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All You Need to Know About Moving to Calgary

Amelia Mead December 12, 2020
Posted December 12, 2020 In Living Abroad,
Amelia Mead

Originally from Chicago, currently everywhere, Amelia is a freelance writer working on bringing all the moving tips to you.

If you’re moving to Calgary and want to know more about what to expect from this beautiful city, you’ve come to the right place. Often referred to as Cowtown, this city can offer exciting things to see and do, has a booming economy, and is surrounded by natural beauty. It’s no wonder why so many people from all over the world choose to settle here. Without further ado, let’s get on to everything you need to know about moving to Calgary from the US.

Since you’re moving to Canada, know that you’ll be living in one of the friendliest countries in the world. Calgary, one of the best places to live abroad, is located in Canada’s western province, Alberta. It’s the largest urban center in Alberta province that can also provide an unspoiled and breathtaking natural environment. The Economist Intelligence Unit enlisted Cowtown among the most livable cities in North America in 2019. The nickname Cowtown comes from the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo festival. More than 80% of the population speaks English. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about learning a language abroad or having trouble with breaking the language barrier when you settle.

Is Moving to Calgary a Good Idea?

If you’re still in doubt, we must tell you that moving overseas to C-town won’t disappoint. This is the Canadian sunniest, cleanest, and highly developed area. Canada is one of the best countries to live in, and you’ll surely make no mistake of settling in C-town. Yet, this place is not without faults. To help you with your decision, we have prepared a guide for the pros and cons of living overseas in Canada’s Cowtown.

The Pros of Moving to Calgary

There are a lot of advantages to living here. If you wondered about jobs in Canada, in C-town you’ll be able to find some great opportunities. And the best thing is that the wages are pretty high, even for unskilled laborers. Since this is a place with two prime post-secondary institutions — Mount Royal and the University of Calgary — Calgarians are highly-educated people. Let’s see why this is one of the best places to live in Canada:

  • C-town is the cleanest city in the world and has plenty of recycling programs. For instance, every spring, they organize street cleaning and not just the major ones. Around 15,000 kilometers of roads get swept. The city’s fines for littering are pretty hefty as well. Calgarian will get a penalty ranging from $500 to $1,000 for dropping a cigarette butt onto the street.
  • If you like shopping, we’re about to tell you great news! Alberta province does not have sales taxes. If you decide to settle here, you’ll only pay 5% federal Goods and Services Tax. This means that you’ll be spending less when shopping for groceries, clothes, and entertainment.
  • You’ll be able to spend less time freezing during the winter months. C-town has Plus 15 Skywalk, an extensive system for pedestrians. These are footbridges that are, as the name says, 15 feet above the ground. They are connected to a large number of buildings, totaling 16 kilometers in length. With them, you can walk to different downtown buildings and shops without even going outside. Plus 15 is also heated. Thus, you can walk in it during the winter months in a T-shirt and shorts.
  • C-town is one of the best places to live abroad with family because it’s easy to find a family doctor. Until recently, this was not the case, and the expanding population in C-town had many difficulties finding a family physician. Now, there are 141 doctors per 100,000 residents, and the national average is 115. Did we also mention that healthcare insurance is free? You just need to obtain an Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) card.
  • If you’re a nature lover and enjoy spending time outdoors, this is the perfect place for you. No matter the season, you’ll find so many things to do in Calgary. There are many outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, skating, bobsledding, and mountain biking. C-town is also home to more than 20,000 acres of parkland. If you’re a jogger or a cyclist, know that there are around 800 kilometers of pathways.
  • C-town is close to other exciting destinations. Edmonton is three hours drive, and if you like shopping, you simply must plan trips to its West Edmonton Mall. While you’re at it, know that Edmonton is home to many art galleries and museums too. The US’s border is a three-hour drive away from C-town, while Glacier National Park is also nearby. In this UN World Heritage site, you’ll find more than 1,000 species of plants and animals.
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The Cons of Moving to Calgary: Why Think Twice Before Relocating to This City

C-town sounds almost perfect, but if you’re going to relocate internationally, you should be aware of its disadvantages too. Make your transition into a Calgarian as smoothly as possible by preparing yourself for all of the things this city has to offer:

  • Even though wages are above the Canadian average, C-town still has a problem with higher unemployment rates. This is the result of low oil prices, which further led to firings in the oil industry. But the good news is that the city’s economy is expected to turn around.
  • When compared to other Canadian cities, C-town was praised for its low crime rates. Unfortunately, crime rates have risen during the past couple of years.
  • As is the case with many major cities, C-town has a bad reputation for traffic congestions. However, the city is working on this problem. Constructions on the road cause part of the bad traffic.
  • If you enjoy the nightlife, know there are a couple of spots where you can hang out, but you won’t have many options. If you’re bothered with the fact that C-town lacks great nightclubs, you might want to think about moving to Vancouver.
  • The weather is somewhat unpredictable. If you suffer from weather changes, C-town might not be for you. Also, summers are short, while the winters are long and very cold.

Is It Expensive to Live in Calgary?

The cost of living in Canada is high, but this can vary significantly depending on where you live. C-town is not the cheapest place to live in Canada, but it’s not as nearly expensive as when living in Toronto or Vancouver. The cost of living in Calgary depends on the gas and oil industry. When these are doing well, prices tend to fall and vice versa. According to, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the center is around $900 per month, while outside of the center is about $750. The utilities per month (including internet services) are $200 for a 915 sq ft apartment. If you’re moving with dogs, remember to mention that to your landlord.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Calgary?

If you decide to relocate alone, you’ll need to earn around $29,760 annually to cover all your expenses and live comfortably. This should leave you with approximately $100 per month savings. If your wage is anything below that, consider finding a roommate or look elsewhere.

If you’re transferring to another job within your company, you just need to prepare a list of relocation questions to ask the employer. But if not, you’ll have to find some spare time to search for one before the move. Popular industries that majorly contribute to Calgary’s economy include jobs in financial services, energy, film and television, technology, transportation and logistics, aerospace, manufacturing, health and wellness, and tourism.

How to Relocate to C-Town From the US?

Even though we speak about a country that’s geographically located just above the US, you’ll still have to apply for citizenship and prepare all the documents needed to travel abroad in a timely manner. Be sure to check the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website and get information about all essential details. In short, you can apply for temporary citizenship if you’re not planning to stay for long. It will allow you to reside and work in C-town. If you’re planning to stay, you’ll have to apply for permanent residency.

How Do People From Different Parts of the World and the US Immigrate to Canada? Important Information on Visas and Permits

Now you’re probably wondering how to immigrate to Canada and what are your visa/permit options. The same rules apply to everyone, whether they’re relocating from the US or other parts of the world. The following list will show you different options when it comes to obtaining a residency anywhere in Canada:

  • Express Entry: If you have some skilled work experience, the Canadian Government allows you to apply for permanent residency. You don’t even need to have a job lined up to qualify.
  • Open Work Permit: For those who recently finished their studies in Canada, the Government has the option of obtaining a work permit. If you want to become eligible for this permit, you must apply to a Designated Learning Institution for international students.
  • Start-up Visa: You can apply for this type of immigration program if you’re an entrepreneur and want to broaden your horizons in this country.
  • Family Sponsorship: If you’re moving to another country for love or have a family member in C-town, they can sponsor your relocation.

Can You Live in Calgary Without a Car?

The short answer is yes. You can definitely live in C-town without a car. Actually, if you take advantage of the city’s excellent public transportation, you won’t have many traffic congestion problems on the road. There’s a well-developed busses network, while you can also count on Calgary’s light railway (or CTrains.) If you want to get around in your own car, be sure to contact reliable overseas vehicle shipping.

Choose the Neighborhood That Suits You Best

Since you’re about to start living in Calgary, you should make sure to find the neighborhood that suits all your needs and preferences. Here are our top three picks:

  • Varsity: This neighborhood is usually considered one of Calgary’s warmest because its residents take care of one another. We are not saying that this is not the case with other neighborhoods, but Varsity has a really welcoming community. It’s mostly populated by families and seniors and can offer a significant number of family-friendly activities. Varsity also has some great recreation and shopping options.
  • Beltline: A cutting-edge neighborhood, Beltline is the coolest one on our list and the best for young people. It abounds in vintage shops, hip restaurants, art galleries, and banging clubs. At the same time, this community also offers wonderful natural spaces, allowing locals to relax and enjoy when looking for some downtime.
  • Crescent Heights: If you’re looking for a neighborhood that can offer stunning views, Crescent Heights should be your pick. Located on the banks of Bow River, this neighborhood is home to picturesque McHugh Bluff Park. Since it’s just minutes away from the city’s downtown, Crescent Heights can offer both lively nightlife and relaxing beauty during the day.

Contact a Reliable International Moving Company to Relocate You Successfully to Canada

And that’s all you need to know about moving to Calgary. Hopefully, this article gave you some insight into what life in C-town really is like and whether it is suited for you or not. If you can get over a couple of its disadvantages, we would say that you are ready for your new adventure.

When you start planning your relocation, you should contact professional international Calgary movers. Deciding to relocate during the coronavirus time is challenging, and you surely don’t want any more of that moving stress. That is why you need to make sure you’ve found trustworthy international moving services. If you hire their packing services, you won’t have to worry about getting boxes and moving supplies because movers will come fully equipped.  A reputable international moving company can also offer clean and spacious storage units since moving-out and move-in dates sometimes don’t match when moving across the world.

The last piece of advice would be to look up some tips and tricks on how to keep in touch with friends. Adjusting to a new environment can sometimes be a bit challenging. But remember that Calgarians are friendly people, and we assure you that there’s a bunch of expat communities you can start connecting with as soon as you settle.



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