The Canadian prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are in the northern Great Plains region of North America. They stand for Canada’s major source of petroleum, potash, and natural gas, and are their greatest wheat-producing regions.
This explanation may create a vision of vast rural areas with moderate-sized cities and towns, but that is not entirely true.
Located in Alberta is the city of Calgary, which is the largest metropolitan city in the three prairie provinces and one of Canada’s most famous cities, primarily known for:
- its annual Stampede
- its importance to the oil industry, and
- it hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The Pros of Living in Calgary
Calgary has been named the world’s fifth most livable city for seven years in a row by The Economist magazine, earning top marks for stability, healthcare, and education, and the cost of Calgary’s real estate compared to other major cities shouldn’t be ignored either.
But here are some further reasons why living in the affectionately named Cowtown” is such a wonderful place to live
The World’s Cleanest City
Firstly, in Forbes in 2007, then again in the 2014 Mercer Global Financial list, Calgary has been rated as the world’s cleanest city. Clean sewage systems, drinkable water, and little air pollution combined with heavy fines for littering are behind the city’s cleanliness, along with significant street cleaning and recycling programs
Low Sales Tax
Alberta has no provincial sales tax, so you only pay the 5% federal Goods and Services Tax. This allows the cost of living to be lower than in other parts of Canada.
Spend Less Time in Bad Weather
Calgary has an extensive covered pedestrian skywalk system called the Plus 15 Skywalk. It is the world’s biggest collection of footbridges connected to buildings. Because it is heated, you can spend all year walking around Calgary in a T-shirt and shorts!
Public Transit is Dependable, Environmentally Friendly, and Affordable
Calgary has a network of trains and buses designed to get people into town and back to the suburbs each day. The light rail is powered by electricity from wind farms.
There are more park-and-rides for the busses and trains outside the city center along with affordable public transport.
Family Doctors Are Easy to Find
In the past, the city had a shortage of family doctors, and the city while was growing too quickly. Calgary now has 141 physicians per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 115.
Alberta has a Health Care Insurance Plan card where many health services are free.
Lots of Stuff to Do for Outdoors Lovers
Located in Rocky Mountain foothills, Calgary is close to lots of great outdoor activities. This includes:
- Canada Olympic Park – in winter, you can slide down a hill in an innertube, ski, and snowboard, and take part in public skating and bobsledding. In the summertime, you can enjoy mountain biking and ziplining.
- 8,000 hectares (nearly 20,000 acres) of parkland – great for running or cycling, with 800 kilometers of pathways.
- Banff – just an hour away by car, offering some of the best downhill skiing in the world.
- Jasper – a five-hour drive, for more excellent skiing.
Banff and Jasper are in national parks that include sightseeing opportunities of icefields and glaciers plus wonderful camping and hiking.
Calgary is Fairly Close to Other Destinations
Calgary is a three-hour drive to the city of Edmonton which includes great shopping and a water park plus plenty of museums and galleries.
It’s only a three-hour drive to the US border, and on the opposite side, you can visit Glacier National Park, which is a United Nations World Heritage site, and home to more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of different kinds of animals.
Calgary might seem like a big place a long way from anything else, but it does have plenty to keep you occupied and many desirable locations not too far away.