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Raft Race

Sourdough Raft Race, Edmonton

Canada is a mix of the great outdoors and the modern, cosmopolitan city.  Its many national parks are home to some of the rarer animals on the continent while Canadian cities are consistently voted some of the best cities to live in in the world.

With a population of around 35 million, Canada is culturally diverse with significant numbers of a wide number of different ethnic  groups.

Education is another area where Canada flourishes; Canadians in general perform well above the OECD average where over three-quarters of school leavers go on to a secondary-education.

The Trans-Canada railway in Alberta

The Trans-Canada railway in Alberta

Canada, and Alberta in particular, is doing well financially. The economy, based around oil & gas is steadily growing as it trades more with Asia.

Calgary consulting room

Consulting room – GP practice in Calgary

Canada has an extensive free at point of use healthcare service. For Canadian residents with a Medicare card, most services at a GP clinic are provided free of charge, like in the UK.  However, the practices are run differently – they are paid via a “fee for service” system – ie x number of dollars for a patient consultation, y dollars for a flu jab etc.






You’ll find the cost of living a pleasant surprise compared with the UK or Ireland – it is somewhat cheaper than here.

City of Calgary, Alberta

City of Calgary, Alberta

Housing is one of the main areas where you can make savings. 2 bedroom apartments can be had for between $1,500 in the city centre. 3 bedroom apartments  from around $1800. $2,200 gets you a new apartment with all mod cons.

Like the USA, food is relatively cheaper whether from a supermarket or eating out. Petrol / diesel and the cost of cars themselves are also a lot less than here. As are heating costs (though you’ll probably spend more overall as winters are colder).  Car insurance is expensive though.

Olympic Plaza, Calgary

Olympic Plaza, Calgary

The Canadian economy has done pretty well over the last few years. It is one of the few Western economies that hasn’t had to bail out its banks. Coupled with the large natural resources in the interior and a relatively small population, Canada has been able to weather the economic storms of the past few years pretty well. It’s not been without its problems and State & Government spending is tight with health & social care budgets having been cut recently to balance the books. Overall though, prospects look good as the country is well placed for economic development with both the USA and the Pacific region on its doorstep.



I visited Alberta between March 13th  to 17th  and met up with 4 clients in Edmonton and Calgary. Here are my thoughts along with some of the pictures I took.

View of Calgary

Calgary – Downtown

Alberta is booming, with economic and population growth, based on the oil and gas industry.

It was good weather while I was there – between 0C and 8C. Dry and sunny (though there was some snow while we were visiting Banff in the Rockies). Although it is cold and snowy in Winter, this is tempered by the Chinook, a warm wind that comes from the west to bring the temperature back up. Plus, the Albertans have really sorted out how to live well in these conditions – there are large malls with shops, restaurants and leisure for indoor living and there’s a unique indoor walkway system in downtown Calgary linking offices etc.

Calgary apartment

Typical Apartment Complex in Calgary

It felt a good place to live –  multi-cultural, friendly, at ease with itself. Both Edmonton and Calgary are big cities with over a 1 million people in each.


Calgary consulting room

Consulting room – GP practice in Calgary

Both cities are growing fast, based on oil and gas exploration, with each having over 1 million inhabitants. There are a lot of new buildings (both offices and apartments) going up and there are well developed sports, cultural and shopping facilities (Edmonton has the largest mall in North America, with restaurants, a hotel, entertainments and sports complex as well as a full range of shops. Calgary has some excellent ice / skiing facilities. Both cities host world class cultural events and shows).



West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall

Earnings look good (better than Australia, in our opinion) and cost of living is relatively low. For example a decent two bedroom apartment in Calgary is $1,700 per month (about £900).








Now some more pictures:

The Rockies

On the road to Banff from Calgary







West Edmonton Mall

The largest mall in North America – West Edmonton Mall








Rockies and truck

Trans Canada Highway







Apartment in Edmonton

Typical apartment building in Edmonton








Main Street Banff

Banff Main Street








Restaurant in Alberta

Shops and restaurants in Alberta








Edmonton Restaurant

Restaurant in Edmonton








Alberta countryside

Rural Alberta








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