Moving to Calgary
Putting Calgary on the Map
Situated where the Elbow and Bow rivers meet, Calgary is at the intersection of two motorway systems, the Canamex Corridor which runs from Canada to Mexico and the Trans-Canada Highway, which runs from ocean to ocean, across the US. Calgary is 161 miles north of Carway on the US border.
- Calgary Transit offers trains (LRT) and buses to virtually anywhere in the city and suburbs.
- Calgary International Airport is 11 miles north-east of the downtown area and it serves in excess of 12.5 million passengers per annum.
- There are a number of bus services running from the airport to Calgary and other destinations in Alberta. Calgary Transit runs one public bus service, while the Airport Shuttle Express services most hotels in the city.
- Airport Taxis are available, just outside the Arrival Hall.
- The airport is one of eight in the country with US Border Pre-Clearance Facilities, which allows passenger to go through customs before arriving in the USA.
- In terms of traffic congestion, Calgary comes in at 9th out of the 12 largest cities in Canada. This is accredited to many commuters using public transport.
- More and more people are cycling to work. The cycle network has been upgraded, and dedicated cycle tracks are on 5th Street, 12th Avenue, and 8th and 9th
- The vast grasslands earned the city the Wild West name, Cow Town.
- Calgary has the most sunshine in Canada at 2600 hours of sun per year.
Calgary’s housing is a mix of single-family homes, duplexes and high-rise flats. The closer to the downtown area the more expensive the rentals become, whereas in the suburbs, properties are less expensive, larger and more modern. Families with kids would usually choose a suburb where the children can walk to school, whereas single and younger couples would rather be where the action is, close to the city. Calgary’s most popular neighbourhoods are in the south-west and north-west areas due to the stunning views of the mountain ranges and thus rentals are higher. The city is surrounded by a profoundly beautiful and unspoiled area, a resource-rich natural environment.
For commuters, the industrial and commercial districts are in the south-east quadrant. Calgary’s average housing price is less than the national average. The building trend has moved to mostly multi-family units rather than detached houses. The areas below are listed in order of popularity.
The most popular area in the city, this hub of activity is home to the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo and festival, and the retail and entertainment district of 17th Avenue SW. From giant big box, or chain, grocery stores, to smaller and niche independents, award-winning restaurants and cocktail lounges and coffee shops, it is topped off by Central Memorial Park, with its lovely gardens and library. Accommodation is mainly in tower blocks, but very occasionally standalone houses come up. Close to downtown, walking and cycling are extremely popular, along with easily accessible public transport.
Located north-west of the city, this beautiful neighbourhood is nestled between two trails, a park and the LRT line, perfect for those wanting to walk in nature or hop onto the train for a quick trip to the city.
Scoring well for schools – there are more than 12 in the 2.9km² area – along with the University of Calgary being nearby, you’re ensured education from nursery school to university. There is a warm community spirit with residents taking neighbourliness to a new level.
Recreational facilities include hiking in Nose Hill Park or working out at the Brentwood Sportsplex or the Sir Winston Churchill Aquatic and Recreation Centre. For a bit of retail therapy, Brentwood Village, Northland Village Mall and Market Mall offer independent and chain stores.
Brentwood residents are spoilt for choice with a mix of apartments and detached houses with gardens.
Close to Brentwood, bordering the same trails and park and sharing the same amenities and benefits, Dalhousie has a number of good schools. With its strength in community engagement, almost everyone joins in the fun at the communal sports events and seasonal gatherings. A wealth of green spaces and a variety of housing options combine to make Dalhousie a great area to live in.
Established in 1960, and located in the south-east, the leafy streets are lined with well-kept homes. These houses have a spacious 16 feet between them, unheard of elsewhere in the city. There are nine schools in total, across all grades, and an extremely busy recreation complex for curling, squash and hockey. The Deerfoot and Blackfoot trails are a quick, convenient car ride away, and the bus routes run through the suburb, while CTrain stations are located on the area’s border.
A smaller neighbourhood, offering easy access to the city and a great cityscape view, this community is one of Calgary’s oldest. With a variety of schools, plenty of shops and services, and a wealth of recreational facilities, the area appeals to all, families, young couples and singles alike. Accommodation ranges from apartments and duplexes to standalone houses in tree-lined streets, both modern and historic. Walk to work in the city, or catch a bus, and enjoy the weekends at the flea market, the farmers markets and many events and festivals throughout the year.
This bustling and sprawling commercial hub has all the amenities a neighbourhood could offer, a movie theatre, shops and grocery stores, banks, medical facilities, the Westside Recreation Centre and a busy public library. A World War I monument with 16,000 stones forms battalion numbers along a broad hillside, framing the houses, with their panoramic views of the Rockies. Conveniently close to the city in the south-west, an hour’s drive is all that’s needed to get away from it all to the mountains.
One of north-west Calgary’s lake communities, this area was modelled on areas in southern California. The community joins in all the fun, with a busy schedule including ice-skating, swimming, boating and fishing – and more. There’s no need to escape to the country from here. With views to die for and the nearby amenities of Crowfoot Crossing supply all the retail therapy needed. There are a couple of schools in the suburb.
Who Lives and Works in Calgary?
With a population of 1.2 million in the city, the metropolitan area has shown the highest growth rate in Canada over the past five years, now sitting at 1.4 million people. Calgary enjoys the highest salaries and wages in the country, driven by immigration, increased labour force participation and inter-provincial migration. The city is home to more than 240 ethnic origins, which ranks them third in visible minorities in Canada.
With one of the highest educated workforces in the world and the highest level of post-secondary completion in the country, this is reflected in the fast-growing labour concentrations in the professional, technical and scientific services industries.
An excellent quality of life, low taxes and high wages, cleanliness and the outstanding beauty of the area surrounding the city all contribute to the number of people moving to Calgary. The area has more small business and head offices per capita than the 6 major Canadian cities, with less closing down in the last five years than new businesses opening up.
Oil and gas have traditionally been a large player in the economy, but the need to move away from these has prompted a growth in tourism and high-tech manufacturing, along with film, transportation, e-commerce, and services.
The Best Bits
- The Canadian Rockies. Close to the city, the scenery, the escape from suburbia and city life offers a variety of sports, especially skiing in the winter months.
- There are 8,000 hectares of parkland and nearly 500 miles of walkways.
- The fascinating and special interest in wildlife. A park was closed for a month due to interactions between the public and denning coyotes.
- 48 scenic golf courses.
- The world-famous Calgary Stampede. Close to the city, Stampede Park hosts this festival every July. It involves all things wild-west and rodeos.
- Canada Olympic Park. For many people, this is the closest they will ever get to physically attending the Olympics. It is used all year long for training athletes and is open for a quick skiing lesson. Or try the luge or bobsleigh, or visit the Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum.
- Prince’s Island Park. Close to the zoo, with cottonwood trees lining the walking and biking trails, have a picnic or play family games. Regular outdoor theatre and festivals are held here. Cross the footbridge over the Bow River to the Eau Claire Market, or pay a visit to the River Café for fine dining.
- 14 museums beckon culture hounds, while Downtown Calgary is a mecca for performing arts.
- Calgary Zoo is home to more than 1400 animals, the botanic garden and a prehistoric park.
Bringing the Kids
With its excellent reputation for education, there are many good schools from which to choose.
- Calgary has two universities and four colleges.
- State schools do not charge and are location, or catchment, based. You would need to live in the same area as your desired school in order to qualify for a place.
- There are 132 elementary schools in the city and surrounding area, 28 combined elementary and junior, 22 junior highs, 6 combined junior and senior, and 16 senior high schools.
- French is no longer mandatory in Calgary Schools.
- There are 20 private schools where fees are applicable.
- Although there are no international schools in Calgary, some private schools offer the International Baccalaureate.
- The first public school was founded in 1884
Relocating to Calgary
This beautiful Canadian city has a peaceful and tolerant multi-cultural population, is a one hour drive from the scenic Rocky Mountains, is one of the cleanest and most liveable cities in the world, has the CTrain – North America’s first wind-powered public transport system, is one of the country’s wealthiest cities and has the biggest number of buildings connected by footbridges in the world.
There is a good selection of properties and schools to choose from, but remember, if your children are entering the excellent public education system, then you would need to reside in the same area as the school. It all sounds a bit daunting, but the help of an expert relocation agent, who has experience in the area, will smooth the way for you and your family. This includes rent negotiation, move management, school finding and enrolling the kids.
Average Monthly Rent - Calgary
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre||C$1,213|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre||C$961|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre||C$2,043|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre||C$1,586|