Our Alberta Research Trip
"We've been back from our trip almost two months now and it helped us enormously to focus on what we want from our move. We flew into Calgary and spent a few days exploring the city…. Got a camper van and drove to Drumheller, then Banff. Lake Louise, Jasper, Edmonton. 3 days exploring Edmonton including one with a realtor…" Read more of BritishExpats member "mushroom's" summary of his family research trip to Alberta.
We flew into Calgary, and spent 4 days exploring the city including a day with a realtor. We then collected a camper van and drove to Drumheller, Banff. Lake Louise, Jasper, and Edmonton. For 3 days we explored Edmonton including one with a realtor. Back to Calgary including a stop off in Red Deer and a morning spent with a realtor.
What we found out (from our point of view)…….
Calgary has good attractions – visited the children's festival downtown, the Science Centre, Calgary Tower, the Talisman sports centre many times (superb). Didn't get to the zoo (weather) or Calaway Park. Sheraton Cavalier Hotel is wonderful especially for kids and is not too expensive. We looked at houses in Chaparral and Douglasdale, (actual visits), and drove through many of the communities in the south especially Tuscany. Chaparral in particular is lovely and if I could afford to I would jump at a community like that. I understand it is very popular with Brits, and I can see why. This made the concept of a lake community really appealing to my family. Douglasdale is not quite so nice but is still OK, and in either area you need to watch out for proximity to the main highway – 2 of the houses we viewed actually backed onto the highway and traffic noise would have been an issue.
One abiding memory is the friendliness of the people. Our way is to talk to anyone, and locals just delight in talking up their city. They all mentioned the real estate boom and we met a few who were buying investment properties in Calgary/Edmonton. People really went out of their way to approach and talk to us. It was fantastic.
On the journey north I just loved Banff and Lake Louise. As beautiful as anywhere I have ever been in the world.
Edmonton had a slightly different feel although people were friendly there too. I loved WEM to bits and so did my family. We looked in particular at houses in Sherwood Park, (nicest residential area we visited on the whole trip), and after meeting a family from Crestwood we also looked there. Our realtor focussed on some newer areas in the SW of the city near the new ring road and they were very nice and a bit cheaper than Calgary.
The realtors in Edmonton and Red Deer were "born and bred" locals and personally I would choose to go with that every time.
The outcome of our trip……… Alberta is not for us as a place to live. If I was a tradesman or an oil and gas professional or in any way connected with the industries around them then I would consider it as a great place to bring up a family, especially with the mountains so close. What we are looking for is the lifestyle closest to that enjoyed by another member of BE whose posts have been really interesting to me. By that I mean low-cost, low-earning, low-stress, while I retrain from being a, (relatively), high-earning manager in the science sector of the UK to a, (relatively), low earner in the field I choose to retrain in, (teaching, social care, environment etc).
The research trip was an incredibly well spent few thousand £'s and we'll be planning a second to a cheaper area of Canada in the near future.
I hope this will be of some use to others planning a research trip or two.BritishExpats Member "mushroom"