Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to Edmonton, AB
From a small fur trading fort for the Hudson's bay company, to a huge city comprising of towering buildings, over 600 lakes, mountain ranges, and close to 1,000,000 people, Edmonton has come a long way to becoming a center of culture and commerce.
Also known as the Festival City of Canada, this combination of steady growth and thriving population indicates good living conditions and a strong economy.
Could Edmonton be your ideal location in Canada? Read on to find out.
Edmonton at a Glance
- The northern lights are visible from Edmonton!
- It's known as Canada's Festival City
- It's home to Canada's largest living history museum and Canada's largest planetarium dome theater
- There are no rats in Edmonton
- There is a riverboat!
- It's a green city
- It has no provincial sales tax
Edmonton, AB basic info
Located on the North Saskatchewan River in the center of the Edmonton Capital Region, Edmonton houses 972,223 people as of 2019. Spanning over 264.24 square miles, it has a population density of 3,679 people per square mile, compared to the national 11 people per square mile.
50.2% of the population is female and the rest is male. They are not very diverse. It consists of: Whites (64.7%), South Asian (7.2%), Chinese (6.2%), Filipino (4.6%), Black (3.8%), Southeast Asian (1.9%), Latin American (1.7%), Arab (1.7%), West Asian (0.8%), Korean (0.6%), Japanese (0.3%), Other visible minority ( 0.3%), Multiple visible minorities (0.8%), and Aboriginal 5.3% (2.7% Metis, 2.4% First Nations, 0.1% Aboriginal, 0.1% multiple Aboriginal identities).
Cost of Living in Edmonton, AB
Edmonton is the third-cheapest city in Canada with a cost of living that is lower than 76% of all cities in North America so it won't take a toll on your finances as much as other cities in Canada.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average price of a home as of October 2021 is $341,700, which is quite low compared to the national average of $716,585. The median rent is $825 for a studio apartment, $926 for a one-bedroom, $1,205 for a two-bedroom and $1,399 for a four-bedroom.
Level of Education in Edmonton, AB
Edmonton has an above average literacy and education rate. As of 2016, 87.7% of people between 25 and 64 years in Edmonton had a high school diploma compared to 86.3% nationally. Within this same age bracket, 28.9% had a bachelor's degree or higher, 22.2% had a college or other non-university certificate, and 10.9% had an apprenticeship or trades certificate as their highest level of education.
Economy and Job Market in Edmonton, AB
The economy of Edmonton is strong and highly diverse, with a score of 0.9 out of 1.0. Despite the unemployment rate increasing to an average of 11.9% in 2020 due to the pandemic, it has bounced back and now sits at 8.0%. The national unemployment rate is 6.7% as of October 2021.
Fun fact: Edmonton is responsible for about 25% of all Net New jobs in Canada over the past five years.
The largest employers in the city are as follows.
- Alberta Health Services - 123,000 employees
- Government of Alberta - 27,000 employees
- Stantec - 22,000 employees
- University of Alberta - 15,000 employees
Awareness of the most-popular industries in the city will give you an idea of the economic layout. Edmonton is home to the third-largest oil reserves in the world and various natural gas deposits.
This creates lots of opportunities related to mining, refining, and transporting products from these natural materials. The transportation industry employs more than 130,000 people.
Edmonton's corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the country, and the personal income tax rates in the province are the lowest in the country. This makes it a very attractive destination for both employers and residents.
The corporate tax rate is 23% for general businesses and 11% for small businesses with revenues of less than $500,000.
Personal income taxes range from 10% up to $128,145 to 15% for $307,547 and above. Here is more information on tax rates in Alberta.
The property tax in Alberta is based on the value of your property. You can use this resource to calculate how much in property taxes you're going to pay.
Education and School
Edmonton has a wide education system and daycares that cater to the needs of students of all ages, needs, abilities, and interests.
There are 213 public schools in Edmonton, including 13 with specialized programs. Every home address has a designated public school. Two of the top academic performing schools in Edmonton are Old Scona and Mount Pleasant School. Here is a helpful resource to help you with enrollment for new students.
Catholic schools in Edmonton are fully sponsored by taxpayers. They however prioritize catholic students in their area.
Where to Live in Edmonton, AB
The best neighborhood in Edmonton for you is that which matches your preferences and budget
Since it is not possible to know what you desire, this list of the best neighborhoods is broken down into three: the most affordable neighborhoods, the most expensive neighborhoods, and the most popular neighborhoods. This list is based on the listings in zumper.
The Most Popular Neighborhoods In Edmonton, AB
With a median real estate value of $251,226, owning a house in Oliver costs you 30% less than the Edmonton average.
This neighborhood is great as can be seen from its livability score of 74 and its 3% lower than the city's average cost of living. Despite its high population of 20,960, only 13% of its residents have kids under 18 years.
Oliver is especially good if you are looking for one bedroom homes. Another advantage of living in Oliver is that you won't need to use your car often. Most of its schools, supermarkets, restaurants, and other stores are located within walking distance of a majority of homes.
On the downside, this neighborhood has a relatively high crime rate, 26% higher than the city's average.
Queen Mary Park
Queen Mary Park is a wonderful neighborhood to live in, hence its popularity. It has a population of 8,311 people with a median age of 33.7. Its livability score is an average of 70 and has a crime rate that is 40% higher than the city's average.
Queen Mary Park consists mainly of one and two bedroom homes. Not only is this neighborhood conducive for walking due to the closeness of its businesses and schools, but it has good bicycling infrastructure thanks to its flat terrain. It also has a couple of bus lines so you don't have to worry about transit if you move to Queen Mary Park.
It is easy to find apartments in Downtown Edmonton. This neighborhood offers lots of convenient means of transport. It has a great public transit system thanks to its over 50 bus lines and nearby transit stations with access to the Capital Line, Metro Line and Route 512. It also has an excellent bicycling network and it is easy to find a parking spot.
On the downside, if you want a quite neighborhood, this is not it due to its high population.
The Most Affordable Neighborhoods in Edmonton, AB
Rossdale is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Edmonton. It has an 88 livability score, beating Alberta which has a 59, and Canada with a 67.
The crime rate in Rossdale is 10% lower than that of Edmonton, giving you a 1 in 18 chance of being a victim of crime. It has a 5% unemployment rate and the median home value is $382,318. What's more, it has a 12% higher high school graduation rate than Alberta.
Rossdale has a relaxed ambience, making it perfect for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. Most areas of Rossdale are free from street noise and city clamor, making it very quiet.
If you are looking for an affordable place, Montrose will suit you best as its cost of living is 5% lower than the Edmonton average. What's more, its real estate prices are also 30% lower than the Edmonton average.
Montrose is perfect for people who like spending time on green spaces. There are a couple of public green spaces that are well distributed, making them easy to access. The streets are calm and the area is quiet. However, there is a lot of noise around the railway line.
There are various methods of transportation in this neighborhood. There are 10 bus lines with stops typically nearby. If you are physically active, you will love this neighborhood as it is well suited for travelling by foot. What's more, the cycling network is comprehensive with very little elevation changes.
The Most Expensive Neighborhoods In Edmonton, AB
With a livability score of 74, CPR Irvine is a great place to live. The population is just 150 with a median age of 33.3 years. This makes it the perfect place if you want to avoid the public.
Despite being slightly expensive, the overall cost of living in this neighborhood is 4% lower and real estate prices are 22% lower than the Edmonton average. It has a 13% higher crime rate compared to the Edmonton average.
MacEwan neighborhood is a great option if you are looking for safety as it has a crime rate that is 6% lower than the Edmonton average. It is a great place to raise a family, as can be seen from half of its population of 7,022 having children under 18. However, there are no primary or high schools in MacEwan.
Part of the reason why this is such a wonderful place to live in is its calm atmosphere. Despite its relatively large population, there are very low traffic noises. Its parks are easy to access and explore so you can go relax or play at any close by.
There are many reasons for this, but they revolve around its low crime rate (36% lower than the city's average) and its livability score of 84. More than half of its population have kids under 18 years, and the median age is 41.7 years.
It is easy to find a two or three bedroom home in Blackmud Creek due to their abundance. This neighborhood perfectly fits those who have cars. All the highways are easy to reach from anywhere in Blackmud Creek, and it is straightforward to park.
If you don't have a car, you could use its few bus lines, but public transport is a bit challenging in this area. Also, Blackmud Creek is also not very suitable for walking due to most of its businesses being located far away. There are no primary or high schools in this area so you really have to have a car to live in Blackmud Creek comfortably.
How to get around Edmonton, AB
Although the population of the city is not very high, the city is geographically spread out. As such, you will find yourself having to travel long distances to work and other social activities.
That is why before you decide on moving, you need to learn how transport in the city works and how simple or hard it is to get from one point to another in the city. There are a number of options to get around in Edmonton. There are buses, scooters, personal cars, and trains.
The most common way to get around, obviously, is by car. If you don't have a car or don't feel like using it, you can use the Edmonton Transit Service or the Light Rail Transit lines to shuttle from the South to the North in just 35 minutes. More lines are under construction to connect to the east and to the west.
If you want to go by bus, there is a convenient Transit app that you can install to help you track how far your bus is so you will never be late
Traffic in Edmonton is mild compared to other cities. Without traffic, you will need 30 minutes to travel from West Edmonton Mall to Sherwood Park. During traffic hours, it will take you only 10 minutes more.
You don't have to worry much about traffic as the city uses a grid system. It provides lots of alternatives for almost all trips. The North Saskatchewan River has about 11 bridges so you have lots of options to escape traffic.
There is no shortage of parking throughout the city, and it is completely free except downtown areas and the University of Alberta. For these two areas, you need to account for the time you will use to find a parking spot.
The average fare of the public transit system in Edmonton is $3.5 for a single ticket. For ten tickets, youth pay $19.75, adults $27.75, and seniors $19.75. For a month worth of tickets, youth pay $73.00, adults pay $100.00, and seniors pay $35.00.
What to do in Edmonton, AB
Whether you prefer the night or day scene, there's a lot to do in Edmonton, AB. Here are some of the many activities you can engage in:
- Visit West Edmonton Mall - Play miniature golf, ride a wave, bungee jump, skate, or bowl in North America's largest mall. There is so much to do!
- Check out Muttart Conservatory - There is nothing quite like spending a cold afternoon under a canopy of palms. These four glass pyramids showcase various plants from different climates, with the fourth one offering a changing seasonal display.
- William Hawrelak Park - In the winter, visit this 68-hectare expanse to skate. During summer, major festivals such as the Heritage Festival and the River City Shakespear Festival are held there. Also, the biking and hiking trails are perfect for riding and hiking buffs.
- River Valley - This largest stretch of urban parkland is home to 22 of the city's major parks and lots of hiking, biking, and skiing trails.
- Ice Skating - Apart from William Hawrelak ice skating, there are lots of indoor recreation centers, such as the YMCA where you can ice skate.
- Festivals and more Festivals - There are just too many festivals in Edmonton to list them all. The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, K-Days, The Canadian Finals Rodeo, International Fringe Festival, and Edmonton Folk Music Festival are just some of them.
- Museums and Art - Named the culture capital of Canada, there are so many things to do and so many activities to engage in for art lovers in Edmonton. Some of the museums you can visit include The Art Gallery Of Alberta, Gallery Walk - 124th Street, Royal Alberta Museum, And Fort Edmonton Park.
- Restaurants and clubs: If you're a night owl or a foodist, you're going to love the nightclub and the restaurant scene in Edmonton. There are just so many clubs and restaurants that cater to all types of tastes and preferences. Whatever your taste in music or palate, don't worry about whether you will find your spot in Edmonton.
Edmonton and Outdoor Activities
Despite Edmonton being one of the sunniest cities in Canada, its temperature varies between 6F and 18F throughout the year.
The warmest time of the year is between mid-May and mid-September, where the average high is above 64°F. This is the best time to visit the city and engage in popular outdoor activities such as playing in the Woodlands Water Play Park, free admission to the city's swimming pools such as Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Pool & Kinsmen Spray Park and Mill Creek Outdoor Pool or go camping in one of the many camping grounds in and around Edmonton such as Rainbow Valley Campground and Urban River Adventures.
July is the hottest month, with an average daily high of 74°F and a low of 55°F. From October to April, it gets very cold with an average high of below 31°F. January is the coldest month with an average daily high of 22°F and an average daily low of 8°F.
Snow depths of greater than 1 cm are seen on about 141 days each year in Edmonton compared with about 10 days each year in Vancouver, 35 days in Penticton, 65 days in Toronto, 88 days in Calgary, and 120 days in Ottawa. That said, while deciding on your move, you have to consider investing in lots of heavy clothes and winter tires if you have a car.
Moving to Edmonton
Moving from another country
The process you will go through while moving to Edmonton depends on whether it's a short-term or a permanent move.
If you're moving to Edmonton temporarily, you need a temporary work permit to reside. It can only be obtained after a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
If you're moving to Edmonton permanently, it may be worth looking at the Express Entry System. You apply, and then you're assessed on your language skills, educational attainment, and work experience.
For more information on the ways you can apply for permission to live and work in Canada, check out the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship service website.
Moving Within the Province
When moving across Edmonton or within Alberta province, you need to change your address within 14 days of moving by visiting a registry agent with your physical and mailing address within Edmonton.
If you need additional information and/or more details, you can contact Service Alberta on 780-427-7013 from Mon-Fri 8:15 am – 4:30 pm (closed statutory holidays)
Another important thing to do is to change all your official addresses. Make a list of all addresses in need of changing and accounts in need of canceling. Then, inform all the relevant public and private organizations about your new addresses.
Moving Into the Province
If you're moving to Edmonton from another province, the process for changing your address is the same as that of moving within the province. However, to change your driver's license, you exchange your former driver's license for an Alberta license within 90 days of moving. On top of the above-mentioned documents, you need to provide proof of residence in Edmonton.
Apart from changing your address, if you're coming in from another province, you also need to apply for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). To apply, you need to download the registration form and bring it to the registry agent. Your health card will be processed within 5 days.
Just like moving within the province, you need to make a list of all your official addresses, and then inform all the necessary parties.
Once you're done with the administrative tasks, subscribe for utilities such as gas, electricity, and a cell phone plan.
Pros and Cons Of Living In Edmonton, AB
Before you decide whether to move to Edmonton or not, it's important that you consider all the pros and cons of living in the city.
Pros of Living In Edmonton
- Friendly Atmosphere
Edmonton exudes a slow-paced community-oriented vibe. The residents are welcoming to new residents and visitors so you will have an easy time settling in and making new friends.
- Edmond is the Festival City Of Canada
Edmonton hosts over 50 festivals per year with a number of themes such as food, music, spiritual traditions, folklore, art, and drama among others. Of course, you won't attend them all but you'll definitely find something for yourself. Just don't miss the International Fringe theater Festival!
- Green Space
Edmonton was planned and designed to protect the natural environment with its wide green spaces.
- High Income
- Good Education
Edmonton is one of Canada's premier education centers, with over ten post-secondary schools. It has lots of colleges, institutes, and reputable universities.
Cons of Living In Edmonton
- Extreme Weather
If you move to Edmonton, you need to brace yourself for very cold winters with an average daily high temperature below 31°F.
- Poor Infrastructure
It's not uncommon to see "under construction" signs on roads during summer. This is because the extreme winter weather winter takes its toll on the roads, leaving behind potholes.
Good Luck with Your Move
With its strong economy, welcoming community, and low unemployment rate, Edmonton is growing into one of the most popular cities in Canada.
If you decide to move to the Festival City, to make your transition easy, you need to leave the moving to professional movers such as College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving so that you can focus on the administrative tasks and settle in.
If you're still on fence regarding whether this is the best city for you, use these tips and resources to help you make a decision.