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Welcome to Calgary

The prairie city of Calgary is all about sunshine and dramatic landscapes. It is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Rocky Mountains’.  This is because the mountains provide a stunning backdrop and keeps the city grounded and connected to nature.

Calgary is Alberta’s largest city and enjoys a lovely spot just east to these Rocky Mountains, at the meeting point of Bow and Elbow Rivers. It serves as one of the major urban centers of the southern half province of Alberta. The best part about living in Calgary is its closeness to unspoiled and profound, rich natural landscapes along with an urban city vibe and ‘can-do’ attitude.

If you are planning to immigrate and settle in Calgary, here’s everything you need to know about this beautiful city. 

Calgary Economy 

The economy of Calgary has rebounded since the recession, and is steadily growing since the 7% growth in 2017. Alberta has a big share of the oil industry in Canada, second only to Saudi Arabia’s reserves, making it one of the wealthiest cities of the country. The job opportunities are largely focused on agriculture, petroleum industry and tourism. In fact, most petroleum industries of Canada have their headquarters in the city. Calgary has a very business-friendly environment that’s ideal for budding entrepreneurs, and also offers good investment opportunities for businessmen. 

Although the highest paying jobs in Calgary are related to its oil industry, many other areas such as universities, schools and government sectors offer reasonable salaries to employees. There has been an increase in manufacturing and construction jobs as of 2018 as well. Calgary maintains high standards of healthcare and the public finances are quite healthy too. 

Recreation and Entertainment 

As mentioned above, Calgary holds a lot of natural beauty. The marvelous mountainous backdrop and abundant grasslands are worth exploring, but the city has a lot more to offer in terms of entertainment. Calgary has a selection of top class music venues and theatres. These include the Theatre Calgary, Jack Singer Concert Hall, Alberta Theatre Projects, Glen bow Museum and Jack Singer Concert Hall. Country music is the most prominent genre in the city, with some of the radio stations purely dedicated to it, including the Country 105 and Wild 953. 

You’ll also be delighted to explore the ‘Cowboy’ traditions of the city. Alberta somewhat serves the role of Texas in Canada, where Calgary holds the exciting Calgary Stampede every year in July. It is known as the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ and includes thrilling festivities and talented cowboys showcasing their skills. There are also skiing opportunities along with other winter sports, and the lovely town of Banff is just at a 90-minute drive. 

Courtesy of Austin Paquette

Interesting Facts about Calgary 

Calgary is quite an intriguing city. Here are some special facts about the lively and diverse city that will definitely catch your interest.

  • Calgary is slowly emerging as a fashion capital, considering its diverse fashion community and a nurturing environment for growing industries. The budding artists and designers are reinventing the cultural fabric of the city. 
  • Alberta doesn’t have any provincial sales tax, and GST is charged at 5%, making the taxes in Calgary considerably low. 
  • Calgary has low rainfall and is one of the sunniest cities of Canada. The Chinook winds also make harsh winter climates milder and bearable. 
  • It is one of the cleanest cities in the world. 
  • Calgary holds a Wild West Image and is also referred to as ‘Cowtown’ due to the famous Calgary Stampede, which attracts over 1 million people from all over the world every year. 
  • The C Train in Calgary is the very first wind-powered public transit system of North America. 
  • Calgary has the world’s largest network of buildings that are linked together by footbridges. 
  • Over one third of Calgary’s population are immigrants, predominantly from China, Philippines, Pakistan, India and Nigeria. 
  • Calgary has over 7000 hectare of park land and over 700kms of bike trails to explore. 
  • There are more than 270 festivals and events organized throughout the year to support and promote local arts and music talents.

Why Settle in Calgary? 

There’s never a dull moment in the ethnically diverse and friendly city of Alberta. The open spaces, fresh air, wide pathways and lovely parks overlooking rivers and mountains make it a beautiful place to live in. Besides the pleasant and favorable geography, Calgary also allows young and budding artists and entrepreneurs to build a new live, turn their dreams to realities and explore their creativity. 

Several organizations are there to support new immigrants and make them feel at home. Agencies like Immigration Alberta (or the French version – Bonjour Alberta), Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and Directions for Immigrants – Bow Valley College, provide employment and education support as well as settlement services to new immigrants. Skill Assessment services allow workers to expand their careers and take new chances in the city. With a multicultural and welcoming environment as well as ample chances of economic growth, it doesn’t take long to feel at home and build a new life in Calgary. 

courtesy of Daven Froberg

Immigration to Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is a multicultural city, accommodating more immigrants than any other city in Alberta. When walking through virtually any neighborhood, you can come across people from different walks of life who moved to the city for a better life for themselves and their families. The city of Calgary is also a dominant choice for ‘second movers’ – meaning immigrants in Canada looking to relocate. 

Depending on your eligibility and purpose of immigration, here are some of the immigration options to opt for the province of Alberta.

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program 

This is an economic immigrant program. It nominates people to get permanent residency (PR) in Alberta. These nominees are selected based on their abilities and skills to fill in the job posts required in Alberta. The government of Alberta performs these programs in cooperation with the federal government. The available streams are Alberta Express Entry Stream, Alberta Opportunity Stream and the Self-Employed farmer Stream. 

Alberta Express Entry Stream 

According to the express entry stream, a select amount of qualified candidates are nominated from the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Express Entry system. One thing to note here is that you can’t apply directly to the Alberta express entry stream, and it can only be done though IRCC.

Canada Express Entry 

This is the most common mode of immigration for PR applicants. It is run by IRCC and the candidates are scored via a strict ranking system. Applying for Alberta through express entry depends on your strong ties to Alberta, or eligibility to support the economic development of Alberta’s government. 

Other immigration programs for Alberta include Business Immigration, Family Sponsorship, Caregiver Program and Refugee Resettlement.



Sidrah is a writer and a dentist who moved to Canada in 2017. Currently, she resides in Calgary with her husband and son. Although she isn't a big fan of frost and snowstorms, she has come to love her new hometown and poutine.

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