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Calgary Vs. Vancouver Which City Is Better For Living In

Calgary vs. Vancouver: Which City Is Better for Living In?

If you’re debating between living in Calgary or Vancouver, you’ve already made a significant life decision. Both Calgary and Vancouver have a lot to offer, but each has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses.  

So when we make big decisions like this, it’s important for us to be informed. Let’s take a look at the most important factors you’ll need to consider when making your decision.

Calgary vs Vancouver: Which City is Better to Live In?

Calgary is better to live in because it has good economic growth, affordable cost of living, and more job opportunities than Vancouver. 

Although Vancouver has an impressive landscape and a vibrant cultural scene, Calgary has much more to offer. 

Read on, as we’re here to help make your decision a little bit easier. Below, we’ll compare and contrast the two cities to help you choose which city is the best option for you

Comparison of Calgary vs. Vancouver
Monthly Cost of Living (One Person)$1881$2998
Monthly Transportation Costs$175$147
Average Monthly Salary$4,911.18$4,705.83
Climate and WeatherIt has a dry climate and has more sunlight hours It has a wet climate and the temperature can drop below zero. 
Culture and AmenitiesIt has dozens of galleries, museums, performing arts venues, and offers plenty of outdoor recreational spaces.It has plenty of attractions, like the Stanley Park Seawall and Capilano Suspension Bridge, and world-class restaurants.
Data sourced from: Numbeo

Calgary vs Vancouver: Cost of Living

Calgary vs Vancouver Cost of Living's Homepage

Vancouver and Calgary are two of the most popular cities in Canada, and for a good reason. They both offer a lot of things that people are looking for in a city—jobs, culture, entertainment and more.

But when it comes to the cost of living, there is a big difference between the two. Vancouver is known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Meanwhile, Calgary is much more affordable. This is something to consider if you’re thinking of moving to Canada.

The chart below shows that Vancouver is more expensive in most aspects than Calgary, especially in housing, where it’s about 30% pricier. 

Moreover, food prices have a 13% difference, and personal care is 19% higher in Vancouver. But in entertainment, the two cities almost have the same costs.

Calgary vs Vancouver Cost of Living
Data sourced from: Expatistan

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Vancouver is 16.1% higher than in Calgary. For example, a 1 kg beef round costs 1.8% more in Vancouver than it does in Calgary.

Of course, there are other factors to consider as well. Consider your priorities and what’s important to you, and then make your decision based on those aspects.

Tax Table of Calgary vs. Vancouver

Before you decide on your new home, you should take a look at the differences in taxation between Calgary and Vancouver. In general, Calgary’s taxes are lower than Vancouver’s due to the higher income generated by the oil and gas industries in Alberta.

Below is a table with the tax comparison of the two cities to give you better insight into which is better to live in:

Tax Bracket in Calgary vs. Vancouver
2022 Taxable IncomeTax Rates2022 Taxable IncomeTax Rates
First $50,197 of taxable income15%Up to $43,0705.06%
$50,197.01 up to $100,39220%$43,070.01 up to $86,1417.70%
$100,392.01 up to $155,62526%$86,141.01 up to $98,90110.50%
$155,625.01 up to $221,70829%$98,901.01 up to $120,09412.29%
Over $221,70833%$120,094.01 up to $162,83214.70%
$162,832.02 up to $227,09116.80%
Over $227,09120.50%
Data sourced from: Working Holiday Canada

Our Verdict: 

Overall, rent and house prices in Vancouver are significantly higher than in Calgary. So if you’re a renter—or a prospective homeowner—you could save yourself some money by living in Calgary instead.

Calgary vs. Vancouver: Housing Costs

Calgary vs. Vancouver Housing Costs' Homepage

When it comes to housing costs, there are two main factors: affordability and variety. And in this respect, Calgary and Vancouver offer two different experiences.

In Calgary, the average house price is much lower than Vancouver’s – around $419,000 for a detached home versus $1,217,000 in Vancouver. But there isn’t much variety in Calgary, where most of the housing is single-family homes.

Apartment Costs of Calgary vs. Vancouver
Apartment Monthly Rent (1 bedroom) in City Centre$1,537.10$2,451.74
Apartment Monthly Rent (3 bedrooms) in City Centre$2,790.47$4,552.38
Apartment for Sale in City Centre (Per Square Metre)$5,443.96$13,754.48
Data sourced from: Numbeo

So if you’re looking for an affordable place to live but don’t mind sacrificing on choice and diversity of neighbourhoods, Calgary may be the better option. 

But if you want to be able to choose from different types of homes and neighbourhoods with lots of history and charm, then you may want to consider making your home in Vancouver instead.

Our Verdict: 

Overall, while Calgary offers affordability when it comes to buying a house, Vancouver offers a greater variety of housing options and neighbourhoods with character. 

Calgary vs. Vancouver: Employment Opportunities

Calgary vs. Vancouver Employment Opportunities' Homepage

When it comes to finding a job, Calgary and Vancouver are pretty evenly matched. There are plenty of opportunities in both cities, and most people should be able to find something that fits their qualifications and interests.

Average Salary in Calgary vs. Vancouver
The average salary in Calgary is $4,911.18 per month after tax has been deducted. 
There are a variety of roles, from entry-level positions to senior management positions across the finance, construction, engineering, health and manufacturing industries.
• The average salary in Vancouver stands at about $4,705.83 per month after tax has been deducted. 

• Jobs range from tech industry roles such as software developers and engineers to careers in media and IT startups. There are also plenty of opportunities for mid-level managers and senior executives in housing, finance and tourism.

However, there are a few key differences that could make one city a better fit for you than the other. For example, if you’re looking for a career in the oil and gas industry, Calgary is your best bet. 

There are plenty of jobs in this field in Calgary, while Vancouver’s oil and gas industry is much smaller. If you’re more interested in working in the tech sector, Vancouver is a better choice. 

The city has a thriving tech industry, with many top companies located there. If you’re looking for a career in finance or business, both cities are good options.

Our Verdict: 

It’s clear that both cities have a lot to offer when it comes to employment opportunities – which might be why both cities continue to attract so many people each year.

However, Calgary’s average salary is much higher compared to Vancouver.

Calgary vs. Vancouver: Climate and Weather

Calgary vs. Vancouver Climate and Weather's Homepage

Are you still on the fence about which city is better to live in? Let’s take a look at the climate and weather.

Climate and Weather in Calgary vs. Vancouver
Calgary has four distinct seasons, with summers being the warmest and sunniest months of the year. 
During winter, temperatures can plunge below -20°C, so it’s important to be prepared for cold weather if you’re living in Calgary!
• Vancouver experiences colder temperatures throughout the year due to its coastal location. 

• Rainfall is common in Vancouver due to its humid subtropical climate!
Data sourced from: WeatherSpark

Calgary is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so the city experiences all four seasons, but it’s known to be colder than Vancouver.  The summers are warm, and the winters are cold with lots of snow. 

Vancouver is located on the coast of British Columbia. This means that the city has milder weather than Calgary, with fewer extremes in temperature. The summers are warm and sunny, and the winters are cool and rainy.

Our Verdict: 

In terms of the climate and weather, Calgary can have longer summer months than Vancouver, so it is preferable for people who love outdoor activities.

Calgary vs. Vancouver: Transportation System

Calgary vs. Vancouver Transportation System's Homepage

It’s no secret that having reliable transportation is a key factor when it comes to deciding where to live. Calgary has the C-Train, which is an electric light rail system. 

Transportation System in Calgary vs. Vancouver
Public transit is provided by Calgary Transit which includes: 
BussesC-TrainsShuttlesSpecialised services
Vancouver has a TransLink public transit system that includes:

• Busses
• Light rail trains called Sky
• Train
• SeaBuses 
• West Coast Express commuter trains

Vancouver has the SkyTrain, which is an elevated rapid transit system. Both cities have extensive bus networks and cycling options, but Calgary has more dedicated cycling paths than Vancouver.

Transportation Costs of Calgary vs. Vancouver
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)$3.60$3.10
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)$112.00$120.00
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)$2.00$2.00
Gasoline (1 litre)$1.61$2.09
Data sourced from: Numbeo

In terms of pricing, Calgary’s public transportation system is much more affordable compared to Vancouver’s. A one-way adult fare on the C-Train costs only $3.25, while a one-way adult fare on the SkyTrain costs $3.75. 

Plus, Calgary residents get access to discounts on monthly passes and special fares for youth and seniors, which can make it even cheaper to get around town.

Our Verdict: 

While Vancouver has more specialised options like ferry rides and the SkyTrain that add some extra flavour to your daily journey, Calgary provides a more expansive network across its sprawling landscape and even dedicated a bike lane for bikers. 

Calgary vs. Vancouver: Culture & Amenities

Calgary vs. Vancouver Culture & Amenities' Homepage

Culture and amenities are important factors to consider when deciding which city is better for living in. Let’s take a look at what Calgary and Vancouver have to offer.

In terms of culture, Calgary is home to the National Music Center, the world-renowned Calgary Stampede, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and the Canada Olympic Park – all within walking distance of one another. 

Vancouver also has excellent cultural offerings with its own unique attractions like the popular Granville Island Public Market, Robson Street Shopping District, Stanley Park Seawall, Museum of Anthropology and more.

In terms of amenities, both cities are equipped with ample shopping centres, restaurants, fitness centres, libraries, museums, and bars for those who enjoy the nightlife. 

Our Verdict: 

Overall, Calgary and Vancouver both win in this section since they both have something to offer when it comes to cultural attractions and amenities.

Calgary vs. Vancouver: Overall Quality of Life

Calgary vs. Vancouver Overall Quality of Life's Homepage

So, when it comes to the overall quality of life, which city is the best fit for you? That really depends on what you’re looking for in a city and where your priorities lie. 

In Vancouver, you have a vibrant urban lifestyle with easy access to nature, a wide array of cultural activities, and plenty of employment opportunities. Calgary offers an affordable cost of living, plenty of career opportunities and quality education options.

If you’re looking for a job or investment opportunities, both cities can offer great prospects. In Calgary, there’s a greater emphasis on oil and gas industries than in Vancouver.

However, the Vancouver has more tech positions due to the presence of video game development companies and tech startups. 

But ultimately, it all comes down to what kind of lifestyle you’d prefer — urban or suburban — and which city can offer that to you at the best price point. 

Our Final Verdict

So, which city is the better option? The truth is, it all depends on what your individual needs and preferences are.

Calgary and Vancouver both have a lot to offer in terms of great cultural experiences, access to nature, and a vibrant job market. However, they offer different opportunities depending on your lifestyle.

If you’re looking for a relaxed pace of life, Calgary may be the way to go. It’s known for its laid-back atmosphere and access to plenty of outdoor activities in the foothills and mountains nearby. In addition, housing costs are much lower than Vancouver’s.

On the other hand, if you want an urban lifestyle with plenty of nightlife options and a diverse range of cultural activities, Vancouver might be for you.

Furthermore, you can enjoy easy access to stunning terrain right outside the city. However, housing costs tend to be at a higher price point.

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