Cost of living - Calgary

Moving to Calgary from the US: Is it right for you?

Moving to Calgary from the US is a significant decision. Consider the dry, cold climate and the need to adapt. Research job opportunities in industries like energy and technology, as Calgary’s economy is diverse. Despite cultural differences, Calgary offers a high quality of life. As of 2021, Calgary’s population is 1,306,784.

If you’re looking for a US city similar to Calgary, Denver is a great match. Both cities share a Western heritage, proximity to the Rockies, and a background in energy. They are considered top oil and gas cities by the Global Energy Institute. In fact, if you were dropped in the middle of either city, you might not be able to tell the difference between them.

Read this article to find out some interesting facts about Calgary and if it’s right for you to move there from the US.

Statistics Canada (2021)

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The Canadian Rockies are just an hour away 

In addition to providing a variety of outdoor recreational options, including hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, fishing, and wildlife viewing, the Canadian Rockies are known for their breathtaking beauty, massive mountain peaks, pristine lakes, and abundance of wildlife, and they are just an hour away from Calgary.

The proximity to the Canadian Rockies provides several advantages. First, it offers easy access to world-class outdoor recreational activities year-round, enhancing the city’s appeal as a place to live, work, and visit. Secondly, the Rockies attract millions of tourists each year, providing an economic boost to Calgary through tourism-related businesses. Lastly, the stunning natural beauty of the Rockies enhances the quality of life for Calgarians, promoting physical health and well-being through outdoor activities.

 

The climate is dry with low humidity levels in Calgary

Calgary’s dry climate and low humidity levels are primarily due to its location in a semi-arid region. Situated on the eastern side of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is shielded from the moist Pacific air by the mountains, resulting in dry air reaching the city. 

Additionally, Calgary’s high elevation contributes to its dry climate, as cooler air holds less moisture than warmer air. This combination of factors results in a prairie-steppe-type climate for Calgary, characterized by sunny weather even in the winter and minimal rainfall, mostly occurring in the summer. 

Calgary’s windy climate results from the lack of natural barriers to the wind. Despite summer temperatures occasionally reaching the high 90s Fahrenheit and winter averages dropping to around 24 degrees Fahrenheit, Calgary’s dry climate means that summer heat feels pleasant and winter lows are milder compared to more humid cities.

Life in Calgary (April 2024)

 

 

The city is known as Canada’s oil and gas industry capital

Calgary is known as Canada’s oil and gas industry capital due to its strategic location near Alberta’s vast oil sand deposits. The city is home to major energy companies such as Suncor Energy, Enbridge, and Canadian Natural Resources Limited, with head offices of every major company in the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors located in the city. Calgary’s economy heavily depends on the energy sector, with a large portion of its workforce employed in oil and gas-related industries. 

The city’s energy companies have been leaders in advancing technology, from hydraulic fracturing to thermal oil sands production to pipeline integrity. In response to global demands for a lower-carbon economy, Calgary’s energy sector is investing heavily in clean energy technology and renewable energy sources.

Calgary (April 2024)

 

Calgary is focusing on upgrading its digital industries

Calgary is focusing on upgrading its digital industries to diversify its economy and promote innovation. Recognizing the importance of technology in today’s economy, the city is investing in digital infrastructure, supporting tech startups, and attracting talent to the region. 

By expanding its digital industries, Calgary aims to create new opportunities for economic growth, reduce reliance on the energy sector, and position itself as a leader in the digital economy. Additionally, investing in digital industries helps Calgary to adapt to changing global trends and remain competitive in the modern economy. 

Calgary companies are projected to lead Alberta’s digital transformation, with a forecasted spend of $7.5 billion between 2021 and 2024, representing 37% of the province’s total digital transformation expenditure. This significant investment demonstrates Calgary’s commitment to driving digital innovation and economic growth in the region.

Calgary (April 2024)

 

Housing costs are lower than in larger cities like Vancouver or Toronto

Housing costs in Calgary are lower than in larger cities like Toronto or Vancouver due to several factors. First, Calgary has a relatively lower population density compared to Toronto or Vancouver, resulting in less demand for housing. 

Second, while Calgary offers a high standard of living, the cost of living, including housing, tends to be more affordable. Lastly, Calgary’s economy is closely tied to the energy sector, and fluctuations in oil prices can impact housing prices, keeping them relatively lower compared to cities with more diversified economies. 

According to Statistics Canada’s market basket measure, which calculates the cost of a basic standard of living including food, clothing, shelter, and transportation, Calgary’s annual market basket measure is $55,771, slightly lower than Vancouver and Toronto. As of March 2024, the average buying cost of property in Calgary is $580,400, making it an attractive option for those looking to live in a major Canadian city without the high housing expenses.

Statistics Canada (Nov 2023), CREA (March 2024) & CBC News (Dec 2023)

 

Calgary is the center for agribusiness in the province

Calgary is the center for agribusiness in the province due to its direct access to a strong agricultural base and robust transportation infrastructure. It serves as a hub for agricultural processing, distribution, and innovation, with easy access to major highways, railways, and the Calgary International Airport. 

The city is home to numerous agricultural research institutions, industry associations, and government agencies, including the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. These institutions, along with Calgary’s favorable business environment, make it an ideal location for agribusiness to thrive. 

Calgary’s location in the heart of Southern Alberta provides proximity to customers and primary agricultural commodities, making it a hotspot for Canadian and global food and technology suppliers. With a deep talent pool, a focus on research and innovation, and initiatives like the Calgary-Olds Smart Agri-Food Corridor, Calgary is poised to lead the way in the future of agriculture.

City of Calgary (April 2024) & Calgary Economic Development (April 2024)

 

It is known as the center of culinary excellence in Alberta

Calgary is renowned as the center of culinary excellence in Alberta, boasting a vibrant food scene, diverse culinary offerings, and innovative chefs. The city’s wide range of restaurants, from fine dining establishments to casual eateries, serves cuisine from around the world. 

Calgary’s culinary scene thrives due to its proximity to local farms and producers, allowing chefs to source high-quality, fresh ingredients. Furthermore, Calgary hosts numerous food festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing the city’s culinary talent and creativity. 

Events such as the Calgary Stampede’s “Stampede Food” event, the “Calgary International Food Festival,” “Taste of Calgary” festival, and the “Alberta Food and Beverage Expo” highlight the city’s diverse culinary scene and attract food enthusiasts from near and far. Notably, the annual YYC Food and Drink Experience features more than 85 Calgary restaurants offering special three or five-course meals at a minimal fee. This festival serves to showcase Calgary’s most talented chefs, bartenders, and sommeliers, further solidifying the city’s reputation as a top culinary destination in Alberta.

Travel Alberta (April 2024)

 

Conclusion

Moving to Calgary from the US has its pros and cons. With a high quality of life, a diverse economy, and lower housing costs compared to larger cities like Vancouver and Toronto, Calgary provides a welcoming environment for individuals and families. Residents enjoy easy access to world-class outdoor recreational activities year-round, thanks to the nearby Canadian Rockies. Calgary’s vibrant food scene, diverse culinary offerings, and numerous food festivals make it a culinary hotspot.

Additionally, as the center for agribusiness in the province, Calgary offers opportunities for innovation and research in the industry, further enhancing its appeal for relocation. Ultimately, whether moving to Calgary is right for you depends on your individual circumstances, preferences, and priorities.

To learn more about the paperwork required, check out this article: 7 Things to know and do before moving from the U.S. to Canada.

Are you planning to move, soon? Check the best long-distance movers in Calgary.

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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