Edmonton is enticing more Millennials with job opportunities, affordable living and the chance to start a new life in the capital city of Alberta.
“It’s a place that a lot of young people are coming, especially in the market of 18- to 36-year-olds,” said Kevin Weidlich, VP of marketing and communications at Edmonton Economic Development Corp. “It’s one of the cities where people feel like they can still get ahead.”
Edmonton secured the No. 3 spot on the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Destination Cities list for 2014, maintaining its 2013 ranking after spending a number of years at No. 4. These rankings reflect the top Canadian destinations of one-way U-Haul truck rentals for the past calendar year.
While migration trends do not correlate directly to a city’s population or economic growth, they are a strong gauge as to how well cities are attracting new residents.
“It’s the capital of our province, so there are people coming in and out for government work,” said Gordon Anderson, marketing company president for U-Haul Company of Southern Alberta.
“A lot of the good things you can say about Calgary extend to Edmonton. It has the oil and energy sector. It has good universities with the University of Alberta and MacEwan University. It’s not that far from Jasper National Park, which is very nice. It just gets a little colder up Edmonton’s way in the winter.”
Edmonton’s steadily growing middle class and its sturdy, diverse economy have led to higher home prices in recent years. But comparatively speaking, Edmonton remains one of the more reasonable investments among big cities.
And many of those Edmonton home buyers, who are arriving in U-Haul trucks, are finding it easier to gain employment these days.
“The real gist of it is – not withstanding the low price of oil – we’re still suffering from a labor shortage,” Weidlich said. “As long as that factor plays a role, young people are going to be looking to our region for jobs.”
Edmonton, with a population approaching 900,000, boasts a great cultural scene and world-class festivals throughout the year, including the upcoming (Aug. 13-23) 34th annual Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. The Red Bull Crashed Ice championships came to the city in March. Commonwealth Stadium is currently playing host to pool play, quarterfinal, semifinal and third-place matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Edmonton is a passionate hockey town laying claim to one of the NHL’s most celebrated dynasties. The Oilers will have a new home in 2016 when their state-of-the-art downtown arena, Rogers Place, opens. The arena will serve to revitalize the core of the city, Mayor Don Iveson stated in a speech last year.
Then there is Edmonton’s vast and beautiful outdoors in the summer. Packaged with a positive job market, it makes Alberta’s central region an easy sell to U-Haul do-it-yourself movers.
“We have the energy and service sectors, and we’re a university town and a government town – so it’s quite a mix,” Weidlich said.
“This is a family-oriented region and one of those places people may not think at first is where you want to go, but once you get here, you realize it’s a well-kept secret. It’s the kind of place you set down roots and stay.”
Edmonton is the first of two Alberta cities in the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Destinations. Continue to visit myuhaulstory.com as U-Haul counts down to the No. 1 destination.
Edmonton residents are invited to become U-Haul Famous. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo through Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go to uhaulfamous.com to submit photos and learn more.
Additional photo credits: Skyline from the Muttart Conservatory (featured image) and West Edmonton Mall World Waterpark (thumbnail) by City of Edmonton.
Canadian Destination Cities
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