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Day to kill before late flight from YYC

London, United...
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Day to kill before late flight from YYC

Hi there

I will be leaving Banff after breakfast to head back to Calgary airport, from where my flight leaves around 10.30pm

I wonder if you could recommend anything I should stop off to see en route, or any cute small towns that might just be off the main highway.

If I get to Calgary in time I was thinking of going to a mall that is near(ish) the airport and the best I can find is the Market Mall - is that a good choice?

Finally a bit of a dumb question, but I'm English and we drive on the "wrong" side....is Calgary downtown an easy city to drive in? From a tourist point of view, where would you suggest I park up to have a look around and anything in particular you would recommend? I think I will probably go for the Mall option, but not sure.

Also, very last question, but is there a large supermarket near(ish) the airport as I have some Canadian friends in London who want some goodies bringing over to them.

Many thanks in advance for your help to answer these.

Maligne Adventures
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Brewster Sightseeing
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Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

If your flight isn't until 10:30pm, I'd stay out in Banff or Canmore until mid afternoon, then head to the airport before rush hour. Depending on your destination, you'll need to be at the airport 1.5-3hrs in advance, so you could just have dinner at or near the airport.

The airport is actually north of the city, so going into the city is a bit of a detour - the easiest route from the mountains to the airport is via the bypass which goes to the west and north of the city. And while Calgary is a nice city, I don't think it really is that unique from any other western city or big city.

Traffic downtown can be a headache, especially during the summer months when there are festivals/events and they are trying to squeeze all the construction into a few months. Also plenty of one way streets. I can get around without too many issues, but avoid rush hours and go for off peak times. I don't think any of the malls will be of particular interest - mostly the same stores and a lot you probably have or have similar ones in the UK.

if it were me, I would either hang around Banff and do more stuff there, or drive along to Canmore. You could have a nice late breakfast or lunch in Canmore, and explore a bit. Canmore is a bit less touristy, with nice shops, a great rec centre and lots of local hiking/walking trails. Check out the pictographs at Grotto Canyon, or hike/bike at the Canmore Nordic Centre. You could also spend a bit of time in Kananaskis Country, which is the provincial land between the national parks and Calgary. Lots of short walks/hikes and pretty scenery there.

Canmore also two large supermarkets right off the main drag - between the two, you should be able to find what your Canadian friends desire from the 'homeland'.

Penticton, Canada
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2. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

hi

if you want to experience the City there are some novel ideas developed in Calgary. There is a compact downtown core that is reached by Light Rail Transit from the 4 corners of the metropolitan area. So the best way to see downtown is to park at one of the LRT stations (called C-train) and ride to the centre. Riding the LRT is free in the centre core.

One of the novel idea was to develop a system that connects all the building. Because there is a water problem going underground; as is done in most major cities; a walkway system was developed to connect on the second floor (1st european) it is called the +15, as in fifteen feet above ground.

the system, started some 40 yrs ago, is now extensive, this level has lots of retail space and restaurants/food courts to serve the lunch crowd. There is even a botanical garden above the TD centre. so you can easily spend 6-8 hrs wandering around. http://calgaryplus15.com/

if it is a nice day there are outdoor plazas to visit including the one that was built for medal ceremonies during the 1988 winter Olympics.

If you first stop in to Market Mall you can then drive over to the Brentwood shopping centre to take the the LRT to downtown. or you can drive to downtown. The streets in the core are one way so easy to navigate, think of it as a big traffic circle. There is some parking near the river but costly. Calgary is based on 4 quadrant NW/NE/SW/SE with the downtown being the centre.

from Brentwood it is quite easy to drive to the airport.

Edited: 30 July 2014, 17:00
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3. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

The Cross Iron Mills Mall is a huge mall and is a pretty quick driving distance to the airport. If shopping is what you are interested in it would be a great choice. It is just outside of the city on the north end and is not near much else though. You wouldn't get a city experience at all there but would get some great shopping done.

Edmonton, Canada
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4. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

unless you love cities, i too would stay in banff in the morning and then go to canmore fora late lunch. walk around there for a bit. then head into calgary. the is the olympic park on the west end of the city just off the highway. an easy way to get to the airport from there is taking the stony trail road. that avoids a lot of the city and gets you to the airport. you could go to the mall mentioned above. if you want to go into calgary, there are some nice walks along the river.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

Market Mall is roughly 20 minutes from the airport via Stoney Trail, longer if you take the Trans-Canada Hwy (aka Hwy 1, aka 16 Ave N). It's one of the largest malls in the city, and has a good variety of shops, including a grocery store.

I was driving through downtown just yesterday, at around 10:30 am and returning at 1 pm, and had no problems; traffic was light, and avoiding the construction was pretty easy. As has been pointed out already, most streets downtown are one-way. Two streets though are closed to vehicle traffic - Stephen Avenue (8th Ave S between 1 St E and 3 St W) is only open to vehicles after 6 pm, while 7 Ave S from 1 St E to 10 St W is for buses, trams, and Calgary Transit vehicles and emergency vehicles only.

So driving downtown is definitely not a problem outside of rush hour. The real challenge is when it comes to paying for parking, which is the second most expensive in North America (after New York City).

I like Cbaarch's suggestion of exploring the +15 system of overhead walkways, and the indoor Devonian Gardens. There is also the Stephen Avenue National Historic District, which, while perhaps not historic from a European perspective, nevertheless has some interesting architecture and public art. There are online brochures for walking tours of both Stephen Avenue and the public art.

London, United...
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6. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

Many thanks - that's extremely useful

Canada
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7. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

Cross Iron is a way better bet. if you decide on a mall..there are a couple of restaurants, food court, a movie theatre and huge selection of shops ranging from Bass Pro (outdoor stuff) to designer brands. Even if shopping is not your thing - it is cool, nicely decorated, has a good book store and fun for people watching.

..and its literally 10 minutes from the airport. All things being equal.

Edited: 31 July 2014, 23:11
Greater Sydney...
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8. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

As a matter of interest, where does Cross Iron derive the name from?

Penticton, Canada
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9. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

it is actually called CrossIron Mills part the the Ivanhoe Cambridge Group.

as suspected it was a branding exercise - so it needed to sound good and easy to remember. Bets are that it was focus grouped to death. (-:

from the malls web site

Cross stemmed from “Crossroads” - where two roads intersect and in small communities

it’s a place to meet or a point of distinction.

Iron represents the “Branding Iron” which is symbolic of Alberta’s heritage as well as the brand names found in the centre

Greater Sydney...
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10. Re: Day to kill before late flight from YYC

OMG. How terrible, but thanks cbaarch for the explanation. Sometimes one wonders about corporate decision making, and that idea sound like it could have come from the teenage grandson of the CEO. :(