. They are indoors and, as I recall, they are on the 4th floor of a downtown building. You can park fairly near there in a pay parking deck on 8th Avenue. If you know the route you can enter from the parking lot by wandering through the connecting walkways that span the street.

The problem will be trying to the there at 5 pm through city traffic. Calgary is no different from any other city in that it has rush hour traffic of formidable proportions.

How to get there? Good question.
Here is my suggestion, subject to confirmation by a local expert on downtown traffic patterns at that time of day.

The Gardems are loated at 317 7th Ave SW in downtown Calgary. They can be accessed from the 8th avenue side as well. At least it was accessible via that route when we did it during the day.

From the airport drive south on the Barlow Trail until you reach Memorial Drive, which is south of the Trans Canada Highway.

Turn west on Memorial Drive. This route follows along the north bank of the river. When you reach 4th street, turn south (left) into downtown Calgary.
This street bends and merges into 4th Avenue. Go west on 4th avenue until you reach 5th steet.

At 5th street turn south (left)until you reach 8th avenue. Turn east (left) on 8th and start looking for parking decks. We used one on the north side of the street close to a major bank. I don't recall seeing any parking that was closer.

We walked around the block to get to the entrance because we did not know we could access the gardens by going into the bank and ascending to the 4th level.
Then we walked along a shopping corridor away from the bank and turned left.

All of this was inside and above street level.

Admission to the gardens is free, but you will pay to park.

You can reach your hotel by going south on 4th street and turning east/merging into Mission Road.

Mission road intersects McLeod Trail north of the hotel. Turn south on McLeod Trail to get to the hotel, which should be visible as you near 42nd Avenue.

The hotel is in the northeast quadrant of the intersection of 42nd and the McLeod Trail.

Should be easy to find.

Good luck.

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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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njs
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Thanks Bob & Cruise!

I think if we get out of the airport by 2:30-3pm we will try to reach some parking lot between TDsquare and calgary Tower.

If we can enter the gardens by 5pm we will go for it. In any case we will also go up the Calgary tower.

Other suggestions welcome.
Thanks
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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Finally I was able to find more info online at http://www.calgaryparking.com

Public parking lot
Near Grain Exchange Building
209 - 9 Ave SW

is 0.11 miles from calgary tower and is 0.2 miles from devonian gardens.

This is the parking lot we will drive to.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Also in Calgary, we toured Heritage Park last summer. In some of the buildings, the staff members are also actors and play the part of someone in Canada around the time Calgary became a large town.

I remembered I walked into the RCMP "patrol station." The young man who was the Mountie was dressed out in the red uniform with the pistol and other badges of authority. He played his part well.

I found the whole place to be interesting, although I did not ride on the little train. I figured that was mostly for children.

At the entrance to the park is one of the two or three remaining Selkirk steam locomotives that were used by the Canadian Pacific in the steam era. That locomotive was a marvel of power. It and another engine known as the Santa Fe model were used extensively to haul freight trains up Kicking Horse Pass.

They were replaced by the diesel engines because they had more tractive power and were cheaper to operate and fuel.


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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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Bob_Brown - just wanted to let you know that the "little train" in Heritage Park is an authentic train that travelled across Canada in the early 1900's, not just for children. If you go on it you get to fully appreciate the luxury of travel these days! Heritage Park is a great place to spend some time but I don't think its open in the evening which is why I didn't recommend it to the original poster.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 05:15 PM
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Njs, bob_brown gave you a route into the city that would be perfect under most circumstances.

However, if you want to stop at a spot from which you could get a view of downtown before you reached downtown, you could go to a neighbourhood called Crescent Heights, which is just across the Bow River Valley from downtown. Crescent Road NW looks down on the Bow River and across to downtown.

If you like the idea of approaching downtown through Crescent Heights, proceed as follows.

As you exit the airport complex, follow the sign to City Centre. This will take you south on Barlow Trail.

Turn right (west) onto 16th Avenue (which is what the TransCanada Highway or Hwy #1 is called when it passes through Calgary).

Turn left (south) at the traffic lights at Centre Street.

Turn right (west) at 7th Avenue NW.

Take the first turn to the left (south), which is Crescent Road NW. Crescent Road NW will turn west and follow the edge of a sort of cliff. If you like, stop and get out somewhere along there so that you can enjoy the view.

More .........

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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 05:33 PM
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The parking lot that you found for yourself at 209 - 9 Ave SW is well situated with respect to the Devonian Gardens and the Calgary Tower. I'll give you directions for getting there from Crescent Road NW.

The only challenge I can foresee is that, as far as I recall, you have to buy a parking ticket from a coin operated machine and display the ticket on your dashboard. Since you will have just come from the airport, you probably won't have Canadian change on you. Even if you'd withdrawn cash from an ATM at the airport, you'd probably have only C$20 bills. You might need to go to a nearby store to get change.

If you find that the open air parking lot is too much of a nuisance, because of the cash situation, or for any other reason, you could move on to Plan B. You could drive east through the traffic lights at 1st Street SW, just past the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, and go into the parkade that's part of the Palliser Hotel / Calgary Tower complex. I can't remember how much the parkade costs, but it does have the advantage that, when you drive out, you pay an attendant who can give you change.

If you find that you do want to drive from the open air parking lot to the parkade, you'll have to change lanes ASAP, because the open air lot is on the north side of 9th Avenue, and the parkade is on the south side.

Anyway, I'll back up and give you directions from Crescent Road NW to the parking lot.

Drive west on Crescent Road NW. The road will curve to the right (north) and become 9th Street NW.

Turn left (west) at 13th Avenue NW.

Turn left (south) at the T-junction with 10th Street SW.

Just stay with 10th Street as it takes you over the 10th Street Bridge and into downtown.

When you reach the T-junction with 9th Avenue, turn left (west).

9th Avenue is a one-way road. If you know you'll be going to the open air lot, get into one of the more left lanes. If you know you'll be going to the Palliser Parkade, get into one of the more right lanes.

You'll reach the open air lot after 7.5 blocks.

More .......
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 05:46 PM
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I forgot to warn you about something. Regardless of where you park, keep your luggage in the locked trunk of your car. Donít leave visible signs that youíre a tourist, such as a map or guidebook on the dashboard. Donít leave anything that is really valuable, like a passport or a camera, in your car Ė not even in the locked trunk. Carry your valuables with you.

It sounds as if you know where the Devonian Gardens are in relation to the parking lot that you found and in relation to the Tower. A pleasant way to walk to the Devonian Gardens is on the 8th Avenue Mall / Stephen Avenue Walk. That's just a block north of the spot at which you will have parked.

More .....
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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I wrote "More," because I thought you might need further directions. However, I see that Google Maps provides good directions from the parking lot to your hotel and from your hotel to Banff. So I reckon my work is done.

Hope you have a good trip.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Judy,
As always, I cannot thankyou enough.
There were so many holes in my plan.
I will sit down and review the plan.

After arrival at the airport we were planning to withdraw CDN$ from ATM and have some food at the airport and get some change. Can you tell me what kind of change is usually accepted at these coin operated parking ticket machines and how much?

I will make sure that I have 2-4 canadian quarters.

Thanks
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 09:52 AM
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>>>>>>After arrival at the airport we were planning to withdraw CDN$ from ATM and have some food at the airport and get some change.<<<<<<

Other purchases that you could make at the airport, if you don't already have them by then, are maps. The bookstore at the airport has a good stock of maps and guidebooks.

>>>>>>Can you tell me what kind of change is usually accepted at these coin operated parking ticket machines and how much?<<<<<<

If I remember correctly, the parking ticket dispensing machines accept the following coins:

5 cent (nickel)

10 cent (dime)

25 cent (quarter)

$1 (loonie, named after the bird on it)

$2 (toonie)

We also have a 1 cent coin, which is copper, and which we call a penny. If I remember correctly, the ticket dispensing machine does not accept pennies.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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Arghhh!!! I've noticed a mistake in the directions I gave you from Crescent Road NW to the parking lot. Here are the directions again, with the correction in bold font.

Drive west on Crescent Road NW. The road will curve to the right (north) and become 9th Street NW.

Turn left (west) at 13th Avenue NW.

Turn left (south) at the T-junction with 10th Street SW.

Just stay with 10th Street as it takes you over the 10th Street Bridge and into downtown.

When you reach the T-junction with 9th Avenue, turn left (east.

9th Avenue is a one-way road. If you know you'll be going to the open air lot, get into one of the more left lanes. If you know you'll be going to the Palliser Parkade, get into one of the more right lanes.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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Judy,

As usual you've given THE best help possible to our visitors. I always marvel at your thoroughness. And as a Calgarian, I've been known to print out your directions for MY guests!

The question about how many quarters was hopeful. Better ask how many loonies, as parking in that downtown area is expensive.

NJS, I hope you enjoy your stay in Calgary. After you visit Devonian gardens (which Calgarians appreciate in the WINTER far more than the summer), I hope you'll plan on dinner in the revolving restaurant of the tower. You may need reservations this time of year. But with our long summer sunset behind the mountains, it would be a great treat. www.calgarytower.com or 780 244 1771. And the opportunities for photography are .. well, I think excellent. If we happen to have a thunder storm, ... or a lovely fluffy sky full of cumulus clouds to the east and mountains to the west, your sunset pictures will be marvellous. You may want to plan a LONGish dinner as sunset in June is around 10 p.m.. But the glow starts early and lasts longer.

As your visit to Devonian gardens will end at 6 p.m., you could do a little circle walk. Walk north on Stephen Avenue to Olympic Plaza, then having explored that very pleasant plaza, facing the front of City Hall, (but NOT crossing the street) turn south (right) to get to Ninth street, and perhaps one of the main doors into the Epcore complex might be open. If not, perhaps the next attraction is Glenbow Museum complex will be open. Be sure to look up as there is a Plus 15 walkway across connecting City Hall, Epcor, Glenbow and Tower complexes. Calgarians can go coat-less all through downtown in our winter. But you won't want to do that in summer, unless you think there are some photographic possibilities.
The Glenbow Museum is open until 5 p.m. except Thursdays when it's open until 9 p.m.. However, you might also get to see our entertainment/theatre/ concert hall (www.epcorcenter.org) which is across the street from the Glenbow. You can pick up leaflets in the airport about all of these.

And if you do walk north on Stephen Ave. to Olympic Plaza, do look for the monument to the Famous 5 women who managed to force Canadian legislators to admit that women are persons. (That was back in the 1920s?). And would be an excellent subject for a photographer.

By walking north from Devonian, then south two blocks, then turning west along Ninth Ave., you'll come back to the Tower complex. It's a busy street, but has adequate pedestrian lights, so you won't have to feel stressed. I'll echo Judy's warning; do be aware that you are in a big city and pick pockets have been known to happen.

After your lovely dinner and hopefully restorative sleep and breakfast, You will no doubt be ready to head for the Rockies. Bon Voyage
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Old Jun 19th, 2006, 05:13 AM
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With regards to parking and what coins are required. I do believe that all downtown parking lots are now equipped with machines that allow you to use a credit card instead of change, so that is an option for you.
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Old Jun 19th, 2006, 05:28 AM
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I managed to find some CDN change(5 quarters & a dime ) at home from my previous trip to Toronto.

In any case we will eat at the airport after arrival and cash withdrawal. So change should not be a problem.
Thanks
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Old Jun 19th, 2006, 06:18 AM
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>>>>>>With regards to parking and what coins are required. I do believe that all downtown parking lots are now equipped with machines that allow you to use a credit card instead of change, so that is an option for you.<<<<<<

This morning I walked past the parking lot that njs is planning to use, and I looked at one of its ticket dispensing machines. I found that it did indeed accept Visa and MasterCard.

In terms of coins, it accepts 25c, $1 and $2 coins.

The machine does not give change.

The parking cost until 6.00 p.m. on weekdays is $2 per 1/2 hour to a maximum of $20.

The cost after 6.00 p.m. on weekdays is $1 per 1/2 hour to a maximum of $2.

If you arrived there at, say, 4.00 p.m., njs, I reckon it would cost you $10 to park.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 05:27 AM
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Thanks Judy.
If we get there at 4pm and leave from that parking lot around 9pm, it would be fine.

I hear sun sets very late around 10pm.

I hope it is safe to walk in those parking lots & downtown areas around 9 pm though.

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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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In summer it stays light until late, as you noted.

There are some women who would not feel comfortable walking downtown when it's dark and the daytime business crowd has left the downtown core. That's an issue for them in winter, when it gets dark early. I personally feel okay walking downtown on my own after dark.

I have no hesitation in saying that you are safe in the downtown core if you are walking as a couple.
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