Why Calgary?

Every program in Canada believes they are the best site to train. We are humble in the true Canadian fashion here in Calgary, so here’s a text wall that might help you decide for yourself.

In addition to fantastic recreational opportunities in the nearby Rocky Mountains, Calgary enjoys more sunshine days than nearly anywhere in Canada.

If you just can’t make the 45 minute drive to be on your skis in the mountains, why not enjoy Calgary’s river valleys, running and cycling paths. Enjoy sailing? We’ve got boats for rent in the city 15 minutes from the hospital. Kayaks too, if you want to rip some Class III rapids in city limits.



Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the renowned Rockies champagne powder.

Our ski season runs November to May, with six resorts in easy day-trip range. You can be on your skis in 45 minutes after a call shift. A few of our residents easily ski >10% of the year, in-bounds and backcountry/heli/cat skiing.

Calgary ER physicians enjoy a practice breadth unlike any site in Canada.

starsHelicopterWith a catchment of 1.2 million, the Calgary Zone EDs see over 300 thousand patient visits a year, with the primary resident training sites seeing the majority of zone CTAS 1&2 patients. Here in Calgary, physicians and residents reduce fractures, insert transvenous pacemakers, manage trauma resuscitations, intubate and line their own patients.

We also get the opportunity to fly in the STARS helicopters as transport docs. Our helos have ultrasound, blood gas analysers and some of the best flight medics in the world. Want to do a fasciotomy at 10,000 feet? Our residents have.

Calgary attracts some of the best staff in Canada: both from a clinical and research standpoint, as well as just being generally awesome.

Want to climb, bike, run or ski with the people you work with?

Come to Calgary.

Small program = more FUN

We are fortunate to maintain such a small training program in a city of over a million people. We remain one of the smallest sites in Canada to ensure our trainees receive the best experience possible.

From your first year, you are paired with yearly preceptors that refine your strengths and train your weaknesses. In your fourth and fifth year, you have the freedom to choose who you work with for a proportion of your shifts, so that you can solidify any areas you or your longitudinal preceptors believe needs work.

Two yearly retreats

You read it here. In July, we organize a trip to the mountains with NO educational content, just bonding! Three days and two nights enjoying resident-cooked food, club sodas and the outdoors. We’ve been white-water rafting and downhill/xc mountain biking on these retreats, but even with a small program there’s an interest group for everything.

Our second retreat occurs in Jan/Feb, where we join with Edmonton for a family friendly weekend of xc skiing, wellness and road hockey in the mountains.

Full Academic Day

Calgary residents enjoy one protected full day every week with their friends, learning about their specialty. We have Grand Rounds at 9AM, followed by junior SIM / ECG rounds / EBM and then afternoon didactic lectures on core topics.
Journal Club is monthly, held at a staff’s residence with dinner and drinks provided. RSVP here.

Exam Prep

Exam preparation begins in the first year, with quarterly practice oral and written exams built to match the licensing exam. These are not for credit, and like Vegas – what happens in exams stays there. This is of course in addition to the practice oral and written exams our keen staff will offer you when you work – on or off-service!


We are among the best paid residents in Canada, and also enjoy PST free shopping (5% GST only). Our resident association PARA truly does fight on our behalf for fair hours, salary, call stipends and resident treatment. Add in a yearly $2000 practice stipend, $1000 health/wellness spending account (lift ticket?) and our awesome call stipend and you’ll find your account goes further in Calgary.

So book that ski conference with our $1500 yearly fund and buy that iPad with our $500 yearly book fund.

Off service

With Calgary being the land of oil and honey, our hospital inpatient wards are stocked with ultrasounds for you to practice your scans while on obstetrics, trauma and general surgery, medicine, etc. We are fortunate to train under world leaders in trauma, critical care, stroke and surgery.


All residents receive funded ultrasound training (EDE-1) in the first month of residency, and have the option of taking a dedicated ultrasound block at their convenience. We have multiple fellowship-trained ultrasonographers, and the vast majority of staff are certified independent practitioners as well. Each department has many ultrasound machines available for use and learning any time, and ultrasound also forms part of our academic curriculum as well.

The Less-Strong Stuff

Every site has it – what makes Calgary different? Well, we do a lot less SIM than other sites. As a junior it’s once monthly, and multidisciplinary senior SIM occurs monthly. This means you are running a case for sure every month, although we realize this can be less than at other sites. Frankly, this is because we get a lot of resuscitation experience right from the junior level.

Also, we are small. 4 residents per year means we are a pretty close family – we don’t have cliques or large groups of special interests. You’ll definitely find residents to geek out over indie games, go to live music, and get into the outdoors.

Research – we recognize that we don’t have Ottawa’s cachet, but we truly have recruited and trained some of the most prolific researchers in Canada. We have tons of funding and support for you to pursue a project of whatever size you can imagine, and have a dedicated research block in PGY2 to help you plan your resident project. We’re reasonable here – suitable projects range from our residents completing Cochrane reviews to survey studies. You’ll recognize many of the names of our researchers – Eddy Lang, Shawn Dowling, Andrew McRae, James Andruchow, Adam Cheng, Grant Innes and so on.

Come to Calgary. Do an elective, or just come and say hi.

We are immensely proud of the program we helped build, and you’re better off seeing our goofy smiles in person!

Meet the family. Think about joining it. We’d love to have you here!

Questions? Contact us!