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The Pros And Cons Of Moving To Edmonton
Are you thinking of moving to Edmonton? Kudos to you for doing some research before you make up your mind. Wide open spaces, affordable housing, a recovering job market, a mid-sized urban area and the capital of Alberta, Edmonton offers a lot to attract prospective movers.
However, along with its advantages, like any city it also has its downsides. So don’t start packing your bags until you check out our guide to the pros and cons of moving to Edmonton.
The Pros of Moving to Edmonton
You’ll find a lot to love if you’re moving to Edmonton. The “Big E” is a clean, green, affordable city you can be proud to call home.
Here are some of the factors that make Edmonton a great place to live.
1. Friendly Atmosphere
Friendliness is one of this locale’s outstanding characteristics. Unlike the residents of some larger metropolises, Edmonton has a slower-paced, community-oriented feeling. The friendly local folks are welcoming to newcomers and visitors. This upbeat attitude will go a long way to help you settle in and make new friends after moving to Edmonton.
2. Festival City of Canada
Edmonton truly deserves the nickname “Festival City,” as it plays host to a huge number of festivals. Mainly centred in the Arts District downtown, over fifty festivals a year provide a variety of exciting experiences, spotlighting art, drama, folklore, food, holidays, music, spiritual traditions, and more. The star of the show is the annual mega Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, the largest and longest-running event of its kind in Canada.
3. Sports Galore
Edmontonians are justly proud of their three major sports teams — in the fields of football, hockey, and soccer – as well as another half-dozen amateur and junior sports clubs. If you prefer playing rather than watching, choose from a plethora of sports activities… outdoor, indoor, on the ground or on ice, and geared toward all ages and levels of skill.
4. West Edmonton Mall
No description of the “up” side of Edmonton would be complete without a mention of the West Edmonton Mall. Though it’s famed as the largest shopping complex in North America (covering 5.3 million square feet!), its excellent shopping is just part of the story. The Mall is a destination in itself, and you could easily spend a whole vacation there, enjoying family friendly attractions like a mammoth underground aquarium and a year-round tropical water park. To wind up your day, there’s a host of dining options and even two hotels onsite.
5. Green Space
Edmonton is attractively located in a lush river valley; the North Saskatchewan River runs right through the city. In addition, an impressive network of open spaces and parks, planned with the aim of protecting the natural environment, helps keep the capital green.
The Cons of Moving to Edmonton
Now let’s balance that positive report with a few negatives about moving to Edmonton.
The city’s northerly location means you’ll need to brace yourself for cold winters that may seem to go on forever. Snowfall is relatively light, though, compared with many other Canadian cities (Edmonton averages 123.5 centimetres of snow per year vs. Montreal’s 209 cm.). In general Edmonton weather is known as extremely unpredictable.
2. Poor Infrastructure
Those long harsh winters take their toll on local roads, leaving cracks and potholes in their wake. During the relatively short summers, Edmonton city streets often seem to be “under construction” semi-permanently. Motorists feel this as a major inconvenience because, although Edmonton’s population is not huge, the city is geographically spread out and you tend to end up driving long distances to work or social activities. (Fortunately, public transportation has begun to improve in recent years, with an expanding light rail system, as well as bus lines which connect the entire city. )
Edmonton’s crime severity index (an annual measure of number and severity of crimes reported to the police) was the second highest in Canada for 2017, over 37% higher than Calgary, its neighbour to the south. Before that fact makes you think twice moving to Edmonton, consider the context. Most local crimes are gang and drug-related, and do not target the general public.
Should You Move to Edmonton?
It’s all about your priorities. If you like the idea of a green, friendly, active city, Edmonton could be the perfect fit for you. On the other hand, if you hate winter and are phased by the thought of crime and long hours getting from place to place, you might see Edmonton as less than ideal.
But if you’ve got an interesting job offer or you’re interested in attending one of Edmonton’s many post-secondary institutions, why not go ahead and move to the city? Chances are you’ll end up proud to call Edmonton home.