Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live?
There are many good reasons to want to move to Alberta – the province boasts a strong economy, beautiful scenery, and friendly people. But when it comes to choosing between its two biggest cities, Edmonton versus Calgary, which is the better option? Which one is the best city to live in Alberta?
Population & Housing Market
While Edmonton has the smaller population of the two cities at around 1.1 million people, it’s the provincial capital and therefore has more of a government presence. The city also has several large colleges and universities, making it a great place for students or families looking at their children’s further education.
While the median income in Edmonton and Calgary is around the same, real estate prices in Edmonton are generally lower. The average price for a home in Edmonton is around $382,200 while in Calgary it’s around $516,400, as of September 2022.
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, with a population of around 1.3 million people. It’s known as a business hub, and many large corporations have their headquarters here. It is also a popular destination for tourists, thanks to its many attractions such as the Calgary Zoo and the annual Calgary Stampede. Residents and visitors alike also appreciate Calgary’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains.
Families often move to Alberta for its more affordable cost of living. Even though Calgary’s housing costs are slightly higher than Edmonton, both cities rank cheaper than other large Canadian metropolises.
Related article: Moving to Alberta: The Checklist to Buying a Home in Alberta
Jobs & The Economy
For anyone looking for work, both cities offer plenty of opportunities. Calgary is home to many energy and financial companies, while Edmonton has a diverse economy that includes agriculture, retail, and manufacturing. Unemployment rates across the province are low, and there are plenty of job openings in a variety of industries.
Keep in mind the different workforces of Calgary and Edmonton when making your decision – Calgary has a “white-collar” workforce while Edmonton is home to more “blue-collar” workers. And the oil and gas industry is one of the top employers in the province.
The cost of living is also relatively affordable in both Edmonton and Calgary. Housing costs are lower than in many other major Canadian cities, and groceries and other essentials are also reasonably priced. However, Calgary tends to be a bit more expensive than Edmonton, particularly when it comes to gas and other transportation costs.
Both cities offer a good quality of life, with plenty of amenities and things to do. Calgary is a little bigger than Edmonton, but both have all the necessary shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. They also both have great access to outdoor activities, as well as their proximity to the Rocky Mountains.
Amenities in Edmonton
Some of the most popular amenities and attractions in Edmonton include:
- West Edmonton Mall: West Edmonton Mall is a huge shopping and entertainment complex. With over 800 stores and attractions, it’s the largest mall in North America. The mall is also home to a waterpark, amusement park, casino, and a variety of restaurants and bars. It’s a popular tourist destination and attracts over 30 million visitors each year.
- The Royal Alberta Museum: The Royal Alberta Museum has a large collection of natural history specimens and cultural artifacts. It also features exhibits on the history of the province of Alberta. The museum is open year-round and admission is free.
- Edmonton Valley Zoo: The Edmonton Valley Zoo is a great place to visit for a fun and educational experience. The zoo is home to a variety of animals from all over the world, including red pandas, tigers and Lucy the Elephant. There are also several interactive exhibits where you can learn more about how animals live and behave. The zoo is also wheelchair-accessible, making it a great destination for families with young children.
Edmonton is also known for its festivals, which include everything from the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. There’s also a thriving arts scene, with plenty of galleries, museums, and theatre productions to enjoy, plus the option to watch the Oilers on ice or the Elks at the stadium.
Some of the top amenities in Calgary include:
- The Calgary Tower: The Calgary Tower is a popular tourist destination in Calgary. At 626 feet (191 meters) tall, it’s the tallest structure in the city and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The tower has an observation deck, a restaurant, and a gift shop, and is a popular spot for weddings and other special events.
- Heritage Park Historical Village: Heritage Park Historical Village is a living history museum. The park contains over 180 historical buildings and exhibits which depict the history of Western Canada from the early 1800s to the mid-20th century. Visitors can explore the village by foot, wagon, or train, and there are also several restaurants and shops on site. Heritage Park is a popular tourist attraction in Calgary, and it is also used as an educational resource for local schools and students.
- Wilder Calgary Zoo: Yes, Calgary also has an amazing zoo to check out. They have a huge selection of animals, from african lions to whooping cranes, and everything in between. You can explore by continent or class, whichever you’d prefer. The zoo also has a ton of different events going on, plus different camps and programs you can enroll your kids in.
Calgary is also home to several professional sports teams, including the Calgary Flames (NHL) and the Calgary Stampeders (CFL). If you’re a fan of hockey or football, then this is the city for you!
Public Transport & Traffic
Edmonton has an extensive public transportation system, with buses and an LRT running throughout the city. The transit system is reliable and efficient, making it easy to get around without a car. Traffic can be a bit of a problem during rush hour, but it’s not as bad as in many other big cities.
Calgary also has a good public transportation system, with buses and light rail trains running throughout the city. However, traffic can be a bit of a nightmare during rush hour. If you’re planning on living in Calgary without a car, it’s important to make sure you’re able to get around easily.
Both cities also offer a free-flowing ring road that can help move traffic to all areas of the city, but they do still get affected by rush hour!
Both Edmonton and Calgary have a continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. While Calgary does experience chinook winds that shorten the winter season, it can also have more tumultuous weather conditions like hailstorms and flooding. However, in general, both cities are fairly comparable when it comes to the weather.
So, which city should you choose to live in? Both cities have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a city. If you want a big city with plenty of amenities, then Edmonton is a great choice. If you’re looking for a smaller city with milder weather, then Calgary might be a better option.
Whichever city you choose, you’re sure to have a great time living in Alberta! If you decide that Edmonton is the right choice for you, get in touch with us today to find your perfect home.
Related Article: Is Now the Right Time to Buy a House in Edmonton?
Originally Published June 30, 2022, updated November 10, 2022
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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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