Calgary Vs Edmonton – Where Should you Live and Work?

city skyline during night time

Alberta is a province with diversity, world-class services, and opportunities that make life worth living. Anyone considering starting a new life in Alberta will certainly get to this crossroads – Calgary or Edmonton?

In this article, we’ll discuss the key differences between living in these great cities and how you can maximize the opportunities you have in both. Sounds good? Let’s begin!

Life in Alberta, Canada

Alberta has an abundance of scenery — towering mountains, frigid lakes, vast forests, rolling foothills, and fertile grasslands. With 245 rivers and over 600 lakes, life in Alberta, Canada is mostly cold.

According to the World Population Review, Alberta has a population of 4,442,879. Alberta is the sixth largest of the 10 Canadian provinces, with a landmass of 661,848 square km, and the fourth most populous.

Most Albertans are involved in oil mining and production. Since Alberta has the third-largest crude oil reserves in Canada, it’s a top attraction location for oil traders and international investors.

But that’s not the only job you’ll find in Alberta. You’ll also find many farmers in Alberta. Farms in Alberta alone export agricultural goods worth about $10 billion annually. Let’s categorize these great benefits into these two great cities. What should one expect when in Calgary, and what should one expect when in Edmonton?

Summary of Differences Between Living in Calgary vs Edmonton

As beautiful as Calgary and Edmonton are, you can’t call them the same. Both vary in different degrees, depending on your preferences. As we look into the differences between the two cities, take note of the qualities that you’re interested in seeing in the city you eventually choose to live in.

Living in CalgaryLiving in Edmonton
Calgary is the Best City for White Collar Job HuntersBlue Collar Jobs are the Most Common in Edmonton
Calgary is the Best for Small City LoversEdmonton is the Place for Big City Lovers
Calgary has a Warm ClimateEdmonton is Colder than Calgary
Crime Rate is Relatively LowCrime Rate is High
Calgary has a High Unemployment RateThere are More Job Opportunities in Edmonton


Calgary has a special Prairie-Steppe climate – which means more sunny weather. But don’t get it twisted; Calgary still gets cold, but not as cold as Edmonton. The fun part is that you still get to experience the sun, even in the winter.

Cold seasons in Calgary could last about 3.7 months in the year – between November to March. When it’s cold, the chilliest it has been in Calgary is below -22 °F. On other days, the average high temperature is below 38 °F.

On the other hand, Edmonton is a cold place to live (even though not as cold as Eureka in Nunavut and Winnipeg in Manitoba). Of the twelve months of the year, January is the coldest. Its average daily temperature could range from a low of 13.3 °F in the month of January to a 73.4 °F peak in July.

The climate in Edmonton is also fairly dry (hence, 18.78 inches of precipitation). Precipitation also gets very heavy in the summer, late spring, and early autumn. Snow depths are greater than 1 cm for over 141 days in the year, unlike other cities that experience 10 days (Vancouver), 35 days (Penticton), 65 days (Toronto), 88 days (Calgary), and 120 days (Ottawa).

Job Opportunities

The job market in Calgary is considered mainly “white collar” in nature. This nomenclature is opposed to the “blue-collar” opportunities available in Edmonton. This gives you a great perspective, depending on your preferences. If you’d rather work in a white-collar environment, then Calgary is the best place for you. If your profession is more inclined to some manual labor or physically-taxing exercise, then Edmonton is your go-to.

City Size

There’s not much difference in size between Calgary and Edmonton. However, compared to Edmonton, Calgary is a medium-sized city. The bigger cities in Canada are Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. The best way to describe Calgary is its small-city feel and conservativeness. Edmonton is more flexible and

Crime and Safety

Calgary is a safer city to live in. Calgary was ranked the 17th safest city in all of North America. It’s pretty safe. On the other hand, Edmonton ranks second-highest in terms of crime in Canada. However, Edmonton crimes are mainly drug-related rather than downright homicides.


Calgary experienced a 5.3% unemployment rate as of October 2022 (a 0.1% increase from what was obtainable in September 2022). In October 2022, full-time jobs were 14,400 fewer.

In Edmonton, the rate of unemployment is 5.2% (only a point away from that of Calgary and a 0.4% increase from what was obtainable in September 2022). Full-time jobs in Edmonton are, however, 8,100 fewer.

Notwithstanding these figures, Calgary feels the brunt of its unemployment rate because it’s a small city compared to Edmonton. Hence the few jobs available have to be struggled for.


With the fast-exploding population in Calgary, schools are becoming crowded. If you have teens, it may not be easy to enroll them in a school closest to you since they may be brimming with people already.

On the other hand, Edmonton is more spaced out when it comes to school availability. There is a truckload of options, including universities with attractive prospects.

Similarities Between Living in Calgary vs Edmonton

Both Cities Offer Great Job Opportunities

Notwithstanding that one has more blue-collar jobs than white-collar jobs and vice versa, both cities have great job opportunities for their residents. As we said earlier, it depends on your job preferences.

The Cost of Living in Both Cities is Affordable

Calgary and Edmonton are quite affordable to live in. According to Numbeo, here’s a breakdown of the cost of living in Calgary:

  • A family of four is estimated to live on monthly costs of 4,662.11C$ (without rent).
  • A single person is estimated to live on a monthly cost of 1,308.38C$ (without rent).

According to Numbeo, here’s a breakdown of the cost of living in Edmonton:

  • A family of four is estimated to live on monthly costs of 4,531.60C$ (without rent).
  • A single person is estimated to live on a monthly cost of 1,277.29C$ (without rent).

Both Cities are Affected by Traffic

Whether you live in Calgary or Edmonton, you’re sure to experience some level of traffic. The busiest road in Edmonton is the Henday Highway. You may want to avoid this zone between 4 – 6 pm in the evening.

In Calgary, traffic jam is also experienced – especially between 7:30 and 9:30 am in the morning and 3:30 to 5:30 pm in the evening. You’ll find your way around those zones wherever you choose to live.


Living in Canada is such an experience! Despite the cold, residents still enjoy the thriving economy and benefits of living in developed nations. Calgary is not any better than Edmonton, and vice versa. Just pick your poison and begin the journey! I hope this helped.

Frequently Asked Questions About Calgary vs Edmonton

Is Calgary more developed than Edmonton?

Development is a relative term. Both Calgary and Edmonton have experienced substantial development from the beginning. While Edmonton has been tagged as the 60th of the best cities to live in, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Calgary 5th of the best cities globally. Calgary is also the cleanest city in Canada.

So, does this qualify as development to you? If these are the yardsticks, then Calgary can be said to be more developed.

Where do billionaires live in Canada?

Toronto! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is Canada’s billionaire hub. Statistics show that over a quarter of Canada’s billionaires live in Toronto.

What is the nicest town in Alberta?

Some of the nicest towns to live in Alberta include

  • Jasper
  • Waterton Park
  • Canmore
  • Legal
  • Peacemore
  • Banff
  • Bon Accord
  • Nanton

What are the heritages that Calgary is best known for?

Calgary is famous for its cultural sites and upbeat buildings. Some of them include

  • Calgary Flames – NHL Hockey Team
  • The Calgary Fire of 1886
  • Hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics
  • Red Mile – Sea of Red Jerseys during the NHL playoffs of 2004
  • The Calgary Stampede
  • The Canadian Pacific Railway Headquarters
  • Hosting the 2009 World Water Ski Championship

Which city in Alberta has the best weather?

Medicine Hat aka “The Sunniest City in Canada” has the best weather in Alberta. With how cold it gets in Canada, people will do anything to enjoy the joy that comes with Medicine Hat’s summer weather. Other warm places include

  • Lytton, British Columbia
  • Kamloops, British Columbia
  • Windsor Ontario
  • Osoyoos, British Columbia
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Toronto, Ontario