It’s a question many Albertans ask themselves at some point: should I be living in Calgary, or Edmonton? Whether you’re thinking of buying a home, or deciding where to rent your next apartment, there are plenty of reasons to consider either of our province’s biggest cities. Here’s our version of “Calgary vs. Edmonton”.
As a devout Calgarian, there’s no place I love more than the city where I live and work. That said, I thought it would be fun to look a bit closer at the long-time Calgary vs. Edmonton debate. Is the grass greener on the other side? Here’s what I found.
Median age: 36.6
Median household income: $84,773
Quality of life: Ranked world’s 5th most livable city, 2016 & 2017
Median age: 36.3
Median income: $80,578
Quality of life: Ranked one of the world’s best cities in 2017
Calgary and Edmonton are both “young” cities, with median ages below the national average. While Edmonton was recently ranked as the 60th best city in the world by a global consultancy firm, Calgary has been named the 5th most livable city by the Economist—not once, but twice. We Calgarians also earn more on average per household.
Food and Shopping
• LeVilla Restaurant
• Bar Von Der Fels
• Foreign Concept
• River Café
• Stephen Avenue walk
• Marda Loop
• Chinook Centre
• 17th Avenue
• Hardware Grill
• Corso 32
• Vaticano Cucina
• Alder Room
• West Edmonton Mall
• Southgate Centre
• Kingsway Mall
• Old Strathcona
• Whyte Avenue
In recent years, Edmonton’s restaurant scene has expanded. Eateries like the Hardware Grill (which serves upscale traditional fare) and Alder Room (which features the city’s first tasting menu) are exciting developments. The city is home to West Edmonton Mall—one of the largest malls in the world. That said, it also contains smaller, more charming shopping areas.
Calgary recently ranked among the top 50 most diverse cities in the world for food. From global fusion (Alloy) to simple, sophisticated dishes (Bar Von Der Fels), there’s something for everyone. Any Calgarian who likes to shop will also tell you that we’ve got a great selection of shopping districts and local boutiques. In addition, large malls like the Chinook Centre are home to high-end brands—such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstroms.
• Calgary Stampede
• Sled Island
• Calgary International Film Festival
• Glenbow Museum
• Nose Hill Park
* Banff National Park
• Bar U Ranch National Historic Site
• Edmonton International Jazz Festival
• West Edmonton Mall
• Art Gallery of Alberta
• Royal Alberta Museum
• Edmonton Valley Zoo
• Muttart Conservatory
• Elk Island National Park
West Edmonton Mall is a major tourist attraction, which is why I’m adding it to this list a second time. The city of Edmonton also hosts a well-respected jazz festival, and it’s the site of the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum. In short, Edmonton is the home of some of the province’s major art and cultural institutions.
Alberta’s biggest city holds the world-famous Calgary Stampede every year, and our historic Bar U Ranch gives visitors a taste of the cowboy ranching lifestyle. Of course, this city is so much more than “Cowtown.” We have world-class art, music, and festival scenes, not to mention a ton of natural beauty. I suggest that nature lovers explore Nose Hill Park (which sits in the city’s northwest quadrant and spans over 1000 hectares) or nearby Banff National Park.
One trip (adults) $3.30
Monthly pass (adults) $103
One Trip (adults) $3.25
Monthly pass (adults) $97
If you’re considering Calgary vs. Edmonton, don’t forget to factor in transportation. Fortunately, both cities are well serviced by affordable transit. Edmonton’s light rail (LRT) system provides a much-needed extension to its bus services, while Calgary’s CTrain covers more than 118 kms of track.
• Detached home (average price): $563,468
• Condo (average price): $294,292
• Residential (overall average): $394,089
• Detached home (average price) $424,471
• Condo (average price) $244,701
• Residential (overall average) $364,925
Real estate remains a good investment in both Calgary and Edmonton. Compared to markets like Toronto and Vancouver, Alberta’s two largest cities are relatively affordable for homebuyers. Calgary, in particular, has high rates of homeownership and has been recognized as an excellent place for Millennials and first-timers to buy.
In the Calgary vs. Edmonton debate, the winner will depend on your preferences. The way I see it, I’m lucky to call one of the most vibrant and livable cities in the world my home. Are you ready to decide whether Calgary is right for you?
Thinking of buying a home in Calgary? I know the city’s neighbourhoods—and the local market—inside and out. Send me a message, and we can discuss your needs!