People will move to a city for any number of reasons but increasingly, people are choosing lifestyle as their number one reason for living in or moving to a city or town. In Western Canada, Vancouver has traditionally been the choice for people who enjoy a lifestyle of outdoor living in a mild climate. Calgary, however, is a great city for those who love the outdoors and a mild climate but don’t want to pay a premium for it. Here are some reasons why you should think about Calgary as a place to live.
1. The Great Outdoors
Calgary is located right at the foot of the Canadian Rockies and in as little as 40 minutes a person can drive to any number of great outdoor destinations. Skiing/snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, river kayaking, rock climbing are just some of the reasons why Calgarians make a weekly pilgrimage out Hwy 1 to the outdoor wonderland that we call The Canadian Rockies. Calgary is in close proximity to 5 major ski hills and COP (Canada Olympic Park) is just ten minutes from the heart of the city. The Canmore Nordic Centre for cross-country skiing is just 1.5 hrs drive from downtown Calgary and the Canadian Alpine Club headquarters is just minutes from there. Driving south of the city in the spring, summer, and fall you’ll discover hundreds of fly fishing enthusiasts plying the waters in search of some of the world’s largest rainbow trout. If it can be done in the outdoors, then there is probably a club for it in Calgary and people who participate.
2. Arts and Culture
Although not known for it, Calgary has a thriving arts community with a number of live theatre venues, festivals, museums and galleries. Every year Calgary plays host to a number of events; the most famous one being the Calgary Stampede. The Calgary Folk Music Festival, Calgary Fringe, Calgary International Blues Festival, Kensington Sun & Salsa Festival, GlobalFest and Calgary Lilac Festival are also popular draws. Calgary’s Glenbow Museum has a large collection of art and antiquities and is host to exhibitions featuring great works of art.
In the fall, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival (1.5hrs from Calgary) draws climbers, outdoor enthusiasts and film makers from all over the world to exhibit and share in outdoor culture.
3. Jobs and Income
Calgary has the highest concentration of head offices, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and the highest per-capita income of any other Canadian city. With a booming oil and natural gas industry that employs tens of thousands and other diverse industries, Calgary is a city that people look to when they are considering a move or looking for a new career.
While Calgary can not make the case for being the most mild climate in Canada, it does have relatively mild winters, punctuated by periods of warm weather due to a phenomenon called the “Chinook”. In the middle of January, it is common to have a week of -20 celcius temperatures followed by temperatures that can go as high as +20 celcius. And with 366.20 hours of average sunshine in the winter months (the most of any Canadian city), most people find Calgary winters to be enjoyable. Calgary is also the sunniest Canadian city with 333 days of sunshine and the long, warm summer days make it easy to enjoy the outdoors.
5. Education University of Calgary
Calgary has two major universities (The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University) and countless other trade schools. Located in the heart of the city, SAIT Polytechnic offers education in a diverse range of fields, focusing on the technical areas. From kindergarten to G12, Calgary has a variety of Public, Private and Christian schools located throughout Calgary’s communities. For more information about Calgary schools click here.
6. A Multicultural City
Almost one quarter of Calgary’s population has a mother tongue other than English or French. And, the people that make up the minority demographic, bring with them a diverse and colourful array of cultures that add to the social-scape of Calgary. Every year, Calgary celebrates its cultural diversity through festivals like Globalfest, Fiestaval Latin Festival and Afrikadey! Festival. Calgary’s china town is also one of the oldest in Canada and the Chinese cultural centre, in downtown Calgary, is the largest cultural centre in Canada.
7. Low Taxation
Alberta has no provincial tax and a flat personal tax rate of 10%, which no other province can boast. And, with a lower property tax rate than Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Montreal, Calgary can be a very affordable place to do business and earn an income.
8. Low Crime Rate (Photo) Compared to Canada’s other major metropolises, Calgary ranks low for crime statistics. According to a 2009 Maclean’s article, Calgary was 27th on a list of cities by danger due to crime, behind cities like Vancouver (8th), Saskatoon (1th) and Kelowna (19th). And, with a crime severity index rating that is below the national average, Calgarians generally feel safe walking their streets at night.
9. Real Estate Calgarians have the highest percentage of home ownership of any Canadian metropolis and with good reason. The price of the average home in Calgary is half of the average home price in Vancouver and 5-10% less than the average home price in Toronto (February 2011). Given the reasonable cost of housing and the high average income, home ownership is very affordable in Calgary. For any more questions about buying or selling a house in Calgary visit the Calgary Real Estate website.
10. Alberta Beef and Produce
If you’re in Calgary, you’re not very far from a good steak! But in all seriousness, Alberta does have some of the best produce in Canada and Calgary is a hub with a plethora of farmers markets to buy your Taber corn or other fresh veggies. The Calgary Farmers’ Market is a bustling centre for those selling locally grown produce and the Kensington Farmers’ Market is put on every Sunday in the community of Kensington (near the heart of Calgary).