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Pros and Cons of Living in Edmonton: Life + facts

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Planning a move to Edmonton? And wondering if it is worth living in Edmonton Alberta? No worries, we got you covered. 

Edmonton has been home for us since 2015. And we moved to Canada in 2009 (and have lived in two other provinces). Alberta is where we got married, bought our first home, started our online business, and even studied to upgrade our skills. 

Here is what you can expect when you move and live in Edmonton. 

Pros and Cons of Living in Edmonton Alberta: Our Edmonton Life!

Pros and cons of living in Edmonton Alberta

Where is Edmonton located?

Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta and is located in the central region of the province. It is a beautiful city that offers a great quality of life for its residents. 

Edmonton is the northernmost city in North America that has a metropolitan population of over one million. It is the second-largest city in Alberta after Calgary. 

Girl enjoying a picnic in Edmonton on a sunny day
Beautiful Edmonton on a warm sunny day with the cityscape

There are many reasons to live in Edmonton, including the city’s excellent job market, diverse culture, and vibrant nightlife. However, there are also some drawbacks to living in Edmonton, such as the city’s cold winters and higher-than-average crime rates. 

Overall, Edmonton is a great place to live for its many positive attributes. 

Read: Best places to live in Alberta

We will discuss all the pros and cons of living in Edmonton Alberta if you are considering moving here. 

10 Reasons and Pros of Living in Edmonton Alberta

Stable white and blue-collar jobs 

There are many advantages to living in Edmonton when it comes to finding stable white and blue-collar jobs. 

Retail complex Manchester Square in Edmonton
Retail complex Manchester Square in Edmonton

The city is home to a number of large corporations and businesses, which means there are always opportunities for employment. 

Companies like ATB, Telus, Canadian Western Bank, Grainger Canada, the provincial government and Alberta Health Services, etc have regular job postings for white-collar jobs. 

You will also find small and mid-size logistics companies hiring drivers, loaders, and moving assistants. 

There are also many other industries that are booming in Edmonton, such as those in technical support and retail. This makes the city a great place to live and work for people from all walks of life. 

Another great thing about Edmonton is its location. The city is situated in the heart of Alberta’s oil and gas industry, making it a great place for those looking for work in this sector.

The average median salary in Edmonton is about $98000 CAD per year. 

Read: How to find jobs in Canada

Edmonton is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a variety of cultural attractions

Edmonton has a good mix of the local, native and immigrant populations. It has a cosmopolitan vibe with a variety of cultural attractions and events. 

There are seasonal events that take place every month from food, and literature to music festivals. Edmonton is known as the Festival City, for a reason, after all. 

Girl at the winter festival in Edmonton
Winter festivals in Edmonton: Edmonton life

Winters are amazing as well with lights and ice fests. 

You will find all the amenities of a big city from roads, hospitals, schools, higher secondary and university learning, and sports to shopping and historical sites.

There are multi-cultural restaurants and neighborhoods where you can hang out and feel at home!

Access to both Banff and Jasper National Parks (and other provincial parks)

Edmonton is a great location to call it home. From here you can be close to many national parks in the province. Elk Island National Park is just 45 minute’s drive away.

Sunsets in elk island Canada
Sunsets in Canada’s Elk Island National Park

Two iconic Canadian Rockies national parks – Banff and Jasper are both a 4-hour drive away. 

And then there are tons of gardens and provincial parks where you can enjoy a nice walk, hike or a picnic!

Edmonton has a great quality of life

Edmonton offers a great quality of life for its residents, with a variety of amenities and activities to enjoy. 

Beautiful residential areas in Edmonton with gardens and shops nearby
Beautiful residential areas in Edmonton with gardens and shops nearby

Each neighborhood has retail and shopping areas, schools, and parks/gardens where you can hang out, and buy life’s essentials and luxuries. 

The North Saskatchewan River Valley, which features more than 100 kilometers of recreational pathways, wildlife viewing, and city views, is well known in Edmonton. 

Many parks are located along the river valley as well, including Fort Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest historical park. So there is always something to do in the city as far as nature and the outdoors go!

Fall roads in Edmonton Alberta
Edmonton Alberta roads

Edmonton’s infrastructure is also good, and for the most part, the roads are well maintained and clean. 

The city offers its residents a nice work-life balance opportunity, and the locals are generally very nice, friendly, and helpful!

Edmonton has a diverse population and is considered to be a very welcoming city

Edmonton is a great city for those who value diversity. 

The city has a large population of immigrants and visible minorities, making it one of the most welcoming cities in Canada for newcomers. 

View of Edmonton from the Mutthart Conservatory
View of Edmonton from the Mutthart Conservatory

Edmonton is also home to a large number of cultural organizations and events that celebrate the city’s diverse population. This makes Edmonton an ideal place to live for those who appreciate different cultures and backgrounds. 

The winters in Edmonton can be cold, but the city makes up for it with its beautiful summers

The winters in Edmonton can be cold, but the city is lovely in the summer and fall. There are a number of parks and recreation areas that are perfect for spending time outdoors. 

Botanical gardens in Devon Edmonton
Botanical gardens in Devon, near Edmonton

Picnics and sunbathing in the gardens and parks are common in the summers. 

There are tons of nature trails, and gardens built in and around the community where you live, and also a few minutes’ drive away. 

This means you can enjoy all the benefits of living in a big city while still being able to escape into nature’s lap for some fresh air and amazing views. 

The cost of living in Edmonton is relatively affordable compared to other major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver

The cost of living in Edmonton is relatively cheaper as compared to cities like Toronto or Vancouver. For this, we are considering factors like housing, car insurance, eating out, groceries, and other life amenities like schools, public transportation, medical care, etc. 

Fewer taxes, save money on daily and big purchases 

We pay fewer taxes (5% as compared to 10 to 15% in other provinces) which means more money in your pockets. 

From eating out, and groceries to shopping bills, it is 5% taxes that you have to pay. 

Housing is affordable as compared to other Canadian cities

Here you will find a variety of housing options from apartments and condos to single-family homes and townhouses. 

You can easily score a nice apartment for less, as compared to other popular Canadian cities. 

Apartment condo in Edmonton
Apartment condo in Edmonton

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Edmonton is $500 to 950 CAD per month, while the average rent for a three-bedroom apartment is $1650 CAD and above per month. 

It is also relatively affordable to buy a house in Edmonton Canada. A brand new family home with an attached garage and 3 decent size rooms can be bought for around $400000 (vs $550000), and townhomes are upwards of $200000 CAD (for a mortgage). 

Edmonton is great for families

Edmonton is a great city for families. As mentioned, it has a high quality of life, making it an ideal place to raise children. 

There are also many excellent schools and recreation facilities in Edmonton, which make it a great place to live for families of all sizes. 

Children can choose from a public, private, or catholic school for education. There is also an option for French immersion in elementary and high school. 

The city also offers a variety of post-secondary education programs through many colleges and universities. 

The University of Alberta is located in Edmonton. It is also home to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Concordia University, and MacEwen University, to name a few.

In short, Edmonton is a great city for anyone who values diversity, opportunity, and high quality of life. 

If you are considering moving to Edmonton, you should definitely give the city a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

8 Cons of Living in Edmonton Alberta

Now here are some cons to living in Edmonton. These drawbacks can be easily overcome with little research and planning. 

Winters in Edmonton can be super cold, long, and harsh

The winters in Edmonton are long and cold, with temperatures sometimes dipping below -20 degrees Celsius (or -7 F). This can make it difficult for new visitors to the city. 

Roads from Edmonton to Jasper in the winter

Winters make it difficult to get around as roads and sidewalks can be icy and slippery. You can expect snowfall from late November to mid-March, and after that, it starts clearing up. 

Personally, moving from India, both Salil and I never had any issues with winters in Canada. 

And Edmonton is no different. 

Houses, shopping malls, vehicles, etc. are all centrally heated. You will need warm clothing (and layers of it) when you are outdoors – doing groceries, walking the dog, etc. 

Regardless of how cold it is, you are going to school, work, or whatever you need to 🙂 we don’t stop (we may be delayed, but life and our day continue). 

Plus there are tons of winter and Christmas festivals that take place in Edmonton – so don’t miss out!

Traffic can be a major issue in Edmonton, especially during rush hour

Edmonton as a city is quite spread out, but when it comes to traveling to places of work like the city centre or downtown area, or to the West Edmonton Mall over the weekends – traffic can get very challenging. 

So expect rush and delays getting to work. I used to work in Edmonton downtown, and it took me 45 minutes to an hour from the southwest part of the city to get there. I utilized this time by reading/learning new skills on my commute (public transportation). 

But I get it, for many, it can get very boring.

You need a car 100%

Unlike Vancouver and Toronto, you do need a vehicle to navigate and explore Edmonton. 

Roads and street cars in Edmonton
A vehicle is needed to enjoy Edmonton Alberta

There is a strong public transportation network in Edmonton, but it is not very efficient in getting around beyond the city center.

In fact, downtown Edmonton attractions are also quite spread out and require a good deal of walking (pedways available), and even a car to get around. 

The Edmonton Transit System is the city’s main public transit network. It connects the various neighborhoods in the city using buses and trains, particularly the Edmonton Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines. 

LRT is expanding as we speak, but connectivity is still not the greatest. 

A vehicle also becomes a necessity in the winters as public transportation routes are limited, and sometimes delayed due to the weather. 

Also, note that many bus stops in Edmonton do not have sheds or covered areas to protect against the snowy elements. 

Crime rates 

Although we have never encountered any instances of violent crimes in the city, statistics show that Edmonton has had an increase in such crimes reported every year. It has had an increase of 8.79% year-over-year. 

There are certain areas of downtown Edmonton that are very sketchy. You should avoid venturing to those places late at night. The use of drugs or people dealing with drugs is high. 

Other crimes like vandalism (breakage into cars and homes) are common and are at a moderate alert level. This means that you must not leave your laptops, phones, or backpacks in your car. 

If your house is in a secluded area, do get home security and monitoring services. 

The city can be quite segregated

While Edmonton is a great city with lots to offer, one of the biggest problems here is that it can be quite segregated, with different areas being home to different socioeconomic and cultural groups. 

Edmonton houses and neighborhoods in the south
Edmonton houses and neighborhoods in the south

This can make it difficult to find affordable housing or access certain amenities. 

The neighborhoods in the south (Tamarack, Windermere, or Laurel Green in the southeast) are home to young families, and there are newer properties and communities been built here, in the last 4-5 years. 

Many matured neighborhoods have a mixed population (of all backgrounds and ages). Millwoods is popular with the east Indian crowds. 

Edmonton can be a boring city to live in, especially if you’re not interested in outdoor activities

Edmonton isn’t the first choice when it comes to moving and living in Canada. For many (including residents) Edmonton can be boring. 

Walterdale Bridge views
Pros and cons of living in Edmonton: Walterdale Bridge

If you love going out and prefer to stay outside until the late hours of the night, then know that the city doesn’t have a lot of options. 

Malls close by 7-9 pm, some restaurants are open until 10-10:30 pm (weekends open for longer), and events centers welcome guests late into the night, depending on the show/performance. 

Having said that, Edmonton has a lively culinary scene, and you will always find trails and parks near your home. 

So it is perfect for those who live a work-life-nature balance while having access to all the world-class amenities. 

Winter Igloos – Riverside Bistro Edmonton

Based on our experience we can safely say that Edmonton offers a good quality lifestyle, with ample time and opportunities to work on our skills, hobbies, and careers. 

The cost of living in Edmonton can be high

Although not nearly as expensive as Toronto or Vancouver, Edmonton can be pricey when compared to smaller towns, with higher median salaries in the province. 

These expenses relate to insurance, rental & housing, electricity, and transportation costs. 

Dryness and extra care

Edmonton can be a very dry city, with little rainfall throughout the year. This can make it difficult to keep your garden or lawn looking green and healthy. 

Your skin also needs extra care all year round due to the dryness! 

A Glimpse of Our Edmonton Life

Edmonton has been home for us since 2015. This is where we got married, started our new lives together, bought our first home, and more. 

Girl at the  Mutthart Conservatory
Playing tourist in my city: At the Mutthart Conservatory

The city has given us a lot.

In spite of what has been in the province (with the oil industry, wildfires, floods, economic deficit, etc.) living in Edmonton never felt like a crunch. 

Our jobs remained steady throughout these years. In fact, we changed careers, made progress, and took steps for personal and professional development. 

We know our winters and if you are moving to Canada, or have lived here you know winters can be long, but never boring.

Ice Castles Edmonton
Ice Castles Edmonton

Our day-to-day life is peaceful. You can predict how your day will go (except for ad hoc issues at home, occasional traffic, or the weather), and can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. 

Edmonton has the perfect balance of big-city amenities and small-town charm. This city has jobs, good housing, high quality of life, schools, hospitals, and an international airport that connects you to the rest of the world. 

Once you are at home, you will most likely be residing in a community – which will be self-sufficient in terms of getting your groceries, banks, pharmacies, daycares, schools, gyms, etc. That and public trails and parks nearby make living in Edmonton a very well-balanced one. 

Residential areas in Edmonton
Residential areas in Edmonton

People in Edmonton are warm and welcoming. They will smile and greet you when they cross paths. 

At our workplaces, we have always found our colleagues to be helpful and friendly. Our careers have progressed positively regardless of our background. 

Now, Edmonton is not a popular tourist destination, so our attractions are not run down by visitors. There is no such pressure on the infrastructure. 

If you want to visit the Royal Alberta Museum, you won’t find a huge line-up. You can explore the place at ease admiring what our province has to offer. 

Winters can be challenging for some. But Edmonton actually lights up in the winter months with drive-through events, ice castles, ice carving festivals, and more. You can also go snowshoeing, hit winter trails, skiing, etc. 

We enjoy our winters at home, cozying up at the fireplace and watching the snowfall. You always have a white Christmas here. 

Boxing Day at the West Edmonton Mall is crazy, but lots of FUN! 🙂 We pay 5% taxes, so another reason for shoppers to move here! haha!

Things to do in Edmonton Alberta: What is Edmonton famous for?

Excited already? Want to explore Edmonton as a visitor? Do hit the following spots 

1. Visit the West Edmonton Mall

The West Edmonton Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in North America. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959.

West Edmonton Mall in Canada
Ice rink at the West Edmonton Mall

The mall has over 800 stores and services, more than 100 food outlets, and attracts more than 24 million visitors annually. 

The mall includes an indoor waterpark, an ice rink, a casino, a movie theatre complex, a grand hotel, and a mini-golf course.

2. Go to an Edmonton Oilers game

If you’re a fan of hockey, then you’ll definitely want to check out an Edmonton Oilers game in Edmonton, Alberta! 

The Oilers are a professional ice hockey team that competes in the National Hockey League (NHL), and they’re one of the most popular teams in the league. 

Seeing them play live is an experience you won’t forget.

3. Take a tour of the Alberta Legislature Building

The Alberta Legislature Building is the home of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The building was originally built between 1907 and 1913 and features an eclectic mix of Old World architecture and Art Nouveau-style design. 

Edmonton Canada in the fall
Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton Canada

Inside the Legislature Building, there are a number of historical features and artifacts on display, including the original Speaker’s Chair and mace. 

The public is welcome to take a tour of the building, which includes a stop at the Legislative Chamber, where members of the Assembly debate and pass laws. 

Visitors can enter the building for free, and tour the interiors. 

Affectionately called the Ledge, the building grounds are stunning in the summer with fountains, gardens, and warm sunshine. In the winters, the complex turns into a snow and lights wonderland as the place is lit up for the festive season. 

4. Visit the Royal Alberta Museum

When you visit the Royal Alberta Museum, you’ll learn all about the natural and human history of the Canadian province of Alberta. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of Canada. 

The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, paintings, and other objects that tell the story of Alberta and its people. 

The museum is also home to a number of interactive exhibits, which make learning about the province’s history fun and engaging for all ages. 

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for something to do in the city, the Royal Alberta Museum is sure to please.

5. Check out the Fort Edmonton Park

Fort Edmonton Park is a historical park in Alberta, Canada. The park depicts the history of the city of Edmonton from its earliest days as a fur trading post to its modern incarnation as the capital of Alberta. 

Tipi at the Fort Edmonton Park
Tipi at the Fort Edmonton Park

You can visit to see how the city was in 1885, 1905, and 1920. 

Spend 2-4 hours in Fort Edmonton Park, enjoying historical reenactments, riding street cars, and learning about the people and events that shaped the city.

6. Go for a hike in one of Edmonton’s many parks

There are a lot of places to go hiking in Edmonton. Top picks include Whitemud Park, Terwillegar Park, and Hawrelak Park. 

And the Elk Island National Park is only a 45-minute drive away!

7. Attend a festival or event in Edmonton

There are tons of festivals that take place in Edmonton every month. They range from food fests (Taste of Edmonton), and music concerts to snow and light festivals in the winters! 

Edmonton Food Festival: Taste of Edmonton

Check out the monthly events calendar here

8. Go shopping 

You will LOVE shopping here in Edmonton. The must-visit West Edmonton Mall is home to over 800 stores, but there are other malls in the city too. Like South Gate Mall, Londonderry, City Centre, and South Edmonton Common. 

Plus there are tons of boutique stores as well where you can browse and get your retail therapy fix!

9. Visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo

When visiting Edmonton Valley Zoo, there are plenty of things to see and do. The zoo is home to over 350 animals, including bears, tigers, lions, and more. 

There is also a variety of interactive exhibits, educational programs, and events that visitors can enjoy. 

Whether you’re looking to learn more about the animal kingdom or just want to have a fun day out, Edmonton Valley Zoo is the perfect place to go.

10. Take a drive to one of Edmonton’s surrounding areas

This is one of our favorite things to do in Edmonton. Salil and I enjoy long drives and driving in the city and beyond to places like Beaumont, Sherwood Park or Alberta Beach is amazing!

Alberta Beach

You can also visit nearby cities or drive all the way to British Columbia from Edmonton. 

The Queen Elizabeth II Highway (QE2 Highway) connects Alberta’s capital to Calgary, and the Yellowhead Highway connects Edmonton to British Columbia and Saskatchewan. 

Making a Decision: Is Edmonton the Right Fit for You?

Deciding if Edmonton is right for you may not be an easy decision. But we can help. 

Start by looking at the job prospects for your profession or field. There are some professions that may not work out like IT developers. 

But if you are into white-collar jobs, prefer government positions, or are into the supply chain and oil and gas you will easily find job opportunities. 

You will be getting $15 CAD (2022 minimum wage) at a minimum, and with your savings and earnings, you can find affordable accommodation in various neighborhoods. 

The median income is about $98 000 per year. 

Cheaper one-bedroom rent starts at $500 CAD per month, and when looking for a 2 bedroom condo, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1200 to $2000 CAD per month, depending on the location and included amenities. 

Buying a home here is also possible – much more affordable than houses in Toronto or Vancouver. 

There are public schools, universities, and colleges for those looking to upgrade their skills, or switch careers!

You have all the goodness and the big city opportunities in Edmonton. Little things like access to a car, long and cold winters, etc. are common across Canada. 

So it’s your time to choose!

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Pros and cons of living in Edmonton

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