Cost of Living in Calgary

► Buy the Calgary Guide on Kindle or PDF



cost of living in calgaryWhile not quite as expensive as Toronto or Vancouver, the cost of living in Calgary is still relatively high in some respects.

For expats moving to Calgary the biggest expense is likely to be the cost of accommodation. As decent properties are in short supply, rents are high and therefore it is important for expats to negotiate a sizeable housing allowance into their employment contract. 

Other expenses expats are likely to incur during their stay in Calgary will be more dependent on their own tastes and preferences. Those moving to the city with children will also need to factor in the cost of tuition when considering their budget.

Cost of accommodation in Calgary

There is a serious shortage of affordable accommodation options in Calgary, which is exemplified well by the fact that a substantial proportion of the people who spend a night in Calgary’s homeless shelters actually have full-time jobs. The lack of accommodation in the city has simply served to increase rents to such a level that many average people can't afford to rent property in the city. 

The average rental price on a one-bedroom apartment in Calgary is around CAD 1,250 per month, and the average cost of a three-bedroom family home is CAD 1,740. Luckily, the majority of expats who relocate to Calgary are generally enticed by lucrative employment packages which often include a generous accommodation allowance. In any case, expats should ensure that their salary is good enough to offset the high cost of accommodation in Calgary.  

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Calgary

Luckily, most of what Calgary has to offer in terms of lifestyle is focused on the outdoors. With an abundance of open space and parkland, expats in Calgary find they spend more time on the hiking and biking trails of the Rockies, instead of splurging their hard-earned dollars at a shopping mall.

In terms of culture and dining opportunities, Calgary does lag behind more cosmopolitan cities but when you do get a chance to eat out you’ll find the prices reasonable with a three course meal in a restaurant costing around CAD 60.

Cost of education in Calgary

Expats relocating to Calgary with children will be glad to know that they have the option of sending their child to public school in the province at no cost. Alberta’s education system benefits from extensive government funding and some of the province’s best performing public schools are in Calgary. 

There are just a few international schools in Calgary, and on average, fees are around CAD 10,500 per year. Expats can also opt to send their child to a Canadian private school, where fees range from CAD 3,500 to CAD 19,000 per year. Private schools in Calgary are a good option for children with special needs or those whose first language isn’t English or French.

Cost of transportation in Calgary

The cost of travelling within Calgary is quite reasonable, especially in comparison to other Canadian cities. A monthly travel pass that can be used on both trains and buses costs around CAD 90. While taxis are readily available in Calgary's city centre, they are not cheap with a 5 mile (8km) trip costing approximately CAD 25.

While it really isn't essential to drive in Calgary, expats who do decide to have their own vehicle will find the cost of petrol is quite reasonable at around CAD 1 per litre. 

Cost of Living in Calgary Chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for June 2017.
Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)
Apartment (one-bedroom) in city centre CAD 1,200 - 1,500
Apartment (one-bedroom) outside city centre CAD 1,000 - 1,100
Apartment (three-bedroom) in city centre CAD 2,150
Apartment (three-bedroom) outside city centre CAD 1,650
Milk (1 litre) CAD 2
Loaf of white bread CAD 2.25
Chicken breasts (1kg) CAD 15
Rice (1kg) CAD 3.85
Dozen eggs CAD 3.30
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) CAD 15
Eating out
Big Mac meal CAD 8.96
Coca Cola (330ml) CAD 2.18
Cappuccino CAD 4.50
Bottle of beer (local) CAD 6
Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant CAD 80
Utilities (monthly)
Mobile call rate (per minute - mobile to mobile)   CAD 0.35
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable) CAD 62
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment) CAD 170
Taxi rate/km CAD 1.80
City centre bus/train fare CAD 3.25
Petrol (per litre) CAD 0.99

Login with your Facebook account (Recommended)