City guide: Calgary

Nestled in lush green prairie and rolling foothills, surrounded by the Bow and Elbow Rivers, is the city of Calgary. The largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta, Calgary’s towering skyscrapers and bustling business centre are in sharp contrast to the natural beauty that surrounds it. It’s no wonder that it is a popular location for British expats who want to get that perfect work/life balance.
Canada is one of the top expat locations for British workers. It offers an outdoor lifestyle, perfect for families, great benefits such as schooling and healthcare, and a comparatively low cost of living. It’s such a vast country, that choosing one of the many cosmopolitan cities to settle in is one of the hardest tasks. Calgary is an increasingly popular choice, given its emerging status as one of the country’s most important economic centres.

Living the Canadian life

Being so close to the infamous Rocky Mountains, it’s impossible to not get wrapped up in outdoor pursuits. From walking along the banks of the rivers in the city, to hiking in the hills at the weekend, most locals spend a large amount of time outside. In colder months, skiing is a popular pursuit, along with other winter sports. With distinct seasons, this part of Canada really does offer the best of both worlds, from sun to snow.
Calgary has plenty to do for the less outdoorsy too. There are numerous entertainment venues, live music arenas, clubs and bars, and enticing restaurants. It’s a popular option for families with recreational activities aplenty and enough attractions to visit to suit all ages.
The city centre is easy to navigate, and a particularly popular way of getting around is the +15 Skywalk system. This is a series of public pedestrian walkways that link buildings together approximately 15 feet about street level. These walkways are weather-proof and heated, which makes for a pleasant commute on foot on colder days. Otherwise, the public transport system is reliable and while it’s getting busier to drive, it is still perfectly navigable.
Most expats choose to rent when in Calgary. However, with no restrictions on foreign nationals buying property and a straightforward process, those moving on long-term contracts can find purchasing a good investment. There are a number of good neighbourhoods to choose from, with a high standard of education from both local public and private schools. Those living in Canada on a residence permit can send children to public schools for free.

Working in Calgary

Calgary has seen rapid growth and development in recent years. It is the centre of Canada’s oil industry, and has a strong footing in energy, finance, aerospace technology, transportation and more. It’s well-known as a hub for the film and television industries too, and the tourist trade is booming.
The economy is stable, bolstered by the province’s abundance of natural resources. Its proximity to the US border is an advantage and there are very good relations with the UK. The city has more head offices per capita concentration than any other city nationwide, and wages and salaries are growing annually.
Most expats move to Calgary with a job, but family members who plan on working while in the country will need to apply for a work permit in Canada. More details on this can be found on the Government of Canada website.
Information correct at the time of publication.