The Otafest

Survival Guide

Everybody enjoys Otafest in their own unique way. We want you to be safe and healthy no matter how you choose to shape your Otafest experience. This guide provides some tips to keep you going for the whole weekend!

If you need help

Ask a volunteer, staff, or Emergency Management member (pictured). They are always happy to answer your questions or point you to someone who can!

Everybody involved in the organization and operation of the festival wears a distinctive staff/volunteer/EM shirt and a badge that clearly labels their position.

Location

Otafest is held at the
Calgary Telus Convention Centre
120 9 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0P3

Otafest’s official hotel is the
Calgary Marriott Downtown
110 9 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 5A6
(403) 266-7331

Parking

The Telus Convention Centre has a parking garage located at 727 – 1 St SE. Click here for parking rates.

There are other parking garaged and street parking in the vicinity. Be sure to obey all parking signs!

Transit

If you don’t drive or don’t want to pay for parking downtown, Calgary Transit serves the convention centre through a number of routes.

LRT / C-Train

Calgary’s downtown LRT lines are unfortunately closed during Otafest. If taking the LRT, shuttles will be available from the closest station to downtown.

Bus

Being downtown, the convention centre has many nearby bus stops including routes 1, 10, 7, 24, 30, 69, 102, 103, 117, 133, 151, 300, 302, 305, and 411.

For a full list, schedules, and maps, please see Calgary Transit.

Before Otafest

Buy your ticket online

Buying your ticket online has two benefits:

It’s cheaper than buying at the door. Otafest offers early-bird pricing at different tiers. The further we are from the weekend, the cheaper online tickets will be.

You get pick-up options. Otafest opens its pre-registration pick-up desk on Thursday evening for online ticket holders only. Getting your wristband on Thursday means you can enjoy Friday’s programming as soon as you arrive. If you can’t make Thursday, then online ticket holders also have access to a separate online-only admissions desk throughout the weekend to pick up your wristband!

Plan your experience

Otafest releases its programming schedule in April. Find the events, autograph sessions, concerts, contests, and tournaments that interest you and begin planning out your weekend. Don’t forget to coordinate with your friends!

Don’t forget to double check our hours & maps page!

Check the forecast

Will it be sunny and 40 or a cool 15 and overcast? The weather will affect how you dress and what you bring to the festival so keep up to date!

Read our policies

Can you bring your prop to Otafest? Make sure you check our policies to ensure you’re abiding by Otafest’s rules.

At Otafest

Bring a bag

You’ll need something to carry your comfortable shoes, purchases, medications, and other needs.

Recommended things to include:

  • Any medications – Include allergy medications if you need them.
  • A water bottle – Staying hydrated is a must at any event.
  • Snacks – It’s easy to forget to eat. Always have something on hand.
  • Cash – Some vendors don’t accept credit/debit.
  • An external battery – Just in case your phone battery dies.

Take breaks and sleep

You may not notice, but you’ll likely be on your feet for more than 8 hours! That’s pretty taxing on your body. Make sure you take breaks, eat, and drink plenty of water.

You want to keep the party going, we know, but make sure you’re taking care of yourself by getting at least 6 hours of sleep each night to keep you energized, and remember that energy drinks are not a substitute for sleep!

Be respectful

Always act in a respectful manner. Remember to ask cosplayers before taking their photo- the fact that they are dressed up does not automatically provide consent to have their photo taken.

Rule of thumb: Always ask first!

Lines

You may only line up 30 minutes before an event at the earliest. Please help us adhere to fire code and minimize crowding.

Food

You will find many of Calgary’s finest and favourite restaurants just a short walk from the convention centre. Many are along Stephan Avenue, which is right outside our doors.

Explore your options at Visit Calgary’s Downtown Restaurants.

For dining recommendations, see:

Avenue Magazine’s Best Restaurants awards.
Restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist’s best new restaurants.

Other Amenities

ATMs

The convention centre has a number of ATMs available. Downtown Calgary also has numerous banking machines and bank branches on Stephen Avenue.

Restrooms

Easily identified on our map, Otafest is happy to provide a gender neutral restroom on the lower floor of the convention centre’s south building, just beside our admissions desk.

There are restrooms in the south building’s lower floor and upper floors, the Exhibitor Hall, and on the north building’s main floor.

Accessibility

Otafest is committed to a welcoming and accessible environment for all attendees. Please see our accessibility policy here.