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Is Calgary in Canada Safe?

Calgary is generally a safe destination for travelers, with low rates of violent crime and terrorism threats. However, petty crimes like theft can occur, so remain vigilant in crowded areas. The city experiences extreme weather conditions, including severe winters with blizzards and summers with heat waves, so pack accordingly. Calgary's public transportation is reliable, but driving can be hazardous during harsh weather, so exercise caution on the roads.

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Safety & Security

Calgary is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks:

  • Petty Crime: While violent crime rates are relatively low, petty crimes like theft and pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded areas or tourist hotspots. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for services or counterfeit goods. Only use licensed taxis and reputable tour operators.

  • Civil Unrest: Calgary experiences occasional protests or demonstrations, which are usually peaceful but can cause disruptions. Monitor local news and avoid areas with large crowds if unrest occurs.

  • Disputes: Alcohol-related incidents or disputes can happen in entertainment districts, especially late at night. Exercise caution and avoid confrontations.

  • Terrorism: While the risk is low, Canada has experienced isolated incidents of terrorism in the past. Remain vigilant in crowded public areas and follow advice from local authorities.

  • Outdoor Safety: When exploring Calgary's natural surroundings, be prepared for potential hazards like wildlife encounters, extreme weather conditions, or getting lost in remote areas. Follow safety guidelines and seek local advice.

Overall, Calgary is a safe destination, but travelers should take standard precautions to ensure a secure and enjoyable visit.

Health & Medical

Calgary is generally a safe destination for travelers in terms of health risks. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and yearly flu shots. No additional vaccinations are typically required for travel to Calgary.

  • Air Quality: Calgary experiences good air quality most of the year. However, during wildfire seasons, smoke from nearby fires can temporarily reduce air quality and pose risks for those with respiratory conditions.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: The risk of insect-borne diseases like West Nile virus is low but present during summer months. Use insect repellent and cover exposed skin to prevent bites.

  • Medical Facilities: Calgary has excellent medical facilities, including hospitals and clinics. Travelers can access high-quality healthcare services if needed.

  • Water and Food Safety: Tap water is safe to drink, and food safety standards are high in Calgary. However, travelers should still exercise caution with street food and unpasteurized dairy products.

  • Altitude Sickness: Calgary's elevation of around 1,000 meters (3,500 feet) can cause mild altitude sickness symptoms like headaches and fatigue in some travelers, especially those arriving from lower elevations. Stay hydrated and allow time for acclimatization.

Overall, with some basic precautions, the health risks for travelers to Calgary are minimal, making it a relatively safe destination from a health perspective.

Natural Disasters

Calgary, located in the western Canadian province of Alberta, is generally not at high risk for natural disasters. However, travelers should be aware of the following potential hazards:

  • Severe Weather: Calgary experiences a continental climate with hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Severe thunderstorms, hail, and blizzards can occur, particularly during the spring and summer months. Travelers should monitor weather advisories and be prepared for rapidly changing conditions.

  • Wildfires: While not directly within the city limits, wildfires can occur in the surrounding areas during dry periods, potentially affecting air quality and visibility. Travelers should follow local advisories and be prepared to adjust plans if necessary.

  • Flooding: Calgary is situated along the Bow and Elbow Rivers, which have experienced significant flooding events in the past, most notably in 2013. While the city has implemented flood mitigation measures, travelers should be aware of the potential risk during periods of heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt.

  • Earthquakes: Although not a major seismic hotspot, Calgary and the surrounding region can experience minor earthquakes due to its proximity to active fault lines. However, the risk of a significant earthquake is relatively low.

Overall, Calgary is generally well-prepared for natural disasters, with robust emergency response systems in place. Travelers should exercise caution, stay informed about weather conditions, and follow any advisories or instructions from local authorities during their visit.


Calgary has an extensive and reliable public transportation system, making it easy for travelers to navigate the city. The Calgary Transit system operates a network of buses, light rail transit (LRT), and a small number of community shuttles. The LRT, known as the C-Train, is particularly convenient for getting around downtown and to major attractions.

  • Public Transit Safety: Calgary's public transit is generally considered safe, with security personnel and surveillance cameras on trains and at major stations. However, as with any city, it's advisable to remain vigilant and avoid isolated areas, especially at night.

  • Driving Safety: Calgary's roads are well-maintained, and driving is generally safe. However, winter conditions can be challenging, with snow and ice on the roads. Travelers should exercise caution and consider using winter tires during the colder months.

  • Pedestrian Safety: Calgary has a pedestrian-friendly downtown core, with well-marked crosswalks and pedestrian signals. However, caution should be exercised when crossing busy streets, especially during rush hour.

  • Cycling Infrastructure: Calgary has an extensive network of bike paths and lanes, making it a bike-friendly city. However, cyclists should wear helmets and follow traffic laws for their safety.

Cultural Norms

Calgary is a cosmopolitan city that embraces diversity and multiculturalism. As a traveler, it's essential to respect the local culture and customs to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips:

  • Festivals and Events: Calgary hosts numerous cultural festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Calgary Stampede, GlobalFest, and the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Attending these events is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.

  • Indigenous Culture: Calgary has a significant Indigenous population, and it's important to be respectful of their traditions and customs. Avoid taking photographs of Indigenous people or their ceremonies without permission.

  • Dress Code: While Calgary is generally casual, it's advisable to dress modestly when visiting religious sites or attending cultural events.

  • Language: English is the predominant language spoken in Calgary, but you may encounter people speaking other languages, such as French, Indigenous languages, or languages from various immigrant communities. Being patient and respectful when communicating is essential.

  • LGBTQ+ Community: Calgary has a vibrant LGBTQ+ community, and the city is generally welcoming and inclusive. However, it's still advisable to exercise discretion and respect local norms.

  • Dining Etiquette: When dining out, it's polite to wait for your host or server to indicate where to sit. Tipping is customary, with 15-20% being the standard for good service.

Remember, respecting local customs and being open-minded will not only enhance your travel experience but also foster a positive cultural exchange.

Emergency Services

Calgary has a well-established emergency services system to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and visitors alike. The city's emergency response capabilities are robust, with highly trained personnel and modern equipment.

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are provided by the Alberta Health Services, offering prompt and efficient medical assistance. Ambulances are equipped with advanced life-support equipment and staffed by skilled paramedics.

  • The Calgary Fire Department is responsible for fire suppression, rescue operations, and emergency medical response. They have strategically located fire stations throughout the city, ensuring rapid response times.

  • The Calgary Police Service maintains a strong presence and is dedicated to ensuring public safety. They have specialized units for various emergencies, including crisis negotiation and tactical response teams.

  • Emergency Shelters are available in case of natural disasters or other emergencies. These facilities provide temporary accommodation, food, and essential services to those in need.

It's worth noting that Calgary's emergency services are well-coordinated and work closely with other agencies and organizations to ensure a comprehensive and effective response to any emergency situation that may arise, providing peace of mind for travelers visiting the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Calgary safe for tourists?

Calgary is generally a safe destination for tourists. However, as with any major city, it's advisable to exercise caution, especially in downtown areas at night. Avoid isolated areas and be aware of your surroundings. The city has a low crime rate, but petty crimes like theft can occur.

Is Calgary safe for solo female travelers?

Calgary is considered safe for solo female travelers, with a low risk of violent crime. However, basic precautions should be taken, such as avoiding walking alone at night in deserted areas and being cautious when using public transportation late at night. The city has a vibrant nightlife, but it's advisable to stay in well-lit and populated areas.

Is Calgary safe for families?

Calgary is a family-friendly destination with plenty of attractions and activities suitable for children. The city has numerous parks, museums, and recreational facilities. However, families should exercise caution in crowded areas and be mindful of traffic rules. Overall, Calgary is a safe and welcoming city for families.

Is Calgary LGBTQ+ friendly?

Calgary is generally considered an LGBTQ+-friendly city, with a vibrant and active LGBTQ+ community. Same-sex marriage is legal in Canada, and the city hosts an annual Pride parade. However, as with any destination, it's advisable to exercise caution and be mindful of local customs and attitudes.

Do you need a visa to go to Calgary?

Visitors from most Western countries, including the United States, European Union, and other developed nations, do not require a visa for short-term tourism stays in Canada. However, a valid passport is mandatory for all international travelers. It's advisable to check the specific visa requirements based on your nationality and intended length of stay.

Can you drink tap water in Calgary?

The tap water in Calgary is safe to drink and meets all health standards. The city's water supply is regularly tested and treated, ensuring its quality. Visitors can drink tap water without any concerns, although some may prefer bottled water based on personal taste preferences.

What is the currency in Calgary?

The currency used in Calgary, as in the rest of Canada, is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Both cash and major credit/debit cards are widely accepted throughout the city.

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