What are people from Calgary like?

Beautiful photo of downtown Calgary and the bow river with the Peace Bridge

What it means to be Calgarian.

Whether you’re a temporary transplant for work or school, moving to Calgary permanently, or just passing through on vacation, understanding who Calgarians are and what motivates us will add a lot of value to your time in our city.

Here’s an inside look from a Montrealer (turned Calgarian) living in Calgary on what makes Calgarians Calgarians!

We are young … for now

Calgary has historically always been a young city, with median ages well below the national average.

Of all the major cities in Canada (including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver), Calgary has the lowest median age. Just 36 years old!

This might be attributed to the abundance of work opportunities that blessed Calgary during the oil boom years, attracting new graduates and youth from other parts of Canada.

BUT, new census data shows that we might be finally maturing, with the recent population growth of the 55+ crowd changing the face and age of our city.

We are diverse

Did you know that over 28% of the population are immigrants?

Our population has increased by more than 20% since 2019, making Calgary one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. People are arriving from other parts of Canada, but also the Phillipines, India, Pakistan, China and Venezuela.

Walking around town, you can see the diversity in the faces of Calgarians and the businesses we support and love. We are a dynamic and exciting place because of that diversity – a fact we all embrace proudly as part of who we are.

We are well educated and entrepreneurial

Calgary has held the reputation for being a leader in education in Canada for many decades and continues to place the development of its youth as a top priority. With seven major universities and colleges, there are lots of opportunities for students to pursue their preferred career paths.

Calgary has the highest level of labour production of any other major city in Canada and is considered one of the top 10 most attractive cities for workers globally (AIRINC’s Global 150 Cities Index, 2016).

And of that incredibly talented workforce, we have some of the highest levels of education attainment in the world. We even rank second highest for the number of small businesses per capita in Canada. Now, isn’t’ that impressive?

Basically, we study hard, work hard and have a lot of respect for others who do the same.

Check out all of our English courses in Calgary

We are friendly but reserved

Canadians enjoy the reputation worldwide of being warm, welcoming and friendly. Calgarians are really no different. A long and healthy history of vibrant immigration has taught us to be open minded and inviting.

There’s nothing like a little western hospitality when you’re new to town. Calgarians will smile at you on the street, nod hello on the C-Train, and strike up easy conversations at the bar. We love to meet new people!

As an innovative city at the forefront of the tech industry, we attract a lot of talented workers from around the world. As such, Calgary might be the most transient cities in Canada.

In fact, it’s really quite hard to find a Calgarian who was actually born and raised right here in Calgary. Most people who identify as Calgarian actually have a rich migration story (I, for example, am actually from Montreal…on the other side of Canada). This means it’s really easy to connect with others when you first arrive in Calgary, as you can relate to one another easily and probably don’t have family in town.

BUT, if you happen to meet some Calgarians who have lived their entire lives here, you might find them somewhat aloof. That’s not to say that they’re not friendly and welcoming…they’re just likely to be more conservative, family oriented and less likely to seek out new friends (as they’ve already carved out a nice support group for themselves).

If you’re willing to put in the time and can demonstrate your loyalty, every Canadian (Calgarian or otherwise) will eventually come around and treat you like one of the family.

Check out our Blog, and find a guide to understanding local customs.

We are family oriented

Calgary has a dynamic and thriving nightlife – with lots of first-rate eateries, bars and clubs to frequent after the sun has set. This is likely due to the younger overall age of our population.

What visitors notice is lacking, though, is the typical after-hour bustling activity on Downtown streets. Aside from a few streets that cater to the late-night crowd, the core of Calgary can seem like a ghost town after 7pm.

The reason is simple – Calgarians are a family-oriented bunch. We tend to cook more at home, spend time with family on the weekends, and make a b-line to our suburban homes after work. FAMILY IS EVERYTHING. The downtown is for work and the occasional happy hour. But nights are for family.

If you want to see Calgarians thriving in their natural habitats, you’ll see them in backyard barbecues with friends and neighbors, at community association centers, and at the rink cheering on as their kids play hockey.

If you can’t get yourself invited to a neighborhood street party, take a walk in one of Calgary’s many public parks on summer weekends. They’re chock-full of families picnicking next to fire pits, and hanging out with friends playing soccer and tossing around Frisbees. That’s where Calgarians thrive.

We are active and healthy

Imagine only being an hour’s drive from the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains. For us Calgarians, it’s very much a reality and we don’t take it for granted.

The majority of us spend every free moment we can enjoying the free access to the mountains and rivers – skiing, hiking, climbing, kayaking …we do it all.

And if we can’t make it out of the city on the weekend, we take to our extensive urban pathway and bikeway system or head to one of the many green parks.

Health and wellness is a lifestyle choice for many Calgarians and considered a top priority when considering neighbourhoods to live in. Calgary enjoys world-class fitness facilities and gymnasiums and hundreds of diverse options for those looking for unconventional modes of wellness.

Calgarians sometimes forget how lucky they are compared to other Canadians when it comes to healthcare. Because of our incredibly qualified workforce, easy access to family doctors and healthcare keeps us in fairly good shape. We really are privileged when it comes to access to the best doctors and facilities in the country.

We love our city and communities

Walking around Calgary, it’s clear to every newcomer that we’re community minded and fiercely proud of our city. It’s reflected in the clean and safe environment that we work hard to maintain, in the vibrant community festivals that pop up throughout the year, and in the many unique small businesses that we support.

Although Calgary is currently in a recession, for decades we enjoyed the status and development that comes with being a boom town. It created a pride that has held steady despite the recent downturn. If anything, our economic struggles have polished us into better Canadians overall!

Calgarians love to support their communities and neighbors. We’re known for our generosity and civic humanism – Calgarians provide the most to charities and volunteer organizations of any other major city in Canada. We recognize the importance and necessity of taking caring of our own. What benefits the whole will also benefit the individual….it’s really a Canadian way of thinking. Community first!

Are you thinking of becoming a Calgarian?

Whether you’re here for a short time or a long time, being Calgarian is really just a state of mind. You don’t need to be born in Calgary, or even in Canada, to adopt our way of thinking. In fact, there’s really just one criteria for being Calgarian: LOVE THIS CITY, and we guarantee it’ll love you right back.

Ready to get started on your English Journey? Apply now, or contact us!

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