Is Moving to Calgary Right for You? A Complete Guide
Calgary, a thriving city located in Alberta, Canada, has become a popular destination for both international newcomers and Canadians seeking a change of scenery. With its unique blend of wild-west landscape, urban sprawl, and downtown commercialism, Calgary has grown to be the largest city in the province, boasting a population of 1.34 million people.
This ambitious city offers numerous attractions and benefits to its residents. Among them are its world-renowned livability, consistently earning top marks for stability, healthcare, and education. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, Calgary presents breathtaking natural beauty, beckoning adventurous souls and nature enthusiasts alike.
The decision to move to Calgary brings with it the prospects of new opportunities and experiences. This article will explore various aspects of living in Calgary, providing insights for those considering taking the leap and embarking on a new journey in this ever-growing city.
Overview of Calgary
Calgary is located in the western province of Alberta, Canada. It lies in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, making the city an ideal base for exploring the surrounding mountainous landscape. The city center is nestled at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, providing a picturesque setting and numerous recreational opportunities for residents and tourists alike.
Climate and Weather
Calgary has a mountain-high elevation, sitting at 1,048 meters above sea level. The climate is generally dry, with low levels of humidity. This city boasts the most sun of any major Canadian city, making it an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts. During summers in Calgary, temperatures can reach up to 30°C, providing warm and dry conditions. When a warm Chinook wind blows through the region, it can result in a rapid change in temperature, bringing warmer air to the area even in winter months.
Calgary is home to over 1.34 million residents, making it the largest city in Alberta and the fourth most populous city in Canada. The city's population is growing every year, with an increasingly diverse mix of people from various cultures and backgrounds. This diversity contributes to a rich and vibrant community, offering a range of dining, cultural, and entertainment options for residents and visitors alike.
The economy of Calgary is strong and diverse, with a significant focus on the energy sector, particularly oil and gas. The city has been nicknamed "the heart of the new west" due to its robust economic growth and attractive job opportunities. Numerous large corporations have established their headquarters in Calgary, contributing to the city's job market and overall economic stability. However, the economy is not solely reliant on the energy sector; other industries such as technology, manufacturing, logistics, and tourism play a significant role in supporting a healthy and balanced economy.
Living in Calgary
Cost of Living
Living in Calgary offers a more affordable cost of living compared to other major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Expenses such as groceries, rent, and transportation are generally lower. However, it is essential to remember that individual needs and budgets can vary.
The housing market in Calgary is diverse and offers options for various budgets. The median home value in the city is around $500,000, with more luxurious neighborhoods having prices starting at around $1 million. The rental market is also attractive, with numerous apartments and condos available for rent at different price points.
Calgary is divided into various wards and communities, providing a range of distinct neighborhoods to suit diverse preferences. Some notable communities in the city include:
- Arbour Lake: This community features an array of recreational facilities, including a picturesque lake and parks, making it ideal for families.
- Brentwood: Known for its great accessibility to educational institutions and public transportation, this neighborhood is perfect for young professionals and students.
- Hillhurst: A trendy, urban, and walkable district close to the downtown area, Hillhurst is well-suited for young adults and professionals looking for an exciting, modern lifestyle.
- Bowness: This family-oriented community is known for its large backyards and green spaces, as well as a fantastic view of the river.
Calgary has an efficient public transportation system consisting of buses and a light rail transit (LRT) system called the C-Train. The city is also highly bike-friendly, with an extensive network of cycling paths to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle. Additionally, major roadways make it easy to navigate the city and its surrounding areas by car.
Calgary boasts a broad range of educational institutions, from renowned public and private schools to post-secondary institutions such as the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. The city offers numerous opportunities for students to pursue various fields of study in a supportive and diverse learning environment.
Residents of Calgary enjoy access to a high-quality healthcare system, with multiple hospitals, clinics, and primary care facilities available throughout the city. Among these healthcare facilities, the Foothills Medical Centre and Rockyview General Hospital offer comprehensive medical services to cater to the needs of Calgary's growing population.
Working in Calgary
Calgary provides a diverse range of job opportunities for its residents, with a booming employment market thanks to the city's strong economy. People moving to Calgary can explore jobs in industries such as energy, financial services, manufacturing, agriculture, and more. The city is also a great place for entrepreneurs, as it has a thriving startup scene and ample support for new businesses.
Industries and Sectors
Calgary's economy is built on a variety of industries and sectors that contribute to job creation and growth. Some of the key industries include:
- Energy: The petroleum industry and broader energy sector are important drivers of Calgary's economy. The city is home to many energy companies and plays a critical role in Canada's oil and gas industry.
- Financial Services: Downtown Calgary is a hub for banks, insurance companies, and other financial services, offering numerous job opportunities in this sector.
- Agriculture: Agriculture and agri-businesses remain significant to the city's economy, with numerous companies in this industry either headquartered or operating within Calgary.
- Retail and Utilities: There are also many jobs available in the retail and utilities sectors, including roles at Calgary Transit, one of the city's largest employers.
Work Permit and Residency
Expats who want to work in Calgary are typically required to obtain a work permit and/or permanent residency before starting their employment. Securing a work permit is often linked to a specific job offer, while permanent residency status allows expats to live and work indefinitely in Canada. If you're moving to Calgary from abroad, consider signing up for a free Moving2Canada account for personalized checklists and additional resources.
Overall, Calgary offers a dynamic, sunny environment for individuals planning to move there; its rapidly growing and diverse economy attracts both local and international job seekers. With a wealth of opportunities across numerous industries and sectors, as well as exceptional public transport infrastructure, new residents are well-equipped for success in the city.
Entertainment and Culture
Events and Festivals
Calgary is a vibrant city with a wide variety of events and festivals throughout the year. Among its most famous events is the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day festival in July that celebrates western heritage, culture, and community spirit. This world-renowned event draws millions of visitors and offers numerous attractions, including rodeos, live music, and food tastings. Additionally, Calgary is home to numerous other festivals, such as arts and film festivals, providing entertainment for all.
Nightlife and Dining
The city offers a diverse nightlife and dining scene, catering to various tastes and preferences. From lively bars and clubs to laid-back lounges, there's something to suit everyone's taste. In the heart of downtown, you will find a bustling entertainment district with popular nightlife spots and well-known restaurants. Victoria Park, particularly, has a variety of bars, clubs, and music venues, making it an exciting destination for adults looking to enjoy themselves after hours. Calgary's culinary scene is diverse and constantly evolving, offering a wide range of international flavors and local delicacies.
Calgary’s prime location near the Rockies provides a plethora of outdoor activities to indulge in. Starting with Banff National Park, a short trip away from the city, where you can enjoy hiking, skiing, or snowboarding. Moreover, Canada Olympic Park offers year-round fun with ski hills, mountain biking, and even zip-lining. For those interested in a leisurely stroll, urban pathways are available throughout the city, offering scenic walks and bike rides for a relaxing day outdoors. The nearby Calgary Zoo is also a popular family destination, attracting visitors with its diverse animal collection and immersive exhibits.
Arts and Museums
While Calgary may not be as well known for its art scene compared to cities like Vancouver and Toronto, it still offers a variety of cultural experiences. The city boasts several art galleries, such as the Glenbow Museum and the Esker Foundation, offering unique exhibits by local and international artists. Public art installations like the Chinook Arc add character and charm to the city, showcasing the creative side of Calgary. Bridgeland and Inglewood are two neighborhoods within the city known for their art-focused communities, with galleries, studios, and workshops that highlight the rich local culture.
Ready to Move to Calgary? Allied Van Lines Can Help
Allied Van Lines is a reputable moving company that can assist you in your relocation to Calgary. With a nationwide presence in Canada and a global network of services, they are well-equipped to handle both local and long-distance moves.
When planning your move to Calgary, securing the services of Allied Van Lines can ensure a seamless and stress-free experience. They offer extensive services, including packing, transportation, and even storage options. This comprehensive approach means every aspect of your move will be managed by professionals, allowing you to focus on settling into your new city.
Get started with a free quote. This will enable you to obtain a free moving estimate, which can help you budget for your move and find the best services suited to your needs.