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What is life REALLY like living in Calgary?

By Quality Move Management Inc / November 29, 2017

Nestled at the watersmeet of the Bow River and the Elbow River, Calgary is often referred to as the gateway to the rolling Rocky Mountains, situated just a 90 minute drive away from the urban city. Calgary is a faultless combination of a metropolitan city that is surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The largest city in Alberta has been described as not only Canada’s wealthiest city, but it has received international recognition as one of the cleanest cities in the world and as the world’s fifth most liveable city for the seventh year in a row, according to the Economist, but what is life in Calgary REALLY like for its residents?

What is Calgary’s population?

With a population of over 1.2 million inhabitants, Calgary is Alberta’s largest city by population and the third-largest municipality in Canada. The metropolitan population of Calgary is close to 1.4 million people, making it the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Canada.

Having said this, there is no need to feel claustrophobic. Despite the high population, Calgary has one of the lowest population densities in the country so residents have ample space to enjoy some me-time and personal space.  

Where are the best places to live in Calgary?

Thereis no set answer to ‘where is the best place to live in Calgary?’ Characteristics that make a neighbourhood favourable differ from person-to-person.  It is likely that a retired, countryside loving couple would have different town preferences and priorities than a young, party-going singleton.

Every year, Avenue Calgary conducts a survey to discover what characteristics the residents of Calgary believe are important for making a neighbourhood a great place to live. As the new annual survey is being prepared, they eliminate attributes that were deemed unimportant and replaced with new questions that will hopefully bring about more accurate and real-to-life results when listing the top 10 neighbourhoods in Calgary.

This year, the five most important neighbourhoods’ attributes for Calgary residents were low crime, access to parks and pathways, access to restaurants, cafes and pubs, walkability and high community engagement.

In 2017, the top 10 neighbourhoods based on these five characteristics were as listed below:

  1. Varsity
  2. Beltline
  3. Edgemont
  4. Brentwood
  5. Signal Hill
  6. Huntington Hills
  7. Bridgeland / Riverside
  8. Arbour Lake
  9. Downtown Commercial Core
  10. Crescent Heights

What is the cost of living in Calgary?

When taking Toronto and Vancouver into consideration, Calgary is certainly not the most expensive Canadian city to reside in. However, Calgary is still considered expensive when looking at day to day living costs, and there is also a notable shortage of affordable accommodation to buy or rent.

What are the average Calgary house prices?

  • Average monthly rent for one bedroom apartment - C$1,250 p/m
  • Average monthly rent for three bedroom family home - C$1850 p/m

How much do utilities cost in Calgary?

  • Average utilities cost for 2 people in 85m2 flat (gas, heating, electricity) – C$227 p/m
  • Average utilities cost for 1 person in 45m2 studio (gas, heating, electricity) - C$135 p/m
  • 8mbps Internet - C$68 p/m

How much does food and drink cost in Calgary?

  • 1 litre of whole fat milk - C$2.26
  • Loaf of bread - C$2.53
  • 12 large eggs - C$3.71
  • 500gr of local cheese - C$11.20
  • 1kg of rice - C$9.35
  • 1kg of potatoes - C$2.93
  • 1kg of apples - C$4.04
  • 1kg of bananas - C$1.73
  • 1kg of tomatoes - C$3.95
  • 500gr of boneless chicken breast - C$7
  • 1kg of Beef Round - C$14.20
  • 1.5 litre bottle of water - C$2.03
  • 1 bottle of red wine - C$21
  • Meal in fast food restaurant - C$9

What are the main job prospects in the City of Calgary?

Residents of Calgary seem to have a natural, entrepreneurial spirit, which is echoed through the fact the city has the largest small business and head office concentration per person. The economy of Calgary and its primary industries are becoming more diversified as every year passes. The energy sector still holds the reins, although there are a whole host of industries that are now key players in making up the economy of Calgary.

The primary industries within the city are;

  • Energy
  • Technology
  • Renewable Energy
  • Agribusiness
  • Manufacturing
  • Financial Services
  • Film & TV
  • Transportation & Logistics
  • Creative Industries
  • Real Estate

What are the best things to do in Calgary?

Whether you are moving to Calgary as a young individual, a mature couple or as part of a family, there is plenty to see and do to occupy your free time and weekends. Calgary has nature, parks, museums, attractions, historic sites and much more, all at various price points to suit all budgets.

Below we have listed just a small few of our favourite things to do or see in Calgary:

  • Heritage Park Historical Village – Take a wander around 66 acres of historic Canadian living at this re-created town, where all the buildings are from 1915 or earlier. Featuring a grain mill, church, fort and more.
  • Calgary Zoo – With over 1000 species of animal, you will be transported to every corner of the world, mingling with gorillas and orangutans, hippos and penguins, to tigers, kangaroos and red pandas. There is even a dedicated Canadian Wilds area where you can enjoy the spectacle of Canadian moose and bears.
  • Prince’s Island Park – If you are looking for somewhere to walk, chill and take it easy, Prince’s Island Park is your place. Situated alongside the Bow River, you can spend your afternoon strolling, fishing, or enjoying a picnic. The park also hosts the Folk Music Festival every July.
  • Glenbow Museum – Glenbow Museum boasts a collection of both permanent and fleeting exhibitions that will appeal to people of all tastes, from art buffs, history lovers and pop-culture enthusiasts.
  • Calgary Stampede – For 10 days in July, you can enjoy what is otherwise known as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the Calgary Stampede. The annual event is a Calgary tradition and the highest grossing festival across Canada. You will revel in musical performances, rodeo competitions, fairgrounds, agricultural exhibitions, carnivals plus much, much more. There’s a reason why it got that nickname!
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