Would You Rather Live in Calgary or in Kelowna BC?
In today’s video and livelovekelowna blog I am talking about living in Kelowna Versus Calgary.
I lived in Alberta for 23 years before moving back to BC in 2021, the last 18 of those 23 were spent in Calgary.
We lived mostly in the Northwest and the West side of Calgary, although I did live kind of inner-city Northwest for a short amount of time.
I could probably go on and on about the differences between living in Calgary and living in Kelowna, but I am going to focus on just four different areas to try and keep this video a little shorter than some of my other ones on the channel.
Let’sTalk About the Weather
One of my favourite topics is the weather. It is almost the end of October and Calgary already had 10 centimeters of snow.
I could probably just stop right there. Kelowna still has green grass, leaves on the trees and the average temperature here the last week has been around 10 or 12 degrees celsius.
The winter’s here in Kelowna are pretty mild, that said, last year was a little colder and had a little more snow than what the area is used to. So there are years that are anomalies, however, most winter’s it is above zero and when it does dip below freezing it averages around -4.
Calgary on the other hand seems to skip fall and move right into the winter months right around now, the end of October.
It is not unusual to see snow in Calgary from October straight through until April.
That being said, Calgary is one of the sunniest areas in the country with over 330 days of sunshine and around 2400 hours compared to Kelowna’s 2200.
As for Spring and Summer…Kelowna seems to actually have a spring with the snow melt starting in February, it’s not crazy to think you’ll be golfing by mid to end of March.
The average temperature in the spring is around 15 degrees. Most golf courses in Calgary open around May long weekend, there are some that open earlier if there is opportunity, but those seem to be few and far between these days.
Kelowna doesn’t typically get a lot of rain in the Spring, hence the reason for ‘forest fire’ season as the 5th unofficial season in the Okanagan.
This year we did though which definitely cut down on the amount of forest fires we saw all summer.
I have to pick between Calgary and Kelowna for better overall, year round weather.
I'm going Kelowna, 100 times out of 100.
What are the Differences in Cost of Living?
This topic will definitely make it into one of my next videos around what we didn’t know about moving here to Kelowna, the cost of living.
I’m going to just come right out and say it at the beginning of this section, Calgary and Alberta overall have this hands down.
Let’s start with the price of gas, there is a good 50 cent per litre gap between what you pay in Kelowna and what you pay in Calgary.
This works out, at least for me, to around an extra $30 to $40 per tank of gas, this can be significant if you drive for a living.
Next is groceries, now I know the cost of EVERYTHING is up right now, but even when it wasn’t back in June of 2021 we saw a significant difference in what you would get in a, quote unquote, bag of groceries. Believe it or not, fruit is more expensive here.
That’s like the gas prices being reversed, it would be like Calgary’s average is $1.90 per litre and Kelowna is $1.30!
There is a lot more to cover, but I am going to end this segment off by talking about taxes.
Yes, BC has a provincial sales tax of 7% which means in total you are going to pay 12% on EVERYTHING. Alberta doesn’t have a PST. Land Transfer Tax.
When you purchase a home in BC you have to pay a land transfer tax of 1% on the first $200k and 2% on the balance between $200k and $2 Million and then 3% up to $3 Million aaaaaaand an additional 2% over and above 3 Million dollars. So, on a $4 Million dollar purchase your total tax amount would be $118,000.
Like my ole pappy used to say, if you can afford the Mercedes you can afford the oil changes.
The Health Care System.
Yes it’s 2022 and the health care system in Canada seems to be really messed up right now, but I will say that coming from what we knew in Alberta to what we are seeing here in BC, the differences are staggering.
Ok first, we had a family doctor for over 20 years when we lived in Calgary, when we moved to Kelowna, we were without a family doctor for the first 6 months.
We added ourselves to wait lists and then finally found a clinic that was taking new patients all the way out in West Kelowna.
We are happy now to drive that distance, simply because we have a family doctor that we really like. Beyond that, it is access to things like getting X-Rays and MRI’s and getting into a physiotherapist, Calgary slash Alberta has BC beat in these areas all day long.
Also, if you are an entrepreneur coming from Alberta and need extended benefits, I would definitely suggest shopping around. We had Blue Cross in Alberta and we had a hard time finding anything that compared to the plans that they had.
Are the Outdoor Activities Better in Calgary or Kelowna
I have done a few videos now on things to do in and around Kelowna. We love to get outside, it is a large part of the reason that we moved here.
We can be at a trailhead in about 15 minutes if we walk there.
We can be at the beach on Okanagan lake in about 7 minutes from our home.
We can head out mountain biking, right out our front door to Okanagan Mountain.
If we want to hike some more we can head over to Knox Mountain or do Pauls Tomb and be at the trailhead in about 20 minutes.
I can hit a golf course in about 9 minutes from where I live.
Of course there are pickleball courts, tennis courts, basketball and beach volleyball courts all very close to where we live. If we want to ski in the winter time, Big White is 45 minutes away.
Contrast that with Calgary and the vast majority of these activities are done outside of town with the exception of pickleball, golf and some in the city hiking in areas like Nose Hill or the Douglas Fir Trail.
Most of these things are a drive away from wherever you live in Calgary, you would be packing up the bikes or packing for an afternoon to head out to a lake outside the city, unless of course you live IN a lake community like Arbour Lake or Lake Bonavista.
Overall, it seems we have come to a draw, two for Calgary and two for Kelowna.
Don't let the negatives in this post and video above scare you off, transferring from one province to another isn't as easy as you may think.
It's almost like going from one country to another, there are a lot of things that you need to get used to especially when the political climates are so vastly different.
That said, if the great didn’t far outweigh the good, we never would have made the move.
Calgary is a great city and an awesome place to raise a family, if you are looking for a slower pace and a climate where you can be outdoors pretty much all year round and not be locked inside sheltering from the freezing cold, then the Okanagan is calling.
If you have any questions about making a move to Kelowna….especially from Calgary, then give me a call or send me a text to 403-827-7527 or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org