Moving at any time can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, let alone moving to a new city. In hopes of making the process a bit easier for you, if you are relocating to Grande Prairie, we've tried to make a comprehensive blog of all things Grande Prairie!
Having raised her family here, built two successful businesses, and been a resident for 30+ years. Helen Harder loves Grande Prairie. It is a city overrun with opportunity and some really amazing people! The last census had Grande Prairie's population at 63,166 people. This number however does not include the surrounding areas of Clairmont, Sexsmith, Webster, Wembley, Beaverlodge, Hythe, Bezanson, and Grovedale which adds another roughly 30,000 people. The city is quite young with the last census having majority of the population between the ages of 30-34.
Most people in Grande Prairie have a vehicle and opt for independent transportation rather than using public transit. That being said Grande Prairie does have public transit connecting most neighbourhoods to different areas around the city.
The South side is the oldest area with many established neighbourhoods including Patterson, Mission Heights, Country Club, and Wedgewood. It has numerous parks, schools, and a vast network of walking trails. There are numerous grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and schools on the south side.
The North side is quite established and is actually considered quite central. It has the fewest neighbourhoods with only Royal Oaks, Northridge, and Arbor Hills. It is located close to both Northwestern Polytechnic and the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. It has numerous new schools and connecting roads making it easy to get to any part of the city.
The West side is a newer part of the city and has several residential neighbourhoods including Westgate, Westpointe, Pinnacle Ridge, O'Brien Lake and Kensington Estates. The West side has numerous amenities including Costco and Canadian tire. It also has the Westgate Shopping Centre.
The East side (only area on the other side of the train tracks) is more residential focused with numerous neighbourhoods including Cobblestone, Riverstone, Crystal Heights, Crystal Landing, Signature Falls, and Crystal Lake. On the East side of the tracks there is one grocery store, Freshco, along with several gas stations, schools, pharmacies, and fast food establishments.
The first snowfall usually happens just before Halloween and the last one is oftentimes May long weekend when everyone goes camping for the first time of the year. The temperatures can get cold, down to about -42°C. During this time school is often cancelled however work and regular life go on. The summers can also get quite hot with the hottest day recorded being 41°C.
Things to Do
With 7 months of the year being winter and snowy it's a great place to adopt winter hobbies. Many people own sleds and make regular trips to the mountains, others enjoy skiing and snowboarding. Although Grande Prairie does have a ski hill many people make weekend trips to larger hills in either Jasper or Powder King. Other winter hobbies include cross country skiing, and recreational league sports. Grande Prairie has a wide array of rec. league sports including volleyball, basketball, hockey, indoor golf, Karate, squash, pickleball, bowling and more. You can find an extensive list with Facebook pages and contacts here. There is also a great Art Gallery, Public Library, and Creative Art Centre offering many classes and events. Grande Prairie also has a movie theatre, Escape Room, Laser Tag, and a large sport facility called the Eastlink Centre.
The summer is filled with residents soaking up every minute of the long days. Many people play recreational league summer sports including slo-pitch, beach volleyball, golf, and disc golf. People also enjoy Muskoseepi Park with the trails, parks, outdoor pool, and basketball and tennis courts. Many people also spend their weekends camping and/or quadding. Others enjoy floating down the river or a campfire at a park.
Although Grande Prairie was ranked as the "Most Dangerous City in Canada" in 2016, the residents feel safe overall. As in most places, we recommend not walking alone downtown at night. There is a high level of people experiencing homelessness and addiction in Grande Prairie however the city has opened additional housing and safe consumption units which will hopefully help. The City has also started the transition into a local Police force. As far as neighbourhoods go, there are some areas that have more crime and issues than others but overall many neighbourhoods are family friendly places to live. If you're buying in Grande Prairie and concerned about safety our team would happily guide you to what are known as more safe and family oriented areas of the city.
Grande Prairie is not a single industry city with oil, natural gas, agriculture, and retail. It is known as a hub for Northern Alberta and Northern British Columbia alike which provides an economic boost. Although no area is recession proof over the 30+ years Helen has lived here she has felt it's had a softer landing than many other cities. She has found that many people in the area are entrepreneurs and/or tradespeople, but there are all kinds of businesses and opportunities. The average family income in the area is around $120,000/year.
Unfortunately inflation has taken a toll on everyone, including Grande Prairie residents however compared to smaller and more Northern places Grande Prairie is still relatively affordable. The average home price is around $310,000 and according to the most recent data the average rental price is around $1200/month. A bonus of living this far North is that you get a tax rebate, the Northern Living Allowance, additionally some employers will offer additional northern living incentives and wages.
If you are ready to relocate to Grande Prairie or have more questions our team would love to help!
-Helen Harder Real Estate Team