The topic of ‘Calgary vs Edmonton’ is an incredibly popular discussion. It’s quite common for people to compare the two cities prior to relocating. Although Calgary and Edmonton are similar in some ways, they also have their own benefits and drawbacks. You want to be certain that where you choose to relocate will be most ideal for your lifestyle, career, and family. As such, it’s important that you do your own research. Ultimately, learning about each city will help you make an educated decision. So, let’s explore the pros and cons of Calgary and Edmonton!

Living in Calgary Pros

Clean City 

One of the most noteworthy traits of Calgary is the city’s cleanliness. Calgary is continuously considered one of the cleanest cities in the world by many publications, including Forbes. The superb cleanliness of the city can be attributed to a few key factors. For example, hefty littering fines ranging from $500-$1000 deter people from throwing their trash on the streets. Furthermore, Calgary also has some solid recycling and composting programs that keep the city spick and span. 

Rocky Mountains 

A huge benefit of living in Calgary is the city’s proximity to vast nature in the form of the Rocky Mountains. It’s uncommon for a metropolitan area to be close to such vast natural landscapes, so this quality definitely makes Calgary stand out from the rest. If you reside in Calgary, you are lucky enough to reside next to the Rockies, which are one of Canada’s most notable geographical landmarks. Banff National Park, Lake Louise, and countless other destinations are within driving distance of the city, creating a bunch of opportunities for awesome day trips and wilderness adventures. 


Calgary is considered to be one of the best cities in the world for livability. In 2019, the Economist ranked the city 97.5 out of 100 for livability, which placed Calgary in the top 5 liveable cities for 10 years in a row. A major contributor to the city’s wealth is its main industries. Calgary is one of the top world leaders in the oil and gas industry. Consequently, the city is one of the wealthiest in the world, which makes living and working here great. The only problem is that when the oil and gas industry isn’t doing well, Calgary’s economy likely isn’t doing great either. But, these industries have definitely contributed to creating a livability city over many years. 


Living in Calgary Cons

Lacklustre Transit System

Despite the fact that Calgary has many amazing qualities, the city doesn’t have the best transit system. For those who depend on public transportation, this may be a dealbreaker. Although the “C-Train” can get you around downtown fairly well, you have to take buses to get to more remote parts of the city. 


With a population of over a million, there’s plenty of vehicles on Calgary’s roads. During rush hour, many streets are congested – but not as severely as in other cities like Toronto or Vancouver. Still, getting stuck on the road can be quite inconvenient if you’ve got somewhere to be. If you’re used to driving in laidback cities or towns with very little traffic, it may take you a while to get used to Calgary. 



Living in Edmonton Pros

Friendly Locals

Tourists and new residents of Edmonton often remark that the city is quite friendly. Edmonton isn’t really a massive city, so this may contribute to creating a smaller community vibe. Edmonton inhabitants tend to be quite approachable and neighbourly. Whether it’s due to the size of the city or a combination of multiple factors, the friendly living environment of Edmonton is certainly an attractive feature. If you’re from out of town, you’ll be sure to feel welcome in no time. 

Plenty of Festivals 

Do you like attending big events and festivals? Well, you may love Edmonton purely for the number of festivals the city boasts each year. Nicknamed “the Festival City”, Edmonton has more festivals that take place each year than any other place in Canada. There is a wide variety of festivals thrown in Edmonton, ranging from music, food festivals, and others. With a whopping total of over 50 festivals annually, Edmonton is a great place to live if you want to keep busy and entertained. 

Strong Economy 

In terms of employment, Edmonton does quite well. Compared to the rest of the country, Edmonton’s unemployment rate is lower than average. In fact, the city repeatedly ranks with the best unemployment rate in Alberta. It can still take effort to find a job, but it should be much easier to find one in Edmonton than in many other locations. An increase in population over the last decade also contributes to the thriving local economy. 


Living in Edmonton Cons 

Crime Rate 

While Edmonton has a lower than average unemployment rate, it has an above-average crime rate. In particular, the city has a high degree of violent crimes. Although the government has been talking about reducing the city’s crime, there hasn’t really been any meaningful change in recent years. It is believed that the high amount of young people living in Edmonton contributes to higher than average gang populations in some places. There’s plenty of safe places in the city, but it is still important to consider the crime rate of a city prior to moving. 


Although both cities have cold climates in the winter season, Edmonton’s winters are worse. As the most northerly major city in the country, inhabitants of Edmonton must endure minimal daylight and freezing temperatures during winter. While Chinook winds warm Calgary up once in a while, Edmonton doesn’t have this luxury. If you aren’t too fond of lengthy winters, Edmonton may not be your ideal choice. 


Calgary vs Edmonton – Which is your pick?

Deciding on a new place to call home is a big deal. When relocating, it’s always best to become familiar with the places you are considering moving to. Once you feel you have done thorough research, you may confidently enjoy your new city of choice. As two of Alberta’s most popular cities, the topic of ‘Calgary vs Edmonton’ comes up a lot. Although both have their own unique pros and cons, it’s up to you to decide which is best for you.

Are you new to the province? Here’s another article on transitioning to Alberta.