Calgary is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately 80 km (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. 

The economy of Calgary includes activity in the energy, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail, and tourism sectors. The Calgary CMA is home to the second-most corporate head offices in Canada among the country's 800 largest corporations.

Calgary is divided into 4 Quadrants:  North East (NE), South East (SE), South West (SW), and North West (NW).  

In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.  Calgary hosted the 2009 World Water Ski Championship Festival in August, at the Predator Bay Water Ski Club.

Calgary had the highest number of small businesses per capita of the major cities in Canada in 2013 at a rate of 40 per 1,000 population, according to research by Calgary Economic Development. 


Calgary experiences a dry humid continental climate.

According to Environment Canada, average daytime high temperatures in Calgary range from 24 °C (75 °F) in late July to −3 °C (27 °F) in mid-January.

Calgary has the warmest winters of all the major prairie cities, based on the average nighttime temperatures from December to February. The climate is greatly influenced by the city's elevation and proximity to the Rocky Mountains. Calgary's winters are broken up by warm, dry Chinook winds that routinely blow into the city from over the mountains during the winter months. These winds are known to raise the winter temperature by 20 °C (36 °F), and as much as 30 °C (54 °F) in just a few hours, and may last several days.

In summer, daytime temperatures can exceed 29 °C (84 °F) anytime in June, July and August, and occasionally as late as September or as early as May. As a consequence of Calgary's high elevation and aridity, summer evenings tend to cool off.

Calgary has the most sunny days year round of Canada's 100 largest cities, with just over 332 days of sun. The city is among the sunniest in Canada, with 2,396 hours of annual sunshine, on average.

With an average relative humidity of 55% in the winter and 45% in the summer (15:00 MST), Calgary has a dry climate similar to other cities in the western Great Plains and Canadian Prairies. Unlike cities further east such as Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or even Winnipeg, humidity is rarely a factor during the Calgary summer.

Calgary International Airport in the northeastern section of the city receives an average of 418.8 mm (16.49 in) of precipitation annually, with 326.4 mm (12.85 in) of that occurring in the form of rain, and 129 cm (51 in) as snow. The most rainfall occurs in June and the most snowfall in March.

Calgary averages more than 22 days a year with thunderstorms, with most all of them occurring in the summer months. Calgary lies on the edge of Alberta's hailstorm alley and is prone to damaging hailstorms every few years. Being west of the dry line on most occasions, tornadoes are rare in the region.


A 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applied to most purchases including restaurant meals, transportation, lodging, and admissions. Additionally, a 4% lodging tax is applied to rooms. On the bright side, Alberta is the only province without a provincial sales tax.


Calgary Transit offers bus or C-Train (LRT) service to virtually anywhere in the city. The C-Train is free downtown – simply hop on at any stop along 7 Ave. As long as you get off the train before leaving downtown, no fare is required.



South Health Campus Alberta Children's Hospital (ACH)
East Calgary Health Centre (ECHC)
Foothills Medical Centre (FMC)
Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC)
Richmond Road Diagnostic & Treatment Centre (RRDTC)
Rockyview General Hospital (RGH)
Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre (SMCHC)
South Calgary Health Centre (SCHC)
South Health Campus (SHC)
Tom Baker Cancer Centre (TBCC)

The Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions.

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Calgary Herald 

Living in Calgary, Alberta


Calgary’s Location


  •   Is Alberta’s most populous city, with a metropolitan population of 1.4 million.
  •   Sits more than 1 kilometer above sea level.
  •   Is a prairie city with a climate that is dry, sunny, windy, and cool.
  •   Is a three hour drive from Canada’s border with the United States.
  •   Is a one hour drive from the Rocky Mountains.
  •   Is one of Canada’s wealthiest cities, with a low unemployment rate.
  •   Is one of the world’s most livable cities.
  •   Is one of the world’s cleanest cities.
  •   Has North America’s first wind-powered public transit system – the C Train.
  •   Has prohibited pet cats from roaming freely.
  •   Has the biggest network of buildings connected by footbridges in the world.


Apartments on the Bow River in Calgary
High Rise Apartments on the Bow River in Calgary

Calgary sits in a vast, often brown colored plain in Southern Alberta.

The prairie here is far above sea level: Calgary’s elevation is 1050 meters (3445 feet) above sea level.

Calgary is Alberta’s largest city, larger than Edmonton, the province’s capital. Calgary has grown rapidly in recent years.

Calgary’s latitude – 51 degrees north – is similar to London, Paris, Seattle and Vancouver.

Its high latitude results in long days in summer and long nights in winter.

Calgary is semi-arid – hence the brown landscape.

Sitting on the prairies, the city enjoys plenty of sunshine with low rainfall.

The Rocky Mountains rise dramatically to the west.

Of all Canada’s provinces, Alberta’s character is most like the USA. Alberta has cowboy boots, rodeos, cow festivals (Calgary is sometimes called Cowtown) and American spellings. Its government is to the right of Canada’s other provinces. Alberta has a reputation for socially conservative attitudes.

Calgary has a lower violent crime rate than any other major city in Canada.

Business and Jobs

Oil Pumpjack in Alberta Canola Field

Alberta has the lion’s share of Canada’s oil industry. Its reserves – in the form of oil-sands – are estimated to be second only to Saudi Arabia’s. Calgary is one of Canada’s wealthiest cities.

Low taxes have brought many businesses to Calgary. Small businesses in Alberta pay just 14 percent tax, and there is no payroll tax.

Calgary’s recent spectacular growth rate has slowed as a result of the credit crunch and, in particular, uncertain oil prices.

Calgary’s unemployment rate in December 2014 was 4.8 percent, lower than the Canadian average of 6.6 percent. The number is almost the same as a year ago, when Calgary’s unemployment was 4.6 percent and has fallen significantly from 2010 when it reached 7.6 percent. Calgary’s unemployment rate was below 4 percent in 2007 and 2008.

Approximately 18,000 jobs have been created in Calgary in the last 12 months to December 2014. However, the fall in the oil price has reduced employment opportunities as oil producers trim their budgets and cut costs.

Downtown Calgary
Downtown Calgary

The oil industry and its suppliers pay some of the highest salaries in Calgary.

The government, universities and schools aren't quite as generous with their money but offer reasonable salaries and good conditions of employment.

Despite Calgary’s lower than average unemployment rate, getting well-paid work has proved difficult for many migrants when they first arrive in the city. Many of Calgary’s employers seem to look first for a local employee. If they can’t find a suitable local employee, employers will consider employing a migrant.

If you have specialist, in-demand skills in the oil and gas industry, you are less likely to have difficulties.

Getting low paid work is easier.

There is no general sales tax levied in Alberta, although shoppers need to pay a federal sales tax of 5 percent. Shoppers in other Canadian provinces have to add a combined sales tax to their purchases ranging from 10 percent in Saskatchewan to 15 percent in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Alberta and Calgary’s public finances are very healthy, and the standard of healthcare compares favorably with other parts of Canada.

About Health

Although healthcare is good, Calgary’s breakneck growth means you may find it difficult to get a family doctor when you first arrive in Calgary – there is a shortage.

Calgary Health maintains a list of family doctors currently accepting new patients here (pdf document).

If you haven’t registered with a family doctor, but need the services of one, you can use a walk-in clinic free of charge, provided you have an AHCIP card (Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan card).

When you arrive in Alberta you need to wait three months before you are eligible for an AHCIP card. This applies whether you are relocating internationally or from another Canadian province. To cover you during this time, private health insurance should be considered.

Environment and Getting Around

Plus 15
New Offices with +15 Bridge

Calgary has a very clean environment. It was rated as the world’s cleanest city by Forbes Magazine in 2007 (this is the most recent survey published) and as the world’s fifth most livable city by the Economist in 2012.

Calgary has little litter, and the air is refreshingly clear and crisp. In 2010, Mercer carried out a survey of quality of life in cities around the world and rated Calgary as the world’s top Eco-city on the basis of the city’s waste removal service, sewage systems, water drinkability & availability, and low air pollution.

Cats and dogs must be licensed by the City of Calgary.

Regulations prohibit pet cats from roaming in Calgary; this means that a cat must remain on the owner’s property.

Dogs must not be allowed off-leash unless they are in a securely fenced private yard or a designated off-leash area.

Calgary has 149 public off-leash areas, making a total of more than 1,250 hectares (3125 acres). Just over one-sixth of city parkland is designated off-leash.

Calgary has some wonderful, extensive parkland with unvandalised playgrounds. The parks have attractive paths and cycle routes – especially parks on the Bow River.

Buildings in downtown Calgary are linked by the +15 network of overhead pedestrian bridges, shown in one of the images on this page.

The +15 network is heated, so you can walk around the downtown’s buildings and shops in winter without the need for winter clothing.

The network (so called because the bridges are about 15 feet above the ground) is the biggest network of buildings connected by footbridges in the world, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) long in total.

Calgary’s public transport is reasonably good.

The Bow River, at Banff in the Rockies, west of Calgary
The Bow River, at Banff in the Rockies, west of Calgary

The C Train (a light railway) is reliable and runs from some of the suburbs into downtown Calgary. You can see the C Train’s Stations and routes here.

The C Train is powered by electricity generated by windfarms. Within downtown Calgary you can travel free on the C Train. Outside downtown, there are free park-and-ride-car-parks for the C Train and buses.

Park and Ride car parks feature free plug-in block heaters. These heaters are needed in cold weather to preheat car engines before they can start. The C Train stations aren’t enclosed, which makes for some very chilly waits in winter.

Most Calgarians prefer using their cars to public transport. City officials estimate that more than forty percent of downtown workers use the C Train regularly though.

Calgary’s growth has been faster at times than the government’s ability to cope.

Infrastructure is falling behind population and there can be traffic jams during rush hour.

People coming from larger cities in other countries will find the traffic relatively easy. Getting around is made harder by Calgary’s many traffic lights.

Suburban developments have outpaced school construction. This has led to lengthy journeys for some children and overcrowding of popular existing schools.

Where to Live in Calgary

New Houses, Calgary Suburban Sprawl
New Houses – Calgary Suburban Sprawl

An Older Syle Home in Calgary
An Older Syle Home in Calgary

As Calgary has boomed, migrants have flooded in from Europe, Asia and other Canadian cities.

Suburban development has boomed too.

Calgary’s house prices are still affordable compared with Vancouver but are almost as expensive as Toronto’s.

The city’s preferred residential areas lie in the North West and South West suburbs. These are closest to the Rockies with attractive mountain views.

The North East, where the airport is situated, and some rather industrial parts of the South East are often thought of as less favoured locations.

Summing Up

To some migrants, Calgary feels isolated – an island city in the middle of a vast prairie. Unlike Toronto, there are no other sizeable towns and cities nearby. It’s also a long way from the sea or sizeable lakes.

Most migrants, provided they can cope with the cool climate, find Calgary offers an extremely attractive lifestyle.

Calgary’s Negatives

  •   The long, cold winter
  •   The rapid thaw and slush when the warm Chinook wind blows in winter
  •   The short summer
  •   A lack of history, historical buildings, and culture
  •   Expensive housing compared with most other Canadian cities

Calgary’s Positives

  •   Low taxes
  •   Low unemployment
  •   Low crime rate
  •   Salaries above the Canadian average
  •   Clean and beautiful, with a modern, attractive downtown, a good-sized meandering river, and the rocky mountains backdrop
  •   The Rockies are easily accessible by car from Calgary
  •   Clean air
  •   A sunny climate – one of the sunniest in Canada – with low rainfall
  •   Chinook winds bringing mild days in winter
  •   Fantastic winter sports – with Canada Olympic Park
  •   Friendly people
  •   It’s easy to “get away from it all” into a huge province with a small population

Tazim Asaria
Tazim Asaria
#10, 6020 - 1A St SW Calgary AB T2H 0G3