Moving to Edmonton
While Edmonton has been known as the Oil Capital of Canada since the 40's, it’s the recent development of the oil sands reserves of Northern Alberta that has led to the city’s reinvigoration as an economic centre and as an attractive destination for migrants from all over the world.
While the tar sands themselves are located well away from the city, past hundreds of kilometres of national and provincial parks and forests, the economic activity which the world’s second largest oil and gas reserves prompt means that Edmonton is thriving with secondary and service industries.
Sitting on the North Saskatchewan River among gently rolling hills and valleys, Edmonton is located in northern Canada from which it is sometimes possible to see the Northern Lights. Appropriate to its surroundings, the city gives over almost the entire riverbank to municipal parks which connect together to form single system over 25km long with a huge and diverse collection of flora.
Those looking for more than just greenery and wildlife by way of entertainment won’t be disappointed: Edmonton boasts a large number of performing arts venues including many theatres and concert halls; hosts annual boat, folk, film, rodeo and design festivals; toasts the sporting successes of numerous professional teams; and offers several after-hours happening nightlife areas.
Thinking of moving to Edmonton?
Fill out form at the top of this page to get up to 70% off your shipping quote by comparing suppliers!
If you're moving to Edmonton from anywhere in the world, there are a few things you should start looking at including the job market, property and neighborhoods, the education system if you have children and moving your belongings to your new place.
Moving to Edmonton from the UK
Moving from the UK to Edmonton will open up a range of employment opportunities and lifestyle choices but there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration before booking those flights.
Firstly, the winters in Edmonton are much harsher than those in the UK. The record low temperature in Edmonton is -48 °C and the city sees an average annual snowfall of 49 inches so be sure that you have plenty of cold weather gear, including warm snow boots, if you’re planning to arrive between October and April.
Secondly, Edmonton is rather isolated - the nearest neighbouring city, Calgary, is a four hour drive away and a flight to the UK will take 9 hours. Petrol is considerably cheaper in Canada though so exploring the countryside is always an option.
On the positive side, Edmonton is a clean, green, vibrant city with lots going on and where housing is much more affordable than in the UK. House prices in Edmonton are rising slowly which could mean that now is a good time to buy. Property transfer tax is also much cheaper than in the UK, only really becoming significant for properties costing several million CAD.
Comparing Edmonton vs London
While the Edmonton winters are significantly colder than those of London, the capital of Alberta sees less annual precipitation and more annual hours of sunshine. When summer arrives in Edmonton you know what to expect: it’s one of Canada’s sunniest cities.
Rent, property prices, prices at the pump and the restaurant are all lower in Edmonton than in London, leading to an overall lower cost of living, though you may find yourself paying more for groceries, the internet and mobile phones.
Edmonton residents experience less pollution, better health care, lower commute times and less crime.
Edmonton’s major attractions, besides the river valley parks, are the DaDeO restaurant featuring Cajun cuisine and art deco decor; the TELUS World of Sciene Edmonton where you can interact with almost all the displays; the West Edmonton Mall which hosts a full size amusement park; the Muttart Conservatory - a botanical garden; the Art Gallery of Alberta (ABA) which lives in an indescribable and eye catching building; Sir Winston Churchill Square - surrounded by government buildings like City Hall; and the Princess Theatre - an old-school, art-house cinema.
When comparing the cost of living, it’s much cheaper to live in Edmonton than in London, UK. If you chose to rent in both cities, you would only need 2,688£ per month in Edmonton, versus 4,200£ in London. This would give you the same standard of living, based on net income.
Eating out is more affordable in Edmonton. An inexpensive restaurant meal costs about 40% less here, mid-range restaurants about 28% less. A beer at the pub costs about 3.29£, less than London’s average price of 4.00£. Compared to London, grocery prices on some items are slightly higher in Edmonton, but other items are less expensive, so the difference might be negligible.
Public transit is significantly cheaper, costing 48.74£ for a monthly pass. However, Edmonton is a much smaller city, and the public transit system is somewhat limited compared to what Londoners are used to. Gasoline is also significantly less, at about 0.57£ per liter. What does cost more in Edmonton is internet access. It costs about 33£ per month for unlimited data versus London’s price of about 19.55£.
Renting costs about 57% less in Edmonton than in London. A one-bedroom apartment in the city’s core costs about 630£, and a three-bedroom about 1,156£ per month. For those who prefer a more suburban neighbourhood, prices go down to about 515£ for a one-bedroom unit, or 891£ for a three-bedroom. There are almost 60,000 rental units in Edmonton, but vacancy rates remain low, around 1.4%. Many people choose to rent here instead of buy. This is due, in part, to the large number of oil workers who are in Edmonton on a temporary basis.
For those thinking of buying their home, the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton is anticipating a stable real estate market for 2015. Prices are up year-to-date, but with a more modest growth than in previous years. There’s currently a good inventory of homes on the market, making it easier for buyers to find their perfect home at a fair price.
Edmonton’s March 2015 average selling prices, according to the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton, were as follows, in Canadian dollars:
|All residential properties||$373,005 (about 204,587£)|
|Single family dwelling||$438,880 (about 240,719£)|
|Condos||$232,000 (about 127,248£)|
Edmonton has been experiencing strong economic growth, which has been a driving force in the revitalization of the city’s best neighbourhoods. There’s something for everyone – from urban and hipster to historic and posh. The communities with the highest crime rates tend to be in the city’s north-east, although there are also some excellent spots in this area. The most desirable neighbourhoods can be found in the south-west part of Edmonton. Here, you’ll find Edmonton’s elite, and some of the most expensive real estate in the city.
The best neighbourhoods are spread out all over Edmonton. Some are close to great schools; others have easy access to public transit. Some are green; others are bustling with excitement. Not sure which neighbourhood is best for you? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Family-Friendly: The Hamptons – Located in West Edmonton, the Hamptons are known as one of the best family neighbourhoods in the city. Built mostly in the past 15 years, the area is composed mainly of single family and semi-detached homes. The development has tons of green space, with lakes, parks and walking paths everywhere. Several new schools have opened in the Hamptons area, making it a perfect place for those with young children.
- Upmarket: Henderson Estates - Located in the city’s south-west, Henderson Estates is coveted for its convenient location and large single family homes. The neighbourhood overlooks the North Saskatchewan River Valley and offers gorgeous views. Most homes here were built in the 1980s and 1990s, making it a relatively new development. Real estate prices are quite expensive, with some listings over the 1 million dollar mark.
- Hip & Trendy: Strathcona – This neighbourhood has been voted the best place to live for the past three years by local Avenue Magazine readers. It earned its number one spot by being walkable, historical yet exciting. The area boasts hundreds of restaurants, boutiques and businesses, and is home to several festivals. You never know what you’ll discover – buskers, exciting nightlife, live music, coffee shops, and more!
- Up & Coming: Downtown – What used to be a bit of a ghost town is quickly becoming the place to live. Now attracting great restaurants and many new businesses, residents are flocking to downtown Edmonton. There’s a city market on Saturdays from spring to fall, which fills the downtown streets with visitors and vendors. New construction is booming, including new condo buildings and a brand new arena complex. Downtown Edmonton is becoming a destination.
Schools and Education
The Canadian education system is known to be among the best in the world. Each province and territory has its own curriculum, as education is the responsibility of the provincial governments. Edmonton schools therefore follow the same curriculum as all schools in Alberta.
In Edmonton, students go to school from kindergarten to grade 12. Most students attend publicly funded schools, but there are a few private schools as well. Schools are generally organized in three stages: elementary (kindergarten to grade 6), junior-high (grades 7 to 9) and senior high school (grades 10 to 12). There are different programs offered, including French for Francophones, French Immersion, English, English as a second language, separate schools (for Catholic education) and more. Parents may also choose to homeschool their children.
For higher education, there are several colleges and universities in Edmonton, including the University of Alberta, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and Concordia College. Trade schools are becoming more popular, as jobs in the oil sands require more skilled workers.