Why I want to live in Calgary

This is a guest post by Matt Morgan:

I must admit I am slightly jealous. Having recently returned to the all-encompassing grey that greets and entertains any visitor to the UK at this time of year, with a kind of ‘what else did you expect’ attitude, I must admit I have a pang of regret that I am no longer where I was. After the clean wide streets, the crisp invigorating mountain air and a never before experienced electric anticipation of winter, I think it is fair to say I am missing Calgary. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to keep one entertained in London, but we battle to stay entertained in spite of the weather, we are not entertained because of what winter will bring.

There are, as visitors and Calgarians alike will attest, plenty of things for the city and suburban population to boast of. I found a sort of community spirit I had never encountered in a large city before, with marching bands, public choral tributes tuning up for Christmas and a Canadian bonhomie that is decidedly absent from Southern British cities. I was taken to the Canadian Olympic Park (massive Cool Runnings fan) where I was told that ‘they make snow, and then blow it onto the slopes’. Now I’ve been to the man-made ski slope in Milton Keynes and let me tell you, Calgary is way more impressive. Skiing, therefore, is in Calgary’s blood. The first Canadian city to host the winter games, the city’s youthful exterior is steeped in an increasingly rich cultural fabric. This year, the COP’s ski hill (situated in Calgary itself) has enjoyed its earliest opening in its history, helped by the heavier than usual snowfall. Snow in England brings our infrastructure to a standstill, and only the very young (and students) remember to enjoy the delights of make-shift toboggans. In Canada, skiers and winter sports enthusiasts alike are able to properly celebrate and enjoy their winter, with all of the home comforts afforded by a city such as Calgary. While we’re looking up Chalet prices for a week in France, Calgary offers a weekend bus service to Lake Louise which only takes an hour. This means the drive will be even quicker, enabling you to get the very most out of you weekend on the slopes.  If you’re a cross country skier (or langlauf as my family call it) then I have more good news. Door to slope will take you less than 45 minutes.

You don’t need to limit yourself to one skiing holiday a year, affluent Calgary, with its booming jobs market and low unemployment offers more than most cities, with the added bonus of a 5 month ski season on your doorstep. I’m a city boy, but I also love skiing, and for me Calgary matches the two in a harmonious and fulfilling marriage. If I could, I would be moving to Calgary. There are job opportunities, fantastic city and suburban properties available, and of course, 5 months of skiing.  For now it is just a dream, but I know for many it is, or soon will be a reality. To those I say, I must admit, I am slightly jealous.


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  1. Please adopt me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i wanna live thereeee.

  2. Hi Matt, I moved to Calgary from Surrey , England in the early 80’s for pretty much the reasons you have outlined. I hated the dull, grey, boring British winters and lived for my week’s skiing in the snow and sun of the Alps. My original plan was to stay a couple of years to ski and then move back. Well, 30 years later I’m still here with a wife and 4 kids now. I still get the same thrill looking at snow-covered mountains and watching the falling snow that I did when I was a kid – I have absolutely no idea why. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Summer months too (hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, beers on the patio) but I feel blessed that I enjoy the winter , I smile to myself listening to others around the office wishing for warm weather and palm trees. I do miss aspects of life in Britain – the pubs and the humour for instance – but if you like the outdoors it’s hard to beat this city as a place to live… I feel for you.

  3. Wow, there’s a bus that goes over 200 km/hr?? Or is he really pining over not living in Canmore?

    • Hey Matt, don’t despair, but you’ll never get over it.

      I went through the same withdrawal almost 30 years ago when I went to the other London. No, not the one on the I-75 in Kentucky -).

      There is a love of life and resiliency that I see in not only Calgarians, but all people who live the outdoor life. Why should one whine about the coming darkness of winter, when one can instead go buy another pair of skis and stock up on more wax, or a new set of poles, and a stockpile of Ichiban to share with friends in a dark tent at 33 below?

      I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and I have concluded that part of the advantage of the outdoor life is that you are always planning ahead – the next weekend, the next ski tour, the coming ski week in the back country.

      The Skihere.ca web site is a godsend for those who have to ‘live away’. I can’t commend Bob enough for his work.

      So, Matt, I hope that you continue to hold the memories of your good friends in your heart every day, and hopefully you’ll get a chance to get back there. I waited 25 years to return, but I came back this September to the same good friends, and the same mountains. And even though I had brought the good hiking and scrambling weather, (3.6 degrees above normal !), some of these old friends were still skiing.

      Maybe you really do have to be a bit crazy to be a Calgarian !

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