New City, New Adventure: Pros and Cons of Life in Calgary So Far

Creative Commons © 2013 Calgary Reviews on Flickr

Creative Commons © 2013 Calgary Reviews on Flickr

We are coming up fast on the one month anniversary of our big move to Calgary. Time is really flying, guys, it’s freaking me out. Last week, we took you for a little spin around our apartment, and this week, I’d like to share some of the good, the bad, and the ugly about this new city we call home, and our experiences with it so far. Let’s start with what I’m not digging, shall we?

The Bad

The layout is confusing as hell.

The layout of Calgary is totally different from the layout of Edmonton. While this is not a failing in and of itself, is does make it damn confusing to figure out where things are. Add to that that Bryan has been doing most of the driving since we got here, and I am lucky to know where I am at all at any given moment. I also hate that it can be so difficult to course correct when you miss a turn or exit, especially on the Deerfoot.

It’s very spread out.

Things are really really far away from each other. Things that seem like they should be close together…aren’t. Things that I think I should be able to walk…well, you get the idea.

And the transit is AWFUL.

I thought Edmonton’s was crappy but it’s a freaking gem compared to Calgary. I am so lucky to have gotten a job that is close to where I work, because there were some bus rides that I was looking at that are an hour and 20 minutes with two bus transfers when it would take 35 minutes on one bus in Edmonton. It’s a bit frustrating when I am trying to get somewhere, since I rely mostly on transit these days.

Cultural life is a bit less vibrant than Edmonton.

In Edmonton, there were festivals ALL. THE. TIME. For everything. I loved that. In Calgary, everything gets poured into Stampede, and it doesn’t seem to leave a lot of energy for anything else.

The Good

It’s pretty.

My aunt and uncle recently said that Calgary isn’t a pretty city, but I’d like to respectfully disagree. While I don’t think it’s going to win any awards for its aesthetic, I do think it’s a step-up from the industrial grunge of Edmonton. And bonus points for not constantly smelling like open sewers.

It’s full to bursting with opportunity.

I feel like Calgary is the kind of place that has opportunity waiting around every corner, if you’ll just open your heart to it (gag me, sorry to go all Oprah on you). It just feels like a place of infinite possibility, where being young isn’t detrimental, and people want to help you succeed. I have no concrete examples of this, it’s something I sense in my gut.

Downtown is like a real downtown.

Edmonton’s downtown seems squat and drab compared to Calgary’s. The first time I found myself downtown here, I gawked up at all the tall shiny skyscrapers like a total country bumpkin. While I think that Edmonton’s skyline is a bit nicer (especially coming west on 98th Ave), I think that Calgary’s is more impressive.

It’s so close to EVERYTHING.

We are the same distance from my mom. We are the same distance from my dad. We are four hours closer to Bryan’s family. I spent last weekend in Jasper, and the weekend before we went to Banff (where the cliff-jumping happened). Drumheller is an hour away. Anything we want to do, pretty much guaranteed there is somewhere close to Calgary where we can do it. It’s AMAZING.

This is a move that I am happy and grateful we made. I am loving being here, shitty transit and all, and can’t wait to see what the city has in store for us.

What do you love/hate about your city?

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Jessica can most often be found with her nose in a book, or writing her newest short story/screenplay/novel, but she also has a passion for travel, child-care & development, psychology, feminism (and other forms of equality), and making the world a better place in general. Email Me