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Moving to Calgary: Everything You Need to Know About Living in Calgary

The thriving economy and bustling real estate market are just a couple of reasons why many people are choosing to move to Calgary. The city, also referred to as Cowtown, is rich in western culture, sure to delight fans of actors like John Wayne or Sam Elliott. If you’re looking for a new place to call home, consider exploring the opportunities and benefits that moving to Calgary can bring you.

Calgary’s flourishing economy and vibrant real estate market are among the many factors attracting numerous people to relocate to this city. With a nickname like Cowtown, it is no surprise that Calgary is steeped in Western culture, which is bound to please admirers of actors such as John Wayne or Sam Elliott. If you are seeking a new place to reside, it is worth exploring the advantages and possibilities that come with relocating to Calgary.

Cost of Living in Calgary

Compared to Toronto or Vancouver, Calgary boasts a notably lower cost of living. One of the ways that Alberta reduces the cost of living is by exempting its residents from provincial sales taxes, which means they only have to pay the 5% national sales tax. Housing expenses in Calgary are also among the lowest of any major Canadian metropolitan area. The median home value in Calgary is approximately $500,000, although homes in the city’s most expensive neighbourhoods can easily start at $1 million. However, you don’t have to leave the city center to find affordable housing. Calgary’s abundance of townhomes and condos offers low-cost living options in the heart of the city.

According to Harish Consul, President and CEO of Ocgrow Group, “You have to go much further out of the city center to find an affordable home in Vancouver or Toronto, but in Calgary, inner-city living is still very much affordable.” Consul and his team have recently initiated the construction of SOLA Calgary, a new condominium complex in the Northwest area.

Utilities expenses vary throughout the city, with basic electricity, gas, and water costing between $200-250 per month for a three-bedroom property. Internet and cellular services may range from $53 to $220 per month.

For renting purposes, a one-bedroom apartment in Calgary may cost between $750 to $1,000 per month, depending on its proximity to the city center. Meanwhile, a three-bedroom rental property may average around $1,200 to $1,800 per month.

Healthcare services are centralized by the government, and permanent residents and ex-pats staying longer than 12 months may receive all healthcare services from the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (ACHIP). Groceries tend to be pricier than in other places, particularly for meat and dairy products. However, dining out is relatively affordable, with a mid-range dinner at a restaurant costing between $14-20 per person.

Calgary Job Market

While Calgary may have historically been known for its concentration in the oil and gas industry, the city has since diversified its economic landscape. While the energy sector still remains a significant contributor to the local economy, Calgary is home to a diverse range of industries. In fact, the city is consistently ranked among the highest-earning cities in Canada. In recent years, new legislation has set a minimum wage of $15 per hour by 2024.

Some of the top industries in Calgary include energy, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism. The city is home to several large oil and gas companies such as BP Canada, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Suncor Energy, Shell Canada, and Nexen. Private sector employers like Shaw Communications, Telus, and Nova Chemicals are also prominent. Public sector jobs in healthcare and education are significant, while the tech industry has experienced notable growth, offering opportunities with some of the best tech companies to work for.

Things to Do in Calgary

Calgary is a city that is never short on fun! One of the highlights of the year is the Calgary Stampede, a world-famous annual event held every July. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy watching the Flames hockey team, Stampeders football team, and Roughnecks lacrosse team play. There are also plenty of other activities and events to participate in throughout the year.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love Calgary’s more than 20,000 acres of parkland, with parks such as Fish Creek Provincial Park and Nose Hill Park being popular choices. Hikers will find plenty of beautiful trails to explore nearby, with favourites including Big Hill Springs and Grassi Lakes Trail. Being close to the Rockies, Calgary is a natural location for winter sports, with Canada Olympic Park hosting several major winter sporting events including bobsledding, luge, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, downhill skiing, and snowboarding. During the summer months, the park transforms into a mountain biking trail.

Foodies will delight in Calgary’s diverse restaurant scene, with over 120 spoken languages in the city influencing the types of cuisine available. Must-try local delicacies include the cheese bun from Glamorgan Bakery and the mini doughnuts from the Calgary Stampede. Himalayan Restaurant offers Nepalese cuisine, while Open Range Steakhouse sources its beef locally.

Nightlife in Calgary is also diverse, with the famous Cowboys Dance Hall catering to country music fans and other venues offering intimate acoustic sets or traditional nightclubs with bottle service, international DJs, theme nights, and light shows. The Beltline District is a vibrant nightlife hub, but fun can be found in every neighbourhood in town.


Calgary’s winters are known for being cold and snowy. January is the coldest month with temperatures that can dip as low as -30°C, but the average temperature is around -7°C. It snows an average of 54 days per year in Calgary, accumulating 1,288 mm (50.7 inches) of snow. The city is more humid during the winter compared to other Canadian cities. Despite the cold, Calgary is Canada’s sunniest city and offers outdoor activities year-round.

During summer, Calgary’s temperature generally hovers around 24°C, with July and August being the warmest months. The city gets an average of 68 rainy days each year, resulting in a rainfall accumulation of 327 mm (13 inches). Those who prefer to avoid snow should consider visiting in June, July, and August, when temperatures range from 10 to 25°C. However, winter sports enthusiasts will find November an ideal time for a vacation in Calgary, as it marks the start of skiing season.

Calgary Traffic

Owning a car in Calgary can be advantageous, but as with any heavily populated city, traffic can be expected to cause congestion. During rush hour, especially in the morning and evening, traffic tends to slow down, necessitating good time management when commuting to work. As Calgary is situated at the crossroads of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 2, a significant amount of trucking traffic transports goods to other parts of the country.

Detours in Calgary

Rather than driving on crowded highways, most residents prefer to use the city’s streets and trails to navigate by car. Currently, construction of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road, also known as Stoney Trail, is underway to provide an alternative to congested routes. The road’s completion has been delayed but is expected to be finished by 2024. However, two-thirds of the road is finished and can already be used. Deerfoot Trail, which runs north and south through the city, is another option. It is typically busier than Stoney Trail but still quicker than the major highways.

Calgary Public Transportation

Calgary provides several public transportation options, such as buses, shuttles, and trains. Among them, the C-Train is the most popular, comprising the Blue and Red lines, running from southwest to northeast and northwest to southeast, respectively, and intersecting downtown. A monthly pass priced at $103 is economical for frequent commuters, but a fare-free zone exists on 7th Avenue near downtown. The C-Train operates on 100% renewable wind-generated energy, carrying around 270,000 passengers each day.

Most of Calgary’s neighborhoods are walkable, and over 581 miles of multi-use paths are available for biking and walking throughout the city. The Peace Bridge, a pedestrian and cycling bridge, connects the north side of the Bow River to downtown, while the Plus 15, an extensive skywalk network, shields pedestrians from extreme winter temperatures while traveling through downtown.

Taxis and ridesharing services are also readily available in Calgary, providing a convenient transportation option for areas outside the city center or beyond the reach of the C-Train.

Calgary Schools

Calgary has 357 schools that provide education to students from kindergarten to grade 12, all of which are overseen by The Calgary Board of Education and serve a yearly student population of about 171,000. Parents and guardians can choose from various school districts, including the highly-rated Calgary School District Area II, French-language schools, Catholic schools, and charter schools.

Calgary is also noteworthy for its more than 50 alternative public education programs and is home to prestigious post-secondary institutions like the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University.

Are You Ready to Move to Calgary

The best neighborhoods in Calgary offer something for everyone, with options spread across the city’s four quadrants and 14 wards. Once a humble homesteading haven, Calgary has grown to become a key player in the energy and other industries. Regardless of the season, there’s always something to enjoy in this city, be it skiing or picnicking at one of its many picturesque parks. In short, Calgary is a city that has something for everyone to call home.

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