Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live?

June 30, 2022

Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live? - Featured Image

The decision to move to Alberta can be driven by many things: a new job, a more affordable cost of living, access to nature, and seemingly endless sunny days. Alberta is home to nearly four and a half million people and has been attracting families from across the country for decades to relocate. For those looking to move to Alberta, often the debate is “Edmonton versus Calgary, which city is better suited for me?”

Both cities have their merits. Let’s look at some comparisons between the two major cities.

Housing Markets

Naturally, when you’re first choosing a city for your new home, one of the first things you’ll want to check out is the state of the housing market. You’ll want to make your money go as far as it possibly can, so it’s important to take an in-depth look at the markets in both cities before you make your decision.

Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live? - Kinglet Image


While Edmonton has the smaller population of the two cities at around 1.42 million, it’s also the faster growing of the two. This makes it an attractive prospect for home buyers, as more people coming into the city means more demand in the future for homes, meaning the value of your home has a better chance of increasing. The median income in Edmonton is a little lower at around $97.8K, but the cost of living, as well as the average cost of a home is a little lower as well (the average home price in Q1 of 2022 was $452,900.)

Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live? - Calgary Image


While Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, Calgary is actually slightly larger, with a population of around 1.48 million. The median income in Calgary is around $105K, a little higher than in Edmonton, but the price of a home is also more expensive at an average of around $605,000 in Q1 of 2022. Calgary’s workforce is considered more traditionally “white collar” as opposed to Edmonton’s which is more “blue-collar”, so if you’re considering the best place to work as well as to live, be sure to factor this in.

One of the primary reasons families move to Alberta is its more affordable cost of living. Calgary has always cost a bit more than Edmonton in terms of housing, but both cities are still more affordable compared to some other cities across Canada.

Travel to the Rocky Mountains

Calgary has the benefit of being much closer to the Rocky Mountains than Edmonton. While you can reach the mountains within an hour or two from Calgary, the drive from Edmonton is still only about four hours to either Banff or Jasper.

In either situation, you’re within a day’s drive to some of the country’s most beautiful travel spots in the Rockies.

Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live? - Bison Image

Outdoor Activities

Edmonton is well known for its vast urban parkland system, with nearly a dozen green spaces in the downtown area along the riverbanks alone. Edmonton offers a wide selection of off-leash dog parks, hundreds of kilometres of beautiful nature trails, several ski hills within city limits, and even cross-country skiing trails at some of the city’s parks.

Calgary has the benefit of offering unique sporting facilities at WinSport, formerly the home of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Activities include skiing and cross-country skiing, zip-lining, mountain biking, summer bobsleigh, skating, and much more.

Public Transit & Traffic

Both cities offer vast infrastructure in terms of public transportation. Edmonton and Calgary operate a light rail train system throughout the cities (the LRT in Edmonton and C-Train in Calgary), complete with park-and-ride facilities.

Traffic can become congested just like in any other major city, but in both Edmonton and Calgary, traffic jams are less excruciating than those in cities like Toronto or Vancouver. Both cities offer a free-flowing ring road that typically moves traffic to all areas of the city with manageable rush hours.


While Calgary does experience chinook winds that shorten the winter season, it can also have more tumultuous weather conditions like hailstorms and flooding. Summers in Calgary don’t typically get too hot, allowing you to enjoy the weather throughout the year with relatively few extremes.

Since Edmonton is situated on prairie land away from the mountains, it can experience colder, longer winters. Temperatures below –25 degrees Celsius in winter are typically short-lived when they do occur. Edmonton’s summers can experience heat waves of over 35 degrees Celsius, but typically don’t exceed 25 degrees Celsius on average.

Employment Opportunities

Calgary is host to more white-collar positions than Edmonton with a focus on the energy sector. For this reason, Calgary’s average salary range is higher than that of Edmonton. 25% of Edmonton’s population fills public sector positions, such as health care, government, or academics, and while Edmonton also hosts businesses within the energy sector, it is also home to agriculture and manufacturing.

In recent years, Edmonton’s overall economic situation has held steady more so than Calgary’s due to more diversity in industry.

Which City is Best for You?

Both Edmonton and Calgary offer great benefits as your next home, but each is unique. Depending on your lifestyle and reasons for moving, exploring the merits of each will help you make the right decision for you and your family.

Edmonton is a very family-friendly city with its festivals and events, vast parkland, and excellent education system. Calgary has a great nightlife atmosphere, outdoor shopping and eating along Stephen Ave, and closer proximity to the mountains for regular trips out of town.

Only you can choose which city suits your needs. Be sure to chat with the locals and take a few trips to each city to help you decide which city feels more like your next new home.

Photo credits: depositphotos.com

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About the Author:

At Sterling Homes, our mission is to provide the opportunity for affordable homeownership without compromise.Over the last 70 years, Sterling Edmonton has quickly become one of Edmonton’s most popular builders. We bring more than seven decades worth of exceptional customer service, superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship to the greater Edmonton area. As a member of the Qualico Group, Sterling Homes focuses on greater Edmonton’s finest family communities, while being able to offer some of the region’s most family friendly prices thanks to volume purchasing power for materials, trades and land.This has not only made Sterling one of Edmonton’s bestselling, move-up builders, but also one of the industry’s most respected home providers. It is through our uncompromising commitment to our customers that we proudly deliver the Sterling Advantage – that’s why each and every home we build includes a 10-year home warranty, a completion guarantee and new home warranty excellence rating. Our Advantage is our pledge that, when you build your dream home with Sterling, we will deliver a timely, well-built home you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.

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