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Calgary Calling: Your Essential Guide to Moving to Calgary

February 07, 2024

Calgary Calling: Your Essential Guide to Moving to Calgary

Are you gearing up for a long-distance move to Calgary from Ontario or another province? Congratulations on selecting this dynamic and thriving city as your new home! This comprehensive guide is designed to equip you with all the crucial information necessary for a smooth and successful transition. Whether you're crossing provincial lines or traversing the country, we've got you covered with tips and insights to make your relocation to Calgary as seamless as possible.

Embrace the Move to Calgary: Your New Chapter Begins Here!

Calgary, known as the heart of the New West, is a dynamic city that blends a fast-paced urban environment with the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. As Alberta's largest city, it offers a strong economy, a rich cultural landscape, and endless outdoor activities for every season.

From the stunning views at Nose Hill Park to the bustling streets of Stephen Avenue, Calgary has something for everyone. The city is also famous for hosting the annual Calgary Stampede, a world-renowned rodeo and festival celebrating Western heritage.

With sectors like energy, finance, and technology driving its economy, Calgary provides ample job opportunities. Plus, the cost of living is more manageable compared to other major cities in Canada, making it an attractive option for individuals and families.

MTS Moving is here to help you navigate the logistics of your move so you can settle into your new Calgary life with ease. Their expertise in relocation services guarantees a smooth and worry-free moving experience.

What to Know Before Your Move to Calgary

Exploring Calgary's Neighborhoods

Calgary is home to a diverse array of neighborhoods, each offering unique benefits for families and pet owners. Here are some notable communities to consider:

Family-Friendly Neighborhoods

Signal Hill: Located in the SW quadrant, Signal Hill is known for its excellent schools, spacious parks, and family-oriented activities. It's a great place for families looking for a suburban feel with close proximity to downtown.

Arbour Lake: In the NW, Arbour Lake offers a rare mix of urban and outdoor living with its stunning lake and community center that hosts year-round events. It's perfect for families who enjoy recreational activities.

New Brighton: Situated in the SE, New Brighton is a newer community with modern amenities, including a central park and a large clubhouse. It has a variety of housing options suitable for growing families.

Pet-Friendly Neighborhoods

Bridgeland: This inner-city neighborhood in the NE is not only family-friendly but also welcoming to pets. With off-leash areas and pet-friendly cafes, it's ideal for pet owners who also want a vibrant, walkable community.

Altadore: Altadore, located in the SW, is close to River Park, one of Calgary's best off-leash dog parks. The area boasts trendy shops and eateries, making it popular among young professionals and families alike.

Cranston: In the SE, Cranston borders the Bow River and offers plenty of green spaces for outdoor adventures with your furry friends. It's a well-established community with a strong sense of neighborliness.

When considering a move to Calgary, it's important to visit these neighborhoods and explore their amenities to find the best fit for your family and pets. Websites like Avenue Calgary provide insights into local communities, while platforms like Walk Score can help you gauge the walkability and access to parks and recreation in each area.

Cost of Living in Calgary


The cost of groceries in Calgary can be a pleasant surprise for those accustomed to the prices in larger cities. While the price of food items can fluctuate, overall, you'll find that essentials like milk, bread, and eggs are more budget-friendly. For example, a dozen eggs or a loaf of whole wheat bread typically costs less in Calgary than in Toronto. To get an idea of current grocery prices and budget accordingly, check out Numbeo's Calgary section.


When it comes to entertainment, Calgary offers a variety of affordable options. Whether you're interested in catching the latest blockbuster, attending a live concert, or exploring local attractions like the Calgary Zoo or Telus Spark Science Centre, ticket prices are generally lower than in bigger cities. This means you can enjoy a rich social life without stretching your wallet too thin. Keep an eye on local event listings and discount websites for deals on entertainment activities.


Utility costs in Calgary, including electricity, heating, and water, are competitive compared to other major Canadian cities. The average monthly utility bill for a standard apartment is lower, which can lead to significant savings over time. Resources like the Alberta Utilities Commission provide information on electricity rates, while Global Petrol Prices can give you insights into natural gas costs.

Housing Market

Whether you're looking to rent or buy, Calgary's housing market is known for its relative affordability. The average rent for apartments and the cost per square foot for purchasing a home are both lower than in cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Websites like REALTOR.ca offer comprehensive property listings, and RentFaster.ca is a great resource for finding rental properties that fit your budget and preferences.

Transportation in Calgary

Calgary offers a well-developed transportation system that caters to the needs of its residents, whether they prefer public transit or personal vehicles.

Public Transit

Calgary Transit: The city's public transit system includes an extensive network of buses and a light rail system known as the CTrain. The CTrain operates on two lines, the Red Line and the Blue Line, which cover the length and breadth of the city, including key destinations like downtown, major shopping centers, and various communities. For schedules, fares, and route planning, visit the Calgary Transit website.

Fares and Passes: Calgary Transit offers a variety of fare options, including single rides, day passes, and monthly passes. There are discounted rates for seniors, students, and low-income residents. You can purchase tickets at vending machines, select retailers, or use the My Fare app for digital ticketing. More information on fares and where to buy them can be found on the Fares & Passes page.


Road Network: Calgary's road infrastructure is designed to facilitate smooth travel within the city and to neighboring areas. Major roads like Deerfoot Trail (Highway 2) and Stoney Trail (Ring Road) are critical for cross-city travel and connecting to other highways leading out of Calgary.

Winter Driving: Calgary experiences significant snowfall during winter, which can impact driving conditions. The City of Calgary's website provides updates on road conditions, snow removal services, and winter driving tips to ensure safety on the roads.

Parking: For those who drive to work or need parking in the city, Calgary offers various parking options, including street parking and parkades. The Calgary Parking Authority manages parking services and provides information on rates and locations.

Cycling and Walking

Pathways and Bikeways: Calgary is also friendly to cyclists and pedestrians, with an extensive network of pathways and bikeways throughout the city. This includes the scenic Bow River and Elbow River pathways. Maps and information about cycling routes can be found on the City of Calgary's Pathways and Bikeways page.

Bike Sharing: For a quick trip or leisurely ride, bike-sharing services like Lime and Bird offer convenient options for residents and visitors. These services allow you to rent a bike or electric scooter from various locations around the city.

Whether you're commuting to work, exploring the city, or traveling to the beautiful natural surroundings, Calgary's transportation options provide efficient and affordable ways to get around.

Education in Calgary

Primary and Secondary Education

Calgary's education system is comprehensive, providing families with a multitude of choices to suit different educational needs and preferences.

Calgary Board of Education (CBE): As one of the largest school districts in Canada, CBE serves over 125,000 students with a variety of program options including arts-centred learning, science programs, and traditional learning environments. For more information on schools and programs, visit the CBE website.

Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD): CCSD offers faith-based education for approximately 58,000 students in the city. Alongside regular programming, they provide French Immersion, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced Placement courses. Details about their offerings can be found on the CCSD website.

Private Schools: Calgary's private schools offer specialized education that caters to various philosophies and learning styles. Montessori schools like Montessori School of Calgary focus on self-directed learning, while International Baccalaureate schools such as Calgary French & International School provide a global perspective. Waldorf schools, including Calgary Waldorf School, emphasize creativity and holistic development.

Higher Education

University of Calgary (U of C): Recognized as one of Canada's top research universities, U of C offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines. The university is known for its innovative approaches to education and research opportunities. Explore the University of Calgary's website for more information on programs and admissions.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT): SAIT is a leader in applied education, offering hands-on learning experiences in technology, trades, and business. Their programs are designed to meet industry demands, providing students with practical skills for the workforce. Visit SAIT's website to learn about their programs and campus life.

Mount Royal University (MRU): MRU offers a range of degree and diploma programs with a focus on student success and personalized learning. Known for small class sizes and a supportive learning environment, MRU prepares students for their future careers. Check out Mount Royal University's website for program details.

Bow Valley College (BVC): As Calgary's comprehensive community college, BVC provides certificates and diplomas in areas such as health, business, and creative technologies. They also offer adult upgrading and English language learning programs. Information on their programs can be found on the Bow Valley College website.

Each of these institutions contributes to Calgary's reputation as an educational hub, offering diverse opportunities for learners at all stages. Whether you're seeking primary, secondary, or post-secondary education, Calgary's educational landscape has something to offer.

Healthcare in Calgary

Calgary's healthcare system is known for its quality and accessibility, with Alberta Health Services (AHS) overseeing the delivery of medical services to ensure residents receive comprehensive care.

Alberta Health Services (AHS)

Alberta Health Services: AHS is Canada's first and largest province-wide, fully integrated health system, providing complete health services to the citizens of Alberta, including those in Calgary. The organization ensures that healthcare standards across hospitals, clinics, and community health centers are maintained at a high level. You can learn more about AHS and its services on the AHS website.

Major Medical Facilities

Foothills Medical Centre: As the largest hospital in Alberta, Foothills Medical Centre offers a wide range of services, including advanced trauma care, organ transplants, and high-risk maternity services. It also serves as a major research and teaching facility affiliated with the University of Calgary. More details can be found on their facility page.

Alberta Children's Hospital: This specialized pediatric hospital provides critical care for children and adolescents up to age 18. With state-of-the-art equipment and a family-centered approach, it's one of the most advanced children's hospitals in the country. Visit the Alberta Children's Hospital page for more information.

Peter Lougheed Centre: Another key facility in Calgary's healthcare landscape, this center offers a broad spectrum of patient services, including emergency, mental health, women's health, and surgical care. Learn more on the Peter Lougheed Centre page.

South Health Campus: As a newer addition to Calgary's healthcare facilities, South Health Campus is a large and innovative health center that provides a variety of medical services and focuses on patient care and wellness. Details are available on the South Health Campus page.

Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)

Healthcare Coverage: To access healthcare services, residents must register for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, which covers basic medical expenses such as visits to doctors, diagnostic services, and hospital stays. There is no cost to enroll in AHCIP, but registration is required to receive coverage.

How to Apply: Newcomers to Calgary should apply for AHCIP as soon as possible after arriving. The application process involves submitting proof of residency, identity, and legal entitlement to be in Canada. Applications can be made online or through a registry agent. For application forms and instructions, visit the AHCIP How to Apply page.

Finding a Doctor: Once registered with AHCIP, you can find a family doctor or primary care network in your area. AHS provides resources to help you locate healthcare providers, including the Find Healthcare page.

Calgary's healthcare system is designed to meet the needs of its diverse population, ensuring that all residents have access to essential medical services. Whether you require routine care, specialized treatment, or emergency services, Calgary's healthcare institutions are equipped to provide high-quality care.

Weather in Calgary

Calgary's climate is characterized by its distinct seasons, each bringing its own set of weather patterns and temperatures.


During the summer months, Calgary enjoys warm and generally sunny weather. Temperatures typically range from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and enjoying the many festivals that take place during this season. However, it's not uncommon for the city to experience occasional rain showers and thunderstorms, so it's wise to keep an umbrella or a rain jacket handy.


Winters in Calgary are known for being cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below -20°C (-4°F). Snowfall can start as early as October and last until April, providing plenty of opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. It's important to dress warmly in layers, have a good quality winter coat, insulated boots, gloves, and a hat to stay comfortable during the colder days.


One of the unique aspects of Calgary's climate is the Chinook winds. These warm, dry winds blow down from the Rocky Mountains and can cause temperatures to rise dramatically within a few hours, sometimes by as much as 15°C to 20°C (27°F to 36°F). Chinooks provide a welcome break from the cold, often melting snow and ice and allowing Calgarians to shed their heavy winter gear temporarily.

Spring and Fall

Spring and fall are transitional seasons in Calgary, with weather conditions that can change rapidly. Springtime can see a mix of lingering winter chill and the onset of milder temperatures, while fall brings cooler weather as the city transitions into winter. Both seasons can be unpredictable, so it's advisable to be prepared for a variety of conditions.

Preparing for Seasonal Changes

To help residents and visitors prepare for Calgary's weather, Environment Canada's website offers up-to-date forecasts, weather alerts, and advice on how to dress and equip your home for the different seasons. For example, they recommend winterizing your home by insulating windows and doors, checking your heating system, and knowing how to prevent and deal with frozen pipes.

In addition, the City of Calgary provides resources on snow and ice control, including tips for safe driving in winter conditions and information on the city's snow plowing schedule. You can find more details on the City of Calgary's Snow and Ice Control page.

Understanding Calgary's weather patterns is essential for planning daily activities and ensuring personal comfort and safety throughout the year. Whether you're enjoying a sunny summer day or braving a blustery winter storm, being prepared will help you make the most of living in this vibrant city.

Job Opportunities in Calgary

Calgary's economy is dynamic and resilient, providing a wealth of employment opportunities across various industries. The city's strategic location within Alberta, combined with its entrepreneurial spirit, has made it an attractive destination for both job seekers and businesses.

Energy Sector

The energy sector has historically been the backbone of Calgary's economy, with the city being known as the Canadian energy capital. Major companies in the oil and gas industry have their headquarters here, offering jobs in engineering, geoscience, project management, and environmental sustainability. Despite fluctuations in global oil prices, the energy sector continues to innovate and provide employment opportunities.

Technology and Innovation

In recent years, Calgary has seen significant growth in the technology sector. With initiatives like the Calgary Innovation Coalition and Platform Calgary, the city is fostering a thriving ecosystem for tech startups and established firms specializing in areas such as software development, clean technologies, and life sciences. Tech professionals can find opportunities in software engineering, IT support, digital marketing, and data analysis.

Finance and Business Services

Calgary's financial services sector is robust, with numerous banks, insurance companies, and investment firms offering roles in finance, accounting, risk management, and customer service. The city's downtown core serves as a hub for corporate offices, providing a range of career options for professionals in business development, human resources, and legal services.


Healthcare is another stable employment sector in Calgary, with a network of hospitals, clinics, and research facilities. Alberta Health Services is the primary employer, offering positions for doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, and support staff. There are also opportunities in healthcare administration, policy development, and medical research.


With several post-secondary institutions and a large public school system, education is a key employment area in Calgary. Educators, administrators, and support staff can find opportunities at the University of Calgary, SAIT, Mount Royal University, and within the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School District.

Retail and Construction

The retail sector provides a variety of jobs ranging from sales associates to store managers, particularly in shopping centers like the Chinook Centre and The CORE Shopping Centre. The construction industry remains active due to ongoing residential and commercial development projects, offering roles in skilled trades, project management, architecture, and urban planning.

Creative Industries

Calgary's creative industries are on the rise, encompassing arts, culture, media, and entertainment. This sector offers careers for artists, designers, writers, and professionals in film and television production.

Job Search Resources

Job seekers in Calgary can utilize online platforms to discover current openings and network with potential employers:

Indeed: Indeed aggregates job listings from various sources, allowing users to search for positions by keyword, location, and job type.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is not only a platform for professional networking but also a valuable resource for finding job postings and company information.

Calgary Job Board: The Calgary Job Board is a local resource that lists available jobs specifically in the Calgary area.

Calgary Economic Development: Calgary Economic Development works to attract and support businesses in the city, and their website provides insights into the job market and key industries.

Whether you're starting your career or looking to make a move, Calgary's diverse job market offers exciting opportunities for growth and advancement in a variety of fields.

Before and Upon Arrival in Calgary

Moving to a new city involves several important steps to ensure a smooth transition. Here's an expanded checklist of things to do before and upon your arrival in Calgary:

Before Arrival

Book Accommodations: If you haven't secured permanent housing, arrange for temporary lodging through short-term rental websites like Airbnb or find hotels that offer extended stays. For long-term options, websites such as RentFaster.ca and Kijiji can help you find rental properties in Calgary.

Notify Important Institutions: Make sure to update your address with all relevant institutions to avoid any disruptions in services. This includes your bank, credit card companies, insurance providers, and any subscriptions or memberships you may have. Most institutions allow you to update your address online or by phone.

Set Up Mail Forwarding: To ensure you don't miss any important mail during the transition, set up a mail forwarding service with Canada Post. You can do this online through the Canada Post Mail Forwarding service.

Upon Arrival

Exchange Your Driver's License: If you're coming from another province or country, you'll need to exchange your existing driver's license for an Alberta driver's license. Visit a local Alberta registry agent to complete the process. Be sure to bring identification and any required documents.

Set Up a Bank Account: If you're new to Canada or moving from another province, setting up a bank account with a local branch is essential. Banks like TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank, RBC Royal Bank, and ATB Financial have multiple branches in Calgary.

Apply for Health Insurance: Register for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) to access healthcare services in Alberta. You can apply for AHCIP coverage at an authorized registry agent office, and you'll need to provide proof of residency, identity, and legal entitlement to be in Canada. More information on the application process can be found on the AHCIP How to Apply page.

By taking care of these tasks, you can ensure that your move to Calgary is as seamless as possible, allowing you to settle into your new home and start enjoying everything the city has to offer.

Before you dive into the specifics of your relocation to Calgary, it's a good idea to consult a comprehensive moving checklist. MTS Moving offers a detailed checklist and blog that can guide you through each step of the moving process. From packing tips to day-of-moving advice, these resources are invaluable for planning an organized and efficient move.

Getting To Calgary with MTS Moving Expertise

When it comes to moving to Calgary, especially from various locations in Ontario, you want a moving company that knows the roads, understands the city's layout, and has a track record of successful relocations. MTS Moving is that trusted partner, with extensive experience in navigating the journey to Calgary.

Familiarity with the Route

MTS Moving has completed numerous moves from different parts of Ontario to Calgary, which means they are well-acquainted with the best routes to take. Their drivers are knowledgeable about the long stretches of highways, weather patterns, and traffic conditions that can affect your move. This expertise ensures that your belongings are transported via the safest and most efficient paths.

Understanding Calgary's Neighborhoods

Once in Calgary, MTS Moving's familiarity with the city's neighborhoods becomes invaluable. They understand the unique challenges and advantages of each area, whether it's navigating the downtown core or maneuvering through the residential streets of Calgary's suburbs. This local knowledge helps in planning the final leg of the move, ensuring a smooth delivery to your new home.

Exceptional Service

With MTS Moving, you can expect exceptional service that prioritizes the safety and efficiency of your move. Their team handles your possessions with care, using the right equipment and techniques to protect your items during transit. From packing to unloading, every step is executed with professionalism.

Customer Satisfaction

The satisfaction of past customers speaks volumes about MTS Moving's commitment to quality service. By checking their customer reviews, you can gain insight into the positive experiences others have had, reinforcing why MTS Moving is the right choice for your relocation to Calgary.

Choosing MTS Moving means opting for a moving company that not only knows the way but also goes the extra mile to ensure your move to Calgary is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

MTS Moving: Best Long Distance Movers to Calgary

When you're ready to make the move to Calgary, choosing a mover with a proven track record for long-distance relocations is crucial. MTS Moving stands out as the best choice for your long-distance move. With their extensive experience and commitment to customer satisfaction, they ensure that your transition to Calgary will be handled with the utmost care and professionalism.

Ready to Plan Your Move?Contact MTS Moving today to get a quote and schedule your move. Let them take the stress out of your relocation so you can focus on settling into your new home in the beautiful city of Calgary.