Moving From BC to Alberta: 5 Things to Know About Your New Province
Posted by Justin Havre on Monday, May 22nd, 2023 at 2:09pm.
If you're thinking of moving from British Columbia to Alberta, there are some crucial factors to consider before you make the transition. Whether it's the cost of living, the overall culture, the state of the economy, or finding fun things to do that are most important, gathering the facts about moving to Alberta before you take the leap will make the process easier. Here are a few things to know about moving from British Columbia to Alberta.
Alberta & British Columbia's Cost of Living
Overall, the cost of living in Alberta is lower than in British Columbia, although prices will vary depending on which area you live in. The average cost of a new home in Vancouver is $1.1 million, while it's approximately $411,500 in the city of Calgary. Many residents in Alberta choose to live in decently sized homes, townhouses, or condominiums with an average square footage of between 2,000 and 3,500 square feet. Additionally, rent is around 40% less in Alberta than in British Columbia, making the province appealing to renters and homeowners alike.
On average, gasoline costs around $0.60 less per gallon in Alberta than in British Columbia, helping to reduce transportation costs for residents. Groceries and dining costs are about the same between the two locations, but Alberta has no provincial sales tax, so the overall price of goods and services is lower. Healthcare costs and insurance are generally the same as well.
Alberta has one of the lowest childcare costs compared to neighbouring provinces. Monthly transit fares range from $72 to $100 in Alberta, and food costs for a household of four are comparable to those living in British Columbia.
Alberta Cities & Towns
Alberta has several major cities, towns, and some of the most populated and well-known areas.
- Calgary is the most populous city in Alberta, with approximately 1.5 million residents. The metro-bus system is the city's most often-used form of transportation. There are plenty of fun things to do in Calgary, including a visit to the famous Calgary Tower, Calgary Zoo, and Heritage Park Historical Village. Known as an eco-friendly city, Calgary is also a significant financial hub.
- Edmonton is Alberta's capital city and was founded in 1795 with a population of just under one million people. The Art Gallery of Alberta is a popular destination, along with the Royal Alberta Museum and Muttart Conservatory.
- Red Deer is a smaller city with around 105,000 residents, but it's a critical financial and agricultural part of Alberta. Red Deer also has relatively low rent costs, and popular attractions include Discovery Canyon, Kerry Wood Nature Center, and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
- The town of Cochrane is just 18 kilometres from Calgary but has a smaller population of approximately 33,000. Many people live in Cochrane and commute to Calgary to enjoy the small-town feel. Some popular attractions include visiting Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park and spending time at local spots, like bowling at Cochrane Lanes and visiting various art galleries.
Outdoor Recreation in Alberta
Like much of Canada, Alberta is rich in natural beauty and features incredible landscapes, including large mountain ranges, wildlife preserve areas, and lakes. Many residents enjoy participating in various outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, mountain biking, fishing and hunting, boating, and more.
Waterton Lakes National Park is a World Heritage Site in Southern Alberta, offering breathtaking views and outdoor activities, including hiking and canoeing. Banff National Park is one of the most frequently visited destinations, with crystal-clear blue glacial lakes and rugged mountains. Popular activities here include backpacking, wildlife watching, whitewater rafting, and sightseeing.
Because the region has many glacial lakes and waterways, many residents and visitors enjoy glacier tours to further explore some of Alberta's uncharted, icy areas. River tubing and kayaking are popular ways to enjoy summer outdoor activities in Alberta. Sturgeon fishing is also a beloved pastime during the year's warmer months. Mountain and glacier hikes, bike rides, and camping keep residents busy and active outside year-round. Guided whitewater rafting tours are always fun for those seeking a little adventure.
Alberta is an economic leader in Canada, and the oil and gas industry remains a main driver. Drilling and oil production has helped Alberta maintain strong cash flows, while an increase in new residents is also helping to expand the labour market.
Because of a recent population boom, construction jobs in Alberta will continue to be a significant source of employment. Its low cost of living and high wages also help to make Alberta a strong economy.
Alberta's living cost is lower because of its single-rate tax system, no general sales tax, and the lowest gasoline tax rate. Property taxes are also low, making Alberta an excellent option regarding personal finances and economics.
Unemployment in Alberta is 5.5%, which is below Canada's national average of 6.8%.
Things to Do in Alberta
Those who move to Alberta will find many exciting things to see and do. An impressive amount of outdoor wildlife areas, parks, and mountain ranges makes the region a draw for those who enjoy outdoor activities. Alberta also has plenty of other attractions, including the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Visitors can explore a massive display of dinosaur skeletons, over 160,000 individual specimens, and information about the region's history. Music lovers will appreciate Calgary's National Music Centre, which has a 300-seat performance hall for live music, dance, and more. The venue promotes musical education and history and also features over 2,000 musical artifacts that tell the stories of music in Canada.
For those seeking something more adventurous, WinSport is an excellent choice. Operating in Canada Olympic Park, WinSport lets visitors ride North America's fastest and longest single zipline, hop on a bobsled and ride the course, or participate in mountain biking, wall climbing, and luge. With over 18,200 acres, Edmonton's River Valley is the largest urban parkland in North America, 22 times larger than New York's Central Park. This area features loads of green space where people can enjoy jogging, walking, cycling, snowshoeing, and skiing along over 90 miles of trails.
Alberta has plenty to do, from museums and music venues to heart-pounding adventures.
Prepare Your Move from British Columbia to Alberta
Overall, moving from British Columbia to Alberta can be an exciting experience with the right preparation and mindset. Whether you're relocating for a new job, a change of scenery, or to be closer to family, consider these important factors about Alberta first.
If you're looking for a home in Alberta, contact Justin Havre of RE/MAX First with Calgary Homes at (403) 217-0003 to reach a local Alberta real estate agent and discover your dream home.