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Calgary questions

Calgary questions

Old Mar 17th 2019, 12:39 pm
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Default Calgary questions

We are trying to decide on location for our relocation this summer. I am sponsored by my Canadian partner (who also lives in UK) and we are bringing our 16 year old daughter.
We had been focusing mainly on Calgary as our destination however we now have some concerns which I hope anyone with Calgary experience can help with!
1. The economy. According to (retired) relatives living in Calgary, it is not looking good. This is obviously a concern particularly as:
2. Having had my quals assessment through recently, I am not qualified in my current field so will need to start in a either new career or re-enter my previous career (Public Relations). This would give us a lower income initially at least and might make my situation more difficult if the jobs market is competitive due to economic difficulties.
3. Housing/transit. We had been looking at spending around $400K to buy a house outright in central/ SW Calgary which seemed just about achievable but we can't afford to spend that much if I am on a low salary or not working for a longer time. This would mean moving to a cheaper, less central area which again is difficult as I rely on public transit and it would seem that the transit network is not so good the further out you live.
4. Cold. You have just had it super cold. How do you manage, particularly if you're not able to get around by car?

For info, as a more affordable and walkable area we are comparing Fredericton which seems to offer many of the things we are looking for and enjoy, but obviously is a smaller place in a province which has its own economic challenges so may also be difficult jobs wise. But at least we could afford it initially.

Any thoughts from Calgarians much appreciated! Thank you
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

1. Everyone complains about the economy in Alberta. It’s a province of oil dependency. Oil currently drives this province and because of that it’s literally a religion to a lot of folk. Folk can be cynical and miserable and because they’ve been paid so much to work in the oil sector they don’t want to lose that, so are very passionate and outspoken about it. When oil prices rise- people are happy and businesses benefit. When oil prices drop- it’s the opposite. It’s a boom and bust economy here. It’s also why a lot of people move here from other parts of Canada and from around the world- to benefit from the boom. Then leave when it busts. (It’s also why I won’t buy a house here because I don’t want to live in Calgary forever and be stuck with a house I can’t get rid of)
2. There are thousands of jobs going. All sorts of things in all sorts of areas all the time. I personally have found companies value transferable skills a lot more than they do in the U.K. Yes there’s high competition for jobs but- I’m not sure of a place where there isn’t.
3. Coming from the NE of England- I think the transit is excellent in Calgary. (That’s my comparison). I lived in the NW of Calgary for my first year and a half here & didn’t have a car for the first year and had no issues getting around on the trains and busses- though it was a pain in the butt sometimes. Transit is cheap here! And also a million Uber drivers which helps too. As mentioned, I didn’t buy- I rent because I don’t plan on staying here. But depending on the size of house you’re looking for $400k seems kinda reasonable- though I know the NW and SE of Calgary a lot more (I now live in the East Village after 8 months in Inglewood so I’m also fairly familiar with downtown too). All the new build 3 bedroom places that are popping up seem to be at least $500k, a lot at least $600k.
4. The cold is nothing like the cold in England. There’s no humidity here. It’s a completely different kinda cold. It does not sink into your bones here. It can give you frost bite in 10 mins when it’s real cold but that’s why you buy some decent winter kit. And I mean, proper snow boots, a buff, gloves, and on real cold days you probs wanna wear an extra pair of pants. But when wearing the right stuff it’s honestly fine. Husband was cycling to work still mid winter. Plenty people do. We were still going for plenty of hikes and skiing and stuff.
Though- I would absolutely still recommend at some point getting a car. It will make your life so much easier here- Calgary doesn’t have anything stopping it from expanding so it is- and everything is far apart. So a car helps. And also means you’re not limited to where you job search.

For the most part I very much enjoy living in Calgary. It was 8 degrees and sunny this morning (as usual- it’s always sunny- it makes the cold bearable- so have some decent sunglasses for all year round too) so I sat on the balcony with just a tshirt on and wasn’t cold at all! The lack of humidity really does feel very different!

Hope that sort of helps.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 9:19 am
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Default Re: Calgary questions

I like Calgary and have visited it quite a lot as my husband’s family lived there. His mother and brother came to us in France for a few Christmas visits and complained constantly about how cold our weather was!

Canada has the cold sussed...there really is no need to be chilly here. Calgary’s cold is, as mattandsuze said, dry and does have really warm days and it’s sunny. Don’t move to eastern Canada we have heavy wet, long winters and you would hate it...I do too!

Very best of luck deciding...not easy
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 11:07 am
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Suzeandmatt and MillieF - Thanks so much both for your replies! I know you have posted info for me before as well. It's really appreciated :-)

It is difficult to decide. In the end I think we will have to focus on the good aspects of whichever location as they all have many, and go forward with that. We're lucky in that we have a free choice.

Getting around on foot/transit really is an issue for me because I won't ever drive. I have limited eyesight so had to give up my license and the rules regarding vision are the same in Canada (I checked!). So I do need to be able to get from A to B preferably without getting frostbite, or spending hours commuting!

I am encouraged by your comments that the employment prospects could be better than the impression given by various news reports and stats. I have made lots of applications with no result but I suspect that's got a lot to do with still being in the UK.

I have had a quick visit to Calgary (in summer!) and my partner has been there quite a few times as he has relatives there. He found it colder in winter than Montreal (where he grew up) and is concerned I might find that hard.

Anyway thanks for your positive comments!

Last edited by mogscat; Mar 18th 2019 at 12:38 pm.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by suzeandmatt View Post
It’s also why I won’t buy a house here because I don’t want to live in Calgary forever and be stuck with a house I can’t get rid of

Ehhh, that's not really true. You'll always be able to sell your house here - just sometimes it takes longer than you'd hoped for. Also, there's often a gap in reality between what people think their homes are worth, and what the market thinks it is worth, leading to the home sitting for months before they finally listen to the realtor and drop the price.

Originally Posted by suzeandmatt View Post
though I know the NW and SE of Calgary a lot more (I now live in the East Village after 8 months in Inglewood so I’m also fairly familiar with downtown too).
East Village is hardly the "SE". The SE sprawls another 20kms south of the East Village!

Originally Posted by suzeandmatt View Post
For the most part I very much enjoy living in Calgary. It was 8 degrees and sunny this morning (as usual- it’s always sunny- it makes the cold bearable- so have some decent sunglasses for all year round too) so I sat on the balcony with just a tshirt on and wasn’t cold at all! The lack of humidity really does feel very different!
Amen! Was out washing the cars in shorts and a t-shirt yesterday, although it was reading 6 degrees in the west
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 5:16 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Photoplex View Post
Ehhh, that's not really true. You'll always be able to sell your house here - just sometimes it takes longer than you'd hoped for. Also, there's often a gap in reality between what people think their homes are worth, and what the market thinks it is worth, leading to the home sitting for months before they finally listen to the realtor and drop the price.


East Village is hardly the "SE". The SE sprawls another 20kms south of the East Village!


Amen! Was out washing the cars in shorts and a t-shirt yesterday, although it was reading 6 degrees in the west
Firstly when it comes to buying- it’s totally my choice. Always being able to sell a house yes- getting what was paid for it depending on when it needs to be sold- maybe not- having to have it on the market for ages first- yeah also a possibility that I don’t want. So- sometimes if a person doesn’t plan on staying in an area for too long it can be a lot easier to simply rent. I am aware of many people who have moved out of Calgary recently and had to rent their home/apartment instead of selling it because they’ve fallen into negative equity- and that’s not a situation I can be in. I find renting more convenient and therefore don’t want to buy- so I can’t speak to that- if you can- I’m sure the OP would be interested to know how you’ve found it here.

And I’m fully aware of where the SE spreads- but just because I live in an area doesn’t mean I don’t spend time in other areas close by. 20km is hardly a massive distance. I’ve lived in the bottom end of Inglewood by the train lines and frequent plenty places further south than that. But- yeah- EV is still SE. I’m sorry it’s not SE enough for you that you don’t think I can give an opinion on that. Again- feel free to share how you’ve found things.

I am simply providing answers to the persons questions based on my experiences- you don’t have to instantly shoot someone down- you can simply share your own findings instead. They will probably differ because of our different lifestyles- but that’s why people ask these questions on the forum.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by suzeandmatt View Post


Firstly when it comes to buying- it’s totally my choice. Always being able to sell a house yes- getting what was paid for it depending on when it needs to be sold- maybe not- having to have it on the market for ages first- yeah also a possibility that I don’t want. So- sometimes if a person doesn’t plan on staying in an area for too long it can be a lot easier to simply rent. I am aware of many people who have moved out of Calgary recently and had to rent their home/apartment instead of selling it because they’ve fallen into negative equity- and that’s not a situation I can be in. I find renting more convenient and therefore don’t want to buy- so I can’t speak to that- if you can- I’m sure the OP would be interested to know how you’ve found it here.

And I’m fully aware of where the SE spreads- but just because I live in an area doesn’t mean I don’t spend time in other areas close by. 20km is hardly a massive distance. I’ve lived in the bottom end of Inglewood by the train lines and frequent plenty places further south than that. But- yeah- EV is still SE. I’m sorry it’s not SE enough for you that you don’t think I can give an opinion on that. Again- feel free to share how you’ve found things.

I am simply providing answers to the persons questions based on my experiences- you don’t have to instantly shoot someone down- you can simply share your own findings instead. They will probably differ because of our different lifestyles- but that’s why people ask these questions on the forum.
Whoa, easy there... Just because I'm providing my perspective based on over 12 years here, doesn't mean I'm trying to berate or belittle you. Not sure why you're being so defensive.

As for city geography, locals lump the East Village into the Downtown zone. Nobody living in Eau Claire declares themselves as in "The Southwest". Even Beltliners consider themselves in the Downtown (as did we when we lived there).

Also, locals don't think of Inglewood as the Southeast, despite it being in the the SE quadrant. It's lumped into that "Inner City" doughnut that spans around from Inglewood, Crescent Heights, Bridgeland, Sunnyside, Kensington, Hillhurst, Killarney, Bankview, Mission, etc, where the quadrant doesn't really matter or mean anything. For example, residents of Kensginton/Hillhurst think of themselves as "Inner City" before "Northwest" (as did we when we lived there).

Last edited by Photoplex; Mar 18th 2019 at 5:49 pm.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 6:49 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Hi there.
Planning on moving too. mixed feeling with Vancouver but can't bear this anymore.
Vancouver will be Montecarlo in 10 years and can't have my daughter growing in this context.

Been up and down Uk and Canada twice. gave my self in to try to make Vancouver works but there are to many factors that are driving me crazy.

We are planning to move to Calgary.

looking to the NW area and trying to find a nice spot for a family to grow.
I heard about all the Oil story but I guess it's the same old story when we have to complain as soon as the things are worst than before.
I heard that car insurance are cheaper in Alberta compared to BC and tht daycare too.

would love to ear something from you guys as don't know anyone around there.

Cheers
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Photoplex View Post
Ehhh, that's not really true. You'll always be able to sell your house here - just sometimes it takes longer than you'd hoped for. Also, there's often a gap in reality between what people think their homes are worth, and what the market thinks it is worth...


​​​​Absolutely. It is hard to find a house which isn't "vanity priced" and if you pay vanity pricing then yes, you risk not being able to sell for a good price/without falling into negative equity.

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Old Mar 18th 2019, 7:30 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by raindropsandroses View Post


​​​​Absolutely. It is hard to find a house which isn't "vanity priced" and if you pay vanity pricing then yes, you risk not being able to sell for a good price/without falling into negative equity.
100%. We're looking around again, and sometimes I can't help but laugh out loud at some of the new listings, and what the owner thinks they're worth... Yeah, maybe in 2012, on a good day, if they discovered a gold or oil deposit in your back yard...
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Photoplex View Post
100%. We're looking around again, and sometimes I can't help but laugh out loud at some of the new listings, and what the owner thinks they're worth... Yeah, maybe in 2012, on a good day, if they discovered a gold or oil deposit in your back yard...
Exactly, or the lipstick on a pig jobs where the owners watched a few home improvement reality TV shows and did a botch job of making it look trendy (usually hideous imho) conveniently forgetting the knob and tube wiring/40 year old furnace/leaking roof, but still want double what they paid for it for the privilege.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by St.Albans View Post
Hi there.
looking to the NW area and trying to find a nice spot for a family to grow.
I heard about all the Oil story but I guess it's the same old story when we have to complain as soon as the things are worst than before.
I heard that car insurance are cheaper in Alberta compared to BC and tht daycare too.
Most of the NW is nice to raise a family. I'll undoubtedly be flamed for saying this, but if I had to avoid anywhere it would be Bowness or Montgommery. I'd personally also avoid anywhere outside the Ring Road (so, Sage Hill, Evanston etc) if you're planning on working downtown. Which neighbourhood really depends on your budget - the higher, the closer to downtown.

Boom, bust, and back to boom. This shoulder recovery period has been longer than previous ones though, due to the different set of circumstances this time (such as the WCS discount, access to markets etc).

Car insurance is outrageous compared to the UK, but can't comment compared to BC. I'm currently paying $1500 a year fully comp on a new Audi, with 25 years driving experience, maximum no claims, but a few speeding tickets. However, insurers in AB only care when I got my AB driving license, and that was 12 years ago - so they think I've only been driving that long.

Last edited by Photoplex; Mar 18th 2019 at 8:22 pm.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 8:55 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Photoplex View Post
Most of the NW is nice to raise a family. I'll undoubtedly be flamed for saying this, but if I had to avoid anywhere it would be Bowness or Montgommery. I'd personally also avoid anywhere outside the Ring Road (so, Sage Hill, Evanston etc) if you're planning on working downtown. Which neighbourhood really depends on your budget - the higher, the closer to downtown.

Boom, bust, and back to boom. This shoulder recovery period has been longer than previous ones though, due to the different set of circumstances this time (such as the WCS discount, access to markets etc).

Car insurance is outrageous compared to the UK, but can't comment compared to BC. I'm currently paying $1500 a year fully comp on a new Audi, with 25 years driving experience, maximum no claims, but a few speeding tickets. However, insurers in AB only care when I got my AB driving license, and that was 12 years ago - so they think I've only been driving that long.
no different if you return to the UK..I had been away less than 5 years..but was treated as a new driver because "i had been driving on the opposite side of the road" and was deemed a risk..like i had somehow forgotten how to drive on UK roads..its just a scam to max out your premiums
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by St.Albans View Post
Hi there.
Planning on moving too. mixed feeling with Vancouver but can't bear this anymore.
Vancouver will be Montecarlo in 10 years and can't have my daughter growing in this context.


Been up and down Uk and Canada twice. gave my self in to try to make Vancouver works but there are to many factors that are driving me crazy.

We are planning to move to Calgary.

looking to the NW area and trying to find a nice spot for a family to grow.
I heard about all the Oil story but I guess it's the same old story when we have to complain as soon as the things are worst than before.
I heard that car insurance are cheaper in Alberta compared to BC and tht daycare too.

would love to ear something from you guys as don't know anyone around there.

Cheers

Not quite sure what you mean by this, or whether you have REALLY looked at Vancouver outside downtown .............. but having lived here for over 50 years, I'm perfectly happy, think it's a great place to live AND bring up a family.

It is however VERY expensive .............. and that is a better reason not to move here than your ill-meant thoughts.

You do have to realise that wherever you move, big city or large town or small village, will all have the same problems for teenagers to face ........... it is up to you to do your best to teach your child how to avoid the temptations, not on the city.

There are thousands of people here who do not drink, do not smoke, do not gamble, do not do drugs ......... and a huge part of that is due to the family context. However, if a child is going to do any of these things, it often (not always) is due to something outside your control as a parent.

Actually ........... your first determination will be are you eligible to get a visa for Canada. The second will be where to find work. The third MIGHT be the choice of where to live ........ you MIGHT have to go where the money is!

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Old Mar 18th 2019, 9:18 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

The great benefit of using public transport is I never have to worry about car insurance 😁
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