City Name
Temperature
Home » Recent posts » Edmonton vs. Calgary: Which city best suits your lifestyle? 

Edmonton vs. Calgary: Which city best suits your lifestyle? 

Edmonton vs. Calgary Which city best suits your lifestyle

If you’re wondering what city in Canada will best suit your lifestyle and preferences, we got you! Here we’ll feature two of its best cities – Edmonton and Calgary. 

Which city is best: Edmonton or Calgary? To help you answer this big question, we’ll walk you through the key considerations when it comes to living in each city. 

Cost of Living in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Cost of Living in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: Freepik 

To help you better understand the cost of living in Edmonton and Calgary, we’ve rounded up the average rent per month, transportation cost, average basic utility cost, and childcare expenses in both cities. 

Calgary 

  • The estimated monthly costs (without rent) for a family of four is C$4,629.56. 
  • The estimated monthly costs (without rent) for a single person is C$1,299.81. 

Edmonton

  • The estimated monthly costs (without rent) for a family of four is C$4,532.20. 
  • The estimated monthly costs (without rent) for a single person is C$1,277. 
EXPENSESCALGARYEDMONTON
HousingRent Per Month
1-Bedroom Apartment (in the city center)C$1,438.02C$1,220.33
1-Bedroom Apartment (outside the city center)C$1,198.68C$998.27
3-Bedroom Apartment (in the city center)C$2,634.42C$2,074.48
3-Bedroom Apartment (outside the city center)C$1,981.96C$1,592
UtilitiesMonthly Bill
Electricity, Water, Cooling, Healing, Garbage Disposal (for 85 square meter apartment)C$234.47C$254.85
1 Minute of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (no plans or discounts)C$0.27C$0.35
Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, and cable/ADSL)Cs88.45C$78.38
TransportationFare
1-way Ticket (local transport)C$3.60C$3.50
Monthly Pass (regular price)C$112C$100
Taxi Start (normal tariff)C$4C$3.70
Gasoline (1 liter)C$1.71C$1.69
ChildcareTuition Fee
Private Preschool/Kindergarten (full day)C$1,091.94 per monthC$1,021.11 per month
International Primary SchoolC$16,028.57 per yearC$10,350 per year

Our Verdict 

Based on the table above, you can see that the cost of living in Edmonton and Calgary is marginally the same. The only significant difference lies in the rental prices of housing units and childcare expenses. 

Nevertheless, there are a few considerations that can make or break your choice. 

Of course, both cities are livable for single people and those with families. However, it’s important to determine your spending habits and potential needs if you decide to stay in Calgary or Edmonton.

Safety and Security in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Safety and Security in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: Unsplash 

If you wish to live alone or with your whole family, it’s essential to move to a place that’s safe and secure. Below we listed the crime comparison level between Calgary and Edmonton using the data calculated by Numbeo.  

CalgaryEdmonton
People using or dealing drugs52.77%61.37%
Property crimes such as vandalism and theft45.81%57.78%
Violent crimes such as assault or armed robbery33.57%43.60%
Corruption and bribery26.53%32.57%

Our Verdict 

According to Numbeo, the safety scale in the city is 63.22%. On the other hand, Edmonton’s safety scale is 54.95%. 

We can say that Calgary is safer, especially for those with families. Edmonton’s crime index is 45.05% which is slightly higher than Calgary’s crime index, which is 36.70%. 

You see, Edmonton has the second-highest crime rate in the province of Alberta.

Nonetheless, most of Edmonton’s crime severity index is gang and drug-related, so it doesn’t really affect the general public. Moreover, there are safe neighborhoods in the city that are worth checking out.

Social Services in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

In this part, we’ll discuss the social services that are essential in meeting the needs of each resident in the cities. We’ll walk you through Calgary’s and Edmonton’s education system, healthcare, and job markets. 

Education in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Education in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: Unsplash 

If you plan to move with your whole family, changing schools is a factor you shouldn’t miss on your list. As you orchestrate your move, we’ll give you a glimpse of Calgary’s and Edmonton’s education systems. 

Education in Calgary 

When it comes to access to free and comprehensive education, Calgary is one of the best options. The public school board of Calgary is run by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE). 

There are over 245 schools that accommodate students from kindergarten to high school. Currently, there are five public post-secondary institutions in Calgary. 

Moreover, you can also find two major universities here – the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Alternatively, there are also an array of private post-secondary schools in the city.  

Here are the in-demand degrees at the universities in Calgary. 

  • Engineering
  • Logistics
  • Supply chain management
  • Agriculture
  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Economics
  • Psychology 

Education in Edmonton 

Edmonton is one of the biggest education hubs in the country. There are 212 public schools in the city for elementary, junior high school, and senior high school. 

If you want a diverse array of choices as you enter college, Edmonton is an excellent choice. The city has eight universities that offer a total of 134 study programs. Four of those universities offer 20 master’s programs, while one university offers seven Ph.D. programs. 

These are the most popular programs in Edmonton:

  • Education and teaching
  • Administration
  • Nursing
  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Health
  • Arts
  • Management
  • Sociology 

Healthcare in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Healthcare in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Soource: Pixabay 

The healthcare system of Calgary and Alberta is under Alberta Health Services. It’s a fully integrated province-wide health system that provides universal access to necessary hospital and health care services to all Albertans. 

To receive insured hospital and physician services, all new and returning residents of Alberta must register for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. 

Overall, we can say that the healthcare system in both cities is satisfactory, especially now that they have increased collaboration with private clinics. Besides that, the Ministry of Health’s operating budget for the year 2022-2023 has also increased up to 2.4%. 

Job Opportunities in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Job Opportunities in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: Unsplash 

The oil and gas industries are the key industries that boosted Alberta’s economy and employment rate. The current minimum wage in the province is $15.55 per hour. 

Here are some of the job opportunities in Edmonton and Calgary, as well as each profession’s median salary per year. 

JOB TYPEEDMONTONCALGARY
Cashier$18,419$17,882
Waiter$20,919$32,686
Receptionist$27,085$26,318
Administrative Assistant$31,836$33,958
Customer Support$32,627$31,994
Web Designer$33,022$44,288
Interior Designer$34,485$36,993
Graphic Designer$34,958$39,845
Teacher$45,904$48,819
Accountant$47,152$48,673
Nurse$50,991$52,332
Architect$53,693$55,863
Attorney$69,731$71,460
Dentist$112,194$127,804

Top Industries in Calgary 

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, Calgary’s unemployment rate as of September 2022 is 5.2%. This is up by 0.3% from the previous month. 

In the past years, Calgary’s economy has become more diverse through various industries. This includes the following:

  • Transportation
  • Technology
  • Tourism
  • Logistics
  • Retail
  • Film and television industry

Top Industries in Edmonton

Edmonton’s unemployment rate as of September 2022 is 4.8%. It went down by 0.1% from the previous month. The main industries in Edmonton include the following: 

  • Manufacturing
  • Petrochemical
  • Logistics
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Environmental engineering

Overall Comparison of Social Services in Calgary vs. Edmonton

The table below is the overall comparison of the education system, healthcare system, and job market in Calgary and Edmonton. 

CalgaryEdmonton
Education System• Has more than 245 schools that accommodate students from kindergarten to high school

• Offers to major universities here - the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University and an array of private post-secondary schools

• Has over 212 schools that accommodate students from kindergarten to high school

• Has eight universities that offer a total of 134 study programs

Healthcare System• Features over 16 hospitals that offer emergency care, mental health services, and cancer treatment• Offers more than 15 local hospitals for emergency care, mental health services, and cancer treatment
Job Market• Unemployment rate as of September 2022 is 5.2%

• Top industries include transportation, technology, tourism, logistics, retail, and film and television

• Unemployment rate as of September 2022 is 4.8%

• Top industries include manufacturing, petrochemical, logistics, transportation, tourism, and environmental engineering

Our Verdict 

In general, we can say that both cities show progressive features and results when it comes to social services. 

Since the two cities are under the jurisdiction of Alberta, Calgary’s and Edmonton’s social services sectors are marginally the same. 

The main differences we noted are the in-demand study programs and top industries where the two cities thrive. The unemployment rates are lower in Edmonton, but the estimated annual salary for different professions is better in Calgary. 

Nonetheless, this just shows that there are good opportunities for students and young professionals in both cities.

Diversity and Demographics in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Diversity and Demographics in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: Pexels 

Alberta is the fourth most congested province in the country and the most populous of the prairie provinces. 

Calgary is its largest city and has a city area of more than 825.56 square kilometers (318.8 square miles). 

It’s also the fourth most populous city in the province of Alberta, next to Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. It has an estimated city population of 1.38 million and a metro area population of 1.61 million as of 2022. 

On the flip side, Edmonton is the second-largest city in the province and the capital of Alberta. It has a city area of 684.4 square kilometers (264.2 square miles). 

 It’s slightly smaller than Calgary, but its population is not farther apart. You see, Edmonton has an estimated city population of 1.13 million and a metro area population of 1.52 million. 

To better understand the differences between Calgary’s and Edmonton’s demographics and diversity, check out the stats we gathered from World Population Review

CalgaryEdmonton
White67.30%64.70%
South Asian7.50%7.20%
Chinese6.80%6.20%
Filipino4.40%4.60%
Black2.90%3.80%
Southeast Asian1.90%1.90%
Latin America1.80%1.70%
Arab1.50%1.70%
West Asian0.80%0.80%
Korean0.80%0.60%
Japanese0.50%0.30%
Multiple visible minorities0.80%0.11%
Aboriginal population2.70%5.30%

Apart from that, we also gathered data from the 2021 census profile provided by Statistics Canada for Calgary and Edmonton and data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to show the differences between the quality of life in the cities. 

CalgaryEdmonton
Median Employment Income (Before Taxes)$99,715$93,748
Poverty Rate9%10%
Employed Population761,365579,420
Median Age38 years36.8 years
Life Expectancy at Birth83.5 years82.1 years

Overall Diversity and Demographic Comparison of Calgary and Edmonton 

CalgaryEdmonton
Demographics• It is the biggest city in the province of Alberta, but it's just slightly bigger than Edmonton. Calgary's city population is 1.38 million• Edmonton is the second-largest city in the province and has a city population of 1.13 million
Diversity• The percentage of White (Non-Hispanic) people in Calgary is marginally the same as in Edmonton - 67.3%

• Over 30% of Calgary's population belongs to visible minority groups

• The percentage of White (Non-Hispanic) people in Edmonton is marginally the same as in Calgary - 64.7%

• Over 36% of Edmonton's population belongs to visible minority groups

Quality of Life• Has a higher median employment income than Edmonton - $99,715

• Almost 70% of the whole population is employed

• Has a slightly higher poverty rate than in Calgary (10%)

• Almost 65% of the whole population is employed

Our Verdict 

When it comes to demographics and diversity, the two cities are not far apart. However, the big difference lies in the quality of life that each city can offer. 

Based on the data we’ve gathered, such as the employment rate and median employment income, we can conclude that Calgary can provide a better quality of life.

Culture and Lifestyle in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Culture is something that’s embedded in the lives of people from past generations, and it will continue to be in the future. That’s why it’s essential to understand the culture and lifestyle of the city you plan to live in. 

Understanding the community you’ll deal with through their beliefs, arts, music, and entertainment is a nice way to start this journey. Here we’ll compare the culture and lifestyle of the people in Calgary and Edmonton. 

Music, Arts, and Culture in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Music, Arts, and Culture in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: CBC News

Calgary is known for its business in the oil and gas industries. It’s best for people looking for a business-friendly environment. 

Calgary is more geared towards international tourism and focuses more on the oil industry.

However, it’s still closer to nature and the mountains. Many tourists say that Calgary gives off an American vibe because of the high-end attractions, flashy cars, and eclectic styles all over the city. 

Furthermore, there are over 120 languages spoken in this city alone, and it’s one of the reasons they have a diverse culture. 

To top it off, Calgary is often included among the most livable cities in Canada because of its high quality of life, low risk for natural disasters, and low crime rates. 

Festival City

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Edmonton is more for the working class. It’s home to many industrial workers. 

The city also has the seat of government and the most intensive University in the province of Alberta. 

They are also more supportive in all genres of music, art, and theatre scenes. 

Apart from that, the city’s known for its colorful festivals and natural attractions. It’s coined as the Festival City because you can partake in various music festivals, art exhibitions, and culinary scenes throughout the year. 

One of its most popular festivals is the Heritage Festival. It celebrates hundreds of cultures, dances, food, and music from various countries across the world. 

Recreation and Leisure in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Recreation and Leisure in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: River Valley Alliance 

Calgary is slightly bigger than Edmonton and has a well-connected international airport. But this doesn’t mean that Edmonton doesn’t have a stream of tourists coming it’s way. 

To start off, many people believe that Edmonton is more welcoming and friendly to tourists. 

Besides that, it features an array of natural attractions, including the famous North Saskatchewan River Valley and Elk Island National Park. 

Here are other must-visit attractions in Edmonton:

It’s also a great starting point if you wish to visit the Northwest Territories or Prince Rupert.

Rocky Mountains

Image Source: Canadian Sky 

Alternatively, if you want to visit the Rocky Mountains and explore the wilderness of Canada, we recommend starting your journey in Calgary.

 It’s the closest major city to Banff and Banff National Park, so you can have an authentic cowboy experience without traveling too far. 

Locals recommend visiting the city during the Calgary Stampede. Aside from the Rocky Mountains, here are other excellent attractions you can explore in Calgary. 

  • Calgary Zoo
  • Prehistoric Park
  • Historical Park Village
  • Calgary Tower
  • Prince’s Island Park 
  • Canada Olympic Park 
  • Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey 

Weather in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Edmonton has a significantly longer growing season. It’s around 30 to 45 days longer. 

Moreover, Edmonton receives more rain than Calgary, especially in June. This helps the agricultural side of the city because it helps the vegetation to thrive better. 

On the other hand, Calgary experiences more wind. This is a good advantage in summer because you can still enjoy cool and breezy nights despite the typical summer heat. 

In general, Calgary has marginally more sunny and windy days, while Edmonton has higher precipitation and harsher winter

The dry Chinook winds are the most noticeable difference between the cities’ climates. 

These winds that blow through Calgary make the city’s winter shorter. They last for a few hours or several days and can drastically change the temperature to 20 or 30-degree celsius. 

If you’re not a fan of long, freezing winter nights, the weather and climate in Calgary might be a better fit. 

Public Transportation System in Calgary vs. Edmonton 

Public Transportation System in Calgary vs. Edmonton

Image Source: Calgary Transit 

The public transit system in Calgary is known as the Light Rail Transit (LRT), and it covers a length of more than 118 kilometers (73 miles). 

Calgary’s LRT is composed of C-Train and buses. A one-time fair is good for 90 minutes worth of transportation, while one pass is good for the whole day. 

Calgary’s C-Train can help get you through downtown. However, if you want to explore the remote parts of the city, you need to take different buses. 

It doesn’t have the best transit system in the Alberta province. This can be a deal breaker for people who rely on public transportation. 

Edmonton Transit Service (ETS)

Image Source: Arrive 

On the other hand, in Edmonton, the public transit system is called Edmonton Transit Service (ETS). 

Compared to Calgary, Edmonton has an extensive public transportation system. ETS runs and maintains a fleet of over 900 buses, 90 light rail vehicles, and 100 Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS). 

Another thing we like about ETS is that it operates until 3 AM and runs on some extended services on its five routes, all days of the week. 

With Calgary’s population, you can expect to see many vehicles on the road every day. During rush hours, many streets in the city are congested but don’t worry because it’s not as bad as Toronto and Vancouver. 

According to Global News Canada, an average person in Calgary experiences around 71 hours of delay time a year, based on a 30-minute commute daily. 

Alternatively, Edmonton is the least congested out of Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, and Quebec. An average person in Edmonton experiences 57 hours of delay time a year, based on a 30-minute commute daily. 

All in all, when it comes to fares, we can say that both cities have low-cost transit services. 

Overall Culture and Lifestyle Comparison of Calgary and Edmonton 

CalgaryEdmonton
Music, Arts, and Culture• Has more of a corporate and modern culture

• Offers a business-friendly environment

• Gives off the American vibe

• Has more of a social and friendly culture

• Coined as the Festival City

• More supportive in different genres of art, music, and theater

Leisure and Recreation• Features high-end and natural attractions

• Offers various indoor leisure centers and public recreation facilities

• Features various natural and historical attractions

• Offers a wide array of outdoor activities

Weather• Has shorter winter nights

• Has dry Chinook winds, so it is warmer in winter

• Winter is long and harsh

• Has a longer growing season

Public Transportation• C-Train can get you through and around you downtown Calgary

• Experiences around 71 hours of delay time a year, based on a 30-minute commute daily

• Has low-cost transit services

• Has an extensive public transportation system

• Experiences 57 hours of delay time a year, based on a 30-minute commute daily

• Has low-cost transit services

Our Verdict 

Calgary exudes the urban and modern vibe, while Edmonton is more of a rustic and historic city. Moreover, both Calgary and Edmonton have unique natural attractions that are worth visiting. 

However, if you consider the variety of attractions you can find in one place, we can say that Edmonton is the winner. Nevertheless, when it comes to favorable weather and climate, Calgary is your best option.

Lastly, regarding the public transportation system, we can say that both cities offer great and low-cost transit services. Just be mindful of the rush hour to avoid being late for appointments.

Final Verdict: Which city is better?

The rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary has long been in the stories of folks in the Alberta Province. Well, both cities have their merits and aspects they can improve. 

If you plan to move in with your family or start a family, we recommend Edmonton. This city features a family-friendly community, an excellent education system, free and enjoyable attractions, and a festive atmosphere throughout the year. 

The downsides of living here are the increasing crime index and the long, frigid winter. 

Alternatively, we recommend Calgary for young professionals who want to thrive in the business and technology sector. There are various job opportunities here, and the pay is above average, so it’s a good place to start your journey as a professional.

Of course, you still need to work and save more because properties here are quite expensive. 

In the end, when it comes to choosing a home, the only one who can choose which city will best suit your lifestyle needs and preferences is you. 

Understand your lifestyle and living requirements. Once you get all the details clear, you can now choose a place to call home!