Monday, May 16, 2011

Weird things about Calgary

Coming to a new city, there are always little things you notice that seem strange.
Here's what's weird about Calgary:
  • Drivers heed the speed limit. I have seen this bizarre phenomenon in Nova Scotia as well. Motorists actually drive at the speed limit! In Ontario, 10km above is the norm. Seriously, everyone does it - and people honk if you drive at the posted limit. I'm not saying that's right; it's just the way it is. But here in Calgary, if it says 30km (eg in a playground zone), everyone drives 30 km/hr. Really. Weird, right?
  • Drivers stop for pedestrians. Even when I'm crossing a road with a 60km/hr speed limit, not at a cross walk... they'll stop. If you tried that in Ontario you'd either better be quick or you'd wait a loooong time for a break in traffic. Here, all I have to do is stand anywhere near the side of the road and everyone stops and waves me across.
  • The streets all have the same name. Have you ever tried getting around in a city where every street is called the same darn thing?!? It's incredibly frustrating! The neighbourhoods are all named, and each street in each neighbourhood has a name based on the neighbourhood's name. For example, in the neighbourhood Evergreen, you'll have Everridge Drive, Everridge Close, Everridge Lane, Everbrook Street, Everbrook Gardens, Everoak Way, Everoak Circle, and on and on in that manner. I got lost my first time out walking... I am going to have to start leaving a crumb trail or something. Who thought up that idiotic system?
  • The housing looks funny. I guess there's no clay around, because a brick house is nowhere to be seen. Sure, there might be a little decorative brick here and there, but in general, houses are completely siding or stucco. How depressing to have every subdivision in varying shades of greige! Not only that,
  • The driveways are concrete. That's weird to me, because back home suburban driveways are (in general) asphalt. I would think it's a pain in the rear to shovel snow off of a concrete driveway because of all the seams. And they do have to shovel all winter long. However, I hear the snow here is lighter than at home because it's so cold in winter.
  • They have enormous rabbits. I mean, we have rabbits in Ontario. They're cute little things. The rabbits here are bigger than cats and wander around during the daytime, even! Wow. They're really BIG! DH insists on calling them jackrabbits (which they are) - but I just call them Big Freakin' Monster Bunnies.
  • Groceries cost a bundle. I'd estimate 20-40% more than at home. Wow. At least the taxes are lower!
  • The washing machines play little electronic tunes. Okay, this one is probably limited to the one in the condo we're renting! It plays a little happy tune when the laundry is done. And there's no way to turn the sound off. Weird.
Hm, that's all I can think of for now. I'm positive that there are more weird things going on out here, though.

I wasn't done... there are More Weird Things About Calgary


  1. If my washing machine played music I'd probably start doing the laundry more often! lol.

  2. Funny, I notice when I go back home to Winnipeg (from Toronto) that everyone looks you in the face. Here everyone pretends not to see you!
    Hope you and Mia are settling in.

  3. That is a hilarious list! I've lived in Calgary all my life and agree with everything you have listed here (except the washing machine, I think that is condo specific!)
    We definitely drive the speed limit in playground and school zones, I think people would be more offended if you went over the limit.
    Stopping for pedestrians is an expectation as well, more so at cross walks but I guess there are no rules as to when we don't stop.
    Calgary street names drive anyone crazy who hasn't lived here before...just wait until you are exposed to street and avenue numbers!! They count up to the middle of the city and then back down to the north of the city so there are generally two addresses in the city with the same numbers (something like 4th ave and 6th could have a SW and a NW address)
    I hope you are enjoying the city so far!

    (sorry for the story book comment)

  4. I miss the West.

    I am from Winnipeg and find it refreshing to deal with pleasant, friendly people.
    I love Calgary as well, great town and people and hey the amount of followers you have equal your Calgary area code, LOL!

    Have fun, it's a great Canadian city, I would move there in a heart beat.

    I hope you've gone to Banff by now and explored the salt springs. So luck to be in Alberta.

    I am so done with Toronto.

  5. I second Mama Ash's comment… I am so done with Toronto and long to be west!

    By the way, I love reading your blog and I have given you the 'Versatile Blogger Award'! Check out the details here:

  6. Yep, sounds like Calgary to me. Sorry you don't like it here; maybe you will change your mind once you've been here longer :)

  7. Oh, it's not that I don't like it! It's just different :)

  8. I like the observations and how you see it. I always notice the differences in places too. I grew up in Michigan and have been living in Florida for 20 years now. It is so different when I go back to visit. Their squirrels are a lot bigger than ours and so are their seagulls, actually so are the cows and deer, maybe they need the extra bulk to handle the winters. When I lived in Hawaii everyone there stopped for pedestrians too. I was walking with my cousin's mother who was from New Jersey and she just couldn't bring herself to cross the roads if she saw a car (I guess they don't stop in Jersey either.

  9. I am so with you on the pedestrian thing.... It is so annoying (to me anyway)...and dangerous.
    Yes to the rabbits, weird, so big.
    Groceries do cost a fortune....
    and, I have to agree about the street names!!!
    Calgary eh?

  10. Why are there so many roads in Calgary with the same name but the city has no intention of ever connecting them? (eg. Sarccee Trail, Barlow Trail and 14th Street just to name a few)

  11. Calgary's address are based on a NW, NE, SE & SW grid system. With a Center Street (mainly in the north but has a short section in the south) and a Center Avenue (only lasting a few blocks in the east end of the city) using the Bow river as the primary divide between north / south. The weird part is there are large sections of SW that are north of NW and vice versa. Very confusing if your from out of town and trying to find an address on a map.

  12. I'm new to YYC as well...noticed that drivers are only courteous off the freeway, the highways are a different story. Posted speed limits on sections of the deerfoot are 110km, but you'll notice that people go about 120-130KM/h when there is no traffic. Stoney trail's fast lane is about 130Km/h average. A lot of people in Calgary drive like idiots, but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that most of these are people who moved here from cities like Toronto and Montreal ;)


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