In regular wind conditions, the runway in use will always be one of the 35s or 17s, or more commonly, both at once. When both are in use, most aircraft heading to or arriving from an eastern destination will take 35R/17L, and aircraft heading to or arriving from a western destination will typically take 35L/17R. This operation is standard but can change due to runway closures, weather, or time of day.
Encounters with security don't happen too often, as long as you follow these general guidelines. If you're at a location near a fence, do not go closer than 10 feet from the fence, whether you are using a ladder or are in a car. Make sure your ladder is shorter than the fence - you don't want to give security the wrong impression. You can briefly go up to the fence for a picture, but don't stay within the 10 foot zone for too long. Due to a recent incident, security has been a bit harder on spotters. Use caution, be respectful, and use common sense.
Other Helpful Links:
Operational Information System, highlighting the runways in use:
Wind direction and runway status:
CYYC NOTAMS (runway and taxiway information)
These 2 Facebook groups are also good for finding out when rare aircraft visit YYC and a great way to connect with fellow spotters:
Calgary International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Canada, and is mostly spotter friendly. While there may not be as much action as other airports, there are a multitude of excellent locations to capture the interesting aircraft that we get at YYC. Calgary International Airport has four runways: 35L-17R, 35R-17L (the two most commonly used runways), runway 11-29 (used only at night or in crosswind) and runway 08-26 (rarely used, only ever alongside 11-29 in high wind conditions). The newest is runway 35R/17L which opened on June 28th 2014, and is currently the longest one in Canada at 14,000 feet.