University of Calgary 411: Where to find the best cheap lunch and more

An insider’s perspective on life at the University of Calgary


University of Calgary in Alberta on Monday, October 6 2014.  PHOTOGRAPH BY AMBER BRACKEN

Unofficial school motto:

‘Seriously, why aren’t you going to ThursDen?’

Best place for a nap:

The round couches on the third floor of MacEwan Hall are a godsend after an 8 a.m. class

University of Calgary student Kathy Pham.

University of Calgary student Kathy Pham.

Best cheap lunch:

Bake Chef’s $7 Vietnamese subs, delicious and mostly nutritious

Best hangover breakfast:

Vendome Café in Kensington serves a great eggs Benedict

Favourite watering hole:

On campus, the Den & Black Lounge. Off-campus, National on 10th Ave. S.W. is a beer hall and bowling alley.

Perks of living in this town:

Kensington, Beltline and Bridgeland are a foodie trifecta. Banff’s hiking trails and ski slopes are only an hour away. Regular chinooks break up the dreary winter.

Best place to study:

The Taylor Family Digital Library, until it gets crowded. During the afternoon rush period you’re better off in the Faculty of Arts computer lab or the atrium in administration.

Weirdest tradition:

Every orientation week, the Schulich engineering freshmen march through MacEwan Hall to proclaim their superiority over the Haskayne business students, and also the rest of campus

Best campus event:

ThursDen happens every Thursday night, but Bermuda Shorts Day is the end-of-year block party

Best giveaway:

Free breakfast every Tuesday at the Q Centre is nothing to scoff at

Best live music venue:

Broken City hosts great bands. Cafe Koi runs spoken word, open mic and music events every week.

University Insider: Kathy Pham, 20, English and Communications

The University of Calgary feels like a place in transition. Leading up to the U of C’s 50th anniversary in April, old buildings are being laid to rest and new ones are popping up on those same foundations. Just last year, the university opened two new residence halls, and the scheduled completion of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning looks like the centrepiece of 2016. Despite Alberta’s recent economic downturn, the U of C remains focused on growth in everything but tuition, which will stay frozen through 2016-17—good news for incoming students.

PROFILE: University of Calgary | Calgary, Alta. | Founded 1966

Admittedly, the U of C community can seem a bit frosty (weather notwithstanding) for those not in business or engineering. With more than 24,000 undergraduates in attendance, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of 200-student lectures. As a result, programs like Level Up and UCalgary Unwind have been launched to help students find their people on campus. There are more than 300 clubs to choose from, which means the events schedule is always packed. Volunteering opportunities are plentiful, and MacEwan Hall hosts frequent concerts at affordable ticket prices. It might take you a while to find your footing, but after you do, U of C’s student life can overcome the most inclement weather.

The U of C also encourages undergraduate research through a number of scholarships and an annual symposium. With accommodating professors and opportunities to explore independent study, this campus isn’t lacking anything for an emerging scholar. Although it might not be as timeworn as other universities, U of C has a pervasive spirit of freedom which complements the well-rounded education offered here.


At the top of the list is the Taylor Family Digital Library, a six-storey, ultra-modern facility that boasts a gaming centre (PC and console), soundproof media editing suites, a 3D printer, extensive special collections and a gallery.

Extracurriculars range from the Ski & Board Club to the Maier Student Leadership Program for engineers to the Spoken Word club, which hosts on-campus open mic nights. Campus publications include the Gauntlet newspaper and NōD literary magazine. The Q Centre is a resource hub for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and ally community on campus, located right in MacEwan Hall, and the CASE Club has been educating students on sexual consent for years. Despite the city’s reputation for political conservatism, the U of C campus is socially liberal.

Local Vibe

Campus is barely 10 minutes from downtown. Walking across campus seems to take longer than heading down to Kensington to grab lunch. There you’ll find breakfast joints, coffee houses, Korean fried chicken and even some fine dining. The Beltline area has craft beer and artisanal salads.

   For downtime, the Eau Claire cinema carries limited-release films, and Prince’s Island Park offers a respite from the city. As a word of warning, when looking for a place to live, best to stay out of the suburbs— the sprawl is neverending, and nearly impossible to navigate without a car.

The Skinny

The university has an active Reddit at reddit.com/r/UCalgary. For the city’s happenings, there’s AvenueCalgary.com.


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