Living in Edmonton: An Area Guide for New Canadians
Welcome to Edmonton! As a new Canadian, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get your bearings in a new city. Figuring out the lay of the land is the first essential step in getting more comfortable in your environment.
We understand what a challenge this can be, so we’ve put together this area guide for new Canadians to help you get started.
Know Your Home Options
You need a place to live, and there are plenty of options in Edmonton. Many new immigrants start out in some type of rental unit. Apartment complexes typically have several units located in one building. Often, this means a somewhat small space and the possibility of having neighbours on either side of you and/or below or beneath you.
Apartments are usually quite affordable, but you don’t get a lot of privacy. If you’re looking for more space and privacy but still want to rent, look for townhome, duplex, or single-family home rental options. These homes tend to be bigger with more modern features, but the rental fees are higher.
Eventually, you’ll want to buy a home. Those who are new to Canada are often at a disadvantage when it comes to purchasing homes because they may not qualify for a mortgage (home loan) in Canada yet. However, with enough cash, a home purchase is possible. If this is the path you’re interested in, you can either purchase a resale home or a brand-new home.
Resale homes have had previous owners. They may have a few problems, but generally the price is more affordable. Brand-new homes are recently built – sometimes to the buyer’s specifications – and tend to come with a higher price tag.
Finding a Community to Live In
There are a lot of great communities in Edmonton, and you’ll want to do some exploring to get a sense of what type of community is right for you. In general, the further you get from the downtown area, the more affordable the housing is and the more space you’re able to get for your money.
The southwest part of Edmonton is one of the most popular areas. On this side of the city is the famous West Edmonton Mall and other shopping centres, making it super easy to find what you need. It also has a location that’s convenient for those who work in the downtown area and those who work near the airport. The northeast side is less densely populated and has an easy commute to downtown as well.
Many immigrants also look into “bedroom communities” for their affordability, beautiful natural settings, and nearby amenities. Cities like Stony Plain, Beaumont, and Sherwood Park are still conveniently located, but you can usually buy bigger homes with bigger backyards here – an important feature for large, multigenerational families.
Specialty Grocery Stores
No matter where you live, it’s important to be near a grocery store that has the type of food you want. Some of the most common grocery stores in Edmonton are Save-On Foods, Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore, and Walmart. At any of these stores, you can get most of the basics, and you’ll find great prices, especially when there’s a sale.
Immigrants often look for specialty ingredients that will allow them to cook meals from their home countries. The good news is that there are quite a few specialty grocery stores around town. For instance, Elsafadi Brothers Super Market in the northwest part of Edmonton offers a fine selection of halal foods. Freson Brothers offers Alberta-grown produce and hard-to-find grains. K&K Foodliner is in the downtown area and offers foods imported from Europe. These are just a few of the many fine specialty stores you’ll find in Edmonton, so look for a community that’s close to the stores you can see yourself shopping at every week.
Plenty of Recreation Options
Edmonton is a great place for those who want to get out and have some fun. The North Saskatchewan River cuts through the city, and you’ll find a lot of parks nearby, such as Terwillegar Park in the southwest, Mill Creek Ravine in the central area, and Rundle Park in the northeast. Each of these parks – and all of the others you’ll find in Edmonton – offers things like hiking trails, playgrounds, open green spaces, and picnic areas.
For those who prefer to exercise indoors, most communities have recreation centres nearby. These centres typically offer exercise classes and sports programs for kids and adults.
Many new Canadians want to take English classes to help improve their skills. Your first stop should be the nearest public library. They often have free or affordable classes, and they even have family language kits you can check out for studying at home. You may also find English lessons at church groups like Kingdom Way, and there’s also the English Training Center. Choose which type of class will work best for you.
Edmonton is a great place for new Canadians, with plenty of great amenities, job opportunities and beautiful locations in which to settle down and raise a family. Talk to one of our Area Managers today and see how you can get started with your new life in one of Canada’s hottest cities.