The ups and downs of Cowtown
For those outside Calgary, the city is all about the Stampede. But true Calgarians know the city’s got so much more to offer! There’s a huge amount of natural beauty in this city surrounded by water, mountains and prairie. The many natural surroundings also give tons of entertainment options, especially for the outdoorsy set. On top of that, Calgary’s a growing business hub, with the highest number of millionaires in the entire country, most of whom made their bank by drilling black gold. Despite its wealth and business acumen, Calgary still manages to maintain a small-town feel. Life is about business and pleasure, hard work and fun, and natural and urban. All of this is probably why Calgary was again declared the fifth most livable city in the world in 2017 – a title it’s held for eight years and counting.
Three years ago, Calgary’s housing market was scorching – and buyers paid the (high) price. But when the price of oil tanked, the market cooled. On the bright side, that means you can score a house or condo at a deal. But anyone moving to Calgary should know that the city’s economy hinges on the oil and gas industry. Be aware, too, that Calgary is a hugely sprawling city. That means there’s a neighbourhood for everyone, from suburb-dwellers to inner-city animals.
Typical housing type:
Condos and townhouses.
Calgary’s often overlooked on the east side of the country, with eyes turning to Vancouver instead. But Calgary has a lot going on in terms of industry – and it’s a beautiful place to live, in terms of the scenery and the people. If it’s not somewhere you’ve considered, it’s worth heading into town and taking a look around. You might just fall in love with what you see!
Average Rent Prices in Calgary
Avg. rent by housing size:
Avg. rent compared to other Canadian cities
Calgary is on par with the Canadian average
Apartment Hunting in Calgary
Searching for a rental in Calgary is all about extremes. Most places are super cheap or tip-top, high-end luxury with all the amenities (we’re talking dishwasher in the unit kind of stuff).
If the latter is your speed, focus your apartment hunting on downtown’s trendy neighbourhoods. Also consider listings for condos that are being rented out by the owners.
Looking for something more affordable or big enough for a family? Consider a townhouse or part of a house. Basement apartments or furnished rooms in private homes are your cheapest bet. These rentals can also work as housing for students, especially for houses near the university.
Calgary is a highly diverse city with an increasing immigrant population. There are strong South Asian, Chinese, and Indigenous communities. The city tends to draw two types of people – those who love the outdoors, coming for the natural wonder and those work in one of the main industries, coming for a job. The luckiest residents though come for both these things – and find themselves welcomed into this progressive wonderland in the prairies.
Perfect for: Outdoorsy professionals, especially millionaires (Brett Wilson, Arlene Dickinson) and former hockey greats (Theo Fleury).
Not-so-perfect for: Lower income Canadians and those working outside Calgary’s main industries.
Life & Style
We’ve established that Calgary has some serious wealth. So it should come as no surprise that high-end taste rules in terms of shopping and restaurants. But don’t think that Calgary is some stuffy, old money town. There are also plenty of fun bars and clubs – and locals know how to party, especially during Stampede. In the past decade, Calgary has shed its tired old Cowtown ways and a flurry of trendy bars, cafes and bakeries are popping up.
Of course, the Calgary Stampede grounds is one of the most famous things in the city. Locals are more interested in places like Bowness Park and the riverfront, though, which is an ideal spot to clear your head or enjoy a peaceful day with your family. For shopping, head over to the CORE Shopping Centre or Chinook Centre. The entertainment district is the place to go for clubbing and trendy food spots. Looking for design inspiration? The Beltline is the spot for you! The multicultural hub in Calgary is International Avenue. Explore Kensington’s diverse eateries and wine bars, party on 17th Ave, and have brunch in Marda Loop.
Heritage Park Historical Village
The Scotiabank Saddledome