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What is it like living in Calgary?

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  • Aug 9th, 2009 8:00 pm
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Newbie
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Jul 14, 2007
12 posts
Toronto

What is it like living in Calgary?

I've recently received a job offer to go work in calgary. Was wondering if anyone could share their experiences with me so I can make a better decision whether I should do the move.

Specifically these the are questions I want to know.

a)Is there a big asian population (like toronto),like is there places where i can get a good asian meal? (esp. korean and chinese)

b) I heard that housing prices are ridiculous, but really, how expensive are they? If I rent a 1 bedroom condo/apt, how much would it be per month. If I rent just a bedroom from someone's house, how much would it be?

c) Is it friggen cold in the winter?

d) What is the current gas price? Is car insurance generally cheaper in calgary than toronto?


If anyone could answer these questions or just give me their experiences of what it's like living in calgary, that'll be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
25 replies
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
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Ottawa
Worst of all, you wake up one morning and there are cowboy boots by the door and a cowboy hat in the closet! And...... they are yours! You will never recover! :D
Seriously, do a little research. Calgary is a great City.
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Apr 26, 2004
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gookie wrote:
Aug 4th, 2009 4:36 pm
I've recently received a job offer to go work in calgary. Was wondering if anyone could share their experiences with me so I can make a better decision whether I should do the move.

Specifically these the are questions I want to know.

a)Is there a big asian population (like toronto),like is there places where i can get a good asian meal? (esp. korean and chinese)

b) I heard that housing prices are ridiculous, but really, how expensive are they? If I rent a 1 bedroom condo/apt, how much would it be per month. If I rent just a bedroom from someone's house, how much would it be?

c) Is it friggen cold in the winter?

d) What is the current gas price? Is car insurance generally cheaper in calgary than toronto?


If anyone could answer these questions or just give me their experiences of what it's like living in calgary, that'll be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
A) There is an Asian population although nowhere nearly as prominent as those in Toronto or Vancouver. Chinatown is small but you can still get a decent meal.

B) Housing/rental costs are comparable to those in Toronto.

c) Winter temps are generally a lot lower than those in Toronto but it's a lot drier there so you don't feel it as much as you'd think. They have these bizarre winds called chinooks that can raise the temps to spring-like conditions during winter for days at a time.

D) Gas is less. Currently, TO gas prices are in the mid-high 90s while Calgary is in the high 80s, low 90s.

Overall, it's a nice, modern city. Being an hour away from the mountains is amazing and you'll want to visit Banff/Jasper as much as you can. It's pretty isolated though. The nearest major city is Edmonton three hours away and there's not much there either. In terms of social/cultural attractions, Toronto and Montreal are far superior.
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Jun 19, 2006
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gookie wrote:
Aug 4th, 2009 4:36 pm
b) I heard that housing prices are ridiculous, but really, how expensive are they? If I rent a 1 bedroom condo/apt, how much would it be per month. If I rent just a bedroom from someone's house, how much would it be?
calgary.craigslist.org

c) Is it friggen cold in the winter?
Not as bad as Winnipeg or Regina/Saskatoon.
d) What is the current gas price? Is car insurance generally cheaper in calgary than toronto?
Liability is $450/year on my vehicle, and another $100 for plates. TD Meloche Monnex.

If anyone could answer these questions or just give me their experiences of what it's like living in calgary, that'll be greatly appreciated.
Horrible traffic (terribly inadequate infrastructure), everything is very expensive, and quite frankly, not much of a Chinatown, or even a vibrant arts community.
"I worked with several H1B employees that were/are borderline ********. One of them wanted to spray an electrical patch panel with solvent to see if it would make the “network go faster”". <--- lol (source)
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Nov 29, 2005
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Specifically these the are questions I want to know.

a)Is there a big asian population (like toronto),like is there places where i can get a good asian meal? (esp. korean and chinese)

It been years since I've been to TO so not sure of the comparision but there are great restaurants around, and many grocery stores have a good selection of products.
b) I heard that housing prices are ridiculous, but really, how expensive are they? If I rent a 1 bedroom condo/apt, how much would it be per month. If I rent just a bedroom from someone's house, how much would it be?

Depends where you want to be in the city. I would estimate $1000-$1200 less or more depending on area, rents have come down lately.

c) Is it friggen cold in the winter?

We actually have had pretty decent winters lately. Expect a few weeks of really cold but otherwise not bad. Last year we tons of snow, the year before barely none...each year is different.
d) What is the current gas price? Is car insurance generally cheaper in calgary than toronto?

89.9 is the average right now. Not sure how much you pay in ON but I insure 2 new vehicles, full coverage for around $150/mo


If anyone could answer these questions or just give me their experiences of what it's like living in calgary, that'll be greatly appreciated.

I have a friend that moved back to Calgary last year after 5 years in TO, and said he loves it here and has no plans of returning to TO. Depending what you are looking for, Calgary is a really nice place to live.
Thanks![/QUOTE]
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Sep 1, 2005
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pitz wrote:
Aug 4th, 2009 7:35 pm
Horrible traffic (terribly inadequate infrastructure), everything is very expensive, and quite frankly, not much of a Chinatown, or even a vibrant arts community.
Horrible traffic in comparison to Toronto? (or Montreal or Vancouver) :lol:

China town isn't huge but is ok.

Most of Calgary is suburbs so its very different then Toronto or Montreal. I always tell people if you can only visit one city in Canada, go to Montreal, if you can do two then Calgary, Toronto doesn't even make the top 5.

Do you know where in the city this job is located? Is it downtown or somewhere else?
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Nov 6, 2007
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When you get to Calgary, you'll notice someone stole all the trees.
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dark169 wrote:
Aug 5th, 2009 1:11 pm
Horrible traffic in comparison to Toronto? (or Montreal or Vancouver) :lol:
Lol, at least the GTA has real infrastructure and you can take the 407 if you want to bypass the more southerly nonsense passing through. 401 and the 427 are nasty, but nowhere near as bad as the Deerfoot in the wintertime, IMHO.
Most of Calgary is suburbs so its very different then Toronto or Montreal. I always tell people if you can only visit one city in Canada, go to Montreal, if you can do two then Calgary, Toronto doesn't even make the top 5.
Wow; I'd push YVR over Calgary any day of the week..
"I worked with several H1B employees that were/are borderline ********. One of them wanted to spray an electrical patch panel with solvent to see if it would make the “network go faster”". <--- lol (source)
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
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pitz wrote:
Aug 6th, 2009 2:36 am
Lol, at least the GTA has real infrastructure and you can take the 407 if you want to bypass the more southerly nonsense passing through. 401 and the 427 are nasty, but nowhere near as bad as the Deerfoot in the wintertime, IMHO.



Wow; I'd push YVR over Calgary any day of the week..
Calgary is fine, but wouldn't make my top 5 list of cities to visit in Canada: Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, Quebec City. Other than it's proximity to Banff etc, there is really nothing....
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Oct 16, 2006
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Calgary
Living in Calgary isn't too bad. I moved to Calgary back in 1998 from Windsor, ON. Just before the big economic boom. The one thing I noticed, is that it's friggin' expensive to live here. Grocery wise, I find it more expensive. Of course housing is expensive. Not too sure about rent, I haven't rented since early 1999.

The variety for eating out isn't bad, lots of festivals and stuff during the summer. If you're into skiing, you can ski in the city at Canada Olympic Park (COP) or drive an hour out to the mountains.

Weather can suck... we only have 2 seasons, winter and summer. Winters can drag until June. Heck it snowed once in July! The running joke for the weather is to wait 5 min. and it will change. Which I did see happen right before my eyes one time.

I had a friend move out here a couple years ago and he only lived here for a year. He couldn't stand living here and moved to TO so he could be closer to his family in Windsor.

Just my thoughts on living here in Cowtown.
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Aug 19, 2002
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gookie wrote:
Aug 4th, 2009 4:36 pm
I've recently received a job offer to go work in calgary. Was wondering if anyone could share their experiences with me so I can make a better decision whether I should do the move.

Specifically these the are questions I want to know.

a)Is there a big asian population (like toronto),like is there places where i can get a good asian meal? (esp. korean and chinese)

b) I heard that housing prices are ridiculous, but really, how expensive are they? If I rent a 1 bedroom condo/apt, how much would it be per month. If I rent just a bedroom from someone's house, how much would it be?

c) Is it friggen cold in the winter?

d) What is the current gas price? Is car insurance generally cheaper in calgary than toronto?


If anyone could answer these questions or just give me their experiences of what it's like living in calgary, that'll be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
a) if you're looking for a hwy 7 equiv, you're very much out of luck. Chinatown is small and inadequate compared to the Asian frills you can get around the GTA.
b) don't know
c) Winters can be much longer than what you've felt in Toronto. It can snow in May and June can still be pretty chilly. Last year there were a few days of -30, (-45 windchill) and I don't care what people say about humidity -- it is very cold.
d) gas is cheaper right now, but during the past winter, it was more expensive than Toronto, by at least a few cents. Be prepared for a lot of pebbles cracking your windshield.
Jr. Member
Jan 26, 2003
122 posts
gookie wrote:
Aug 4th, 2009 4:36 pm
I've recently received a job offer to go work in calgary. Was wondering if anyone could share their experiences with me so I can make a better decision whether I should do the move.

Specifically these the are questions I want to know.

a)Is there a big asian population (like toronto),like is there places where i can get a good asian meal? (esp. korean and chinese)

b) I heard that housing prices are ridiculous, but really, how expensive are they? If I rent a 1 bedroom condo/apt, how much would it be per month. If I rent just a bedroom from someone's house, how much would it be?

c) Is it friggen cold in the winter?

d) What is the current gas price? Is car insurance generally cheaper in calgary than toronto?


If anyone could answer these questions or just give me their experiences of what it's like living in calgary, that'll be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
a) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calgary
56K south asian, 65K chinese. Adds up to about 12% of the population. Not as heavy as Richmond in Vancouver would be of course but they're not that rare. If it helps, there are two big asian grocers (T&T) in the city plus a few other miscellaneous asian grocers among 17th ave SE (International Ave). Not too sure about exact numbers as I dont shop for groceries in that area but

There is a chinatown. Kind of small yes, but decent food. There is also another asian ethnic store concentration among international ave (17th ave SE), but more vietnamese based. Some people do consider that area the "ghetto" though.

Another asian mall concentration among 16th ave and center street, New Asia Mall. It has another asian grocery store plus a few restaurants and bakeries.

You won't have a problem finding a good asian meal. And I'm talking about real ethnic food; if you talk about fast food asian buffet/food court style the number explodes way up.

TD Bank branches in Calgary have Chinese characters on the signs; if that tells you something.

b) Depending on where you live, my gf lives in a older (80s) one bed apartment building in the downtown core 2 blocks from her work with shared laundry and its 700$ a month rent, includes everything. If you want a shiny new 2bedroom cosmo condo with granite/steel everything and downtown look at closer to $1500.
Rooms - anywhere from $400-$700 per room in the suburbs, depends of course.

c) depends on what you consider to be friggin cold. When it gets cold, it can get cold ie, -30 but it is broken up by the mentioned chinooks which can get you into the positive single, sometime even low double digits a few days after. So it's not like in other places I've been where it gets cold and STAYS cold all winter.

d) gas - yes, cheaper, like mentioned. Insurance, well, I dont know about TO, but its $1250/yr for me, clean record for 11 years driving a sporty 2 door car.
Member
Dec 23, 2007
448 posts
11 upvotes
Calgary
Presuming you're a lady, if you're into HK style fashion like the one you find in Pacific Mall, look elsewhere. There is none here! My wife is planning to move back to GTA because of that :( . If your job locates in downtown, be prepared to take transit to work unless you are willing to pay $300 - $450 per month for parking in downtown, or if you are lucky enough to have the parking space provided. House price is now relatively lower than GTA and the property tax is much lower here. For a ~2200 sq feet detached home, double car garage (very common here; even some 1400 sq feet home comes with that), you can get one ~$450,000 (and no land transfer tax like in GTA) in NW area.
[OP]
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Jul 14, 2007
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Toronto
Thanks guys for replying. At first, Calgary didn't sound that bad. I'm more of a suburbs person and enjoy outdoor activities a lot. I'll be working downtown, so I'm definitely looking for a place dt where I could walk to work. Hopefully, I could also get some underground parking at my place.

I think i'll probably look to rent a room from some condo/apt. Does anyone know any local rent sites for Calgary either than craigslist and kijiji?

Btw, my friend told me ppl for calgary hates ppl from toronto? why?
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Nov 21, 2004
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gookie wrote:
Aug 6th, 2009 10:48 pm
Thanks guys for replying. At first, Calgary didn't sound that bad. I'm more of a suburbs person and enjoy outdoor activities a lot. I'll be working downtown, so I'm definitely looking for a place dt where I could walk to work. Hopefully, I could also get some underground parking at my place.

I think i'll probably look to rent a room from some condo/apt. Does anyone know any local rent sites for Calgary either than craigslist and kijiji?

Btw, my friend told me ppl for calgary hates ppl from toronto? why?
http://www.rentfaster.ca/ has signs in lots of places.
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