Welcome to the wild wild west of Canada, and the 7 most affordable cities in western Canada. There are plenty of great affordable options around Canada, and our goal is to introduce you to them and go outside the rundown largest cities in Canada.
The reason why everyone flocks to the big city is simple: developed infrastructure, access to many opportunities, healthcare, and extended services, and all that comes at the expense of the rent you pay and additional surcharge typical for large cities.
It’s no secret that your average grocery bill in Vancouver will be higher than the average grocery bill an hour’s drive away from Vancouver. In this article, we will find you seven alternatives that still have most of what big cities have to offer, yet are a lot more affordable.
We will evaluate job opportunities, climate and geography, leisure and cultural offerings of each city because quality of life is important for us. And of course, we will look at the average cost of living and housing prices. Let’s go.
Lethbridge is the place where the Rocky Mountains meet the Prairies, with the metro population of just over a hundred thousand people. It’s the fourth most populous city in Alberta. Lethbridge is known for being one of the sunniest places in Canada, with more than 320 days per year, warm summers, and mild winters thanks to its location and Chinook Winds.
The city is a day trip away from four UNESCO World Heritage sites and is sitting at the heart of Canada’s Premier Food Corridor, which is good news for foodies and those who appreciate good fresh produce.
The city’s largest employers are in manufacturing and logistics, with strong growth in agriculture, retail, hospitality, and transportation. There are also job opportunities in education, health, and government.
Once known as the city with one of the highest crime indexes in Canada, its crime rates have been on a steady decline in the last four years, which is amazing news. The average cost of living in Lethbridge is about 15 percent lower than Alberta Avenue, with the rent for a one-bedroom apartment hovering around a thousand dollars and a three-bedroom apartment at 1500 and more.
6. Red Deer
Halfway between Calgary and Edmonton, Red Deer is a young, vibrant, and fast-growing city with a median age of under 35 years. With a population of 106,000 people, it is the largest city in central Alberta. It’s also known for being one of Canada’s most entrepreneurial cities, making big data available to businesses free of charge through its investment opportunity engine, providing businesses with valuable up-to-date information about the local economy, customers, competition, workforce, and more.
We also loved navigating around the City of Red Deer website, which does a fantastic job introducing you to all the amazing culture and recreation activities in the city. Given its location, the city has the highest concentration of employment opportunities relative to the province, especially opportunities in mining, oil and gas, agriculture, and forestry.
In fact, the region has seen a shortage of natural resources, agriculture, and related production occupations. Waste management, healthcare, and arts and entertainment have also been the fastest-growing industries in the city.
The climate in Red Deer is considered to be a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. The average cost of living in Red Deer is 12 percent lower than in Lethbridge; however, you will pay higher rent here. An average rent for a one-bedroom apartment will cost you between 900 to 1300, and the three-bedroom apartment will actually be hard to come by, and you are more likely to find a townhouse or a house to rent, which will cost you between 1500 to 2,000 Canadian dollars.
Kamloops is known as Canada’s tournament capital and a premier destination for sports high-performance training camps and national and international competitions. With a metropolitan population of a hundred and four thousand people, the city has attracted individuals and families from all over the region, offering a good balance of lifestyle and affordability.
Kamloops boasts the highest number of golf courses per capita in Canada, the largest municipal bike trail park, and numerous microbreweries and wineries. It genuinely sounds very appealing. Oh, and if you’re into bees, in 2017, Kamloops was designated the first Bee City in Canada. This means that the city’s council has made an official declaration to protect pollinators and their habitats through action and education.
As for the climate, the city experiences hot, dry summers and mild winters, with more than 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. Forestry, mining, retail, agriculture, and culture, especially beef and dairy, have long been core to the city’s economy. Lately, the city has heavily invested in technology, green energy, and tourism.
While Kamloops might be the most expensive city on this list, it still serves as a wonderful alternative to Vancouver. The cost of living in Kamloops is typically 10 to 15 percent lower than in Vancouver and is about the same as Red Deer. A one-bedroom apartment in Kamloops is around sixteen hundred dollars, and a three-bedroom apartment would cost you around 2500.
If you are looking for a similar but more affordable version of Kamloops in British Columbia, look no further than Kelowna. Kelowna has made our list of the fastest-growing downtowns in Canada as the third fastest growing downtown over the last five years. This means that there is still time to benefit from good quality of life at an affordable price.
With a population of over 143,000 people, Kelowna is mostly known for being the birthplace of the Canadian wine industry. Vineyards are sprinkled among the stunning mountains, hosting internationally recognized and award-winning vineyards and wineries. It’s almost perfectly situated at the halfway point between Vancouver and Calgary.
Kelowna has a semi-arid climate with hot summers and relatively warm winters, scoring over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, and it is considered to have the best weather in Canada; it’s most stable and in-demand industries are agriculture, aerospace, and manufacturing.
Just like Kamloops, the city prides itself as one of the most entrepreneurial cities in Canada. The cost of living in Kelowna is 10 to 20 percent lower than in Vancouver, and the rent for a one-bedroom apartment will be around seventeen hundred dollars, with a three-bedroom apartment costing around twenty-five hundred dollars.
3. Medicine Hat
Medicine Hat is the most eastern city in our list today. The city’s metropolitan population has recently surpassed 80,000 people and boasts 330 sunny days, making it Canada’s sunniest city, beating Lethbridge by just 10 sunny days. The city began as a home to a railway station, and then immense natural gas fields were discovered, leading to its nickname as the Gas City. Medicine Hat is also known for its farmland, coal, and clay, which is reflected in the distinct color of its architecture.
The city’s culture is vibrant and growing, with its own mural and jazz festivals. Medicine Hat ranked in the top 25 most livable communities in Canada a few years ago. Nowadays, Medicine Hat has a robust crude oil and petrochemicals production sector. It is home to Canada’s largest irrigation district and Alberta’s largest greenhouse cluster.
In fact, Medicine Hat is the country’s number one producer of lentils and chickpeas. It’s also known for aerospace and defense, with less than an hour’s drive to Canada’s largest military training facility and the Defense and Research Development Department of Canada. Some may say that Medicine Hat is the best location in Canada to build, test, and fly UAVs.
If you like what you see, the cost of living in Medicine Hat is 20 percent lower than in Calgary. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for under a thousand dollars and a three-bedroom apartment for 1300.
2. Prince George
Prince George is the largest city in the surrounding region of Central British Columbia, often referred to as the northern capital of British Columbia. It has a population of nearly 80,000 people and offers plenty of opportunities, providing a good mix of urban and outdoor amenities. If you are longing for a bigger city adventure, it’s just an hour’s flight from Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary.
Prince George has a myriad of outdoor activities to choose from, and when you’re in the city, you can certainly forget about traffic; everything in the city is within a 15-minute drive. The summers here are comfortable and partly cloudy, while the winters are freezing, snowy, and overcast.
Construction and manufacturing are the main drivers of the local economy, and the city has been actively growing in its professional services and clean fuel sectors, especially in recent years. Twenty percent of Prince George’s workforce is also employed in the trades and transport industry.
The cost of living in Prince George is about 25 percent lower than in Vancouver, and a one-bedroom apartment will cost you around twelve hundred dollars, with the cost of a three-bedroom apartment starting at 1500.
1. Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie is the largest commercial center in Alberta north of Edmonton, boasting a population of almost 70,000 people. It stands out as one of the youngest cities in Canada, with more children entering kindergarten than adults heading into retirement, which is not a common phenomenon in a country known for its aging population. The average age in the city is 34 years old, well below the national average of 41. Grand Prairie is also nicknamed the Swan City due to its proximity to the migration route and summer nesting grounds of swans.
The city’s government is putting significant effort into arts and entertainment development, hosting world-class artists and running major sports events. Did we mention that it’s just four hours away from one of Canada’s most beautiful National Parks, Jasper? Grand Prairie experiences a humid continental climate with generally cold winters, occasionally mitigated by Chinook winds, and summers that are often fairly cool to pleasantly warm during the daytime.
Traditionally reliant on agriculture, the city has diversified its economy, including international resources, forestry (which accounts for 14 percent of Canada’s production), and oil and gas. If you’re interested in Grand Prairie, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city will start at $1,100, and a three-bedroom apartment at $1,500. Overall, in terms of the cost of living, Grand Prairie has been ranked as the third-cheapest city to live in Alberta.
how about that as a title and that concludes our list of the seven most affordable cities in western Canada our goal was to strike a good balance between affordability and the quality of life and we hope that you will consider one of these cities as your new home which cities did we miss what is the best city in western Canada let us know in the comments below if you enjoy this article please consider sharing the article this is the single best way to support our website And subscribe not to miss our upcoming articles.