- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Calgary Guide (PDF)
Often referred to as the 'most American' of Canadian cities, expats will likely find life in Calgary to be quite different to other major Canadian centres. Here are answers to some of the most common questions expats have about Calgary.
What are the best neighbourhoods in Calgary?
The best areas in Calgary are the northwest and southwest suburbs. These are closest to the Rockies, and boast fine views and low crime rates. Popular suburbs in the northwest include Tuscany, Country Hills, Dalhousie, Edgemont and Rosedale; and in the southwest, Springbank Hill, West Hillhurst and Westgate.
The northeast, where Calgary International Airport is located, is considered an unfavourable location because of the long commute into the city centre; while the southeast features a mix of desirable and less favourable locations, including pleasant suburbs such as Midnapore and McKenzie Lake but also unattractive industrial areas.
Do I need to have a car in Calgary?
Calgary has a well-established public transport system and many locals make use of buses and trains to commute to work during the week. However, buying and maintaining a car in Calgary is reasonable, and it will certainly be useful on weekends and for exploring the wider region, especially for those with children.
How do I apply for healthcare in Calgary?
Applying for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan coverage is easy to do. Simply download an application form from the Alberta Health and Wellness Department's website, complete it, sign it, and mail it off with the following supporting documents: proof of Alberta residency (such as a rental agreement, or utility bill); government-issued photo identification (such as a copy of one's passport); and proof of legal entitlement to reside in Canada (such as a copy of one's working visa).
What can I do with kids in Calgary during the winter?
If there is one thing that Canadian families don't do, it's allow the weather to prevent them from having fun. There is plenty of entertainment for kids to enjoy in Calgary in the winter. A popular option is the Devonian Gardens, the largest indoor garden complex in Alberta – it remains warm enough to use all year round, and is equipped with an extensive children's play area.