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Canadian Cultural Info

Calgary Climate and Weather

There is an expression in Calgary, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes and it will change.”

Calgary has a dry climate, but the temperature and climatic conditions can vary from day to day.

Summers generally have long days and can be hot and dry. However, afternoon or evening thundershowers are common. Normally July and August are pleasant months. Average temperatures are 20ºC to 25ºC. May and September are usually sunny and moderately warm (10 to 15ºC) during the day, with cooler temperatures at night. Alberta has very high levels of solar radiation, so you should wear sunscreen in the sun. In the mountains, the temperature drops after sunset. A warm jacket, gloves, and a hat are recommended for trips to the mountains. Generally speaking a few layers are better than one really warm layer. For example instead of a T-shirt and a down jacket, the combination of a long-sleeved shirt, sweater, fleece jacket, and wind breaker/rain shell are more functional and versatile.

It gets dark around 10 p.m. in July and August. You are not yet in the "Land of the Midnight Sun", but you may find it takes you a few days to adjust your biological clock.

Clothing

It is appropriate for both men and women to wear T-shirts, jeans or shorts in Canada. You may wear this kind of clothing to our training session. What you wear to training sessions is generally casual. However, casual business dress is considered appropriate for business clubs and networking, so if you wish to take advantage of business opportunities outside of the training centre, you will want to pack dress pants/skirts (for women) and shirts/blouses.

Pedestrians & Crosswalks

In Canada, pedestrians have the right of way. Drivers must stop at designated crosswalks to allow people to cross the street.

Many designated crosswalks in Alberta have a button that you must press in order for the traffic light to turn green to allow you to cross. At busy crosswalks, you may hear a beeping sound when the light turns green. This sound acts as an indicator to the visually impaired that it is safe to cross the street.


Travel

Regular weekends are not long enough to allow you to visit other regions of Canada. If you wish to travel extensively (for example, to Vancouver), allow extra time at the end of the program.

Smoking

Smoking in public places is discouraged or forbidden. Bars and restaurants separate "smokers" and "non-smokers". There is no smoking in the training centre; however, people can smoke outside.

E-mail

Students should bring e-mail addresses with them. It may be possible to contact your friends and family inexpensively by this method. Computers are available for student use in the training centre, as well.

Food and Diet

The Canadian diet may be quite different from your own. You will probably have the opportunity to try many new foods while you are here. The province of Alberta is world-renowned for its beef, but many other meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and grain products are also available.

Cultural Tidbit: Second Portions

It is common in Canada to offer guests more food after the first helping. If you are offered second helpings of food, you may accept if you are still hungry. If you are full, however, it is polite to refuse by saying something like, "That was delicious, but I'm very full, thanks."

Canadians eat earlier than in many other countries. During the week, normal meal times would be:

Breakfast: 8 am
Lunch: noon
Supper: 6 pm

A typical breakfast will include a bowl of cereal, or toast with margarine, peanut butter, or jam. Milk, juice, and coffee are common beverages with breakfast. Lunches may vary, but sandwiches or salads are common. Dinners may also vary greatly, but a traditional meal will include:

  1. some kind of meat or fish
  2. one or two vegetable dishes
  3. potatoes, pasta or rice

If you are invited for a meal at someone's home, check with your hosts about what time they expect you to arrive and at what time they will be serving the meal. Mention any food allergies, or if you are a vegetarian, or if your religion forbids certain foods. This will not be considered rude: on the contrary, it would be embarrassing for your host to prepare something you could not eat.

Your host or hostess will not expect a gift since you are their visitor. However, flowers or chocolates, or a bottle of wine are generally acceptable.

For those students who require a special diet (for health or other reasons), it is essential to make special arrangements. Please advise us if you are vegetarian or if you have food allergies

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