Retiring Abroad: Best Places to Retire in Alberta (Outside the Big Cities)

Milestone Wealth Management Ltd. - Sep 05, 2023

When thinking about retiring abroad, most people instantly conjure up images of beaches and palm trees. However, there is a growing group of people who are choosing to retire to places within Canada that just happen to be much cheaper than the place they’ve lived in their working lives. In fact, the in-migration to Alberta has increased in recent years as people ‘cash out’ of their homes in more expensive locations in B.C. and Ontario and relocate to Alberta where their money can go much further.

The most notable cities to look at are Calgary and Edmonton. In fact, it was recently reported in this article that these two large cities have become the most searched-for in Canada. However, if one is looking to retire, they may wish to avoid the busy big cities and look for a quieter, more relaxed pace that several smaller centres in Alberta provide. Here are five excellent choices for retiring to Alberta:

High River: Located just 68 kilometers south of Calgary, High River is a small town within just a short drive of all the amenities of a big city. With a population of just under 15,000 people, one can get a small-town feel, beautiful river, and view of the Rocky Mountains, without having to live far from everything one could need. In fact, the massive South Health Campus is located on the very south edge of Calgary, making for a quick trip from High River to a first-class medical centre. The price for an average home is approximately $455,000 (as of June 2023).

Cochrane: The growing town of Cochrane is a very popular retirement destination. The town itself is only 18 kilometres west of Calgary with a population of just under 35,000; however, all the usual conveniences are located right in Cochrane so driving into Calgary isn’t a necessity. Additionally, travel from Cochrane is easy as one can drive west and be in the mountain town of Banff in approximately one hour or drive just 40 minutes east to the Calgary International Airport to fly to most places around the world. With the Bow River running through town, there is plenty of hiking, golfing, cross country skiing and other activities in which to participate. The price for an average home is approximately $526,000 (as of June 2023).

Red Deer: Red Deer is a city of roughly 100,000 residents, located roughly halfway between Edmonton (to the north) and Calgary (to the south). The city has a vibrant retired community and offers several amenities in all seasons including a major hospital, recreation centres, museums, and a ski area which is less than 10 kilometres east of the city. The Red Deer River runs through the city and there are also several popular recreational lakes in the surrounding area including Gull Lake, Sylvan Lake, and Pine Lake. The price for an average home is approximately $355,000 (as of June 2023).

Leduc: Located approximately 30 kilometres south of the province’s capital of Edmonton, the small city of Leduc has a population of roughly 35,000 people. The city has all the amenities needed for a comfortable retirement, but also has full access to all the shopping, restaurants, and recreation facilities of Edmonton. In addition, the Edmonton International Airport is just a 10-minute drive from Leduc, and the Rabbit Hill ski area is only a 20-minute drive. The price for an average home is approximately $370,000 (as of June 2023).

Lethbridge: Lethbridge is a city located roughly 200 kilometres south of Calgary and roughly 100 kilometres north of the United States border heading into the state of Montana. With a population of just over 100,000 residents, the city has good health care, various amenities, is home to both a college and university, and has access to the Rocky Mountains including popular ski resorts in Fernie and Kimberley, B.C. through the Crowsnest Pass. Being in the southern part of the province, Lethbridge has warmer temperatures than other centres and is known for the strong, warm chinook winds that come in from the Pacific Ocean over the mountains. The price for an average home is approximately $329,000 (as of June 2023).