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A Guide to Settling in Calgary

Written by CNN Team

Are you new to Alberta? Welcome! This is everything you need to know about settling in Calgary.

What is it like to live in Calgary? Canada is a large country where every province and territory has its own unique way of day-to-day life, which can affect their respected towns and cities. This article provides a breakdown of Calgary’s living expenses, weather, transportation, and culture to help you better envision your new life there. If you are interested in one of Alberta’s most popular cities, here is a guide to settling in Calgary.

What is the Weather Like in Calgary?

Calgary’s summers are comfortable and warm, but their winters are known for being long, dry, and freezing. For the most part, Calgary is partly cloudy all year long. However, a sudden change in weather is common. This can catch people unprepared, so it is smart to carry warm clothes, lip balm, hand cream, and even headache pills to counter that pesky barometric pressure that can still give long-time residents headaches. As they say in Calgary, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” 

The temperature usually varies from 12°F to 75°F. It is rarely above 86°F or below -13°F. 

What are the Living Costs in Calgary?

When it comes to Calgary’s cost of living calculations compared to some of Canada’s most expensive places to live (i.e. Toronto and Vancouver), Calgary is not that far behind. It is important to note that Calgary relies on the oil and gas industry, so housing costs tend to fluctuate based on the economy. Currently, you can find downtown studio apartments from between $750-$1,000. Average house prices are generally between $420,000-$470,000. 

For most rental listings, it is standard to pay a full month’s deposit upfront. Additionally, you are required to furnish your own place. Are you looking for a three-bed rental property? Those can average around $1,200-$1,800; however, this can be higher if you are looking into popular Southwest and Northwest areas.

Bills are also reasonable. For heating and electricity, most people can expect to pay between $200-$250 per month in a three or four bedroom property. Using an estimator, a family of four can cost approximately $4,203 a month without rent. Also, a single person can cost approximately $1,185 without rent. 

What is the Public Transit Like in Calgary?

Calgary’s public transit system is a combination of the CTrain, community shuttle buses, 169 bus routes, and door-to-door transportation services for those in Calgary with disabilities (Access Calgary). 

What is the CTrain? This is a light rail transit that has 46 stations and 118.1 km of double track. It is a highly popular method of transit in Calgary due to its convenience and tons of park or ride lots available at most stations. These are also conveniently located near main bus terminals throughout the city.  

If you prefer biking or walking, Calgary is proudly home to the most extensive outdoor bikeway and pathway networks in North America. There are over 1000 km of paved multi-use pathways that connect communities and 290 km of on-street bikeways downtown. In Calgary, these are usable during the winter months!

What is the Culture in Calgary?

Calgary offers a wide range of culture: art, classical music, movies, pop culture, professional sports, and more. Basically, Calgary’s cultural scene is as varied as its population. Over 120 languages are spoken among Calgary’s diverse population. Calgarians find expression through food, dance, art, fashion, festivals, cultural celebrations, film, literary programs, and more. 

Also, it is important to note the love Calgarians share for the Calgary Stampede. This is an annual summer event in which this non-for-profit community organization celebrates Calgary’s western heritage, culture, and community spirit. 

What are the Best Websites to Find Apartments in Calgary?

Finding a rental property in a new city can be time-consuming and stressful. Make things easier for yourself by researching your options and estimated prices with these popular websites:

  • Kijiji
  • Life in Calgary
  • Rentals.ca
  • 4Rent
  • RentFaster
  • PadMapper
  • View It
  • Rent Spot
  • Realtor.ca

What are the Best Job Search Websites for People to Find Jobs in Calgary?

There are loads of job search websites to choose from when you are seeking a job in Calgary. Unfortunately, all of these choices can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Here is a short list of great websites that you can use to find the job you are looking for: 

  • CareerBuilders – One of the largest and longest-lived job boards on the Internet allows you to filter by several criteria such as job title, pay range, and location. 
  • LinkedIn – The top networking website that allows you to find jobs directly from employer listings and communication with your network. 
  • Indeed – Check out employer-posted jobs and local or global postings from across the web.
  • Monster – A massive job site that scores your potential fit with a company’s role based on your interests, skills, and experience.  
  • SimplyHired – Review collected listings from all over the web.
  • ZipRecruiter – An online employment marketplace that uses AI to connect job seekers with businesses through email, mobile, and web services. 
  • Robert Half – Discover thousands of remote, on-site, and hybrid job postings from companies all over the world. 
  • Glassdoor – Check out reviews of companies that people have worked for to gain insight into the jobs you are searching. 

What are the Top Local Organizations that Help Immigrants Get Settled in Calgary? 

Calgary offers a number of organizations that support new immigrants moving to the city. These local organizations provide newcomers with education and employment support, settlement services, and they help with integrating into a new society. 

  • Welcome to Alberta
  • Directions for Immigrants – Bow Valley College
  • Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
  • Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
  • Calgary Centre for Newcomers
  • Immigrant Services Calgary
  • Calgary Immigrant Educational Society
  • Calgary Newcomers’ Club
  • Cross Cultural Connections Directory 2014

Further information on these organizations can be found at Life in Calgary

Final Thoughts

In the end, there is a ton of information to review before choosing to move to a new location. From weather expectations to financial matters, use this guide as an insight into the city so you can settle in faster. 

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.