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Whosiewhatsie

Calgary v Edmonton

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What are your opinions on the two schools and cities? I'm wondering about articling, career, school, night life, and just atmosphere in general.

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Edmonton is more rough and blue collar, Calgary is more "corporate."

Edmonton turns into a consistent frozen hellhole for half the year, Calgary has chinooks and temperature will fluctuate by 20 degrees over the course of a few hours.

Edmonton (surprisingly) has a thriving theatre and arts scene, I find the culture scene there more "underground"/"indie"/"hipster" or whatever you want to call it and there is appeal for bohemian types, believe it or not. Obvious Calgary has the stampede etc but I actually found things more sterile there in terms of arts and culture.

Calgary would be considered more "livable" by most and fits more in line with a Vancouverite's or Torontonian's of what a city should be like and what it should offer, but Edmonton is not without its charms despite what some will say.

Edited by CleanHands
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I'm always going to be partial to Edmonton. I grew up in Calgary and it's a hard place to find yourself in or cultivate an identity in (in my opinion). It's very corporate and growing up it was all about what your parents did and where you went to school. I grew up in the SW and literally never met or knew anyone from the NE because as kids we only associated with people in our quadrant. It wasn't until I moved to Edmonton that I really started branching out and meeting people and learning more about myself. You honestly cannot beat the people of Edmonton. People think it's just oil workers here, but really it is people from all over the world who come here to work and you can meet diverse people every single day!

People seem to give Edmonton a bad rap or call it "Deadmonton." But there is nothing dead about it. Like the poster above me said, we have an amazing culture. It's very similar to how people shit on Winnipeg, but don't realize that they have an awesome culture as well. We have amazing local businesses, an absolutely stunning river valley, we have amazing festivals like Fringe (although canceled this year because of covid), we have an awesome international food scene, we have local breweries/wineries, we have local graffiti artists that are commissioned by the city to create murals and other artwork. We're surrounded by lakes, so if you want to go paddleboarding or kayaking all you need to do is hop in your car and go. I notice a lot that people seem to think that Edmonton is "ugly" in comparison to Calgary, and I simply do not see it. They're both beautiful in their own way. Calgary has a view of the Mountains and the Bow River, but Edmonton has the river valley which is simply unparalleled. Anytime I ask people why Calgary is better all they can say is that they have the Mountains or other vague reasons why. When you live in Calgary it's not like you're driving out to the Mountains every single day. It's like for some reason Edmonton got this bad rap and now people are closed off from how awesome it really is! I will absolutely never understand people who complain about Edmonton. I will also say that the people here do tend to love it, but perhaps they are biased towards their home lol.

As you can see, I have a huge love affair with Edmonton. It's not a perfect city, but no city is. This is the city where I was free to become me without people judging me for not having the latest bag or because my Mom didn't have as great a job. Additionally, it's all about your attitude when moving. I've known people who were unhappy and dead set on moving from Edmonton to Vancouver because they thought it was the "better" city, only to find that they were unhappy anyway because they didn't do anything to change their attitude. 

ETA: My partner is a lawyer here and he is doing well! He obviously loves it here though because he grew up here and has cultivated his entire life/career here. He has no interest in moving anywhere else, whereas I would be open to moving for the right opportunity. I would miss it here though if I had to move!

ETA2: About the Winter... Edmontonians always get where we need to go regardless of the weather. Winters can suck but we still keep at it! We also have Winter festivals like the Ice Castles or Ice on Whyte!

Edited by Kingifer
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On 7/6/2020 at 1:52 AM, Whosiewhatsie said:

What are your opinions on the two schools and cities? I'm wondering about articling, career, school, night life, and just atmosphere in general.

As people have commented, both have their merits. I grew up in Calgary though, and I wouldn't say I find it very "corporate," although certainly moreso than Edmonton. Edmonton has a very lively arts/music scene, but Calgary does offer many of these things too. Calgary folkfest is much adored and we certainly have plenty of music festivals. And then of course there's stampede if you're into that sort of thing. It really depends on what you like.

I grew up in Calgary so I am biased towards it, but I find Calgary's transit system, walkability and weather superior to Edmonton's. The two central reasons why I adore Calgary are the following: a 1 hour drive to the Rocky Mountains (hundreds and hundreds of hikes and campsites at your doorstep), stunning views, and the craft brewing scene is *amazing* if you're into that. Calgary is a very clean, green, youthful, beautiful city imo, but Edmonton certainly has its charms too. 

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Grew up in Toronto but lived in both Edmonton and Calgary here. The two cities are really more alike than they are different. You won't go wrong with either.

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Calgary has the mountains nearby, which is the deal clincher for me. However, its vibe is deeply depressed and its future looks bleak. You'll hear about oil and pipelines incessantly and be considered a heretic if you aren't religiously supportive of conservative politics. However, that's likely par for the course anywhere in AB right now. Edmonton certainly has a much bigger union/blue collar/liberal streak to it, but be warned, any community in AB is going to be another planet compared to YVR/YYZ. If you're just looking at studying, both are likely great schools with great communities and you're likely too broke and busy to be in the mountains every weekend anyway. I can't speak to UofA, but the UofC campus is nice and it's in a great location within the city. 

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1 hour ago, CleanHands said:

Edmonton is more rough and blue collar, Calgary is more "corporate."

Edmonton turns into a consistent frozen hellhole for half the year, Calgary has chinooks and temperature will fluctuate by 20 degrees over the course of a few hours.

Edmonton (surprisingly) has a thriving theatre and arts scene, I find the culture scene there more "underground"/"indie"/"hipster" or whatever you want to call it and there is appeal for bohemian types, believe it or not. Obvious Calgary has the stampede etc but I actually found things more sterile there in terms of arts and culture.

Calgary would be considered more "livable" by most and fits more in line with a Vancouverite's or Torontonian's of what a city should be like and what it should offer, but Edmonton is not without its charms despite what some will say.

I endorse all of what CleanHands says, having lived in both... except for the word "surprisingly" in their 3rd paragraph. I don't know why anyone should be surprised at Edmonton's arts scene, which is awesome... shame on non-Albertans for not being aware of this fact, which should be well-known by now.

I do find that most Albertans prefer one or the other. My family is very much on the Edmonton side of that divide, but we did make the most of living in Calgary when we had to. Even the weather differences are subjective as to how they should be weighted. Personally I preferred Edmonton's "real" winter to Calgary's wishy-washy and irregular weather - because I like being out in the snow.

As Cleanhands says, Calgary is more "corporate" - in that sense, it reminds me a lot more of Toronto. Edmonton, being a bit rougher but more culture-y, reminds me a lot more of both Winnipeg and Ottawa. So if you have experience in any of those places, the comparison may be helpful as a starting point.

-GM

PS Obviously as a 0L I have no info regarding the actual legal job market!

Edited by GrumpyMountie
Gsh. "Weighted", not "waited".
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4 minutes ago, oldgreybeard said:

I can't speak to UofA, but the UofC campus is nice and it's in a great location within the city. 

Having spent a lot of time on and around both campuses (despite being a student at neither), I will just add that the U of A campus is both much nicer and in a much nicer area than the U of C campus - although both are (usefully) on the train line, so you can get wherever else you want to be pretty quickly!

- GM

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37 minutes ago, GrumpyMountie said:

I endorse all of what CleanHands says, having lived in both... except for the word "surprisingly" in their 3rd paragraph. I don't know why anyone should be surprised at Edmonton's arts scene, which is awesome... shame on non-Albertans for not being aware of this fact, which should be well-known by now.

Agreed! Edmonton Folk Festival and Fringe are internationally renowned! Performers, musicians, artists, etc. come from all over the world just to be a part of it! Man, I am going to miss Fringe this year so much. I would actually make a schedule for all the shows I wanted to see and take off work so that I could just soak up all the greatness. I'll miss the Irie Foods truck as well... going to have to make the trip down to Millwoods to get my fix! 

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Not sure if this is still relevant for you but I feel like I can comment on atmosphere, general city vibes, and night life because I have lived in both cities (am originally from Calgary, went to undergrad in Edmonton). 

I personally enjoy both cities, but for different reasons. 

I like Calgary's winters (more chinooks as mentioned above), but weather does fluctuate more rapidly than in Edmonton. I find Edmonton's winters to be rather frigid and I think they have more of a bite to them than Calgary's do. 

I think Edmonton's river valley is absolutely unparalleled and while Calgary does have some nice parks, you don't get the extensiveness of trails and options to explore like you do in Edmonton. I also find Calgary's popular outdoor spaces (e.g., Prince's Island Park) to be quite busy and crowded during the summertime. However, the proximity of Calgary to the mountains can't be beat.

In non-covid times, I find Calgary's downtown to be much more vibrant than Edmonton's because Calgary is a lot more white collar. This could change in coming years due to offices allowing work from home, but I guess we'll all have to see how that plays out. Also, Calgary Stampede is super fun, ESPECIALLY if you work corporate downtown. 

For traffic, places in Calgary around downtown especially can get quite gridlocked, and I've found Edmonton to be a little better in that sense. 

As far as nightlife (pre-covid) goes, I find Edmonton's to be much more fun in the sense that its a lot easier to bar hop. There's a street called Whyte Ave that is kind of a cluster of clubs and restaurants. I find Calgary's clubs to be more spread out (might not be walkable in the winter especially) and more niche. 

In terms of people, I find people in Edmonton to be more friendly and more welcoming, and I've found Calgarians to be a little more focused on image and prestige. Take this with a grain of salt though, I think it largely depends on the circles you find yourself in. This is just a general vibe that I have noticed overall, with exceptions on both sides. 

I think that either way you look at it, both cities are relatively comparable. Hope this helps!

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