Moving to Edmonton What You Need to Know
Thinking of moving to Edmonton but aren't sure if it's the right move for you? I have compiled a list of 9 things you need to know before moving to Edmonton. I am confident this information will help you with your decision.
The Top 9 Things you Need to Know Before Moving to Edmonton
1. Edmonton is a small City. By this, I mean small in comparison to other major cities in Canada like Vancouver and Toronto. Even Calgary feels bigger than Edmonton though it really isn't that much larger. Edmonton has a small-town feel with all the amenities of a big city.
2. Health care is public but doesn't include dental. This is pretty normal across Canada but if you are coming to Edmonton from outside of Canada and looking forward to the public healthcare system, it's important to know that it does not include dental. Usually, if you have a benefits plan from your employer you will receive dental coverage with that. If you are self-employed you may want to pay for a benefits plan. I am self-employed and have opted for a benefits plan which included dental. The cost is $110/mo as of 2021.
3. Many Public Transportation options but you still need a car. With the winter climate here it is very difficult to wait for a bus or walk a few blocks outside on cold days. We have many cold days and if you are not used to winter, even the days we locals find somewhat mild you may find very cold. In addition, the public transportation to the areas outside the Anthony Henday ring road is by bus only right now and most of it is dial a bus so the waiting times will be quite significant. If you are living centrally and within walking distance to a grocery store, you have a better chance of making it without a vehicle but you still may find it difficult.
4. The winters are long, cold, and dry. Winter starts in late October or early November, it is usually marked by snow that stays on the ground. You may see some snow in September or earlier October but it usually doesn't stick around. The coldest months are usually late December, January, and February. These are great months to take a vacation to warm parts of the world. We like to head to Cancun in the winter for 10 days to warm up and gain some moisture back to our skin as it is SO DRY in Edmonton over the winter. You will feel it in your skin as it will dry up and maybe even crack. People with skin conditions like eczema have a harder time with the dry weather. March is still pretty much still winter but the days are getting longer and you can feel the warmth in the air. By mid to late April the golf courses open, signally the end of winter and a start to spring.
5. Two main school systems - Public & Catholic. If you have children your main two choices other than homeschooling will be the public school system or the catholic school system. It's important to find out where the schools are when determining where to live as there are designated schools for specific neighborhoods for both the public and catholic school divisions. Though Edmonton is mostly English speaking there are bilingual school options. For example, the public school system has Arabic, Cree, Mandarin, French, German, Hebrew etc, and the catholic school system has Cree, French, Polish, Spanish, Ukrainian etc.
6. Edmonton is the most affordable city to live in. Based on home prices alone Edmonton is the most affordable city in Canada to live in. As per CREA's National price map for Canada, the average home price in Canada is $686,656 where are the average price in Edmonton is $341,000. Unless you buy an older home or a condo, you will unlikely find a home for that price. You can find a nice single-detached home in Edmonton for $400,000 -$500,000 which is still far less than the national average and WAY LESS than the average home price in Vancouver and Toronto. As of September 2021, the Greater Vancouver average home price is $1,186,100 and the Greater Toronto average home price is $1,082,400 according to CREA's National price map. Check out current listings in Edmonton Find a Home in Edmonton
7. Edmonton has the lowest taxes in Canada. The low taxes in Edmonton apply to all of Alberta as we have the lowest provincial income tax rates in the country and we have only one sales tax - GST. All provinces in Canada have GST (goods and services sales tax) which is 5% in 2021. Other provinces will have PST (provincial sales tax) in addition to GST or they will have HST (harmonized sales tax) which includes GST. Most provinces' total sales tax is 15% but they do range from 11%-15%. So it's pretty amazing that in Alberta you will only be paying 5% total sales tax.
8. Surprisingly there is plenty of shopping. Edmonton has the 2nd largest mall in North America - West Edmonton Mall (WEM). WEM was the largest mall in the world until 2004. I find it pretty cool that WEM is also the 2nd most visited mall in Canada behind Toronto Eaton Center and ahead of Metro Town Mall in Burnaby given the population in Edmonton is much smaller than both those areas. In addition to WEM, we have a couple of other malls and major shopping areas like Edmonton South Common which includes Ikea and Canada's largest Canadian Tire. Edmonton has two Apple stores, BestBuy, several home depot's, Eight Costco's, and plenty of Walmart SuperCenters. For popular grocery stores, you will find Superstore, Save-on Food, Safeway, and Sobey's around the city.
9. Most common Language is English not everyone speaks French. With Canada having two official languages, English and French, you may be surprised to find out that if you only speak French and not English it may be hard for you to communicate in public. Most traffic signs are in English only. Some areas of the city do have bilingual signs but not very many.
Want to learn more about Moving to Edmonton? Check out the end of this article for two videos I made titled "5 Reasons Why You Should Not Move to Edmonton" and "15 Reasons Why I Love Edmonton".
Ready to start looking for a home in Edmonton? Find a Home in Edmonton Now