5 Things to Know Before Moving to Fort McMurray


Known for its association with oil sands industry, Fort McMurray (popularly called “Fort Mac”) is nestled in the boreal forest at the confluence of the Athabasca River and the Clearwater River. The 130 km of trails in the city are simply amazing, and when you look up in the sky after lights out, you’ll be hooked to one of the best views of northern lights.

If you are planning a move to Fort McMurray but have no idea how it will treat you, read on! We’ve got insights to share with you for a better look at this fantastic spot up north.

1. Location and Reaching Fort McMurray

Located 435 kilometres northeast of Edmonton on Highway 63 and about 60 kilometres west of the Saskatchewan border, Fort Mac is the largest community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Also, you can access Fort McMurray through Highway 881, and Highway 69 – a short diversion from Highway 63, which connects the town with the airport and some of its residential developments to the southeast.

The town is the center of the oil sands industry, witnessing one of the largest and heaviest truckloads carried out in Canada. Also, Highway 63 boasts of the highest tonnage per kilometre.

2. Not a City!

Most people who are moving Fort McMurray are not aware that it has the status of being the largest unincorporated “city” in Alberta. In April 1995, the city became an urban service area when it amalgamated with Improvement District No. 143, creating the municipality of Wood Buffalo.

3. Climate

For the ones moving from cities like Vancouver, or coastal areas in general, 5 or 6 months of snow may seem like a daunting factor. Fort Mac experiences subarctic climate with long cold winters and short warm summers, as the region lies in a lower elevation than most parts of Alberta.

This means that summers have an average daily high of 17°C with winters having an average daily high of -4°C. The annual precipitation amounts to 464.8 millimetres, and the rains are mainly witnessed in summers while you find snowfall around 172.0 centimetres in winters.

4. Economic Overview

With growth rate characteristic of a boomtown, Fort MacMurray is the heart of Alberta’s primary oil production activities, drawing innovation and creative force from all over the globe. The region is facing rapid growth in population and oil sands development with the municipality actively pursuing a zero-waste initiative to become a global model for sustainable waste management.

Most oil sand industries are located near Athabasca Oil Sands. However, the economy also relies on natural gas and oil pipelines, forestry and tourism. The largest oil sand mining companies in Fort McMurray are Syncrude and Suncor Energy. Interestingly, it was the single region in Alberta with employment growth of 12% during the recession period.

5. Public Transit

If you prefer public transportation, you’ll be delighted to know that the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo operates a public transit service for seven days a week. This consists of local scheduled bus routes, specialized transportation for people with disabilities and school buses including a special Saturday service for people in Saprae Creek.

If you intend to reach Fort McMurray by air, there are several airlines which connect to the region including Air Canada, WestJet and United Airlines. You’ll find scheduled flights to Calgary, Edmonton, Fort Smith, Peace River, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver, Denver and more.

Also, many oil companies operate their own corporate and charter flights.

Partner Two Small Men with Big Hearts When Moving to Fort McMurray

So, whether you got a new job or are planning a move with your family to Fort McMurray, all we can say is, this beautiful place will bring you cozy hometown vibes that are tough to come by.

Consider partnering with a professional moving company, especially if you are moving from a different province. At Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving Co., we can help you streamline the moving process with the expert packing, transportation, storage and moving services.

Unlike doing it yourself, we can cut down on your stress and energy while you benefit from insurance if something goes wrong while moving your goods from the old place to your new home in Fort MacMurray.

Give us a try! Talk to one of our team members in Fort McMurray.

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