My husband and I are thinking of relocating to Alberta. We are a young family from Ontario with an 11 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. We have been trying to do some research on different cities but all we come up with are generic things. We have been looking into Fort McMurrary (of course), Grande Prairie and area, and Cold Lake. We are really up in the air about Fort McMurray. The housing costs are nightmarish but people in Fort McMurray say the small town feel is second to none. We would really like to stay out of the bigger cities. Grande Prairie and area look beautiful and fairly new. We hear that this is the new up and coming area for Alberta. As for Cold far we just like the housing looks beautiful too...

My husband is the Production Maintenance Supervisor for the largest generic pharmaceutical company in the Canada and deals with the fine chemicals. He has done everything from plumbing, gas fitting, project co-ordination for multi-million dollar expansions, to running a Maintenance Department of 35.
I have had the opportunity to work from home for more then 10 years doing data entry for a trucking company. Our kids are very active in sports and love playing outdoors. We are the typical Canadian family and thrive on HOCKEY!

This is obviously a huge step for us, and since we canít just go visit (time doesnít allow this), we thought a chat forum might be the best opportunity we have for getting some honest feedback from residents. Please, anything input would be GREAT!
Are these the areas that your husband's company works in or are these the areas that you and your husband think are the best place for your family?
The Gunslinger
Moving to Fort Mac... I truly pity you. The housing costs there are astronomical. And Grand Prarie... Hmm. Don't you want to maybe, move somewhere a little closer to civilzation? I mean, Fort Mac. And Grand Prarie are quite a way out there.

How big of a town are you looking to move?
Hank C
Well if you dont like the big cities such as Calgary and Edmonton, we do have some medium sized cities that are booming, such as Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat. Grand Prarie could be alright, but Ft Mac might be a bit extreme for a family. But I have no doubts that you husband would be able to easily find employment in his fields.
Grande Prairie is pretty good. Lots of jobs. Close to the mountains but very "prairie"-esque looking. I went up there to work for a week and it was nice. Prices are a bit high (mostly restaurants), but they have great shopping, and they are expanding. They have a lot of nice residential communities, and its small townesque but busy. I liked it quite a bit. I saw lots of families when i was there. So of the three, i would probably say GP, but i hear Cold Lake is quite nice too..heavy military town. And seriously, avoid Ft. Mac like the plague. Its literally in the middle of nowhere, it smells because of the industry, its harder to get to, theres nothing for the kids to do, and the cost is not just insane, its bullshit to live up there. Like a one bedroom shanty apartment would run you up 1000 dollars or more.
the caracal kid
you really should visit before moving. it may turn out to not be anything you were expecting.

i have a friend that moved to edmonton for her masters, stayed 2 months and said "f-that" and transfered to ontario!

another friend went to calgary for his PhD, and he lasted into one winter and packed up and left for new zealand to finish his doctorate.

it takes a special kind of mentality to rationalize alberta (that and an ability to live with their weather and climate).
The Gunslinger
I'll agree with Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer. I'd also add Camrose, Airdrie or Leduc. Those are all nice and close to the big centres. But like I said earlier, Grand Prarie and Fort Mac are almost on the edge of civilization. I mean, look at a mapThe roads literally end at Fort Mac. Grand Prarie is a little better, but your still hours from anywhere.

Caracel Kid, I could say the same thing about Albertans who went to Toronto or Montreal.
what type of work is your husband looking for?
Have you relocated yet?
what size of town / city are you really looking to move to?
You say you have done some work in the trucking industy, has your husband?

please email me
Every city or town is what you decide to make it. I have LIVED for extended periods of time in the following cities/towns; ft.mac, grande prairie,red deer,lloydminster,camrose area,edmonton,hinton,as well as several out-lying communities. I enjoyed every one of them and have fond memories from each place.
The closer you live to the 'big $$$, the higher your cost of living will be. What ever the market will bear! Alberta is no different that any other province in this regard. Yes, in ft.mac you earn very big $$$ but it costs very big$$$ to live there.2 bedroom, unfurnished IS $2,200.00-$2,500.00 per month + utilities, IF YOU CAN FIND ONE! A lot of guys work there and live in camp and leave there families in other communities for weeks at a time. I for one have purchased a fixer-upper 1 hr from edmonton for virtually 'pocket change'( no mortgage) and commute the one hour each way. A leisurely drive with time for an extra coffee.For a better idea of the employment available in any given area, check out the edmonton or the edmonton journal week-end editions. You will also get a better idea about real estate prices. Both rental and purchase.Let us know how your searching goes. Good luck!
As a guy who grew up in Cold Lake I have to say it is a great family town and a big hockey town. The lake is beautifull. Cold Lake is not as far north as Fort Mac. nor as remote as Grand Prarie. Its 3 hours out of Edmonton. If your interested I have land there I'm selling too.
Hi Rexie,
If your husband is a maintenance supervisor in a production environment and your family want to move to Fort MacMurray, you want to check out this company: . Look into the career section and locate Horizon Oilsands Project. This is a multi-billion oilsands facility and is at the period of construction and start-up. They are demanding tons of operation and maintenance people to run their plants. This company pays housing incentive to help the employees to deal with the hot market. Good luck.

I have worked all over Alberta from Atlas Van Lines to Water hauling on the rigs to swabbing oil wells... Here is my humble opinion on Alberta living:
  • Fort McMurrary - Is a beautiful city of less than 100,000 people. Very, very cold in the wintertime. Crack cocaine usage is high. Rent is out of this world, but if you are making $18,000.00 a month, spending $3000.00 a month on an apartment is realistic. Great employment opportunities. Lots of ethnic diversity and east coasters... best place in Alberta for lobster.
  • Grande Prairie - Is on the road to the Territories and Alaska. Also extremely cold in winter. I found anything north of Edmonton to be very grey and dismal in the wintertime. Crime is very high there. Some guys tried to break into my truck, (International Cab over) - while I was sleeping in it! Northern Lights are amazing. Excellent work opportunities.
  • Edmonton - Rental costs are fair, lots of work. Easy to navigate the city. West Edmonton Mall. Big City - what can I say.
  • Cold Lake - Really beautiful there. Good work Opportunities; especially if it involves DND.
  • Red Deer - Haven't spent much time there, usually just drove through... however, it appeared to be a growing city perched smack dab between the powerhouses known as Calgary and Edmonton - has a great future as a city.
  • Calgary - What can I say - I love Cowtown! Great air about the city, short drive to the mountains, lots of work, easy to get around, (Edmonton was easier) and comparative rent to Toronto.
  • Lethbridge - Good work opportunities. I found it to be a bit of a party town and really windy... But some of the best weather in all of Alberta. Close to mountains and beautiful city. Excellent rental rates.
  • Taber - Small town Alberta, Good work opportunities, lower housing costs, 30 min from Lethbridge, an hour from Medicine Hat. Seriously worth a good look at.
  • Brooks - Lots of work, reasonable housing, ethnically diverse. Also a city known for crime and drugs.
  • Drumheller - Small town Alberta in the heart of the Badlands, pop. 9000. Fair work opportunities, low crime rates, but high in rent.
  • Medicine Hat - My Favorite and where I live. About 85,000 people, excellent family town, great employment opportunities, very reasonable rent and lowest utility costs in the country. Its the oasis in the desert. More hours of sunshine than any other place in Canada per year. Mild Winters and in my humble opinion; the best climate in Alberta. Low crime rates, low tax rate and lots of retirement communities. The geography of the area is surprising and breathtaking. Two and a half hours from Calgary and 90 minutes from Lethbridge. Only 45 minutes to the Cypress Hills or Dinosaur Park (opposite direction). Where the Badlands meet natural prairie.

Hope this helps.... I have been to many towns all over Alberta and if you want an opinion on any town... I would be happy to oblige.
dude it's always worth checking the date on a post. This question was asked in january 2006.
although having said that, it was a good answer. Give it to the next person that asks about relocating to alberta. It's a pretty frequent occurrence.
Just a quick note about Alberta:
If you don't like long hours and few days off... Alberta is NOT for you.
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrude View Post

dude it's always worth checking the date on a post. This question was asked in january 2006.

what can i say .... doh!
easy mistake to make. I generally stick to the recent topics board at the top, and when I go anywhere else I check the dates

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