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Old 06-20-2013, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
3 posts, read 19,460 times
Reputation: 22

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I have lived in Vancouver my whole life, and admit I looked down on Calgary for the most part. But now that I'm 31 and I see where my friends of the same age are at in Calgary vs. here in Vancouver... I began to wonder. A regularly visit Calgary to see my best friend, and it started a few visits back- noticing things that slowly accumulate and make you realize you may very well just be stubborn and stupid for staying in Vancouver 'because it's pretty'.

Cost of Living. The gas in Calgary is shockingly lower than Vancouver's. My last visit it was about 0.96/L and when I got home it was 1.35/L. In general this fuel cost creates higher costs everywhere else in Vancouver- restaurant prices, groceries, everything. Trickle down, of course. Auto insurance is also lower in Calgary and has tons of more flexibility- because you have the luxury of private companies handling it. Any positive that ICBC used to offer as a crown monopoly- was long ago lost in its all-out zeal to keep the money you ever gave them. Even if you are a pedestrian struck in a cross-walk by a driver with their own specialist telling them the damage and disfigurement is permanent- good luck, wait three years, pray your lawyer is good.

Taxes. Calgary only has a 5% GST on everything whereas BC has 12% between the GST and PST. It really really adds up, and the 7% PST portion- also trickles down into all of the prices for things, inflating them.

We all know about realestate- Vancouver, dream on. Calgary- entirely possible. My friend lives yes, in Southwest Calgary (a bit north of Spruce Meadows) but her mortgage payment for her house with front and back living room, large kitchen, half bathroom, laundryroom, full basement, front and back yard, and two master bedrooms with their own full bathrooms... is the same as my $1300/mo rent for my 550 sq ft one bedroom in Kitsilano. True there is the disparity of her being way out in the burbs and me being in plush Kitsilano-- but even if I moved as far from Vancouver's downtown as she is from Calgary's, you could multiply that $1300/mo mortgage payment by at least 50% more. One knock against Calgary though is the condos- while in Vancouver you can invite poverty and buy a condo when you can't afford a house- condos can be dodgy in Calgary. From what I have heard, friends, and what I have seen while eyeballing the market-- you can really find yourself in a terrible condo trap. Many condos had a low monthly fee and no contingency, and I've heard horror stories about weak strata with no management experience between any of them. Food for thought.

The weather is a huge thing. The temperature on the screen may say -12*C in Calgary but when I fly home to Vancouver the +2 feels colder thanks to the humidity. DO NOT fool yourself that Vancouver is warmer than Calgary in the winter-- you cannot go by the numbers on the screen. Calgary's dry cold stays outside your jacket and layers. Vancouver's wet cold gets into your bone marrow. The rain DOES weigh on your. I'm a native here and it weighs on me, and I feel sorry for all the friends I make that moved here who talk about that first few years in the winter here. Depression, SAD, the works. Fatigue, lack of motivation, loss of enthusiasm. You say oh you think Calgary is sunny but you can't go out in it because it's too cold? Well in Vancouver it feels colder AND it's wet. You don't want to go out in it period- and I'm active! And like the outdoors!

A lot of people get the impression that Vancouver is the great outdoors. The mountains are an hour away just like Calgary's are. The ski facilities are the same time away. I haven't spent much time in Kananaskis but have friends that swear I will not want for hiking trails, camping, etc.

Traffic. Dear. God. You cannot get anywhere anytime. I'm not messing around. Our highway doesn't come into the city- so you have to 'beat' your way out of vancouver for almost half an hour *just* to get on the highway which can then take you six times the distance in the same amount of time. And god help you if a single snowflake falls on the ground. And it's a myth that we don't get snow- we've been getting it more the last few years and it's super wet heavy stuff and we get frozen slop and black ice just like you do- except none of us have winter tires on.

Friendliness is a big thing. The challenge is most of the people here aren't warm and friendly, they're cliquey, and cold. It's VERy hard for people new to the city to make friends- heck it's even hard for me to. When people find out I'm a born-and-raised Vancouverite they are straight-up shocked because I'm nice and approachable. I imagine Calgary can be a mix of the two but so far my experience is that Calgarians are warmer and friendlier and easier to make friends with.

Cycling. Vancouver seems very cycling friendly, we've made crazy advances with our bike lanes and it's awesome. But we have NOTHING on Calgary's 700 kilometres!!!!!!!!! of bike paths. Ours are all shoved up alongside traffic and has to obey streetlights which.... doesn't exactly work and greatly increases travel times. I think Calgary's network of paths away from streets (only two roads/lights to stop at from N. Calgary to downtown) are brilliant.

Wages. Vancouver has a higher cost of living- and lower wages. I can take a more junior position in my field in Calgary to get my foot in the door at a great, growing company and get paid my same current salary in management. Even though I have been trying to stay in Vancouver out of 'comfort', there just isn't anything interesting coming up on the job boards or with the recruiters and what is interesting is overworked and grossly underpaid. My recruiter in Calgary calls me almost weekly with opportunities.

Don't kid yourself about our nightlife. We have one short Granville strip, huge lines, high cover ($8-20), expensive drinks ($8-10 each) and jersey shore types mixed with wannabe gangsters and hoochies. We have lost tons of our theatres and art venues in the last five years- and the pace picked up speed in the last year with the loss of several more. We are not better than what Calgary has to offer, and in fact we may now be falling behind.

So to all those others out there- I too am looking at leaving Vancouver for Calgary. Any thoughts or tips?

I wonder how Calgary is as far as being pet friendly?
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
241 posts, read 602,939 times
Reputation: 140
I lived in Calgary for 2 years. Lots and lots of parks and many people with dogs.

It can get to -40 in the winter, but the Chinooks make it tolerable, unlike Edmonton.

Houses in desirable areas close to 17th ave run about 550k which is very reasonable these days for being near a downtown area. If you are ok with living 20-30min away 400k for a detached home or 300k for a townhome are doable. It's debatable whether to buy at this time, but there you are.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:38 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
72,677 posts, read 64,172,365 times
Reputation: 68458
I was favorably impressed by Calgary when I stayed with friends there. I like it better than Vancouver. And you're right, it doesn't have the chronic rain and gloom that Van does. And yes, it takes forever to drive across town, or almost anywhere, in Van; not so in Calgary. Because of the winter cold, indoor spaces in Calgary are designed to be REALLY pleasant and hospitable--the shopping malls, for example. I've never seen such beautiful design! I thought Calgary had a better selection of consumer goods, too--higher end stuff. Or maybe it just seemed like it, because it was easier to find in a smaller city. But oddly, it made Vancouver seem like the boonies.

Take care to learn how to drive safely in the snow, though. And bear in mind that it will be hotter in the summers.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:09 PM
 
3,089 posts, read 1,894,240 times
Reputation: 1224
Vancouver = A non existant economy, or a BS economy, pick your term, and insane cost of leaving.

Calgary = great economy and affordable cost of living but unbearable winter (personally experienced)


If you are really a professional, try to find a way to get a US green card.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:38 PM
 
37 posts, read 42,591 times
Reputation: 46
If buying real estate (as your primary residence) is something you'd like to do in the next 5 years, and you're not independently wealthy, consider nothing else and choose Calgary.

Otherwise, I'd still say choose Calgary, for basically the reasons that WelschPrincess said.

Vancouver has much better sushi, though. I'm convinced that's the reason for the grossly overinflated real estate.

@WelschPrincess - over half my best university girlfriends were born & raised Vancouver. Over half of those have ended up in Calgary or Edmonton and have ended up absolutely loving it, despite their trepidation at the beginning. And their careers have definitely taken off in comparison to the ones who stayed in Vancouver (or moved to Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal, for that matter.)
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:35 AM
 
4 posts, read 27,915 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by welschprincess View Post
I have lived in Vancouver my whole life, and admit I looked down on Calgary for the most part. But now that I'm 31 and I see where my friends of the same age are at in Calgary vs. here in Vancouver... I began to wonder. A regularly visit Calgary to see my best friend, and it started a few visits back- noticing things that slowly accumulate and make you realize you may very well just be stubborn and stupid for staying in Vancouver 'because it's pretty'.

Cost of Living. The gas in Calgary is shockingly lower than Vancouver's. My last visit it was about 0.96/L and when I got home it was 1.35/L. In general this fuel cost creates higher costs everywhere else in Vancouver- restaurant prices, groceries, everything. Trickle down, of course. Auto insurance is also lower in Calgary and has tons of more flexibility- because you have the luxury of private companies handling it. Any positive that ICBC used to offer as a crown monopoly- was long ago lost in its all-out zeal to keep the money you ever gave them. Even if you are a pedestrian struck in a cross-walk by a driver with their own specialist telling them the damage and disfigurement is permanent- good luck, wait three years, pray your lawyer is good.

Taxes. Calgary only has a 5% GST on everything whereas BC has 12% between the GST and PST. It really really adds up, and the 7% PST portion- also trickles down into all of the prices for things, inflating them.

We all know about realestate- Vancouver, dream on. Calgary- entirely possible. My friend lives yes, in Southwest Calgary (a bit north of Spruce Meadows) but her mortgage payment for her house with front and back living room, large kitchen, half bathroom, laundryroom, full basement, front and back yard, and two master bedrooms with their own full bathrooms... is the same as my $1300/mo rent for my 550 sq ft one bedroom in Kitsilano. True there is the disparity of her being way out in the burbs and me being in plush Kitsilano-- but even if I moved as far from Vancouver's downtown as she is from Calgary's, you could multiply that $1300/mo mortgage payment by at least 50% more. One knock against Calgary though is the condos- while in Vancouver you can invite poverty and buy a condo when you can't afford a house- condos can be dodgy in Calgary. From what I have heard, friends, and what I have seen while eyeballing the market-- you can really find yourself in a terrible condo trap. Many condos had a low monthly fee and no contingency, and I've heard horror stories about weak strata with no management experience between any of them. Food for thought.

The weather is a huge thing. The temperature on the screen may say -12*C in Calgary but when I fly home to Vancouver the +2 feels colder thanks to the humidity. DO NOT fool yourself that Vancouver is warmer than Calgary in the winter-- you cannot go by the numbers on the screen. Calgary's dry cold stays outside your jacket and layers. Vancouver's wet cold gets into your bone marrow. The rain DOES weigh on your. I'm a native here and it weighs on me, and I feel sorry for all the friends I make that moved here who talk about that first few years in the winter here. Depression, SAD, the works. Fatigue, lack of motivation, loss of enthusiasm. You say oh you think Calgary is sunny but you can't go out in it because it's too cold? Well in Vancouver it feels colder AND it's wet. You don't want to go out in it period- and I'm active! And like the outdoors!

A lot of people get the impression that Vancouver is the great outdoors. The mountains are an hour away just like Calgary's are. The ski facilities are the same time away. I haven't spent much time in Kananaskis but have friends that swear I will not want for hiking trails, camping, etc.

Traffic. Dear. God. You cannot get anywhere anytime. I'm not messing around. Our highway doesn't come into the city- so you have to 'beat' your way out of vancouver for almost half an hour *just* to get on the highway which can then take you six times the distance in the same amount of time. And god help you if a single snowflake falls on the ground. And it's a myth that we don't get snow- we've been getting it more the last few years and it's super wet heavy stuff and we get frozen slop and black ice just like you do- except none of us have winter tires on.

Friendliness is a big thing. The challenge is most of the people here aren't warm and friendly, they're cliquey, and cold. It's VERy hard for people new to the city to make friends- heck it's even hard for me to. When people find out I'm a born-and-raised Vancouverite they are straight-up shocked because I'm nice and approachable. I imagine Calgary can be a mix of the two but so far my experience is that Calgarians are warmer and friendlier and easier to make friends with.

Cycling. Vancouver seems very cycling friendly, we've made crazy advances with our bike lanes and it's awesome. But we have NOTHING on Calgary's 700 kilometres!!!!!!!!! of bike paths. Ours are all shoved up alongside traffic and has to obey streetlights which.... doesn't exactly work and greatly increases travel times. I think Calgary's network of paths away from streets (only two roads/lights to stop at from N. Calgary to downtown) are brilliant.

Wages. Vancouver has a higher cost of living- and lower wages. I can take a more junior position in my field in Calgary to get my foot in the door at a great, growing company and get paid my same current salary in management. Even though I have been trying to stay in Vancouver out of 'comfort', there just isn't anything interesting coming up on the job boards or with the recruiters and what is interesting is overworked and grossly underpaid. My recruiter in Calgary calls me almost weekly with opportunities.

Don't kid yourself about our nightlife. We have one short Granville strip, huge lines, high cover ($8-20), expensive drinks ($8-10 each) and jersey shore types mixed with wannabe gangsters and hoochies. We have lost tons of our theatres and art venues in the last five years- and the pace picked up speed in the last year with the loss of several more. We are not better than what Calgary has to offer, and in fact we may now be falling behind.

So to all those others out there- I too am looking at leaving Vancouver for Calgary. Any thoughts or tips?

I wonder how Calgary is as far as being pet friendly?
I would have to disagree with this post. Having also grown up in Vancouver, but going to school in Calgary, Vancouver wins hands down if you have an equal paying job.

The cost of living is DEFINITELY HIGHER in Calgary when you don't count real estate. I am not sure where welschprincess has been shopping, but everything except gas and housing prices is MORE EXPENSIVE IN CALGARY. Restaurant meals are definitely cheaper in Vancouver, groceries are far cheaper in Vancouver, and the larger market in Vancouver has made most other products cheaper in Vancouver as well. Food is also much better and groceries far fresher in Vancouver. Despite the fact that Calgary has lower sales tax....it is really telling when people in Calgary go to Vancouver for shopping! (of course things like future shop computers will be the same price across the country, so it is cheaper with lower sales tax in Calgary).

I won't comment on real estate, but prices go up where it is desireable to live. You pay for location....and Vancouver is the location.

Vancouver has better outdoor access than Calgary for sure. Three ski mountains are half an hour away. It is definitely NOT 1 hour away unless you live at the opposite edge of the Metro region. Plus, there is so much more nature, hiking trails, mountains trails, etc in Vancouver...all accessible in less than half an hour. Kananaskis and Banff are more than hour away.... You definitely can't go skiing after work in Calgary.....but you can in Vancouver.

And i'm again not sure what welschprincess is talking about in regards to weather, but it definitely does feel cold in Calgary. Yes, humidity makes vancouver cold as well....i would say something like -5 in calgary feels like 0 in Vancouver. However, Calgary gets frequently <-10 and with the wind, it is bone chilling cold. There are Chinooks that warm up the place once in a while though....beware....it can apparently cause a lot of physical discomfort, headaches, etc with the rapidly changing air pressures. I haven't felt it, but a lot of my classmates get migraines from it in the winter. In Vancouver, spring arives by February. In Calgary, it doesn't arrive until May. It is definitely sunnier in Calgary though......it depends on how it affects you. While it is sunny, the environment around you though is very brown (or white with snow). The vegetation in Calgary just doesn't match the greenery and vitality of the environment in Vancouver. The good side is that my allergies are reduced in Calgary!

Again...not sure what welschprincess is saying regarding the snow, but it has not been snowing more in Vacnouver than in the past....it has been snowing less when you actually look at the statistics. And yes, it takes longer to get around in Vancouver by car. Traffic is worse and there are few highways. However, Calgary's traffic has significantly worsened even in the 4 years i've been there. Furthermore, transit is very poor in Calgary unless you live immediately next to the train station. Busses are infrequent. Even the trains are infrequent outside of working hours. Additionally, every summer, almsot every weekend the train tracks are closed downtown for "maintenance". In Vancouver, the skytrain does their maintenance overnight so that the transit system can actually be useful.

And cycling...Vancouver is definitely better. In calgary, the bike path welschprincess mentions are the ones that follow the river. Yes, they are convenient if you live close to it and your destination is close to it. Otherwise...Calgary have practically no safetey measure for bicycles on the roads. Vancouver's bike lanes ont eh road are wide, mostly on quiet residential streets, and in many cases espeicaly downtown, separated from traffic.

In regards to friendliness....i would say there is no real difference. You will need to get involved in social events, groups, etc to meet friends as you would in any new city. The people, in my opinion, behave pretty much the same in both cities.

And finally...nightlife.....i'm not sure how welschprincess can even compare Calgary to Vancouver. Calgary's downtown and entertainment areas seem dead on the weekends!. And in terms of entertainment, Vancouver gets more concerts and events. It's arts and cultural life, although not great compared to Toronto and Montreal, is much better than Calgary's.

I would have to say though, that the Calgary Stampede really gets the whole community involved and the stampede time (NOT THE ACTUAL FAIR) makes the city feel very friendly and warm during those 10 days. The actual fair itself though is a disappointment. It is no different than the PNE in Vancouver or CNE in toronto aside from having an associated rodeo (which you pay extra to attend).
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:16 AM
 
4 posts, read 27,915 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I was favorably impressed by Calgary when I stayed with friends there. I like it better than Vancouver. And you're right, it doesn't have the chronic rain and gloom that Van does. And yes, it takes forever to drive across town, or almost anywhere, in Van; not so in Calgary. Because of the winter cold, indoor spaces in Calgary are designed to be REALLY pleasant and hospitable--the shopping malls, for example. I've never seen such beautiful design! I thought Calgary had a better selection of consumer goods, too--higher end stuff. Or maybe it just seemed like it, because it was easier to find in a smaller city. But oddly, it made Vancouver seem like the boonies.

Take care to learn how to drive safely in the snow, though. And bear in mind that it will be hotter in the summers.
I don't see much difference between indoor spaces in calgary versus vancouver. There is definitely more of an indoor lifestyle in Calgary though. Almost all retail space is big-box or in mall. There are very few neighbourhoods in Calgary with outdoor retail. Being a very in-door city though, you can be living in any climate... and it will be exactly the same. I think that actually contributes significantly to SAD....yes, it exists plenty in Calgary too.

Regarding Ruth4Truth's comment that higher end stuff is in Calgary....that would be a stretch. Perhaps it is because the only mall that people visit in Calgary are Chinook, and the Core downtown which are incidentally also their high end malls. If you want high end, Oakridge in Vancouver far outstrips any Calgary mall (in fact...it is probably too high end). Pacific Centre in Vancouver is definitely better than The Core, and Robson street has super high end luxury stores if that is what you like. Calgary doesn't have stores like Gucci and Luis Vutton.

there is definitely more shopping variety in Vancouver....more ethnic stores, cultural stores, independent stores. Calgary is very much a chain-store city...but even then, Vancouver has more brands than Calgary simply because it is a much bigger city and attracts a lot more tourists.

On that note, Vancovuer airport is also much better connected than Calgary with probably the most flights to Asia of any north american city, flights to Australia&New Zealand, and to Europe. Calgary is apparently having trouble supporting it's international flights, with Lufthansa recently dropping it's Calgary flight due to lack of passengers (while at the same time starting a new flight from Vancouver to Munich) and Air Canada struggling with having mostly half empty flights to Tokyo (the only Asian destination from Calgary).
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Calgary AB Canada
8 posts, read 3,842 times
Reputation: 11
Calgary has less traffic with better road and freeway systems. In Vancouver however you can get lost cause the roads are mostly numbers but Vancouver has nice summers while Calgary has hot and dry weather in summer. Calgary is the Denver and USA of canada while Vancouver has it’s own canadian flavour to it. Vancouver has gang areas like surrey and Richmond! Calagry has gangs in the NE! Calgary even has no metro area and it has so many houses and less apartments. I would dry weather in calgary over vancouver. Vancouver has more bugs like bees and wasps everywhere. Calgary is 8 hours away from the Yellowstone super volcano in Wyoming. Vancouver has heavy traffic problems with less effort into building roads but vancouver boomed at a time when there were NO cars! Calgary boomed in the 80s and 70s with cars so that is why calgary has so many freeways and modern roads! Vancouver has hwy 1 as there freeway but it is busy! Calgary is also more conservative like the USA! Vancouver has a meditrainian climate but Calgary has a semi dry humid continental climate. Though calgary feels dry even though in a humid climate! Vancouver has damp rainy winters while calgary has cold and dry winters! Less fog in calgary! As of 2017 these cities are normally clean in air quality and more but the BC wildfires have been causing heatwaves and dry weather and poor air quality especially in Calgary! Calgary is starting to get hot and dry heatwaves ins summer do to climate change and Vancouver is getting warmer then it’s average temp! Both cities are nice but i prefer Calgary cause the dry air and less bees/wasps/hornets around in the city though heritage park has a lot of wasps. Winter in calgary is not cold if you wear proper clothing but vancouver is bitter cold while calgary is dry cold. To get around calgary you need a car unless you live in east village/using lrt! In Vancouver you rely on transportation more cause it is heavy traffic there! Calgary has most traffic in Deerfoot trail and glen more trail but not as bad as hwy 1 vancouver traffic! Calgary also has a ring road that will be completed in 2020! Calgary also has left turn lanes to reduce traffic in vancouver u are backed up pretty far! Vancouver has better pedestrian life! Calgary is mainly built for cars though there are parks in the city! Calgary has more clean new looking roads but vancouver roads in the north side look similar ! Vancouver is similiar to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los angelos ! Calgary is similiar to Denver and Houston and Dallas and Austin!
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