Living in Calgary

The city

Calgary is Canada’s 4th largest metropolitan area with a population of around 1.3 million people, many of whom have relocated to capitalize on the city’s bustling economy and proximity to world-renowned natural sights and activities. In fact, Calgary residents have the youngest average age of any major Canadian city. This is reflected in the inclusive, friendly demeanor that is a hallmark of Calgary’s occupants.

Calgary has repeatedly been on The Economist’s list of the world’s most livable cities as the most livable city in North America, most recently in 2019 (fifth globally).

Cost of Living

Calgary is notably affordable for a major city, with the added advantages of no provincial sales tax and relatively low rent prices. Average rent prices are as follows (from wowa.ca):

$883 for a bachelor-style apartment

$1323 for a 2-bedroom apartment

$1296 for a 3-bedroom apartment

$2200 for a single family detached home

The Commute

Training in Calgary necessitates a vehicle to effectively commute to the various hospitals and private clinics that facilitate our training. However, gasoline prices are among the lowest in the country, and commutes are rapid to and between most of our facilities.

The map shows Calgary’s hospitals and the average 15 (purple) and 30 (grey) minute driving radiuses from Calgary’s Beltline – home for several of our residents (from oalley.net).

Social & Food Scene

Calgary’s young, diverse professional population has led to an explosion in pubs, restaurants, breweries, and fine dining. Calgary boasts 10 of the country’s top 100 restaurants (canadas100best.com) and over 40 breweries in clustered districts throughout the city.

The nightlife is widely varied, offering options for every niche including upscale cocktail lounges and speakeasies, high capacity sociable patios (rooftop and otherwise), pubs of every character, and dance clubs for popular genres (country included).

Avenue Calgary‘s 13 Best Restaurants in Calgary

Sports

Calgary’s professional hockey and lacrosse teams – The Flames and Roughnecks – also provide entertainment, with over 50 home games at the city’s iconic Saddledome each year.

For a more hands-on experience, there are many organizations for recreational sports for players of every skill-level. Notably, the Calgary Sport & Social Club hosts over 5300 teams per year for 15 different sports including basketball, soccer, slo-pitch, volleyball, spikeball, dodgeball and more.

Entertainment

Of course, no mention of Calgary’s social scene would be complete without mention of “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” – The Calgary Stampede. The Calgary Stampede is a world-renowned, 10-day festival each July that features daily rodeos, exhibitions, midway, stage shows, concerts, and parties throughout the city, attracting over 1 million visitors per year.

The spirit of the event is ubiquitous during stampede, with daily community-provided pancake breakfasts throughout the city, lavish events hosted by Calgary’s corporations, and bars erecting large party tents which host up to 20000 patrons each day.

Outside the city

The true appeal to Calgary, however, lies not in its burgeoning social scene but in its natural beauty, offerings for outdoor activities, and proximity to some of the planet’s most incredible landscapes.

Banff – recently named one of National Geographic’s Best of the World Destinations – is less than 150 kilometres (75 minutes) from Calgary’s centre, allowing for frequent day and weekend trips to explore a variety of activities in the Rocky Mountains including hiking, biking, skiing and camping in some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain scenery. There is more terrain than could be explored in a lifetime, and as such, many visitors become lifelong residents once captured by the area’s natural magnificence and laid-back lifestyle.

For those with more extreme inclinations, the Canadian Rocky Mountains offer some of the world’s most extraordinary downhill skiing, rock/ice climbing, whitewater rafting/kayaking, and backcountry touring. As if this all weren’t enough, a final gift to Calgary from the Rocky Mountains are the frequent chinook winds which can raise temperatures as much as 30°C within a few hours. As a result, Calgary has relatively mild winters compared to other prairie locations and more sunny days (~332) than any other city in Canada.

Lake Moraine