Congratulations! You’ve made it to Calgary, city of rolling foothills, lots of hockey love, and bright blue skies. But where should you go to stock up your fridge, or buy your first Canadian winter coat? No matter where you lived last, you probably had a pretty solid grasp on where to shop for necessities like food, clothes, and household items. Now that you’re in Calgacry, you may find yourself unsure about the best places to shop for the things you’ll need. Don’t worry, we’ve put together a helpful list of where to find necessities in Calgary. Getting to know your new city will take some time and exploration, but we’re here to help you get settled-in more quickly.
Food and Drink:
For day-to-day food necessities in Calgary, your best bet are grocery stores. They’ll be your one-stop shops for fresh fruits and veggies, meats, cheese, prepared and frozen meals, cooking ingredients and your favorite guilty pleasures like chips and baked goods. Some of Calgary’s most popular grocery stores include Safeway, Sobeys, Calgary Co-op and OK General Food Store. You can also groceries at Wal-Mart, which typically has some of the lowest costs. Superstore has low prices as well.
- Costco is the ideal option for those who want to buy in bulk and sign up for a membership.
- There are also some wonderful independent grocery stores and markets, like Bridgeland Market at 1104 1 Avenue NE, Sunterra Market at 200 12 Avenue SE, One Way Foods at 1740 11 Avenue SW, and Crossroads Market at 1235 26 Avenue SE (a large market which has a huge selection of local produce and an excellent variety of foods).
- Organic food stores are more and more popular in Calgary. Look for Community Natural Foods, Planet Organic, Sunnyside Natural Market, Willow Natural Foods, and Bowness Health Food, just to name just a few.
- Calgary also has quite a few convenient farmers’ markets that offer locally made food, and are great for entertainment and getting to know your neighbors. These can be found in most neighborhoods and tourist areas. Our favorites include the year-round markets Crossroads Market. Located at 1235 26 Avenue SE, and Market on MacLeod, There are also a number of seasonal markets, including Bridgeland Riverside Farmers’ Market at 917 Centre Ave N.E., open June to October, and Calgary Grassroots Northern Farmers’ Market at 5111 Northland Drive NW, open June to November.
- Alcohol can be bought at many private liquor stores, and beer and wine stores across the province. Unlike the other provinces in Canada, liquor retail is privatized in Alberta, but unlike the United States, you can’t purchase alcohol in grocery stores (although there are often liquor stores in unattached buildings close by to grocery stores).
Clothes (especially winter clothes!):
Calgary has all sorts of clothes shopping options, from large modern malls, to secondhand stores, to quirky independent boutiques, and even designer options. If you arrive shortly before or during winter, look for shops to find to find good winter coats, underwear and accessories. You don’t want to skimp on winter clothing!
Good stores to look for include Hudson’s Bay, Patagonia, Winners, The North Face, and Out There. Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom, and O’Connors are perfect stores for both men’s and women’s winter clothing, too. Brands including The North Face, Canada Goose, Kanuk and Arcteryx are all tried and true. Winter boots by Merrell and Sorel can be found in sports shops or regular shoe stores.
Fashionistas will be satisfied to find popular shopping options including Gap, H&M, Liz Claiborne or Zara. Winners, Urban Outfitters, and department stores like Hudson’s Bay Company and Sears are present as well.
Sports clothes and equipment can be found at Canadian Tire, Outlaw Sports, Abom Ski and Board, and Adrenalin Source for Sports. For good quality second hand equipment at very affordable prices visit Play It Again Sports and 2nd Chance Sports.
Furniture and Appliances:
For new and used furniture and appliances, you have quite a few options. We recommend that you start online, on websites like Kijiji and Craigslist, which are full of ads for furniture and appliances. Sometimes items are even free if you are willing to pick them up and transport them. Of course, with classified ads, you have no guarantee of the items’ quality or condition, so be sure to know what you’re buying before you agree to it.
Shopping at charity thrift shops such as Value Village can be a good way to save money while supporting the less fortunate.
To buy new furniture, electronics and appliances, Calgarians go to large chain stores such as HomesSense, Pier 1 Imports, Urban Barn, and Crate & Barrel. For new home goods, Ikea furniture is fairly priced.
If you want trendier, contemporary furniture, kitchenware and home decor, try Crave Furniture, which sells Italian imports on 42 Avenue in Parkhill, Revolve Furnishings, which sells modern decor on 11 Street SW, and Home Evolution, where you can find rustic charm on 11 Street SE. There are also quite a few smaller, independent stores and antique boutiques throughout Calgary.
Have a taste for antiques? You’ll find plenty of great stores in the city. But if you’re looking to make an adventure out of finding the best old items, drive 40 minutes south of Calgary on Highway 2 to find the Antique & Art Walk of Alberta. This is a “one-stop destination for antiques, art, boutique-style shopping and family attractions.” Also, explore Heirlooms Antiques, located at 7004 Macleod Trail and Inside Avenue Antiques at 3419 8 Street SE.
To find over-the-counter medicine, for headaches, colds, aches and pains, stomach problems and more, and to fill up any prescriptions you may get from a doctor, head to one of Calgary’s major pharmacies. Additionally, given the length of waiting lists to access a doctor, many Albertans prefer going to the pharmacy to take care of certain services, like smoking cessation help and flu shots.
In Calgary, and across Canada, many of the big chain pharmacies also sell other household staples, like food, cleaning products, bathroom tissue, beauty and hair products, toys for kids, and a whole lot more, so it’s a great spot to head to for many necessities in Calgary, too. Shopper’s Drug Mart or Rexall are popular options. Smaller, independent drug stores exist too. And while you won’t find the same variety of products there, they are known for filling all your medicine an medical supplies needs.
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(Photo: Brendan Bell)