Living Guide

LIVING IN ALBERTA

Life in Alberta

Alberta is home to a significant newcomer population, with some 1 million immigrants around the province. Because newcomers tend to settle in places where they can be near people with similar backgrounds and experiences, Alberta is a top immigrant destination because the presence of other newcomers can make it much easier for the newest Canadians to acclimate to their surroundings.

Life in Alberta

Alberta’s Trade industry employs over 345,000 individuals, encompassing both wholesale and retail trade professions. This indicates that a substantial portion of Alberta’s workforce is engaged in purchasing items in bulk for resale to other businesses, which is the primary role of wholesale traders.

 

On the other hand, retail trade employees perform similar tasks but operate at the direct-to-consumer level of sales. Workers in both sectors handle various consumer items, including groceries, electronics, and household goods.

 

The healthcare and social assistance sector in Alberta employs more than 232,000 individuals. These healthcare workers are vital in maintaining the physical, mental, and social health of their communities. Occupations in this sector include therapists, child and youth care workers, and nurses.

 

In Alberta, over 178,000 residents are employed in the construction sector. This industry is essential across Canada, as these workers build the infrastructure that Canadians depend on, such as schools and other critical buildings. Construction workers are particularly important in developing housing, benefiting newcomers to Canada and Alberta alike.

 

Alberta Healthcare System

 

Healthcare in Alberta is delivered through a publicly funded system managed by Alberta Health Services (AHS), which is the province’s health authority. Residents have access to a comprehensive range of medical services, including hospital care, physician visits, diagnostic tests, and emergency services, all covered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP).

 

The province boasts a network of modern hospitals, clinics, and specialized care facilities, supported by a dedicated workforce of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Alberta also emphasizes preventive care and public health initiatives, aiming to improve overall health outcomes and manage chronic diseases. While the healthcare system in Alberta is robust, challenges such as long wait times for certain procedures and the need for more healthcare resources in rural areas persist. Nevertheless, Alberta continues to invest in healthcare infrastructure and services to meet the needs of its growing and diverse population.

 

Alberta Education System

 

Choosing a school for your child in Calgary is largely dictated by the community in which you live. The public school system is organized by the province of Alberta and zoned according to proximity. Although schools themselves vary in quality (only slightly), most of the public schools are excellent rivaling school systems worldwide.

 

This boost in support is known to result in better long term outcomes for these children, as they find more success as adults than those who did not receive early intervention services. Keep in mind, these services also include school-readiness services for students and families who are new to the country.

 

As Calgary has grown, families have moved out of the inner-city neighbourhoods and into the suburbs. Because of this, inner-city school populations have dwindled, with the suburban schools potentially facing overcrowding.

 

To offset this, it has become increasingly common for students to face a longer commute time, bussing students from the suburbs and back into the inner-city schools.

 

Evenmore, Alberta as a province holds a mandate that firmly believes in the power of “early intervention”. There are fantastic publicly funded programs that look to support children between the ages of 2.5 and 6 that are demonstrating any kind of developmental delay.

 

 

Life in Calgary, Alberta

 

As of 2024, Calgary was dubbed the fourth “most liveable city” by The Economist magazine. And with 29% of Calgarians being foreign-born.

 

One of the unique things about Calgary is its weather patterns. Because of its proximity to the mountains, the weather remains largely unpredictable. Don’t worry about the long term forecast, and just examine the weather on a day-by-day basis, as things tend to change quickly.

 

A dry climate, the wind keeps things relatively cool. The summers tend to be mild and the winters do get really cold. Expect snow – and a lot of it, but it’s rare to be able to build a snowman.

 

Because of the climate, the consistency of the snow stays fairly light and dry, a it’s not uncommon to see city workers cleaning the streets with a leaf blower, and the snow itself tends to come and go.

 

Winter in Calgary is synonymous with Chinook winds. The location of the city acts as a natural wind tunnel, funneling in warm winds from the pacific northwest.

 

You get to know the look of the “chinook arch”, a cloud formation that tells you a chinook is coming, and soon you will be enjoying spring-like warm weather for a couple days at a time.

 

Housing and Transportation

 

Calgary is fairly isolated in the southwest. With the beautiful rocky mountains a short 45 minute car-ride away, you’ll find that many Calgarians escape to the mountains regularly.

 

Calgary as a city is fairly spread out and organized into quadrants – northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest. Housing tends to increase in cost as you move closer to the west, boasting gorgeous mountain views or as you hang around the inner-city / downtown core.

 

The northeast of Calgary presents itself as a more diverse quadrant, with the airport nearby housing tends to be more affordable, especially for young families.

 

Housing may become more affordable the further you get from the inner-city, but by contrast, transit quickly becomes less reliable. As such, the majority of calgarians drive, making for heavy traffic during commuting hours.

 

With C-train lines and public bussing, the city is looking to make things easier for citizens by incorporating a variety of complementary “park and ride” lots strategically placed outside the downtown core. Moreover, within the downtown core, the c-train lines are free of charge to make use of.

 

What are the people like in Calgary

 

With over 159 languages being spoken in the city, it is almost rare to come across someone who was born and raised in Calgary. An economy that has traditionally been dependent on the success of the oil industry, Calgarians have learned to be resourceful, entrepreneurial in
spirit, extremely kind-hearted and community-minded.

 

After a flood jeopardized the city back in 2013, the people of Calgary came together in a big way. Ever since, the city has made it a priority to bring people together through the implementation of “Neighbour Day” where there are events happening all over the city celebrating a reclaimed community spirit.

 

Calgary Culture

 

Historically, Calgary was known for farming, particularly agriculture and cattle ranching. To highlight this, a group of farmers got together to put on a small “agriculture show” in the early 1900s.

 

This show, or the Calgary Stampede as it’s now known, has become world-renowned putting Calgary on the map for what is now sloganed as, “the greatest show on earth”.

 

Every year the city transforms, trading business-casual attire for plaid shirts and cowboy hats. Even if the concerts, rodeo, or creative carnival foods are not your “thing”, be sure to take part in any of the free pancake breakfasts that happen none stop all over.

 

Welcome to your New Life in Calgary

 

Above all, the city of Calgary understands how overwhelming it can be to transition to a new city – let alone a new country. There are so many services available to help you make the transition a smooth one. From language to employment training, children’s programming and more. This city is set up to help you find your place, with someone available to ensure you ask the right questions.