Lively Edmonton is the centre of culture, education and government for the province of Alberta and it is known as “Canada’s Festival City” for it’s vibrant arts scene. With a downtown core that is filled with pubs, book shops, unique clothing boutiques, trendy coffee shops and independent art galleries - this northern city has a vibrant buzz.
In 2014 Moneysense Magazine ranked Edmonton as the 8th most liveable location in Canada in terms of the real estate market, economy, amenities, weather and attractions. It was rated in 3rd place among the big cities, behind only Ottawa and Calgary.
From hockey to museums, there is so much to see and do in Edmonton. The city’s premier attraction is the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America. It boasts over 800 stores, the world’s largest amusement park, an indoor lake, hotels, restaurants and a zoo. It is the size of a small town, covering 5.3 million square feet.
Edmonton does have a few downsides. The winters are long and cold. Luckily it is one of Canada’s sunniest cities, making the cold weather more bearable. The crime rate is also a little higher than other Canadian cities of the same size.
Edmonton’s job market just keeps booming. Today’s population is younger, with the largest age group being 20 to 39 year-olds. With a steady and strong economy, many young people are moving to Edmonton for work. Salaries are high and jobs are plentiful with the oil sands nearby. The unemployment rate is much lower than the Canadian rate.
The energy sector is still central to Edmonton’s economy. Skilled workers and professionals are in high demand; engineering, planning and technology are growing sectors. Employment in Edmonton includes working on the pipeline, oil extraction and refining, manufacturing and chemical processing. Exporting and distribution of natural resources also create many jobs.
Alberta is leading the Canadian economy when it comes to job growth and there are a lot of opportunities in Edmonton for skilled workers.
Although there has been a recent downturn in the energy sector in Canada, the economy is expected to return to growth in 2016 with an average annual growth of 2.2 percent expected between 2016 and 2019. According to Careerbuilder and the Economic Modeling Specialists Edmonton raked #1 for the highest projected job growth from 2014 to 2020.
Here are some of the sectors in Edmonton that are currently flourishing:
- STEM Fields
When it comes to areas that are experiencing growth in Edmonton, science, technology, engineering and math fields top the list. These are known collectively as the acronym “STEM.” Anyone who is moving to Edmonton with a math, engineering or computer science degree will find lots of opportunities on the job market.
- Health Care
There are a lot of opportunities for jobs in the Healthcare sector in Edmonton, as the population is aging and there will be a high demand for doctors, nurses, carers and other healthcare professionals in the coming years.
- Oil and Gas
Moving to Edmonton to work in the oil and gas sector can also offer a lot of opportunities. The hottest jobs in the oil and gas industry are related to testing, oil and gas related programs. Although it is the highly skilled jobs that are in the most demand, there is also an abundance of positions in support roles that only require training on the job.
Cost of living in Edmonton
The cost of living in Edmonton will depend on which area of the city you live in, the city offers a range of neighbourhoods that will suit any price point.
One of the advantages of living in Edmonton is that there is no provincial sales tax in Alberta, which means that the average Edmontonian has more disposable income than other Canadians. Also, Edmonton has one of the lowest gasoline prices in the country, which will also save you money over the long term.
The cost for food in Edmonton is cheap to moderate, compared to other large cities in Canada. A typical lunch in the business district would cost around $15 CAD and a combo meal in a fast food restaurant would usually cost around $9 CAD.<?p>
A litre of milk would cost around $2.20 CAD, a loaf of bread would cost around $3.20 CAD and 12 large eggs would usually cost around $3.50 CAD. A three course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant would cost around $65 CAD.
The rent in Edmonton will depend on where you choose to live and the style of accommodation where you live, but a typical one bedroom apartment in the city centre would cost around $1,216 CAD per month. Also, a one bedroom outside of the city centre would usually be around $998 CAD. On average, the cost of one month of heating, electricity and gas for two people in an 85m2 flat would be $255 CAD. For a two bedroom rental you could expect to pay between $800 and $1,500 depending on the location and the type of the property. If you are renting you will not need to pay property tax, it is paid by the owners of residential properties.
|From Toronto||£4,235 to £4,527|
|From London||£3,177 to £3,396|
|From New York City||£2,851 to £3,048|
|From Sydney||£2,196 to £2,347|
|From Dubai||£7,995 to £8,546|
|From Beijing||£3,336 to £3,566|
At the moment the outlook for Edmonton’s housing market remains stable. The energy-powered economy in Canada as a whole is currently sputtering, but Edmonton is holding up better than Calgary because it is a bit more diversified.
It has a larger government sector and a lot more construction jobs, so the rental market will always be steady. There is a quiet confidence that exists within the housing marketing that it will weather the current downtown.
That is reflected in the latest house price data that has been forecast. According to a house price survey by Royal LePage, average prices for all housing types in Edmonton rose modestly through the first half of 2015
Rental vacancy rates are very low in Edmonton. It can be difficult to find an apartment in your preferred location since they are not on the market very long. New apartment buildings are currently under construction, which should help ease the scarcity. Low vacancy rates are pushing more residents into becoming home buyers sooner than planned.<
Edmonton has many distinctive neighbourhoods, so take to time to learn more about them so that you can choose the right one for your preferences and lifestyle. The great thing about Edmonton is that the city is quite small, so commutes are short no matter where you live.
Family friendly: Neighbourhoods such as Henderson Estates, Haddow and Oglivie Ridge are desirable family neighbourhoods with very low crime rates and a welcoming atmosphere.
Another great options is Allendale, which has a lot of character and is close to everything.
Summerside also has a lot of young families with kids, as well as a beautiful lake to walk around or swim in during the summer months.
The Hamptons is one of the best designed and most family focused neighbourhoods in Edmonton, located just off the Anthony Henday and 62nd Avenue. It is a lovely location to enjoy a peaceful and quiet suburban life.
Upmarket: Edmonton has some truly luxurious properties, such as Whitemud Road which is home to gorgeous mansions with river access and ample swaths of land.
Another one of the most well known luxury developments is Windermere Estates. It is located in the heart of Edmonton’s southwest and it is home to an elegant, graceful and beautiful suburban community.
Brookside is another high end residential community in Edmonton’s south west, where outdoorsy families can spend their time in lovely green space and pleasant woodlands.
Ogilvie Ridge is another high end neighbourhood which boasts a tennis court, a large park and several well maintained bike paths.
Hip and trendy: Strathcona is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Edmonton, known for its bustling farmers market, it’s abundance of shops and it’s walkability. It’s a great place to enjoy a beer on an outdoor patio in the summer or attend a festival.
Downtown Edmonton used to be somewhat deserted a decade ago, but these days it has flourished as a trendy shopping and dining area. A number of cool new businesses and restaurants have opened up, making it a popular destination for visitors to the city.
Up and coming: With houses mostly built in the 1990s and 2000s, Wild Rose is one of the newer neighbourhoods in Edmonton.
Also, city planners are continuing to push for development in neighbourhoods close to the downtown core. Just recently the development of the Stantec building was announced, which is a 62 story mixed use building that will be home to 1,700 employees of Stantec as well as offering 33 floors of residential condos. Considering the current push within the city to create a vibrant downtown core any urban property in the northwest will be of value.
Schools and Education
The majority of Canadian parents send their children to publicly funded schools. In Canada, education is a provincial government responsibility. Edmonton schools therefore follow the Alberta curriculum. Students here go to school from kindergarten to grade 12.
In Edmonton, there are three school boards to choose from:
Edmonton Public Schools: This school board operates over 200 English language schools with a wide variety of programs, such as arts, athletics and international languages to name only a few. Parents may send their child to their designated school, or one offering a program of their choice if prerequisites are met.
Edmonton Catholic School District: Parents looking for Catholic education for their children may opt for one of this school board’s 88 English language schools.
Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord: Francophone parents may send their children to one of Edmonton’s French language schools if they meet the requirements. All subjects, except for English Language Arts, are taught in French. There are catholic and public schools within this school board.
There are currently 199 schools within the district, ranging from elementary schools to junior high schools to high schools. According to the rankings of Alberta schools on the Fraser Institute website, some of the top schools in Edmonton include:
- Mount Pleasant School
- Windsor Park School
- Stratford School
- St. Martin School
- Grandview Heights
- Suzuki Charter School
- Westbrook School
- Crestwood School
- Earl Buxton School
Universities in Edmonton
Edmonton is home to a number of excellent universities and is a popular destination for students studying in Alberta. The University of Alberta is well regarded and offers over 370 degree programs from more than 300 disciplines.
Grant MacEwan University has state of the art learning facilities and is the newest university in Alberta - offering degrees in science, communications, business and health and community studies. Concordia University is also another highly regarded institution, with numerous programs including Management, Environmental Health, Education and Arts.
There are six publicly funded post-secondary institutions in the city: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), University of Alberta, NorQuest College, MacEwan University, Concordia College and King’s University College. There are also numerous private colleges and trade schools. Many are to train new workers for Edmonton’s industrial and construction jobs. In all, there are over 180,000 post-secondary students in Edmonton.
Cost of Moving to Edmonton
Whether moving across the country or across the pond, it takes a lot of planning. If you wish to move all of your belongings to Edmonton, you could have them sent by shipping container. Here are a few quick cost estimates to get you started. These estimates are in pounds, based on an average size move for a family of three.