Exploring Red Deer, Alberta: Is It the Right Place for You?

As an Alberta native, there are two questions I hear a lot:
Red Deer, is it worth considering as a place to live?
Is it worth moving to take a job in Red Deer?

Underneath those questions lies the heart of the matter:
Am I going to be happy? Is my family going to be happy?

You can point to its relatively small size, but to me, Red Deer is a city full of hidden treasures. From its urban highlights to its rural offerings, Red Deer is a great place to work and make your home.

Many of our team at Zenally have grown up here, started our career, raised families, and can't imagine a better community to live and grow.

I'm going to give you the full scoop on Red Deer and help you decide if it's the right place for you. Let's find out what this hidden gem in Central Alberta can offer!

historic courthouse with bricks and old windows in Red Deer, Alberta

Quick Facts

Red Deer is the third largest city in Alberta, located in the thriving economic corridor between Calgary and Edmonton.

It's a young city, with the average age of its citizens slightly less than forty years. Besides its thriving culture and recreational opportunities, it lies close to world-class entertainment in Edmonton and Calgary and offers the thrill of the Alberta Rockies within a 2-hour drive…

Career opportunities are abundant. The Alberta economy is growing, and the diverse industries in Red Deer are following suit.

Check out our Zenally Careers page to find Red Deer accounting jobs.

Employment Opportunities in Red Deer, Alberta

For many people, employment opportunities are a key factor in deciding where to live. Fortunately, Red Deer offers excellent job prospects. It's the regional economic center for Central Alberta and home to one of Canada's largest oilfield services industries. The city's businesses offer abundant jobs in industries such as health care and biotechnology, professional services, retail, hospitality and tourism, skilled trades, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, construction, and agriculture.

With an unemployment rate consistently below the national average, Red Deer offers numerous possibilities for people seeking career opportunities.

The city also boasts one of Alberta's most robust and diverse economies. Although the province has experienced some economic difficulties over the last few years due to a fluctuating oil market, Red Deer has remained resilient due to its diversification and the fact that it's not overly dependent on oil and gas. This diversification has enabled it to withstand economic downturns while still providing stable employment opportunities even during challenging times.

Despite being a smaller city than its neighbours, Calgary or Edmonton, Red Deer provides many career opportunities. From oilfield trades to accounting or hospitality & tourism - whatever field you are looking for work in - you will likely find attractive career options.

For the entrepreneur, Red offers a supportive business environment, including no business tax (except property taxes), payroll tax or capital tax. Alberta's small business income tax rate of two percent (2%) is particularly appealing. (Source)

Now let's turn our attention to another critical factor - the cost of living in Red Deer

Cost of Living in Red Deer, Alberta

The cost of living in Red Deer is relatively low compared to other major Canadian cities. Average annual household expenditures in 2022 in Red Deer range from $62,756 for a one-person household to $123,980 for a four-person family.

  • Based on the Cost of Living Index from Numbeo.com, Red Deer, Alberta, has a cost of living index score of 65.44, which is 0.4 points lower than the Canadian average of 65.84 (as of October 2020).
  • According to Statistics Canada, consumer prices (including rent) in Red Deer are 7% lower than the national average.
  • According to Numbeo.com, rent in Red Deer, AB, is, on average, 27% lower than the Canadian average.

The overall cost of living index in Red Deer is 83.3, which means it's 16.7% cheaper than the average cost of living in a major Canadian city. Low energy costs and affordable public transit fares help keep daily expenses down. Grocery prices are lower than in most places across Canada, making running a household a little less costly.

Now we'll focus on housing costs in this region of Alberta.

Housing Costs

When considering a place to live, housing costs can be a major factor in deciding if Red Deer is the right place for you. Depending on your budget and lifestyle, properties are available for all kinds of needs.

For those looking for an affordable option, renting an apartment in the city center usually affords better deals than in smaller towns nearby. The average rent for one-bedroom apartments is around $1,000 CAD per month (source), making it a decent choice for middle-income earners looking to stay within their budget.

If you're looking for something more comfortable or you like more space, there are homes and condos closer to Red Deer's outskirts and parks that tend to be slightly more expensive than living in the city center - though there are still plenty of reasonably priced options in these areas.

Currently, the median house price for homes in and around Red Deer is approximately $350,000 CAD - which is very reasonable compared to larger Canadian cities.

Are you a dedicated country dweller? Because of its smaller size, it's easy to find an acreage or small town in Red Deer County and enjoy a painless commute into the city for work.

Ultimately, living in Red Deer can be as expensive or inexpensive as what you make it. While some might prefer higher-end housing options close to town amenities, many people can find better value in suburban locations or rural properties. Ultimately, it boils down to finding a balance between cost and access that best fits your budget and lifestyle.

Moving on from discussing living expenses in Red Deer, let's turn our attention to nature and activities available in the city - highlighting its incredible natural beauty and plentiful recreational activities.

Nature and Outdoor Activities Available in Red Deer

sun sets over the meandering Red Deer River
Trees line the Red Deer River as it meanders through farmland before flowing near downtown Red Deer

Red Deer, Alberta, is renowned for its varied and plentiful outdoor activities. With many natural features, such as rugged terrain, rolling hills, wide open spaces, and wooded areas, it is a perfect playground for nature pursuits. The city has abundant lush green spaces for activities like camping, fishing, golfing, kayaking, and biking. Red Deer offers more than 20 city parks with impressive walking trails within city limits, which makes getting out into nature a breeze.

Hunting & Fishing

One popular activity in the area is hunting. The Red Deer area boasts a thriving population of elk and white-tailed deer, with some of the best hunting grounds in North America. Avid anglers will be in their element at Sylvan Lake or any number of fishponds scattered across the countryside.


Not everyone is interested in tackling the wilderness. Red Deer also boasts plenty of scenic hiking trails with easy access to nature from busy urban areas. These paths range from short leisure strolls alongside calm rivers to all-day treks exploring natural history at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. Regardless of your preference, there is something for every explorer looking for a unique experience in Alberta's backyard.

Birdwatching & Picnicking

For those who prefer less strenuous outdoor activities, a top spot is Riverbottom Park, which meanders along the banks of Waskasoo Creek. Here visitors will find well-managed trails plus lots of spots for picnics and birdwatching opportunities. With plenty of benches along winding boardwalks to rest on, as well as charming bridge crossings over trickling streams - this park provides locals and tourists alike with a perfect playground.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy nature in Red Deer. Now that we've explored the activities available, let's dive deeper into specific trails and parks awaiting intrepid explorers…

Trails and Parks

The abundance of trails and parks should not be overlooked when considering the value of Red Deer, Alberta. These gems are found throughout the city and offer a wonderful respite from busy day-to-day life. The heritage and culture of the area are on full display to explore.

The Waskasoo Park System has over 70 km of self-guided trails that take you throughout all areas of Red Deer. Every trail showcases a unique aspect of the city. For instance, Bower Ponds provides a unique opportunity to go on peaceful strolls amongst wetlands that lead down to tranquil ponds. Kin Kanyon has some breathtaking views of the Red Deer River Valley and an abundance of pathways to explore.

Moving forward, let's delve into another must-see attraction near Red Deer: mountain viewing.

Mountain Viewing

akita dog looks out across Abraham Lake toward the towering Rockies
An Akita looks out across Abraham Lake, Alberta, toward the towering Canadian Rockies

Close to the Canadian Rockies, Red Deer has easy access. From a distance, the Rockies provide a stunning backdrop to the city, with jagged cliffs and majestic pine forests contrasting against a bright blue sky. Closer to town, visitors can take advantage of scenic mountainside trails and picturesque viewpoints overlooking the city and nearby Sundre. Spend the day exploring these rugged treasures or enjoy an evening overlooking one of Red Deer's many picturesque valleys.

For those looking for more adventurous excursions, a short drive leads out of town to the hidden gems of Banff and Jasper National Parks - just two hours away. From backcountry treks to summit ascents and multi-day camping trips, you can explore the Rocky Mountains up close. For those looking to get away from it all without leaving town, there are plenty of opportunities for climbing and bouldering around Red Deer.

Suppose you're looking for alpine meadows, high-elevation lakes, glaciers or towering peaks. It's best to head for Banff and Jasper for more adventure. They provide easy access to cross-country skiing tours and heli-skiing experiences - perfect if you're looking for an adrenaline rush.

Red Deer offers numerous outdoor activities for any adventurer. But now it's time to turn our attention inward and look at what life is like inside Red Deer's borders: next, we will explore the city life in Red Deer!

City Life in Red Deer, Alberta

When it comes to city life, Red Deer, Alberta, offers plenty of opportunities. If you're looking for an active urban lifestyle, you're in luck as there are several sports facilities, recreation centers, and arts and cultural centers to explore. With a population of over 100,000, the city provides an energetic environment.

Red Deer features all the amenities you would expect from bigger cities, such as shopping malls, movie theatres, restaurants and bars. Its central location makes it easy to access Edmonton and Calgary and world-class shopping. You can also enjoy the unique and whimsical shops at nearby Sylvan Lake or Pigeon Lake.

Overall, Red Deer is ideal if you're looking for a mid-sized city experience with all the essentials while not sacrificing your quality of living. Its unique location provides residents with easy access to surrounding communities while having enough amenities of its own to keep everyone entertained.

Red Deer offers much more than just shops and restaurants - it's home to galleries, historical sites and live entertainment venues.

historic train station with beautiful old bricks and windows in Red Deer, Alberta
Red Deer's historic train station

To learn more about what Red Deer has to offer culturally and academically, let's turn our attention toward the culture and schools that this Canadian city boasts.

The Arts

Red Deer also has a thriving arts community, with several music ensembles, theatre groups, and galleries. There are some renowned festivals. One example is The Cold SNAP Music Festival. It celebrates the city's vibrant music scene and attracts famous acts from all over Canada.

The city also offers a variety of ethnic dining experiences due to its diverse population, making it an ideal location for those who appreciate gastronomic exploration.

Red Deer is a popular destination for international immigration, creating a diverse cultural scene. Immigrants from all over the world bring their own unique customs and traditions, allowing Red Deerians to gain a better understanding of different cultures and their histories.

Red Deer arts and culture get a big boost from Westerner Park, which hosts major events, including:

  • Central Alberta Trade Show - one of the largest trade shows in the region, featuring hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their products and services.
  • Red Deer Farmers Market - a weekly event that features local producers and artisans selling a variety of fresh, locally grown produce and handcrafted goods.
  • Red Deer Rodeo & Agricultural Fair - an annual event that features professional rodeo competitions, a rodeo parade, a livestock show, and more.
  • Canadian Finals Rodeo - one of the largest rodeo events in Canada, featuring top competitors from across Canada.
  • Red Deer Culture & Food Festival - a celebration of the city's diverse cultural heritage featuring food, music, dance, and more.
  • Big Valley Jamboree - a large country music festival that attracts top talent and thousands of visitors from across Canada and the US.

For more places and events to enjoy, check out the Travel Alberta website: Red Deer.


If you're raising a family, schools will play a crucial role in determining if Red Deer is right for you.

Red Deer has some of the best schools in the province, both public and private. These schools focus on supporting students to excel academically and through extracurricular activities, offering a wide range of creative and sports clubs.

Red Deer's Polytechnic College offers programs in areas such as engineering, business, health sciences, and the trades. With a focus on real-world applications, graduates from Red Deer Polytechnic School are well-prepared for careers in their chosen fields. Better yet, the school has a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and creativity.


Red Deer, Alberta, offers a wide variety of sports opportunities for residents and visitors. From hockey and figure skating to soccer, football, and baseball, there is something for everyone. The city has well-maintained parks, sports fields, and arenas, providing ample space for outdoor and indoor sports. There are numerous recreational facilities, including community centers and fitness clubs, offering programs and classes for people of all ages and skill levels.

The Great Chief Park is arguably one of the most popular with outdoor sports enthusiasts. It offers ball, football, and soccer fields, a Pitch' n Putt, picnic facilities and a concession stand.

The Red Deer Rebels are the city's beloved junior hockey team, with a history of success and a passionate fan base. The team is known for its high-energy play, skilled players, and dedicated coaching staff, all of which contribute to an exciting and entertaining game-day experience. The Rebels play their home games at the Peavy Mart Centrium. This state-of-the-art arena provides a fantastic atmosphere for fans and players alike. Whether you are a seasoned hockey fan or a newcomer to the sport, catching a Red Deer Rebels game is a must-see experience that showcases Red Deer's love and passion for hockey.

With a strong commitment to health and wellness, Red Deer provides its residents with numerous opportunities to stay active and engaged in a variety of sports. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or just looking for a fun way to stay fit, Red Deer has something to offer.

Now let's investigate another key factor in deciding if this is the right place for you - the weather.

The Weather in Red Deer, Alberta

The weather in Red Deer, Alberta, has four distinct seasons, each with its own temperature and precipitation levels. Summers tend to be warm and sunny, with average daily highs reaching around 21° C (70° F). Meanwhile, winters are cold as average daily lows drop down to -8° C (18° F). The city also typically sees 25cm (10") - 38cm (15") of snowfall per winter season, along with several days of freezing rain. At least you can count on Alberta's big blue sunny skies, even in winter.

Overall, the region experiences quite varied weather conditions. While some people consider two months of below-freezing temperatures to be too cold, many appreciate the interesting change of pace. The snowy winter months are also a great time for skiing and skating.

Next, we'll examine transportation options within the city - another important factor in choosing your new hometown.

Transportation Options in Red Deer, Alberta

When considering whether or not to move to Red Deer, Alberta, exploring the local transportation options may help inform your decision. The city is relatively small, but this allows for easier navigation and access between various neighbourhoods.

Red Deer has both public and private transportation options. For those who wish to own a personal vehicle, there is a moderate cost of operation associated with owning and operating a car in the city. With an average gas price of C$1.09 per litre, daily commuting costs are fairly low. (The cost of fuel can vary wildly given current geopolitical pressures, but Alberta fuel prices tend to be among the lowest in Canada.)

The transit system in Red Deer city includes bus routes that cover most of the urban area, offering convenient stops in residential areas as well as major shopping and health centers. Regional bus services offer routes from Red Deer to Alberta's main cities, like Calgary and Edmonton, at relatively low prices.

Opting for public or private transport services when moving to Red Deer depends on your specific situation: the size of your family and their needs; what type of job you have; salary level; lifestyle preferences; etc. Which option is best for you will depend on all these factors.

Closer inspection of the unique features that this city has to offer - including cultural amenities, recreation options and educational prospects - will be necessary before making a final decision on whether it could be the right place to call home.

Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

What are the rental rates, living costs, and job market like in Red Deer, Alberta?

Red Deer, Alberta, is an attractive destination if you're looking to save money while still having access to great educational opportunities, a wide variety of recreational activities, and plenty of job opportunities. The city's average rental rates are particularly attractive. Moreover, living costs in the area as a whole remain relatively low compared to most Canadian cities - about 16% below the national average.

When it comes to employment opportunities in Red Deer, there are plenty of options available to you. Red Deer has enjoyed robust job growth in recent years, and its economy is characterized by strong construction growth and impressive numbers of highly qualified professionals in the energy industry. Additionally, Red Deer is an emerging technology and biomedical hub and is home to several government agencies and other major employers.

Overall, it seems that Red Deer, Alberta, could be a smart choice if you're seeking an affordable place to live with plenty of job opportunities.

Are there any safety concerns one should be aware of when living in Red Deer, Alberta?

Red Deer is a safe and secure community with minimal safety concerns for its residents. The city has a low crime rate and a strong law enforcement presence, providing peace of mind for its residents.

Red Deer has a comprehensive emergency response system, including well-equipped hospitals, fire departments, and other essential services, ensuring that residents have access to the support they need in the event of an emergency.

The city also has community initiatives in place, such as neighbourhood watch programs and public safety education campaigns, to promote awareness and prevent crime. Overall, Red Deer is a safe and welcoming place to live, with a low incidence of crime and a strong commitment to public safety.

What is the infrastructure like in Red Deer, Alberta?

The infrastructure in Red Deer, Alberta, is well-developed and comprehensive. The city provides a full range of services for residents, including public transportation, emergency medical care, reliable internet and cable providers, high-quality drinking water and sanitation, and a variety of cultural amenities.

Public Transportation

Buses and other forms of public transportation are widely available within the city. The public transit system covers an extensive network of routes throughout Red Deer and its outlying area.

Emergency Services

Red Deer has an excellent service for emergency medical care. The city's EMS teams are highly responsive and provide timely attention to any medical emergency.

Internet & Cable Providers

High-speed internet is accessible in Red Deer from reliable providers such as Telus or Shaw. Both companies have packages for different applications, ensuring that all types of users have access to fast speeds at affordable prices.

Water & Sanitation

Drinking water quality in Red Deer is monitored closely by the municipal government for compliance with strict standards. Sewerage infrastructure in the city receives regular inspections to keep waste disposal processes running reliably and safely.

Overall, Red Deer has established itself as a modern city with a well-rounded infrastructure that caters to its residents' needs, whether for entertainment or necessities like public transportation and medical services.

In Summary

If you need a change, Red Deer could provide the perfect balance between city amenities and rural living. With its ample housing options and robust economy, many have decided to call it home.

Looking for attractive career opportunities and a lower cost of living? Red Deer is a worthy relocation option.

Having access to good schools, hospitals, and job opportunities means you will have more options when it comes to both your finances and lifestyle. Living close to parks and other forms of recreation can help improve your quality of life by allowing you to fully enjoy the natural beauty surrounding Red Deer city.

All that said, do you really want to pick up and move across the province, the country, or the world for the sake of a new job?

Red Deer is a friendly, welcoming community. Why not come for a visit and check it out for yourself?

Zenally Chartered Accountants LLP has been an active member of the Red Deer community since 1990. We are large enough to offer an excellent career path and ample support, but small enough to offer a great team atmosphere. We would welcome a conversation with you about your career.

Contact Us

Your Business Ally

Phil Cruickshank, CGA, CPA

Phil Cruickshank

Phil is a Partner at the business accounting firm of Zenally Chartered Professional Accountants LLP.

For more than 30 years, he has sat face-to-face with owners of businesses of all sizes. He has listened to them, helped them identify their issues, and provided guidance.

Business owners have left with answers to their questions, less stress moving forward, and confidence that they have a business ally to call on anytime they need.

Interested in finding out more about Phil, his team and what they can do for your business? Check them out at www.zenally.cpa.


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