Living in Chestermere Alberta: 7 Things to Know Before Moving
Living in Chestermere, AB
Located on the eastern edge of the Calgary metro area, the city of Chestermere, Alberta, is popular for those looking to combine the city's convenience and the suburbs' quiet and space. The town, known initially as Chestermere Lake, began with scattered development around nearby farms in the mid-20th century before it was officially established as a summer village in the 1970s. Today, it's home to just over 20,000 residents and primarily serves as a commuter town of Calgary. However, there's also much to love for would-be homeowners within the community. Read on for the ultimate guide to what new residents should know about moving to Chestermere, Alberta.
Chestermere Cost of Living
Overall, Chestermere's cost of living is slightly above the national average, though still reasonable compared to other suburbs and considering the city's benefits. This is generally true in everyday categories like utilities and groceries that comprise much of a resident's budget. Gas may be comparable in price to slightly more expensive, though residents who commute to Calgary daily should consider any additional cost from the added distance.
Housing in Chestermere tends to cost a bit more than the average for the Calgary metro area, reflecting the strong demand to live in this highly desired city, the larger-than-average house size, and the relatively young age of many homes. On the lower end, two- to three-bedroom Chestermere condos or townhouses usually exist from the low $200,000s to the high $300,000s. Detached single-family homes typically range from a half-million to $1.5 million, with an average in the high six figures. However, extremely large or Chestermere luxury properties have been listed for $3 million or more! This incredibly diverse housing stock reflects the options for homebuyers of all budgets. Renters should expect to pay between $1,300 and $2,000 per month for accommodations, depending on the size, location, and amenities.
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Chestermere Job Market
Chestermere's job market relies mainly on nearby Calgary, which offers a large and diverse job market just 15 kilometres to the west. This commute is relatively easy thanks to direct access to the Trans-Canada Highway. Some large employers with headquarters in the area include Canada Pacific Railway, Suncor Energy, Enbridge, and WestJet Airlines. However, Chestermere is home to numerous small businesses that also provide significant jobs to the community. The city also includes many national and international chains.
Unemployment in the Calgary area has seen significant declines in recent years.
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Popular Industries in the Area
As can be inferred from some of the big names above, Chestermere and the greater Calgary area are well known as the center of Canada's thriving energy industry. Oil and gas are behind a tremendous amount of jobs, not only directly but also in related industries like construction and pipeline maintenance, and indirectly in helping support other local businesses. As it has been for years, residential and commercial construction is also a significant industry, as Calgary remains among Canada's fastest-growing cities. Most of these jobs also extend to the Chestermere area.
Things to Do in Chestermere
Chestermere offers residents the best of all worlds, combining small-town charm and proximity to the heart of Calgary and its attractions with the more rural areas to the east. There's no doubt Calgary is the center of gravity for this region. Locals can cheer on the Calgary Flames in an NHL game, visit the city's zoo, or check out numerous museums. Calgary also hosts the annual Calgary Stampede, a rodeo and festival among the best-known in the world. Still, there's no need to head into the city for fun. Residents will find joy close to home, no matter their interests.
Outdoor lovers will find no shortage of things to do in Chestermere and the surrounding areas. The centrepiece of the town's outdoor recreation is Chestermere Lake, a nearly five-kilometre-long body of water with beaches, lakeside parks, boat launches, and more. Watersports are also popular, with numerous local companies offering rentals and experiences. Golfers will enjoy the Lakeside Golf Club, a beautifully maintained 18-hole course with a pro shop and restaurant. Winter sports lovers can also take advantage of the region's fantastic opportunities, including at the world-famous Banff, less than two hours away.
With all the fun and the hustle and bustle of Calgary just down the road, it's easy to forget there are plenty of great local attractions for Chestermere residents. During warmer weather, the lake and surrounding areas serve as one of the main places to be, with several beach parks that include picnic spaces and promenades. The town is also home to the non-profit Chestermere Recreation Centre, which has a rentable banquet hall, two sports arenas, a curling rink, softball and soccer fields, and ample green space. This facility also hosts numerous local clubs, from the Chestermere Minor Hockey Association to the Chestermere Figure Skating Club.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Those looking for delicious and unique places to eat, drink, and have fun may be surprised by the options available in Chestermere. Most of these are on the community's northern end, in and around the Chestermere Station shopping centre. Local favourites include Van Son Vietnamese cuisine and Chinese from Jessica Restaurant. Chestermere is also home to locations of popular national chains like Tim Hortons, Browns Socialhouse, and The Canadian Brewhouse.
Of course, Calgary offers various national and international cuisine close by. Visiting Calgary is the best bet for residents searching for livelier nightlife, though Chestermere has numerous bars and restaurants for social occasions or to grab a drink.
Like many spots in Canada, Chestermere provides its best weather in the late spring and summer months. The year begins with a frigid, often windy winter, with high temperatures rarely rising above the freezing point and plunging 10 degrees Celsius or more below zero. Still, winters tend to be relatively dry throughout the region.
Temperatures begin to warm in April, melting snow and making things somewhat muddy. Summer days reach highs in the low 20s by mid-July. This is also the rainiest time of year, with roughly two inches of monthly precipitation between May and September. By September, average high temperatures are falling into the teens, reaching single digits by November.
The city sees its most tourist activity and events in the summer, though many also enjoy the winter sports available in the region. Chestermere's climate differs from other spots in the broader Calgary metro area because it sits at a lower elevation. Throughout the year, Chestermere maintains moderately humid weather, slightly on the damp side of comfortable in the 60% range.
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Traffic in Chestermere
As primarily a commuter city for Calgary, most traffic encountered by Chestermere residents occurs on the routes between their homes and the city center. Several routes are available into Calgary, ranging from roughly 15 to about 25 kilometres. The most direct of these uses Chestermere Boulevard, which transitions into 17th Avenue SE/International Avenue. Residents also have easy access to the Trans-Canada Highway/Canada Highway 1, which runs north of the community. Drivers can head west approximately 25 minutes into Calgary or east through small towns toward Saskatchewan.
Inside Chestermere, traffic is typically minimal due to the community's relatively small size. Various backstreets are available between the major routes of Rainbow Road and West Chestermere Drive.
Traffic in and around Chestermere tends to follow typical patterns, with a morning rush westward toward Calgary between 7 and 10 a.m. and an afternoon rush heading out of the city between 3:30 and 6 p.m. Parking is generally plentiful in Chestermere, while many commuters into Calgary use paid public parking or garages.
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If primary routes are slow or unavailable, those looking to get around the Chestermere area have many backup options. Rainbow Road heads south from town, connecting east-west roads like Township Road 240 and Glenmore Trail/Alberta Route 560. Likewise, residents can avoid main east-west routes by heading north on rural routes like Range Road 282. As these routes may involve longer distances or drive times under normal conditions, they should typically only be used during periods of heavy traffic on main roads or when a destination is more easily accessed via them. Drivers on less frequently used roads may also encounter rougher conditions during winter weather.
Public Transportation in Chestermere
Those who want to leave the car at home have several choices in the Chestermere area. The primary option is Chestermere Transit Link, which connects to Calgary's MAX Purple Line. The Chestermere Transit Link runs twice daily, during the morning and afternoon commuter rush. On these trips, service continues beyond the standard endpoint of East Hills and makes a 12-stop loop through the West Chestermere area. This pilot program may expand to more stops in the future, including some on the lake's east side.
Calgary Transit does not serve Chestermere, with the closest stops being either Marlborough or Franklin on the Blue Line/Route 202, both about 12-14 kilometres away. A commuter bus that originates in Strathmore also serves Chestermere, dropping off in Calgary's downtown core.
Many taxi and car services, as well as ridesharing apps, also serve Chestermere. However, these may vary in availability due to Chestermere's location on the outskirts of Calgary. Riders may find it easier to secure a ride from Calgary or other areas closer than getting a ride from Chestermere itself. Prices will also vary depending on distance travelled, demand, and other factors.
Chestermere has numerous schools and other educational facilities. The city is part of Rocky View School Division #41, based out of the northern suburb of Airdrie. Three public elementary schools, a public middle school, and a public high school serve resident students.
Those looking for private schools will find choices like Prince of Peace Lutheran School. Chestermere is also part of the Calgary Catholic School District, which operates St. Gabriel the Archangel High School and others. Alternative K-12 educational opportunities are available in Chestermere, such as the Rocky View Learning program. There's also a Community Playschool for kids aged 3–5.
Pursuing higher education is accessible for Chestermere residents, thanks to the many colleges, universities, trade schools, and other options in the Calgary metro area. These include the University of Calgary, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Bow Valley College. Additionally, ABM College offers career-based education and job training. Unfortunately, none offer campuses within Chestermere itself, though many are just a short drive away.
Enjoy the Best of the Calgary Metro Area From Chestermere
Chestermere offers so much to those looking to move to the greater Calgary area, especially in Chestermere's best neighbourhoods. With a reasonable cost of living, residents can enjoy small-town life at the edge of rural Alberta, beautiful nature, including the town's lake, and a vibrant dining, shopping, and entertainment community. Even better, all of the sights and excitement of Calgary are only a short drive away from Chestermere, putting one of Canada's largest cities within reach. All these reasons and more make Chestermere one of the most desirable suburbs in the region.
Posted by Justin Havre on