The decision has been made that you want to move to Alberta, presumably for its breathtakingly picturesque National Parks, the positively resurgent economy or the fact that residents of Alberta soak up more sunny days than any other province in the country.
This being said, Alberta’s cities are varied and unique with their own special characteristics… so how do you choose a city when moving to Alberta?
In April, British Colombia and Ontario battled it out in a Toronto vs Vancouver knockout, but now we are pitching Alberta’s two powerhouse cities against each other, to help find you your new Albertan home.
Through comparing important life factors such as job market, climate, food and housing prices, we hope to help you make an informed decision on which Albertan city is best for your needs and if it would be more fun and beneficial for you living in Edmonton vs. Calgary.
Bring on the battle!
Calgary vs Edmonton
REAL ESTATE AND COST OF LIVING
Wherever you live in the world, housing and accommodation is pretty much always your biggest outgoing, but if you are living in Calgary, you will need to set aside a significantly higher percentage of your monthly wages than if you were to move to Edmonton.
The cost of renting a house in one of Edmonton's more expensive areas is approximately 23% cheaper than a property of an equivalent size and standard in Calgary, and the rent for an apartment in a STANDARD area of Edmonton is roughly 13% cheaper than Calgary's equivalent. With the cost of internet, televisions, utilities also running cheaper in Edmonton, the price difference between living in Calgary or Edmonton equates to a sizeable amount each month.
Housing aside, there is a broad spectrum contributing factors that will affect your monthly living costs, but we have concluded that Edmonton is our winner for overall affordability and the cost of living in Edmonton is significantly more pocket-friendly.
In fact, it is only grocery shopping and buying clothes where we found the cost of living in Calgary to be marginally cheaper than Edmonton. Buying groceries, meat, poultry, beer etc. in a Calgary supermarket, you will save a few dollars, similarly with clothing which was around 6% cheaper in Calgary than in Edmonton.
However, an evening of entertainment, dining out or heading for drinks a bar will cost you considerably less in Edmonton. More importantly, everyday essential products, services and necessitates such as transportation, toiletries and medicine cost far less when living in Edmonton.
CAREERS AND JOB MARKET
Both Edmonton and Calgary shine in their own ways with regards jobs and workers, as each city’s job market is beneficial for workers from differing industries and on varying career paths.
Both jobs in Edmonton and jobs in Calgary are highly dependent on the energy industry, but there are a number of industries, different in each city, that plays an important role in the employment of those living in Calgary and Edmonton.
When looking at jobs in Edmonton, approximately 25% of workers are said to work within a public sector role, whether this is a government role, educational position or a job in health care, all of which continue to hire increasing numbers of people each year, whereas the number of public sector workers in Calgary is ever so slightly declining.
The speciality industry of city of Calgary jobs is head office and professional jobs, but ever since the construction hit, many of these roles have unfortunately begun to disappear.
When looking at unemployment rates of the Calgary vs Edmonton, Calgary steamed ahead of Edmonton for the first time in October 2015 with an unemployment rate of 6.9%, compared to Edmonton’s 6.1%. Calgary hasn’t yet managed to pull them back, and as Edmonton’s unemployment rate has dropped, Calgary’s continues to rise and in October 2016, Calgary had an unemployment rate of 10.2% versus Edmonton’s 6.9%.
If peace of mind of holding down a secure career is of pivotal importance, moving to Edmonton should be more of a consideration to you. And with that said, the battle for the city with the most positive career prospects and job markets is awarded to Edmonton!
In April’s battle of the cities, we discovered that Toronto and Vancouver had drastically different climates all year-round, due to the geographical distance between the two. However, since Calgary and Edmonton are comparatively close, they average yearly temperatures are not too dissimilar… and they are both in the province of Alberta which is commonly known to have the most sunshine days in Canada!
Calgary’s warmest months are July and August, when temperatures regularly 23°C in July and a very pleasant 24°C in August with approximately 11 sunshine hours in a day. However, the summer can be fairly wet in Calgary, the average number of days with rainfall between May and September ranges from 9 days to 13 days of rain. In contrast to Calgary’s summer heat, Decembers average temperature is -6°C and the coldest of them all is January at -7°C, and between November and March, the average depth of the snow on the ground ranges between 2cm and 6cm, with January having an average of 10 days of snowfall.
Whilst Calgary has approximately 88 days of snow every year, you will have to have an exceptionally good pair of snow boots in Edmonton as you will see roughly 141 snow days annually. The city’s average winter temperatures range from -11°C in December and January stoops slightly lower to -12°C, but February has a whopping 21cm of snow throughout February. Moving on to the more appealing summertime, Edmonton’s warmest months is similarly July and August, with both months reaching average daily temperatures of 22°C and an extra day of rainfall in June and July, with an average 14 days of rainfall in both months but both cities have the same number of sunshine hours each day.
…Calgary takes the climate crown
CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
The best culture and entertainment is a tough one to place, as this is possibly the most subjective opinion of them all; what are you into, how do you like to spend you spare time? One person’s idea of entertainment is another person’s idea of hell.
If nightlife is your thing, relocating to Calgary might be pushed to the top of your list. Whilst Edmonton is laced with pubs and bars, Calgary has a far more diverse array of nightlife with many more nightclubs, and the night time vibe definitely has more of a city-feel about it. Calgary is also home to one of the most renowned festivals in North America, the Calgary Stampede.
In Edmonton’s case, in the past couple of years they have hosted some important sporting events such as the Women’s FIFA World Cup, the world’s longest hockey game – Forty Alberta - takes place in the city every couple of years and the Red Bull Crashed Ice finales also take place here… oh, and they have the world largest shopping mall.
Amongst many other WONDERFUL entertainment opportunities and culture hubs within both cities, it’s fair to call this one a tie.
Although both cities are within the Alberta province, and many of the landscapes and natural wonders that we are about to discuss are in Alberta rather than Calgary or Edmonton, it is a bit of an unfair ranking. After much deliberation, we will give the outdoor living crown to Calgary due to its closer location to many important national parks.
Moving to Calgary means you will be living close by some of the most instantly recognisable scenes and landscapes in the world. The breath-taking Banff, Waterton Park, Lake Louise and outstanding Jasper National Park are all within a two hour drive of Calgary, meaning you can spend the weekend soaking up some of the most awe-inspiring landscape in the world as often as you would like.
Unfortunately for Calgary, Edmonton is one of the best places to live in Canada if you are a true foodie. In fact, the distinctly unique cuisine that has been enjoyed over Edmonton is helping to boost its profile worldwide, as one of the globes greatest food hubs.
Believe us when we say if you are after a palette explosion but you are moving to Calgary, there is certainly no shortage of restaurants that can offer you such an experience! However, there is something quirky and unmistakeable about Edmonton’s current food scene.
Edmonton places a strong emphasis on sourcing produce from local farms and butchers to guarantee that each and every meal that they serve is as fresh as possible. Also, there isn’t one set ‘flavour’ or one singular running theme for its meals as Edmonton pulls inspiration from its extremely diversified mixture of cultures and heritages within the city.
If you want high-class, rustic warehouse, farmers markets, chilled lounges or hipster coffee shops, Edmonton has it all in abundance. Relocating to Edmonton for its food scene alone is definitely something we would debate at QMM!
Living in Calgary or relocating to Edmonton both has pros and cons, although we must admin, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. If you love world-class cuisine, saving money wherever you can and are hopeful for an ever improving job market, a move to Edmonton might be just what you are looking for.
Whereas outdoor enthusiasts, culture queens and those who can’t bare a winter that is TOO cold, living in Calgary might suit you a little better.
Wherever you decide to move to, QMM are here to help every step of the way! As the leading Edmonton and Calgary movers, we are well experienced to assist and make the relocation an easy one for you. To find out more about our services for moving to Edmonton or moving to Calgary, contact us today and we will be more than pleased to assist.