Annual Meeting 2017 General Information

Meeting Location
The 77th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology will take place at the TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary, Canada.  The TELUS Centre is conveniently located just 20 minutes from the Calgary International Airport. Located at the intersection of the TransCanada Highway, which runs east/west across the country, and the CanaMex Corridor, which runs north/south from Mexico through Canada, the TELUS Centre is within walking distance of shopping, restaurants, light rail, nightlife, cultural, and sporting events.

Group rates have been secured at the Hyatt Regency Calgary (the SVP headquarters hotel), the Hotel Alma, the Delta Bow Valley Hotel, and the International Hotel. The Housing Page will be available in February. 

Banking and Foreign Exchange
The official currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar. The Canadian Dollar ($) is divided into 100 cents; notes are in denominations of $100, 50, 20, 10, and 5. Coins are in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, and $2. Banking hours in Canada are generally Monday through Thursday, 10:00 – 16:00 and Friday 10:00 – 18:00. A few banks are open on Saturdays as well. You can withdraw money from ATM bank machines using your credit card and make purchases in stores and restaurants. Signs display accepted credit cards or you can ask the retailer. Check with your local financial institution to verify if you are able to use your home bank card or credit card prior to travel.

Child Care
A Family Room will be available for use daily during session hours. It will not be staffed; parents and guardians are responsible for the supervision and safety of their children and personal belongings.

Climate
Calgary’s climate is windy and prairie-steppe. It is expected to be generally sunny, but it can be rainy during the summer. In August, the average rainfall is 2.4 inches and average temperature is 46-73 Fahrenheit (8-23 Celsius).

Dialing Codes
The international access code for Canada is 1. The area codes in Calgary are 403 and 587. While in Canada, you can call the directory information service number 411 for assistance in finding a phone number. Calls to area codes 800, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888 are toll-free in Canada. To make an international call, dial 011 followed by the country code, city code, and telephone number, unless you are dialing a Caribbean country from a cell phone. In that case, you dial 1+area code+7-digit phone number. 

Eating Out
Canadian cuisine was described by former Prime Minister Joe Clark as “a smorgasbord” of dishes with English, French, First Nations, Asian European and Caribbean influences. You can also find offerings from across the globe. Use this guide to find exactly what you are looking for in downtown Calgary. You can click here for Avenue Magazine’s list of Best Restaurant awards or here for restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist’s ideas on best new restaurants.

Electricity
Voltage in Canada is 120 (60 HZ). Outlet sockets use either a Type A plug which is a class II ungrounded plug with two flat parallel prongs, or a Type B plug which is a class I plug with two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin.

Language
The official language of the meeting is English. Translation services will not be provided.

Letters of Invitation
For security purposes, letters of invitation can only be sent to individuals registered for the meeting.  To request a letter of invitation please contact meetings@vertpaleo.org.

Name Badge
The SVP badge must be worn at all times for admission to the scientific sessions, exhibits, and social events.

Smoking Policy
TELUS Convention Centre, and all indoor spaces in Calgary, are non-smoking areas. Smoking is permitted outdoors, but must be at least 5 meters (16.4 feet) from exterior doorways. 

Tax
The current total sales tax rate in Calgary is 5% GST. 

Tipping
Restaurant prices do not generally include a service charge, unless dining with a large group. It is customary to leave a tip of 15-20%.

Transportation to Calgary
Calgary International Airport has a brand-new international terminal featuring two amenity areas with 50 new retail locations and other outstanding services, including the Calgary International Spaceport and a Fossil Floor art installation.   The airport offers ground transportation options for all types of passengers. Traditional ground transportation, limousines, hotel shuttles, and transportation network companies (TNCs) service the airport. There are also eight car rental companies at the airport, with four more offering courtesy shuttles to their offsite locations. 

Transportation in Calgary
Transportation in Calgary consists of a wide network of roads, an extensive bus system, and a commuter light rail line. Riders can board at Bus Bay 7 and 8, both across the roadway from the Arrivals Level. Boarding passes can be purchased at the airport at either of the two Mac’s Convenience Stores in the Arrivals Level or at the vending machines in Bus Bay 7.  Click here for information on Calgary Transit fares and passes. Click here for information on the Route 300 BRT Airport/City Centre Service. Fare is $9.50 and trains run every 20 minutes. Weekday service begins at 5:30 am and last airport pickup is at 11:55 pm. Find out more about Calgary Transit, including schedules and maps, by clicking here. More information about transportation in Calgary can be seen here.
 
Downtown, the CTrain is free for ten stops along 7 Avenue SW. Click here to view the CTrain Map (the Free Fare Zone is clearly marked).

Visa and eTA
Please visit the Canadian government visitor website at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit for information regarding visas and eTAs. Travelers are advised to apply for a visa or eTA as early as possible.  Please find your local Canadian consulate or embassy by clicking here. If you are not sure if you come from a country that requires a visa, please click here. Click here for specific instructions on how to apply for a Canadian visa. Check processing times by clicking here

As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly or transit through Canada (except U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa) will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). If you are flying to Canada, please click here. To check if you require an eTA, click here. For a helpful video, and to access eTA information in multiple languages, click here. You can apply online for your eTA by clicking here. Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and U.S. citizens do not need an eTA. U.S. permanent residents travelling by air will need an eTA.

PLEASE NOTE
: As of February 3, 2017, the visa ban on nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen has been suspended. That suspension was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on February 9, 2017.  If you are a foreign student or scholar living or studying in the United States and have specific questions about your ability to reenter the United States after attending SVP, please contact your nearest consulate or embassy and/or your international student office. For more information from the U.S. Department of State, please click here

Message from SVP Leadership on Recent Events in the U.S.A.

Visitor Information
To learn more about Calgary and all it has to offer, please click here. If you are interested in a self-guided, downtown walking tour through forty years of Calgary's history, click here