MoneySense magazine's annual rankings of Canadian cities has come out, and guess who's got first place! Not Ottawa, like last year, no, it's the great city of Calgary! The metrics that go into selecting cities for this yearly round-up are quite varied. Numbers from unemployment rates, crime, taxation, amenities, overall wealth, commuting, and, of course, housing costs go into determining the top city. Even with eleven new categories added to the selection criteria for 2013, Calgary was still able to make it to number one. That's nothing to sniff at!
So, what makes Calgary so great? The obvious first answer to that question is the abundance of jobs here. Our oil resources have boosted our economy in spades and we have the jobs to show it. Obviously, many tradespeople come to Calgary for work, but so do those in health care, hospitality, retail, and many other industries. The high salaries and low cost of living in Calgary leaves room in the household budget for much more discretionary spending than would otherwise be possible.
One benefit of having extra resources on your hands is, of course, the variety of homes that become available to you! The Calgary real estate market is, perhaps surprisingly, varied. Suburban communities offer convenient and affordable homes in a safe neighbourhood. Older areas closer to Downtown offer character and a close-knit community fabric that's hard to find elsewhere. There are so many different parts of the city to explore that some newcomers prefer to rent for the first while before choosing the community where they'll put down roots. This variety and charm is another reason why many are flocking to Calgary; it's a lot more than meets the eye!
Our city also has access to an incredible number of green spaces: parks dot every community, and rainwater ponds attract local plant and wildlife species. The City of Calgary has established over 70 km of pathways in its interconnected system throughout the river valley and elsewhere. New developments, like East Village's Riverwalk, aim to promote walkability and the overall enjoyment of Calgary's natural surroundings. Even more outdoor recreation opportunities are accessible in nearby Kananaskis country, and the foothills of the Rockies. This outdoor playground probably had a lot to do with Calgary's top spot this year, as they make skiing, hiking, camping, and so many more activities available year-round, within a relatively short drive of the city.
With so many positives going on for Calgary, it's no wonder we made it to first place. Possibly the best thing about this city is that Calgarians are always looking to improve on the great things already happening here. As Mayor Nenshi said in his response to our ranking, “[t]his survey is a reminder of what Calgarians already know: that Calgary is a great city in which to make a living and a life. And as Calgarians, it’s our job to make this city even better”. We look forward to keeping our top spot for years to come!