Winnipeg and Calgary are both beautiful cities. You have probably heard about them being compared to one another, but you have yet to decide which city is better.
Calgary is a better place to live in because it is safer and there are plenty of career opportunities. However, Winnipeg is better in terms of affordable housing, reasonable cost of living, and greater healthcare benefits.
We put together a guide full of detailed information about both locations so that you can decide which city is best suited for your needs.
Here is a summarized difference between living in Winnipeg vs. Calgary.
|Cost of Living||- Cheaper and more affordable||- More expensive|
|Safety||- Higher crime severity index||- Lower crime severity index|
|Healthcare||- Manitoba Health pays for the majority of the cost
- More healthcare coverage and benefits overall
|- Alberta Health Services only covers the medically necessary
- Lesser healthcare coverage and benefits
|Education||- Wider range of programs
- Higher tuition fees
|- Fewer range of programs
- Lower tuition fees
|Career||- Lower average salary||- More career opportunities
- Higher average salary
|Demographics and Diversity||- Lower population
- Lower diversity
|- Higher population
- Higher diversity
|Leisure and Entertainment||- Great leisure and entertainment around the city||- Also great leisure and entertainment around the city
- People hang out more often
|Weather||- Colder during the cold season
- Warmer during the warm season
|- Less cold during the cold season
- Less warm during the warm season
Cost of Living in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Winnipeg is a cheaper place to live compared to Calgary.
A single-person household in Winnipeg can expect to spend around $2,119 monthly, while a similar household in Calgary spends $2,601, which is 18.53% more expensive than in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg is generally a cheaper city than Calgary; it has less expensive housing and is overall a more affordable place. On the other hand, Calgary has a higher cost of living because it has a booming economy.
The cost of living in one place will always depend on various things—bills/utilities, groceries, necessities, and even entertainment or shopping.
That’s why we put together a table to show what a single-person household would expect to pay for both cities.
Since both cities are in Canada, we will use the Canadian currency (CAD). Here, we have a comparison table and data from Cost of Live.
|Rent (1 bedroom)||$1,020.36||$1,295.52|
|Transportation (1L gasoline)||$1.01||$0.95|
|Tuition (Primary, annually for 1)||$15,049.80||$15,494.88|
Based on these findings, it is clear that an average single household in Calgary has more expenses than the same household in Winnipeg. But, if we are talking about real estate, that’s where the most significant difference lies.
The median house price is $420,000 in Calgary and $290,000 in Winnipeg, both for a three-bedroom and one-bathroom.
And for rent, on average, you can expect about $500 less for an apartment in Winnipeg than you would in Calgary, which is a substantial saving for anyone looking to move eastward from Calgary.
Safety in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Calgary is a safer place to live in compared to Winnipeg. In 2021, the crime severity index in Winnipeg was 113.55, ranking 3rd highest in all of Canada’s metropolitan areas.
In the same year, the crime index was 72.27 in Calgary, ranking it 17th.
According to Statistics Canada, the crime severity index in Winnipeg is higher than in Calgary. This means that Winnipeg experiences more serious police-reported crimes.
This is an important consideration for those concerned about safety and security, as there are fewer criminal activities in Calgary compared to Winnipeg.
Here we have more comprehensive crime severity index data from Statistics Canada in 2021.
|Non-violent severity index||100.33||69.99|
|Violent severity index||168.29||85.97|
|Crime severity index||74.76||74.35|
Statistics show that more crimes were committed in Winnipeg than in Calgary in 2021. Compared to the 2020 results, the crime severity index for both cities decreased in the following year, with Winnipeg by 2.57% and Calgary by 8.72%.
Healthcare in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Healthcare in Winnipeg is better than in Calgary because there are more benefits from Winnipeg’s healthcare insurance. Calgary lacks healthcare benefits such as personal home care, ambulance fees, etc.
Although, healthcare is free of charge in both cities as long as the health concerns are medically necessary.
There are restrictions for health organizations in both cities, such as prescription drugs, private rooms for hospital stays, cosmetic procedures, etc.
Winnipeg’s healthcare is covered by Manitoba Health, while Calgary is covered by Alberta Health Services.
Here is the comparison of Manitoba Health and Alberta Health Services coverage for eligible residents:
|Coverage/Benefits||Manitoba Health (Winnipeg)||Alberta Health Services (Calgary)|
|Out-of-province care||✓||✓ but fewer benefits|
|Personal home care||✓|
Manitoba Health covers a much wider range of healthcare than Alberta Health Services. This is why it costs much less for Manitobans to access healthcare than Albertans.
Education in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
The universities in Winnipeg offer a wider range of programs than those in Calgary. However, the tuition fees in most Calgarian universities are more affordable, which start at $7,000 compared to $12,000 in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg houses two of the best universities in all of Canada, the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. In comparison, Calgary has the University of Calgary.
Careers in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Calgary jobs are likely to offer more variety of opportunities than in Winnipeg. However, unlike Calgary, most Winnipeg employees have a better work environment and an excellent work-life balance.
Calgary has more job opportunities due to the economic differences between the two cities, as well as Calgary’s larger population. So there are simply more people living and working in general.
At the same time, Winnipeg has also been an excellent city for career growth and job opportunities. In September 2022, the unemployment rate in Winnipeg was only 8.9%, while in Calgary, it was 12.5%.
Winnipeg and Calgary are great cities for finding employment.
Both have grown significantly over the past decade to become major metropolitan areas within the country, offering a wide range of industries, jobs, and career opportunities.
Winnipeg has a diverse and growing economy, with a strong focus on health care, social assistance, retail, manufacturing, and public administration. The city is also home to many large corporations and government agencies.
The largest employers in Winnipeg include
- the healthcare sector, which employs about 15% of the city’s workforce;
- the retail sector, which employs about 11% of workers;
- the public administration sector, which employs 8% of workers; and
- the manufacturing sector, which employs 8% of workers.
On the other hand, Calgary already has an established economy and is still going strong.
The city of Calgary is a significant economic contributor to the Canadian oil and gas industry. Over the last ten years, its economy has expanded at a higher rate than the overall Canadian economy.
Calgary is an exciting place for careers in the oil and gas industry, technology, manufacturing, retail, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, and more.
The largest employers in Calgary by industry are
- Agriculture – 6.1%
- Manufacturing – 15.8%
- Trade – 15.9%
- Finance – 6.4%
- Health and education – 25.1%
- Business services – 25.1%
Demographics in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
The population of Calgary is bigger than Winnipeg’s with approximately 1,306,784 people. Winnipeg’s population is around 749,607 people, according to the 2021 Census.
With that, the population density is close to each other as Calgary is almost twice as big as Winnipeg.
The male-to-female ratio in Calgary falls at almost a perfect 50/50, while the female population in Winnipeg is slightly higher than the male population.
The average median age of the people from both cities lies around 38.3 years old.
Winnipeg and Calgary used to be similar in terms of demographics, but some distinguishing factors set them apart as time went by.
Both cities’ populations are almost identical and had nearly similar population increases between 2001 and 2006.
The table below shows the difference between the two cities’ demographics in 2021. As we can see, Calgary’s population growth has increased over the years.
|Population density||1,430 people/km²||1,592.4 people/km²|
|Median age of population||39 years old||37.6 years old|
Both Calgary and Winnipeg have different stages of demographics that shape their city. In the last 20 years, Calgary’s population has grown by over 50%, while Winnipeg’s population has only increased by 17%.
Diversity in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Both Winnipeg and Calgary have a high percentage of European origin, with the largest ethnic group being English.
Over 180,000 people in Winnipeg are immigrants, which is 25% of the population. In Calgary, 400,000 people are immigrants, accounting for 30% of the population.
Winnipeg and Calgary have multitudes of ethnicities, races, and religions that all play a part in their local communities.
Here is a comparison table of the top ethnic minority groups in Winnipeg and Calgary according to the 2016 Census.
|South Asian/East Indian||5.4%||6.6%|
Leisure and Entertainment in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Both Winnipeg and Calgary offer excellent community, quality of life, and plenty of amenities.
Winnipeg has many recreational facilities like bike trails, bowling alleys, ax-throwing, game arcades, and more. Calgary is more sport-centered, having athletic parks, indoor pools, and golf courses.
They both have something to offer and have engaging people who will be there to help you if you need it, but each city has its unique characteristics.
While Winnipeg has a more artistic and musical culture, Calgary has more fantastic nightlife and ethnic restaurants. Both cities have beautiful nature within the city, but Winnipeg has it in spades with the perfect hiking places and swimming lakes.
Here, we divided the leisure and entertainment in both cities for you to know which has it better.
Art and Music in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Winnipeg, compared to Calgary, has a greater role in art with a large variety of galleries. However, Calgary is centered on music as it houses operas and orchestras.
Winnipeg is rich in culture, and art plays a significant role in its life. The Winnipeg Art Gallery, which houses the world’s most extensive collection of contemporary Inuit art, is the largest gallery in Manitoba.
There are also numerous art galleries and performing arts locales in Winnipeg. While in Calgary, it’s close to what Winnipeg can offer.
The Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium is the city’s most-recognized performing arts, culture, and community facility. This auditorium continues to be a popular destination for artists from classical operas to orchestral concerts to comedy acts.
Restaurants, Nightlife, and Festivals in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Calgary has better nightlife and restaurants than Winnipeg. With its population and diversity, citizens often hang out more with each other.
In contrast, Winnipeg offers greater festivals than Calgary. Most of these center on the whole Winnipeg population instead of smaller communities.
Also, take a tour of Winnipeg’s best unique restaurants and nightlife. You can dine at hot spots or enjoy locally owned establishments specializing in recipes from around the world.
While visitors and citizens can already enjoy the excellent food it offers, Winnipeg also has many festivals, such as Festival du Voyageur, which celebrates French-Canadian heritage.
The city also hosts the Jazz Winnipeg Festival and Winnipeg Folk Festival. There’s also the annual Pride Winnipeg festival, as well as Canad Inns Winter Wonderland, which is celebrated during the holidays.
Going to Calgary, its diversity is reflected in its wide selection of restaurants and nightlife. You can find several ethnic restaurants and stores in the city’s multicultural areas.
Downtown Calgary is where most restaurants are located. The city’s nightlife is also one of the best in Canada, with locals who party on weekends and weekdays.
Several fairs and festivals also take place each year in Calgary. The list includes the Calgary International Film Festival, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Wordfest: Banff Calgary International Writers Festival, Expo Latino, and more.
Sports and Nature in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
Calgary has a better focus on sports, especially winter sports. On the other hand, Winnipeg has better nature and scenery than Calgary.
Beautiful in any season of the year, Winnipeg’s natural landscapes are a sight to behold. Its pristine lakes, caves, and mountains offer some of the best opportunities for hiking or canoeing in Manitoba.
Riding Mountain National Park is just outside the city proper — perfect for swimming, camping, and hiking. At the same time, Lake Manitoba is near the city proper, famous for canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, and more.
Calgary also has numerous urban parks, including Fish Creek Provincial Park, Bowness Park, Edworthy Park, Confederation Park, and more. These are great for enjoying nature and wildlife in the city.
Calgary also houses the largest municipal park and the 4th largest urban park in Canada, Nose Hill Park.
Now going to sports. Winnipeg is home to some of Canada’s most successful and popular sports teams.
The Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose play in the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, respectively.
However, Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics with nine sports venues.
Today, the city is known as an Olympic city as Calgary regularly hosts winter sporting events in the said venues, which means it has a greater advantage in winter sports than in Winnipeg.
Weather in Winnipeg vs. Calgary
The weather is better in Calgary than in Winnipeg. Both cities are mostly partly cloudy all year long, but Winnipeg has long, warm summers and frigid winters with plenty of snowfall.
In Calgary, the summers are pleasantly warm, and the winters are long and bitterly cold.
Winnipeg is not so great when it comes to colder or winter seasons, as snow can last up to six months long. Calgary, on the other hand, has slightly better winter seasons.
But during the summers, Winnipeg can reach up to 27°C, while Calgary’s summers can only reach up to 23.3°C.
Winnipeg has great weather despite being a cold country. The skies are usually clear, but it does not mean it is warm.
In Calgary, the weather is mostly dry and humid but with a more tolerable winter season. Although, it is not as hot as Winnipeg during summer.
Below is a comparison table of the average temperatures of both cities during warm and cold seasons.
|Warm season||19.5°C to 27°C||11.1°C to 23.3°C|
|Cold season||-22.8°C to -12.7°C||-12.5°C to 0.6°C|