The Pros and Cons of Living in Calgary in 2023

In the Western Canadian province of Alberta lies the beautiful city of Calgary. With a population of over 1 million people, it might be your next destination. Family-friendly with a low cost of living is a summary of what living in Calgary will look like but, it isn’t nearly enough.

Bow river and city skyline Alberta
Bow River and City Skyline Alberta

You need something more to weigh your options. We’ll help you out. In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive view of the city of Calgary. We’ll answer questions like what it’s like living there, what the unemployment rate is, and whether or not housing is expensive.

Here’s everything you need to know about Calgary so you can decide for yourself if you think Calgary is a good place to live.

The History of Calgary

It began as a site for a native settlement. After 10,000 years, in 1875, Mounties built a fort there which led it to be named Fort Calgary after Calgary Bay located in Scotland. Calgary then became a town in 1884 with only a few settlers. Soon, the population grew to over 3,000 settlers. Calgary became a city 10 years later in 1894.

This Canadian city continues to grow and thrive with several people around the world choosing to build a home in one of its many neighborhoods, study at its university, or work within the city.

The Overall Feel of Calgary

Calgary is for people who enjoy parks, greenery, mountains, and the outdoors. It’s family-friendly and doesn’t have the usual hustle and bustle you’d think of when you mention ‘city’. Calgary is an option for those who prefer driving over commuting. As for the community, Calgary is more conservative than most. There’s not much nightlife but, if you’re looking for some peaceful and quiet time, Calgary’s a great option.

What You Need to Know About Living in Calgary

living in calgary pros and cons

Now, on to the specifics. Let’s tackle some statistics and information you’ll need to know as you weigh your options.

1. Unemployment Rate

Calgary’s unemployment rate dropped in March compared to the month before. It went from 8.0% to 7.7%. When you compare this to the other 34 metropolitan areas including Windsor and Ontario, Calgary has the second-highest unemployment rate.

2. Crime Rate

The overall crime rates in Calgary are low making it a safe city for you to move to and for tourists to visit. The more prominent crimes committed within the city are theft such as items being stolen from the car and your home, vandalism, and drugs. However, these crimes don’t happen that often. When surveyed, citizens felt that walking in Calgary during broad daylight is safe.

3. Education

Calgary’s public school board, the Calgary Board of Education, reported that over 125,000 students have enrolled in one of the 245 schools the board founded. These schools range from those offering kindergarten to high school classes to those offering just kindergarten, just high school, and the like.

One of the top public schools in Calgary includes Western Canada High School offering tons of programs for students such as fine arts, academics, and athletics.

4. Housing Cost

The average price of a home in Calgary is around $570,000. As for condominiums, the average price of a unit is usually $248,000 although, this depends on the neighborhood. Calgary has single-family homes, larger homes, condominiums, and apartments available for sale.

Last month, over 3,400 properties were sold. New listings come on the market every month so, you’ll have various opportunities to buy a home in Calgary.

However, the number of listings available right now will last only a few months if the trend right now of buying properties stays consistent and no one else decides to sell their property. For more information on real estate statistics in Calgary, check out Joe Samson’s Real Estate professionals. You can also

5. Healthcare

Healthcare in Calgary is of high quality. Physicians in the city are knowledgeable, and nurses truly care about their patients. Here’s how the Calgary healthcare system works. Alberta is home to one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in the world.

For Calgary specifically, healthcare is free. Those moving into Calgary can get the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan which covers many of your healthcare needs. To qualify, you’ll need to be a legal permanent resident of Alberta.

If you’re an expat, you’ll need a valid work or residence visa and you must physically be in Alberta for at least 183 days of the year. This plan covers doctor visits, tests such as x-rays, stays in the public ward, surgery, medicine, and more. If you’re not a fan of waiting or you can’t, you can check the Alberta Health Services website for the wait times of each affiliated hospital.

The problem lies in the lack of physicians and healthcare professionals within Calgary. So, if you’re a healthcare professional, starting a clinic or finding a job in one of Calgary’s hospitals will be very beneficial to you and to those living in Calgary.

Let’s Summarize the Stats:

Unemployment RateCrime RateEducationHousing CostsHealthcare
7.7%Low overall crime rateAround 245 public schoolsAverage home costs around $570,000High-quality healthcare
The second-highest unemployment rate compared to the other 34 metropolitan areasProminent crimes are theft, vandalism, and drugsHome to top public schools such as Western Canada High SchoolAverage prices for condos are $248,000Those living in the city can avail of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan
 Citizens feel walking in broad daylight alone is safe Has single-family homes, condominiums, and apartments 

You Might Want to Read: Is Edmonton a Good Place to Live?

Pros of Living in Calgary

Downtown Calgary
View of Downtown Calgary

Now that you have an idea of what Calgary offers, let’s weigh the pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros.

– Green and Grassy

Calgary is green and grassy with sprawling parks and beautiful outdoorsy scenes. If you’re the type to walk around in the park in the afternoon, read a book while sitting on a bench, or walk your dog every day, Calgary offers the perfect parks for that.

There are also hiking paths that a lot of people enjoy when they feel like getting out and experiencing the euphoria of escaping from reality and into the woods offers.

– Relaxed City

The city is home to accepting, kind people who foster relaxed environments. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and just want to take in deep breaths now and then to slow down the fast-paced life you may be living in, Calgary will offer the perfect environment for that.

– Relatively Affordable Housing

Compared to large cities like Toronto and Vancouver, Calgary has affordable housing. We’ve already mentioned the average prices of homes in the city. If everything so far is crossing out a lot of your must-haves, you might want to consider living here as it has a low cost of living and affordable housing.

Cons of Living in Calgary

Calgary Skyline at Night
Calgary Skyline at Night

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect. Here are the cons you must consider if you plan on living here.

– Poor Public Transit

First is the poor public transit system. Calgary is a driving city. The transit system is not as extensive as in cities like New York. Some people even opt to walk to work or to their destination instead of riding the subway. If you do not like to drive, you might want to choose a different city.

– Lack of a NightLife

Calgary is a quiet city not known for its bustling nightlife. If you’re the type to go out at night and sleep all day, Calgary isn’t the right place for you. Although there is a presence of bars and restaurants as well as entertainment such as movie theatres, most people in Calgary prefer to stay in at night and enjoy getting cozy on the sofa. The nightlife in Calgary might not be non-existent but, it’s not prominent either.

The Final Verdict

While Calgary is a great place to live if you’re looking to raise a family, it’s not recommended for those seeking the high of living in a city as it doesn’t have much nightlife. If you’re seeking to move to Calgary, you’ll need to make sure you already have a job lined up. Although Calgary does have great employment opportunities, the job market isn’t as vast as you’d want it to be.

On the bright side, for those looking to raise a family, this might be the perfect place. It has great public and private schools, a kind crowd, and neighborhoods you know are safe for children. Buying a house with enough space for large dogs will be pricey and oftentimes, difficult but, the overall housing scene in Calgary isn’t as expensive as one would think.

If this community or city seems like the right place for you, contact a good real estate agency and get started on finding the right neighborhood with the right schools. Good luck! Happy house hunting.

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