About Calgary and Life in the Wild, Wild West
Howdy neighbour and welcome to the wild, wild west –or should we say, Calgary! Calgary is home to the largest rodeo in Canada, the Rockies and the badlands. While its cowboy persona may be intimidating for an outsider, we can assure you Calgary has plenty of small town charm. It is located in the southern part of Alberta and is the province’s most populous city. Along with dense population comes a prosperous job market—Calgary is one of the wealthiest cities in Canada with its salaries being far above the Canadian average. It’s a great place to start a family or get a leg up in life.
Aside from the grind, Calgary offers a beautiful and clean landscape. With the Rocky Mountains in the background and a modern downtown, you will always feel at peace while being at the center of everything. Sunshine also doesn’t come in short supply as it is one of the sunniest cities in Canada. You’ll also find that this sunshine brightens up the community’s already warm hearts. Thankfully there is tons of sunshine without the rainfall. Being on the same latitude as Paris or London, Calgary’s residents get to enjoy long summer days but also long winter nights. If you’re sold on sunshine and rainbows, read the rest of our Calgary rental guide below:
Where to live in Calgary - the city of Sunshine
Calgary’s charm will embrace you as you walk on the prairie soil. It will make you want to make one of Calgary’s 198 neighbourhoods, referred to as communities, home. Calgary covers 825.3 km 2 of land, a bit larger than Toronto. With larger space comes lots of selection for the types of Calgary apartments available in the area. From high-rise, detached, semi-detached, condos, townhomes to basement apartments, Calgary has it all. Here’s a snippet of our Calgary apartment guide you can use to find a neighbourhood suited to your needs. Check out one of these three communities to get you started:
North West The most popular place to live in Calgary are the neighbourhoods in the North West and South West area. The North West quadrant has a stunning view of the Rockies and is home to Calgary’s most popular park, Bowness Park. For those with older kids or who are students looking to move to Calgary, it is also home to the University of Calgary.
South West In the South West quadrant is the Altadore neighbourhood which is adored by its residents for its proximity to River Park and the largest shopping area in Calgary. Also, it’s recognized for having a lively party and cultural scene.
South East While largely industrial, The South East quadrant has some upper scale areas such as McKensie Lake and Midnapore. It offers a high quality of living and has a lower crime rate than other areas in Calgary. The Cranston community, one of the neighbourhoods in the South East end, is a well-planned residential area with a wide range of residential units. This includes single family and multi-family rentals. For your convenience, there are also tons of commercial areas making shopping easy.
How do I Get Around in Calgary?
Looking for more information about neighbourhoods? Check out our Calgary neighbourhood guide which will provide you more in-depth demographic information for each neighbourhood.
Public Transportation Calgary’s public transportation is forward-thinking and eco-friendly. It is run on sustainable energy and free within the downtown core. Its name? C Train. The C train has two lines: the red line and the blue line. The red line runs from the most southern part of Calgary to the northwestern suburbs. The blue line runs from the northeastern to western suburbs. Whizzing through the city will cost you just $3.15 for a one-way ride. If you have a bit of the travel bug and want to fly internationally, you can jump on a flight at the Calgary International Airport.
Driving Take out your wallets if you need a parking spot in Calgary. Parking spots range around $150 to $300/month to rent. To purchase one of these bad boys, it will cost you anywhere from $20,000 to $45,000. There’s always city parking available which range in prices. Thankfully there are parking permits for residential street parking which is free for two permits per permit year for qualified residents.
Walking & Biking Walking and biking in Calgary is easy and accessible. The city has several pathways and bikeways across the city. It has also recently launched cycle tracks for cyclists which has designated and concrete separated lanes for extra safety. Maps are available via The City of Calgary Pathways and Bikeways apps available on iPhone and Android.
What's the Cost of Living in Calgary?
Calgary has a reasonable cost of living and is more affordable than many large North American cities. Its provincial tax, personal income taxes, and inheritance taxes are the lowest in the country. They’ve also given the boot to the sales tax. Bonus! Before moving to Calgary, you should create a budget for yourself. Here, let us break it down for all of you:
Rent & Utilities Depending on where you live, the prices of apartment rentals will vary. If you’re looking at a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre, rent will be approximately $1,200/month. Alternatively, the same condo outside of the centre will cost you $985/month. If you’re looking at something a bit bigger, a 3 bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost around $2,000/month and $1,650/month outside of the centre. Basic utilities will cost you around $60. Internet and cellphone will cost you $60 respectively. So, if you’re single and living in the city centre, you’re looking at around $1,420 in total for rent and utilities.
Transportation After discussing the steep parking prices, we’ll assume you’re going to want to use the CRT. A one-way ticket will cost you $3.25. A regular monthly pass will cost you $101/month.
Food While there are tons of great restaurants in Calgary, the city isn’t famous for its food. In other words, your dining out budget won’t need to be over the top. However, note that dining out is also a bit more expensive than other cities in Canada. For $15, you can dine at an inexpensive restaurant and we estimate that you’ll do this at least once a week. For $70, you can take a date out to a reasonably priced restaurant. Hopefully your lucky date will get to do this twice a month. A quick bite at your favourite fast food joint, twice a month, will cost about $9 each time. Of course, you’re going to need a nice cup of joe to jump start your mornings which will cost you about $4. We assume you’ll need this at least 4 times a week. That brings your monthly costs for dinning out is $234.
Dining in is also going to be a part of your life in Calgary. Expect to spend about $200/month if you like your protein and your greens.
Entertainment After settling into Calgary, you’re going to want to go out and enjoy yourself outside the confines of your apartment. A cost of a drink is about $7 and we estimate that you’ll have at least 8 drinks a month. Jump in a cab on your way home and that will cost you about $10 – depending on where you decide to live. Whether you like vino or a movie, the costs should balance out bringing your monthly entertainment budget to $76/month.
Health & Fitness Pumping some iron or moving those legs at the gym is an important part of an active lifestyle. A gym membership will cost you approximately $60/month.
Crime in CalgaryWhen finding a place to call home, Calgary crime rates are important. In the wild, wild west you will find that crime rates are higher than the Canadian average, approximately 7% higher. However, you can find pockets in Calgary that do have lower crime rates. If you’re not ready for a show down, check out our neighbourhood specific crime reports.
How to find the Perfect Calgary Apartment - The Calgary Rental Guide
Ready to live the cowboy or cowgirl lifestyle in the prairies? Saddle up and make the move to Calgary. Let’s wrap up on some concrete next steps and guide for renting:
Establish your must-have and distinguish your nice to haves:
Identify attributes of apartments that you need, as well as, ones that you want. Direct your search based on your needs and try to make decisions based on your wants.
Build a budget:
Check out our rental calculator to help estimate your monthly budget. You’re welcome in advance.
Research, research, research:
Start with checking out our neighbourhood guides for information on local amenities, demographics and crime statistics. Also take a look at apartments online and compare them against your must-have list, cost/square foot and proximity to your individual conveniences.
Take the Tour:
Give the apartment contact a call and schedule a time to check out your short list of eligible apartments. Also, don’t forget to tour the neighbourhood during different times of the day to get a good feel of the neighbourhood. Treat all of your interactions like interviews, because trust us, your landlord has options and we want them to approve you. Be sure to ask any clarifying questions about expectations and responsibilities as a tenant.
Organize your documentation:
AreaVibes allows renters to send a more detailed renter application with credit checks to make this step really easy for you.
Hopefully our guide to renting in Calgary has you well suited for the wild, wild (not so wild) west. When you settle in and make friends with the neighbours, check out everything that Calgary has to offer you and your loved ones!