I originally started my Canadian adventure in Vancouver and my plan was to stay in British Columbia. However, the wisest people know that things don’t always go to plan but who said that was a bad thing? I have found a sense of home in Calgary and this city was never even on the radar for my Canadian travels. I believe it is one of the most underrated cities in Canada, hence why I want to share with you 5 reasons to consider making a stop in ‘cowtown’.

#1 Hidden Gems

From engaging with fellow travellers, I know that one of the things that deters people from settling in Calgary is that it seems like a very quiet and small city with not much to do. I understand that perspective because as a newcomer, downtown Calgary is indeed quiet compared to cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

Coming from a slower-paced northern city in the UK, I also appreciate that Calgary is a place where you can stroll and not feel as if you are competing in a race every time you go somewhere. There is a sense of history here with the juxtaposition of old and new architecture and the variety of street art keeps city walking interesting.

#2 The Weather

Calgary has a lot of sun compared to other cities in Canada. I did not feel a drop of rain for the first 4 months I was here, which is alien to me as someone from the north of England. I loved experiencing winter days here – blue skies and crisp air is my favourite kind of weather.

For people who are more inclined towards hot weather, Calgary summers are definitely on the warmer end of the spectrum. My first summer here, the average temperature has been around 26 – 31 degrees celsius (even when it is raining, which happens much more frequently in the summer). Calgary is very famous for its unpredictable weather. There are days where one moment it is hot and sunny, then there is an intense thunderstorm with hail and suddenly it is back to the sun shining. Watching and hearing the thunderstorms here has been a whole new experience, insanely loud! Also, before I came here, I didn’t even know that Alberta had tornados.  Again, the unpredictability is part of the adventure.

#3 Coffee Shops and Quirky Areas

Who doesn’t love a self-care day writing, reading or socialising at a coffee shop? The good news is that Calgary is a coffee city. Maybe this is why I was drawn to Calgary so much, to live out my barista dream. There are a lot of independent cafes all offering different coffee experiences – from ‘proper’ artisanal coffee to instagrammable lattes.

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Calgary also has fun, quirky areas full of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Areas I love are Inglewood, Kensington, Chinatown and Mission. I will indulge more information about those in another post!

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#4 Proximity to the Rocky Mountains

Hop in your car, hitch a ride or take the coach and in just over an hour you will be in the iconic beauty of Canada’s gem – the Rocky Mountains. During the summer, people from Calgary spend a lot of time driving up to the mountains to go camping, rafting, climbing and hiking. Even just taking a day trip to saunter around Canmore or Banff is an absolutely stunning experience. In Calgary, you get the best of both worlds – city life and the option of the mountains. Need I say more?


#5 The People

I remember when I was working in a shop in Vancouver, I told a customer I was leaving to go to Alberta and she said to me that it is such a friendly place. I have found that Calgary definitely feels less pretentious than Vancouver and maybe this is because it is cheaper to live in this province. I might just be lucky but the people I have met here have been so warm and welcomed me with open arms and this has really given me the courage to try and embrace the moving abroad experience. That really is the beauty of living and working in Canada, there are so many people to meet from all over the world with so many stories to tell.

To conclude, I won’t say Calgary is by any means perfect. It definitely has some less appealing factors such as its public transport system, the state of the roads and more right wing politics than I am used to. However, for those of you who are interested in living and working in Canada, I would recommend giving Calgary (and the province of Alberta) some consideration. Or if you are travelling in Canada, making a pitstop will be worth your while!


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