Living in Calgary vs. Edmonton: Where Should You Live?

Living in Calgary vs. Edmonton: Where Should You Live?

You’ve chosen to relocate to Alberta because of its low cost of living, magnificent scenery, and the lovely days when Albertans soak up more sunshine than any other province. If you have done some research, two cities may stand out in your mind. And now the dilemma comes into play: should you live in Calgary or Edmonton?

Calgary is ranked as the seventh most livable city in the world according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. It received a perfect score in healthcare, stability, education, and infrastructure. However, Edmonton doesn’t stay behind, it is well-known for its excellent quality of life. Perhaps you’re wondering which city is best for you. You can decide whether living in Calgary or Edmonton is better for you with the help of our comparison guide to make the right choice.

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Public Transit in Calgary vs. Edmonton

The public transit system in Calgary is administered by the Calgary Transit, which operates buses, and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) services called the CTrain throughout the city. Whereas the public transit system in Edmonton is administered by the Edmonton Transit Service (ETS), which includes bus services, and LRT (Light Rail Transit) stops and stations across the city.

LRT Fare Prices

Calgary’s public transit system comprises two LRT lines (Light Rail Transit) known as the C-Train and buses. Both accept cash, credit cards, and purchase tickets. For the buses, they also accept cash, but you will not receive change. Additionally, you can also purchase passes and tickets from various grocery stores, drug shops, and convenience stores across the city.

A single fare is valid for 90 minutes, while a pass covers an entire day. Additionally, considering Airdrie Transit, ROAM Transit, and On-It Regional Transit is important, especially when discussing commuter services between Calgary and neighboring communities.

Here are all the essential fares that you can consider while traveling in Calgary:

Rates for Fares 

Type of fare

Rate

Single ticket

$3.60

10 Tickets

$36.00

Daily pass

$11.25

Monthly pass

$112.00

Calgary Transit (Sept 2023)

 

What Are the Public Transit Opening Hours in Calgary?
The Light Rail Transit operates between 4 am to 1 am.

 

ETS Fare Prices

ETS is the city’s transportation authority in Edmonton, which runs public transportation. It maintains a fleet of over 900 buses, 90 light rail vehicles, and 100 DATS (Disabled Adult Transit Service) vehicles that operate as public transit.

Here are all the essential fares that you can consider while traveling in Edmonton:

Rates for Fares 

Type of fare

Rate

Single ticket

(90 minutes)

$2.75

10 Ticket pack

$27.75

Daily pass

$10.25

Monthly pass

$100

Family Pass (Up to 5 people)

$10.25

ETS Edmonton Transit Service (Sept 2023)

What Are the Public Transit Opening Hours in Edmonton?
The Edmonton Transit Service operates until 3 am, on some extended services on five routes, seven days a week.

 

If you’re comparing Calgary to Edmonton, remember to consider fares as well. Both cities are well-served by low-cost transit. Edmonton’s light rail (LRT) system expands and improves the city’s bus services, while Calgary’s CTrain covers a length of more than 118 kilometers.

 

Cost of Groceries in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Groceries include items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, and others. Here is the average cost of groceries in Calgary and Edmonton for a few items.

 

Groceries costs

Calgary

Edmonton

Milk (regular), (1 gallon)

$10.65

$8.99

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)

$3.02

$2.88

Rice (white) (1 lb)

$2.05

$1.91

Eggs (regular) (12)

$4.50

$4.15

Local Cheese (1 lb)

$7.17

$6.69

Chicken Fillets (1 lb)

$7.04

$6.95

Beef Round (1 lb)

$8.96

$9.00

Apples (1 lb)

$2.52

$2.58

Banana (1 lb)

$0.91

$0.83

Oranges (1 lb)

$2.28

$2.28

Tomato (1 lb)

$2.20

$2.43

Potato (1 lb)

$1.56

$1.35

Onion (1 lb)

$1.54

$1.26

Lettuce (1 head)

$3.53

$3.61

Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)

$17.50

$16.00

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)

$3.43

$4.13

Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)

$4.02

$4.80

Average monthly cost of groceries for 1 person 

$331.52 per month.

$319.36 per month.

Numbeo-Calgary (Sept 2023) & Numbeo-Edmonton (Sep 2023)

As a result, the monthly cost of groceries for one person living in Edmonton is lower than that for one person living in Calgary. If you are looking to save money, then you know your pick. 

 

What to Do in Calgary vs. Edmonton

It would take a little time for you to grasp what to do in Calgary and Edmonton. And it’s helpful to have a wide variety of leisure activities available in these two cities.

Entertainment in Calgary

If you live in Calgary, a trip to the Calgary Zoo is a must, especially for families and children who enjoy this day excursion. You could also enjoy taking pictures of the Calgary Statue, Canada’s Hall of Fame, Heritage Historical Park, among other exciting sights. Calgary’s nightlife, with its unique Cowboys Nightclub, is one-of-a-kind. And at the top of your list should be a visit to the Calgary Tower, standing at an impressive height of 1228 meters above sea level. From there, you’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Calgary.

Entertainment in Edmonton

If you love nature, Edmonton’s River Valley Parks are a must-visit for fresh air and scenic walks. Other parks, such as West Northlands and Elk Island National Park, offer additional outdoor enjoyment. For art enthusiasts, The Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton is a great option to explore and appreciate the fantastic artwork on offer.

Cost of Entertainment in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Entertainment costs

Calgary

Edmonton

Mid-range restaurant meal

$50.00

$50.00

Taxi 1h

$46.50

$30.00

1 cinema ticket

$17.00

$16.00

Total

$113.50

$96.00

Numbeo-Calgary (Sept 2023) & Numbeo-Edmonton (Sept 2023)

Overall, the total entertainment expenses in Calgary slightly exceeded those in Edmonton.

 

Housing in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Calgary’s housing market can be competitive due to its appeal, with many drawn to its unique qualities, job opportunities, proximity to the Rocky Mountains, and strong economy, making it one of the best places to live in Alberta. On the other hand, Edmonton provides a balance between affordability and quality of life compared to other major cities, making it an attractive option for real estate investment or finding rental homes with ease.

Cost of Housing in Calgary vs. Edmonton

In the tables below, you’ll find two charts that display the average cost of renting an apartment, including two apartment types, and the average home price in Calgary vs. Edmonton.

Cost of rent in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Calgary (Outside of Center)

$1,509.55

$2,386.41

Edmonton (Outside of Center)

$1,125.04

$1,694.15

Numbeo-Calgary (Sept 2023) & Numbeo-Edmonton (Sept 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Calgary

$553,800

Edmonton

$374,100

CREA (Aug 2023)

How much is a house in Calgary and Edmonton?
The average price of a house in Calgary is $553,800, while in Edmonton it is $374,100.

 

Job Opportunities in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Both cities shine in their own ways when it comes to employment and employees. Each city’s job market is beneficial for people at various career stages. While both Edmonton and Calgary’s job markets are heavily influenced by the energy sector, numerous other industries also play significant roles in employing residents of both cities.

In terms of employment, approximately 25% of individuals in Edmonton work in a public sector role. It can be a government position, an academic profession, or a job in health care, all of which are growing more frequent. In Calgary, meanwhile, the number of public sector employees is somewhat decreasing. The specialty sector of Calgary employment opportunities is professional and managerial.

Salary Comparison Calgary vs. Edmonton

Here is a list of all the top professions and their average salary. 

 

Professions

Average salary in

Calgary

Average salary in

Edmonton

Software Developer/Engineer

$109,990.40

$94,993.60

Registered Nurse

Financial auditors and accountants

$97,760.00

$88,004.80

$113,568

$88,899.20

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians 

$83,200

$83,200

Assessors, business valuators and appraisers

$73,673.60

$99,840

Government of Canada Job Bank (Nov 2023)

Moving to Edmonton should be a more significant consideration for you if maintaining a particular profession is critical. With that in mind, the competition for the city with the best employment prospects and job markets goes to Edmonton!

 

Cost of Living in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Looking at the table below, you can see that the cost of living in Calgary is slightly higher than that in Edmonton, especially when it comes to housing.

 

Category

Monthly cost in Calgary

Monthly cost in Edmonton

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,509.55

$1,125.04

Numbeo’s monthly grocery expenses

$331.52

$319.36

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$347.20

$294.97

Internet with 60 Mbps

$96.25

$86.41

Transit pass

$112.00

$100.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$113.50

$93.00

Gym membership 

$76.78

$63.01

Total

$2,586.80

$2,084.79

 

FAQ – The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Calgary and Edmonton

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Calgary and Edmonton?

While Calgary has a wider variety of late-night activities, including more nightclubs and a different atmosphere, Edmonton is considerably more libertine. For example, Calgary Stampede, one of North America’s most well-known festivals, is held in the city.

Where to Live in Calgary?

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Outdoor recreation

Mission, Sunnyside

Families and Young Couples

Edgemont, Varsity

Accessible

Mount Pleasant, Killarney/Glengarry

Urban Lifestyle

Brentwood

Where to Live in Edmonton?

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Outdoor recreation

Capilano

Families and Young Couples

Parkallen, Secord, Lymburn

Accessible

Avonmore, Cameron Heights

Urban Lifestyle

Queen Mary Park

Is Tax Cheaper in Calgary vs. Edmonton?

Income tax rates in Alberta

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 10% from $0.00 to $142,292 of annual taxable income.
  • 12% on the next $142,292.01 up to $170,751.
  • 13% on the next $170,751.01 up to $227,668.
  • 14% on the next $227,668.01 up to $341,502.
  • 15% on the amount over $341,502.01.

Personal Income Tax (Dec 2023)

Federal tax rates

The federal tax rate is the same in Calgary and in Edmonton. Applicable tax on the annual taxable income includes:

  • 15% on annual taxable income from $0.00 to $55,867.
  • 20.5% on the annual taxable income from $55,867 up to $111,733.
  • 26% on the annual taxable income from $111,733 up to $173,205.
  • 29% on the annual taxable income from $173,205 up to $246,752. 
  • 33% on the annual taxable income over $246,752.

Canada Revenue Agency (Jan 2024)

Sales tax in Calgary vs. Edmonton

In Canada, there are three types of sales taxes that vary by province: the federal GST (5%), the provincial sales taxes PST (varies depending on the province), and the HST, which is a combination of the two. In Alberta, there’s the GST only, set at about 5%, which applies to purchases of goods and services.

 Government of Canada (Sept 2023)

Conclusion

Whatever place you choose to call home, you will be satisfied. You must select a city based on your own preferences and requirements. Both cities have similarities, and both provide a wealth of exciting things to do and experiences you may have there. If you are planning to move soon, check out the best moving companies in Calgary and the best moving companies in Edmonton

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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