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.
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.
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 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
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,
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
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
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
- some kind of meat or fish
- one or two vegetable dishes
- 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
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