After a few trips to visit his brother, Mike Harrington decided to trade his commuter lifestyle in Calgary for the ease of living in Medicine Hat.
“It’s an easy place to raise kids and it’s affordable,” said Harrington, who sold his Calgary home and moved to Medicine Hat in 2011 with his wife and son.
Two hours of biking to and from work was reduced to a few minutes of walking to his downtown shop, Valhalla Pure Outfitters. Harrington said the comparatively lower cost of renting retail space is an advantage in operating his own business in downtown Medicine Hat. Also, he is excited about the potential for the area as the city moves forward with their revitalization plan.
McNally, a ReMax realtor, said the affordability of homes in Medicine Hat’s real estate market adds to the many reasons why Medicine Hat is a good place for businesses to set up shop.
Single family homes sold for an average of $251, 280 in January and the local market has a reputation for minimal fluctuation in prices. McNally said the housing market remains fairly stable, with the exception of seasonal changes, and generally avoids a sharp rise and fall of prices.
McNally has noticed that Hatters are supportive of small businesses and are keen to support places they enjoy, such the bustling Station Coffee Co. located across the street from Harrington’s shop.
“At the end of the day, if your employees can afford to have a good quality of life it makes sense,” said McNally, who enjoys biking the city’s trail network with her two children.
Medicine Hat’s location in western Canada, combined with the affordability of real estate allows the Harrington’s to easily travel. Although the family moved farther away from the Canadian Rockies, they now make more frequent trips to enjoy the outdoors, whether to their home-away-from-home in Canmore, Alta. or nearby Cypress Hills Provincial Park.
Thanks to affordability, the potential for independent retailers to set up shop is in Medicine Hat. Additionally, the combination of a short commute to work and proximity to nearby parks and travel destinations makes Canada’s sunniest city is an attractive place to live a balanced lifestyle.