Long Alberta

Long Alberta

April Hicke, Toast's co-founder and chief growth officer, is in Vancouver so much that most people think she lives here. I know that she loves to visit – and that if she were to relocate here, the local tech community would welcome her with open arms. But the fact is, that will likely never happen. She'd be foolish to do it. If anyone moves anywhere, it should (will) be Vancouverites to April’s city and province: Calgary, Alberta.

This is not a theory. This is for real. The government’s data from 2023 is clear, its analysis is cutting.

Everyone wants to move to the wild rose country: “Alberta has registered interprovincial migration gains of 10,000 or more for five consecutive quarters for the first time since comparable data were made available (1971).”

Alberta's gains are Ontario's and BC's losses: “Most of Alberta's population gains through interprovincial migration were due to its exchanges with Ontario and British Columbia.”

Over the past year BC has done an extraordinary job of pushing people out: “In contrast, British Columbia experienced five consecutive quarters of interprovincial migration losses for the first time since the first quarter of 2013.”

Oh, I wonder why? (Not really). The data is clear here, too, according to a study from Westland: When comparing all provinces, “B.C. tops the list when it comes to the cost of buying or renting a place to live, flights, public transportation, going to the dentist, buying clothes and a night at a hotel.”

I was reminded of all this when I saw that Megan Zimmerman, the senior director of business development at Calgary Economic Development, will be in town this week to demystify Calgary’s tech ecosystem.

Her pitch of Calgary/AB could go like this: The economy is crushing it ("Since 2020, Invest Alberta has attracted a staggering $20-billion in investments, creating more than 27,000 jobs."); it's one of the best regions to start and scale a new venture ("despite an overall decline in Canada, deal activity in Alberta shot up from nearly 11 percent in 2022 to 17.5 percent last year, gaining three years in a row"); and the tech community – I mean the ground-level, peer-to-peer engagement of entrepreneurs – is generally unrivalled (see: 72 hours in Calgary tech, Long Calgary, Tech Thursday, etc.).

But she might just begin and end her remarks with: "People can actually afford to live here. And since people aren't fretting about next month's mortgage payment (if they have the privilege of actually owning a home), they can focus on building their business."

My stuff

This Friday, N49P's Alex Norman is visiting Vancouver from Toronto, so we're hosting a coffee meetup for founders and investors on Friday, March 22 morning. Save your spot.



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