Moving to Calgary, Canada
Nestled between the Canadian Rockies and the Prairies, Calgary is one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. It is known for being clean, green and safe. Calgarians enjoy breathtaking views of the area’s mountains and lakes. Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and golf are popular. During the winter, skiing and snowboarding is possible since the mountains are so close.
Calgary is the largest city in the province of Alberta and the fifth largest in Canada with a population of over 1 million residents. The people are friendly, making it a great place to raise a family. Calgarians also like to party – the Calgary Stampede is ten days of tournaments, concerts, food and rides. It’s one of the world’s most prestigious rodeos. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) 2014 Global Liveability Ranking, Calgary is the fifth best city to live in the world. Calgary has low unemployment rates, high incomes and a great quality of life.
To get to work, Calgary has a public transit system which includes the C Train and buses. City highways are crowded during rush hour from commuters driving to the downtown area. Commute times can be long since the city is a large metropolitan. Those who live nearby can walk or bike to work, making their commute an easy one.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, Calgary is the number one city in the country to move to for work.
Due to a boom in natural resources, Calgary boasts a low unemployment rate. Jobs in the oil and gas industry are plentiful and pay well. Other sectors that are strong include mining, financial services, communications and construction.
Professionals in the fields of innovation and technology, such as engineers or scientists, are sought after, as are skilled workers. There is a high concentration of large companies and corporate headquarters in Calgary, making it a great place for well-paying jobs.
For entrepreneurs looking to move to Calgary, the city boasts some of the highest levels of self-employment and small businesses in Canada. Many resources and programs are available for those looking to launch their own startup.
Thinking of moving to Calgary?
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Income is higher in Calgary, but so are housing and rental prices. The following sale prices are the current Calgary numbers for 2014 (year to date) in Canadian dollars. The average sale price for a single family home was $552,927. For townhouses, the average sale price was $362,347. Condos were the most affordable, averaging $324,586.
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, approximately 26 per cent of residences in Calgary are rental properties. The average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $1,302; the range is from $700 to $3000 depending location, age of building and amenities. Two bedroom apartments rent for an average of $1,579, with a range of $945 to $4000.
Calgary is divided into four distinct quadrants: Northwest (NW), Southwest (SW), Northeast (NE), and Southeast (SE). Most addresses and roads will include the quadrant to make it easier to navigate the city. Also, streets generally go from north to south while avenues go from east to west. There are over 200 distinct neighbourhoods in Calgary. The West end of the city is known for its most desirable neighbourhoods while the East end is generally more commercial and industrial.
- Downtown - Situated in the blocks where the SW and SE quadrants meet, Calgary’s downtown area is the place to be. It boasts historic sandstone buildings, a daytime pedestrian mall, boutiques, street vendors, pubs and restaurants. The downtown core is home to many cultural landmarks, such as the Glenbow Museum and the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts. The nearby Eau Clair district and Chinatown offer great eats and shopping. For those looking to live downtown, expect to find apartments and condos, with higher rents than outside the downtown core. There are many advantages to living here, including walking to work, easy access to shops and restaurants and a bustling nightlife.
- Northwest - Kensington is a popular destination with its pedestrian friendly streets and over 250 restaurants and shops. Also known as “Calgary’s Urban Village”, this area is experiencing a real estate boom with many new condos being built in the next few years. The popular Brentwood neighbourhood offers mature landscaping and lovely single homes. There are also apartments for students attending the nearby University of Calgary. Brentwood was named 2014’s third best Calgary neighbourhood by Avenue magazine.
- Southwest - Elbow Park, located just south of downtown, is one of the oldest and most beautiful neighbourhoods in Calgary. Stately homes, gorgeous parks, a beach and the Elbow River make this a coveted district. It is one of Calgary’s most expensive real estate areas with many million dollar homes. For a more trendy area that won’t break the bank, explore the Mission neighbourhood. It offers more affordable apartment and condo prices, a variety of restaurants and is walking distance to downtown.
- Northeast - Mayland Heights is a popular neighbourhood for those looking to rent or buy an affordable place to live. With its many parks and schools, it’s great for families. Renfrew is another desirable neighbourhood in the NE quadrant. Housing is more affordable and it’s close to downtown thanks to the Deerfoot Trail.
- Southeast - Generally less expensive for housing, the SE quadrant has many good neighbourhoods. The nicer and most popular areas are located furthest to the South. Inglewood is an eclectic mix of shops, sights and attractions. Home to the Calgary Zoo and “Calgary’s Original Main Street”, this neighbourhood offers a mix of single homes and rentals.
- McKenzie Towne - A suburban neighbourhood popular with young families. Expect newer construction and larger homes that are more affordable than in those in the downtown area. McKenzie Towne has a small town feel since stores, shopping and schools are within walking distance.
Schools and Education
The public education system in Canada is regarded as one of the best in the world. Alberta prides itself in offering parents many choices when it comes to their child’s education. The largest school board in Calgary is the Calgary Board of Education which runs over 225 English language schools for students in Kindergarten through grade twelve. The Calgary Catholic School District is the second largest with 105 English language schools. There are also six Francophone schools in the Calgary area.
Charter schools are another choice for those living in Calgary. Part of the public education system, they provide specialized programs or learning approaches, such as gifted, music and sports programs.
Calgary has a number of private schools for students up to grade twelve. Each school is distinct and offers its own program. They include catholic education, programs for children with learning disabilities and advanced academics.
For post-secondary education, Calgary is home to several colleges and universities. The University of Calgary has over 31,000 students and is one of the largest in Alberta. Mount-Royal University has about 12,000 students and offers bachelor’s degrees while maintaining smaller class sizes.
Cost of Moving to Calgary
Here are some estimated moving costs, based on an average move for a family of three.
|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|