Moving to Calgary: 7 Reasons to Love Living in Calgary, AB

Posted by Justin Havre on Wednesday, April 17th, 2024 at 8:10am.

What to Know About Living in Calgary, Alberta

Considering moving to Calgary? Understandably, you’ll want to know what awaits you in this sun-soaked city, nestled against the glorious Rockies. From the reality of housing costs and job market prospects to the pulse of daily life in Calgary’s best neighbourhoods, prospective residents can check all their boxes before moving. Calgary isn’t merely a new address—it’s a place where you can thrive.

Top 3 Reasons to Move to Calgary

  • Calgary offers a unique mix of urban and outdoor living with over 333 sunny days a year and proximity to the Rocky Mountains for year-round adventures like hiking and skiing.
  • The cost of living in Calgary is relatively low compared to other major Canadian cities, featuring affordable housing, daily expenses, and a competitive job market with growing opportunities in the energy, tech, and healthcare sectors.
  • Calgary provides a high quality of life with efficient public transportation, diverse neighbourhoods for different lifestyles, and a thriving community culture with family-friendly activities, cultural hotspots, and a pedestrian-friendly downtown.

Embracing Calgary's Sunshine and Scenery

The city’s geographical location sets Calgary apart from other major Canadian cities. Nestled near the Rocky Mountains, Calgary offers residents a unique blend of urban living and outdoor adventure. Not only is it one of the sunniest cities in Canada, but it’s also a gateway to some of the country’s most breathtaking natural wonders, making it a standout among Canadian provinces.

Imagine starting your day with a cup of coffee, overlooking the Calgary area’s beautiful scenery, and ending it with a hike or a ski trip in the Rocky Mountains. Sounds incredible, right?

Year-Round Sun

You don’t have to wait until spring or summer to enjoy the sunshine in Calgary. The city boasts an incredible 333 sunny days per year, which means you can enjoy outdoor activities on a regular basis, even in the winter months. This abundance of clear weather is one of the reasons people may prefer to live in Calgary versus Vancouver.

Some popular outdoor activities in Calgary include:

  • Fly fishing on the Bow River
  • Urban hikes in Nose Hill Park in Northwest Calgary
  • Biking along the city’s extensive pathway system
  • Golfing at one of the many golf courses in the area
  • Exploring the Calgary Zoo or Heritage Park

There’s something for everyone to enjoy.

But that’s not all. The unique Chinook winds can raise temperatures by up to 20℃ in a few hours, contributing to the city’s warm and sunny weather throughout fall and spring. How amazing is that?

Outdoor Adventures Near Calgary

Kayaking on the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta

Calgary’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains opens up a world of outdoor activities that’s hard to match. Whether you’re an avid skier, a seasoned hiker, or simply someone who appreciates beautiful landscapes, you’ll find endless opportunities for adventure here. In fact, accessing the mountains from Calgary is even more convenient than from other major cities. Some of Calgary’s suburbs, like the Cochrane community, provide even closer proximity to the Rockies. With world-class ski resorts just a short drive away, you can hit the slopes whenever the mood strikes.

Plus, don’t forget the stunning views! Living near the Rockies allows Calgary residents to combine their love for outdoor adventures with an appreciation of the region’s stunning landscapes.

Navigating the Cost of Living in Calgary

One of the many reasons why people choose to move to Calgary is its affordability. Compared to other major Canadian cities, Calgary offers a lower cost of living without compromising on quality. Even in Calgary’s most expensive areas, such as the Altadore neighbourhood, average home prices are below city-wide averages in places like Toronto and Vancouver. This affordability extends to various aspects of city living, from housing to daily expenses.

Calgary Housing Market Insights

Homes in Calgary are Cheap Compared to Ontario and British Columbia

When it comes to housing, Calgary stands out for its affordability. The average monthly mortgage payment in Calgary is significantly lower than in Vancouver or Victoria. This means that owning a home in Calgary is within reach for many people. Additionally, if you’re looking to rent, you’ll be pleased to know that rental rates in Calgary are also relatively affordable. Despite a recent upsurge in the rental market, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Calgary is still lower than in many other Canadian cities.

But affordability doesn’t mean a lack of options. In fact, Calgary’s housing market offers a variety of options to suit different needs and lifestyles. Whether you’re looking for condos in Downtown Calgary, detached homes the quiet areas of its most affordable neighbourhoods, or luxury homes on the river, you’re sure to find something that fits your budget and preferences in Calgary.

Daily Expenses

Besides housing, other daily expenses in Calgary are more affordable than in other Canadian cities. For example, the average cost of groceries in Calgary is lower, which can significantly reduce your monthly expenses. Additionally, Calgary offers a low-income monthly transit pass, with the price determined based on the rider’s income. This makes public transportation a cost-effective option for getting around the city.

Despite the rising costs of utilities and transportation, living in Calgary remains affordable overall. It’s estimated that an average monthly budget of about $3,000 is sufficient for an individual to live in Calgary comfortably. This affordability, combined with the city’s high average salaries, means Calgary residents can enjoy a higher standard of living compared to many other cities in Canada.

The Job Market in Calgary: Diverse Opportunities Await

Another factor that makes Calgary attractive is its robust job market. With diverse industry opportunities, Calgary is a great place to start or advance your career. Whether you’re passionate about energy, healthcare, technology, or finance, you’ll find plenty of job openings that match your skills and interests.

Energy Sector and Corporate Presence

Calgary Business District Skyscrapers

Calgary has long been known as an energy hub, with many corporate head offices in this sector. This means that there are numerous job opportunities in the energy sector, including:

  • Engineering
  • Project management
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Supply chain management
  • Environmental and sustainability roles

Moreover, the energy sector's growth is expected to continue in Alberta’s largest city, thanks to the increasing number of corporate head offices establishing themselves there. These offices are typically clustered in Calgary’s City Centre.

But it’s not just about the energy sector. Calgary’s corporate presence extends to other industries as well. For instance, the city is home to many financial institutions, tech companies, and healthcare organizations. This diverse corporate presence offers many job opportunities, making Calgary an attractive destination for professionals from different fields.

Growing Industries

In addition to the energy sector, several other industries in Calgary are experiencing significant growth. The tech sector, for instance, is booming in Calgary. With a growing number of tech professionals and competitive business costs, many tech companies choose Calgary as their strategic location. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, located in the Hillhurst neighbourhood, educates a lot of the city’s new tech industry talent. 

Other growing industries in Calgary include agriculture and healthcare. The agriculture sector is leveraging tech innovations to become more efficient and sustainable, attracting both local and international investment. Meanwhile, the healthcare sector is witnessing rapid growth, with increased funding and initiatives for research, state-of-the-art facilities, and cutting-edge medical technology attracting health professionals. Medical providers like the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary’s St. Andrews Heights neighbourhood are huge employers in the city. All these factors make Calgary a great place to start or advance your career, regardless of your industry.

Integrating into Calgary's Community and Culture

Moving to a new city is not just about finding a job or a place to live. It’s also about becoming part of a community. Fortunately, Calgary offers:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Friendly community
  • Variety of cultural hotspots
  • Family-friendly activities

Whether you’re a foodie, an art lover, or a family person, you’ll find plenty to love about Calgary’s community and culture.

Cultural Hotspots and Nightlife

Downtown East Village in Calgary, Alberta

Calgary’s cultural scene is vibrant and diverse. The city is home to a number of cultural hotspots, including Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, which offers five floors of interactive exhibits in the Downtown East Village area. Additionally, the city’s nightlife is equally exciting, with various bars, clubs, and music venues to choose from.

But it’s not just about music and nightlife. Calgary also boasts a thriving culinary scene, with many world-class restaurants offering a range of cuisines. Whether you’re in the mood for:

  • Italian
  • Chinese
  • Indian
  • Japanese food

You’ll find a restaurant that will satisfy your taste buds. Plus, the city hosts world-class festivals like the Calgary Stampede and Sled Island, among other cultural events celebrating music, arts, and food.

Family-Friendly Activities in Calgary

Calgary is also a great place for children. The city offers a wide range of kid-friendly activities and attractions. For instance, the Calgary Zoo, located on the Bow River in the Bridgeland-Riverside community, is a must-visit. As Canada’s most visited zoo, it features over 4,000 animals and is known for its excellent animal care and innovative habitat designs. And then there’s the TELUS Spark Science Centre, which offers over 100 interactive exhibits and educational programs focusing on science and technology.

But that’s not all. Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada's largest living history museum, provides interactive insights into the country’s early days and historical learning experiences. This popular destination is located in the Eagle Ridge neighbourhood, which boasts some of the most sought-after luxury homes in Calgary. For those who love outdoor activities, Calaway Park, Western Canada’s biggest outdoor amusement park, offers a variety of rides and entertainment that cater to all age groups. With so many attractions and activities, families in Calgary will never run out of things to do.

Seamless City Living with Calgary Transit and Infrastructure

One of the aspects that makes city living in Calgary so enjoyable is its efficient public transportation and infrastructure. Whether commuting to work, exploring the city, or running errands, Calgary’s public transportation system makes getting around easy and convenient.

Public Transportation Network

The CTrain in Calgary, Alberta

Calgary’s public transportation network, Calgary Transit, is highly efficient and user-friendly. For instance, the city’s CTrain light rail system comprises two main lines, the Red and Blue lines, covering a combined length of 59.9 km with 45 stations. This makes the CTrain one of North America's most utilized light rail systems. And the best part? Certain sections of the downtown track operate as a free-fare zone, making it even more convenient for commuters.

In addition to the CTrain, Calgary Transit’s bus services provide extensive connectivity, with various routes spanning numerous city neighbourhoods. This means that no matter where you live in Calgary, you’ll have easy access to public transportation. Plus, the city offers a low-income monthly transit pass, with the price determined based on the rider’s income, making public transportation in Calgary affordable for everyone.

Unique Pedestrian Connections

For those who prefer walking, Calgary has a unique infrastructure just for you. Calgary's Plus 15 (or +15) skywalk system includes over 86 bridges and links more than 100 buildings across approximately 16 kilometres of pathways. This unique elevated pedestrian network offers a quick and comfortable way to navigate Calgary’s City Centre communities, especially during the cold winter.

But the +15 is not just about convenience. It’s also about creating a pedestrian-friendly environment that promotes walking as a healthy and sustainable mode of transportation. So whether you’re commuting to work, shopping, or simply taking a stroll, the Plus 15 makes getting around Downtown Calgary a breeze.

Calgary's Neighbourhoods: Finding Your Perfect Spot

One of the best things about Calgary is its diverse neighbourhoods. From bustling urban areas with access to cultural hotspots and amenities to tranquil suburbs ideal for nature lovers, Calgary has a neighbourhood to suit every lifestyle.

Urban Living in Downtown Calgary

Downtown Calgary is a place for those who love city living. With its unique urban infrastructure, including the Plus 15 system, and easy access to cultural landmarks like the Calgary Tower, living in Downtown Calgary is a unique experience. From Calgary condos to rental apartments and even the odd detached homes, you’re sure to find the perfect home in the heart of the city.

Living in Downtown Calgary also means having a plethora of amenities at your fingertips. From shopping centers, restaurants, and bars to parks and recreational facilities, everything you need is just a short walk or CTrain ride away. And let’s not forget about the vibrant cultural scene and nightlife that make Downtown Calgary so exciting and vibrant. Some of the amenities you can enjoy include:

  • Shopping centers
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Parks and recreational facilities
  • Cultural events and festivals
  • Nightlife options

With all these amenities, Downtown Calgary offers a convenient and vibrant lifestyle.

Suburban Comforts

Applewood Park Suburban Neighbourhood in Calgary, Alberta

But if you prefer a quieter lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, Calgary’s suburbs have a lot to offer. Neighbourhoods like North Glenmore and the Mahogany community balance city amenities and tranquil living. With spacious homes, friendly communities, and plenty of parks and recreational facilities, these neighbourhoods offer the perfect setting for a comfortable suburban life.

In these suburbs, you can enjoy the best of both worlds—the convenience of city living and the peace and quiet of suburban life. And with easy access to Calgary’s efficient public transportation network, commuting to the city center or exploring other parts of Calgary is a breeze. So, if you’re looking for a place where you can relax and unwind after a busy day, Calgary’s suburbs could be your perfect spot.

Preparing for Calgary's Climate: Understanding Chinook Winds

If you’re considering moving to Calgary, it’s important to understand the local climate, especially the phenomenon of Chinook winds. These warm, dry winds occur on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains and can cause rapid temperature changes in Calgary.

Embracing the Chinook Phenomenon

Chinook winds are a unique feature of Calgary’s climate. They can cause the temperature to rise by up to 20℃ in just a few hours, turning a cold winter day into a mild one. This can be a pleasant surprise, especially in the middle of winter. However, Chinook winds can also bring some challenges, such as varying wardrobe needs and potential impacts on health, like migraines.

Despite these challenges, Calgarians generally welcome Chinook winds. They bring temporary relief from the cold winter temperatures and can even result in a foot of snow disappearing in as little as one day.

So, while you might need to be prepared for rapid weather changes, you can also look forward to some unexpected warm and sunny days in the middle of winter.

Seasonal Considerations

Typical Weather in Calgary, AB

While Chinook winds can bring sudden warmth in the winter, Calgary’s climate is typically characterized by variable weather. Winters can be cold, with periods of extreme cold. However, Calgary residents can stay comfortable by dressing in layers, ensuring their homes have proper insulation, and winterizing their vehicles. Thankfully, many of Calgary's top attractions are indoors for those looking to enjoy the city during winter.

On the other hand, Calgary’s springs and falls are generally mild, encouraging outdoor activities like hiking and enjoying the colourful autumn foliage. These milder seasons contribute significantly to the quality of life for Calgary’s residents, balancing the harsher winters. So while you’ll need to be prepared for Calgary’s variable weather, you can also look forward to enjoying the city’s beautiful seasons.

Ready to Call Calgary Home?

Calgary is a vibrant and affordable city with a high standard of living, diverse job opportunities, and a rich cultural scene. With its unique geographical location, efficient public transportation, and neighbourhoods with homes built by the area's most popular builders, Calgary has something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking urban living or suburban comforts, a career in the energy sector or emerging industries, or a community with cultural hotspots and family-friendly activities, you’ll find it all in Calgary. So why wait? Start your new chapter in this amazing city today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the outdoor activities available in Calgary?

Due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, fly fishing, and urban hikes.

How affordable is living in Calgary?

Much like the overall comparison between Alberta and Ontario, living in Calgary is generally affordable compared to other major Canadian cities, with lower costs for housing and daily expenses.

What job opportunities are available in Calgary?

The diverse job opportunities in industries like energy, healthcare, technology, and finance, providing a range of employment options in Calgary.

What is the climate like in Calgary?

Calgary's climate is variable, with extreme cold in the winter and occasional rapid temperature increases due to Chinook winds. Experience both cold and warm weather throughout the year.

If you're interested in Calgary real estate, contact Justin Havre Real Estate Team with eXp Realty with Calgary Homes at (403) 217-0003 to get in touch with a local real estate agent who can help you find your Calgary dream home today.

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