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Calgary vs Winnipeg: Which City Should You Move To?

The question on many people’s minds is whether they would rather live in Calgary or Winnipeg. Both cities have their unique features to cater to a diverse range of lifestyle factors, housing preferences, and career prospects, so there are no wrong choices.

Calgary, the largest city in Alberta and the biggest metropolitan area among the three Prairie Provinces, has a rich history and a climate characterized by cold winters and the most sunshine of any Canadian city. With a population of around 1.61 million people, it is a major hub and a popular destination for newcomers. Undoubtedly, Calgary’s real estate is among the most sought-after in Canada.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg is the capital city of Manitoba and the largest city in the province. It is known for its vibrant arts scene and is home to many artistic, musical, and dance centers. With a population of approximately 817,000 residents, Winnipeg is much smaller than Calgary.

Calgary Economy vs. Winnipeg Economy

When deciding where to move, the economy of the place plays a crucial role in making the decision. The major industries, job opportunities, and cost of living are some of the key factors that impact the decision-making process. Here’s a comparison between the economies of Calgary and Winnipeg.

Cost of Living:

The cost of living in Calgary is slightly higher than in Winnipeg by approximately 19%. A single person’s monthly living cost in Calgary is about $1,881, while in Winnipeg, it’s around $1,582. For a family, the monthly cost of living is about $4,575/month in Calgary and $3,549 per month in Winnipeg. Food expenses per month in Calgary are about $554 compared to $474 per month in Winnipeg.

Job Market:

Calgary and Winnipeg have different appeals for job seekers. In Calgary, the tech industry is a significant hiring force, providing exciting opportunities alongside the energy industry. In contrast, the job market in Winnipeg is more focused on business and administration jobs, along with natural and applied sciences. The arts scene in Winnipeg also draws in artistic types who come to the city to learn more about their craft and sell their artistic talent.

Top Industries & Biggest Corporations:

Winnipeg has a large aerospace center and is also known for its agricultural industries, life sciences, biology, and business sector. Employers like Caisse Financial Group, Canada Life Assurance Company, Payworks Inc, and RTDS Technologies are major employers in the Winnipeg area.

In Calgary, the major industries are technology and computer sciences. The tech industry has made a significant impact on the labor market and supporting industries in the region. The city is also famous for its thriving energy, oil, and environment sectors. Companies like Deloitte, Amazon, KPMG, IBM, and Accenture are major employers in the Calgary region.

By understanding the key differences between the economies of different areas, people can better understand why their city is unique and what potential job opportunities are available. It also helps people prepare for the costs of living in a new area and what to expect in terms of the cost of living.

Calgary Commutes vs. Winnipeg Commutes

Knowing how to navigate a new city’s transportation system is crucial when moving to a new place. It’s important to understand the traffic patterns during rush hour and the available public transportation options to make informed decisions and prepare for what to expect. In Calgary, rush hour typically occurs between 7:30-9:30 am and 3:30-5:30 pm, with the average commute time being 27 minutes. Major roads include Highway 2, Highway 201, Alberta Highway 1, and Highway 8. Winnipeg’s traffic is less intense but still occurs during rush hour, and there are no urban freeway networks throughout the city. Calgary has a robust public transportation system, with the CTrain and around 170 bus routes, which helps to reduce traffic congestion and reduce commute time. However, Winnipeg has no light rail transit system, and most people use their own vehicles for transportation. In both cities, finding a suburb close to downtown can significantly reduce commute times and help residents get where they need to go quickly. Understanding the traffic and transportation system in a new city can make it easier to transition into a new region and feel at home.

What to Do in Calgary vs. What to Do in Winnipeg

The entertainment and activities available in a city play a crucial role in determining its quality of life. They can also influence your relocation decision and help you settle in once you get there. Access to different activities and entertainment can provide a sense of connection to a new community, making it easier to adjust to a new area.

Outdoor Activities

Both Calgary and Winnipeg offer a variety of outdoor activities throughout the year. Calgary is known for skiing and snowboarding, with many resorts and ski mountains nearby. The area also offers unique activities like dog sledding, where you can watch races or learn how to mush on your own. Winnipeg has many parks and green spaces to explore, as well as paved trails for running, biking, and water sports like kayaking and canoeing. There are also zoos and forests in the area to enjoy.


Calgary and Winnipeg both have great sports teams, including NHL teams like the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. There are also many recreational sports leagues for those who enjoy playing sports.


Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhood offers a wide variety of nightlife options, including restaurants, bars, and clubs. In Winnipeg, places like Bar Italia, Cargo Bar, Club 200, and The Good Will Social Club provide residents with drinks, food, and entertainment throughout the year.

Discover the Best Opportunities for Your Needs

To truly feel at home in a new city, it’s important to anticipate and prepare for the changes that come with moving. Whether you decide to move to Calgary or Winnipeg, both cities offer great opportunities, such as joining the thriving tech industry in Calgary or the aerospace sector in Winnipeg. By finding a place that aligns with your preferences and priorities, you can make the most of your new home and settle in with ease.

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