"We realized really quickly there was more to the city." - Matthew Lofgren
Matthew Lofgren and his wife moved to Medicine Hat in 2010 when they both quickly found permanent positions, he in a law firm and her with the school district. After a few years, Lofgren knew he needed to convince his siblings and parents to relocate to the beautiful city, in which he was successful.
“She had a good career path. I had a good career path. The only thing we thought would pull us away would be moving closer to family when we’d have children, so that’s when we started getting creative in moving our family to Medicine Hat,” he says.
He invited his sister and her family to move into their home until they got settled in Medicine Hat. His sister and her husband found a house and full-time work after a couple months. In the beginning she had a five-year maximum plan, but nine years later, she and her husband continue to live in Canada’s sunniest city with their two children.
As Lofgren and his siblings grew up, they moved over 30 times while his father worked in the military. The family lived in many cities and towns in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, but Medicine Hat is Lofgren’s favourite place to call home and is where he’s lived the longest.
“Honestly, when we first came here, we’d never heard of Medicine Hat. It was one of those places you drive through to get somewhere else. But, our first day here there was the Spectrum Sunshine Festival happening, and it was a beautiful sunny day. We realized really quickly there was more to the city,” says Lofgren.
Medicine Hat has everything they need without going to the big city and without the big city lifestyle. Lofgren and his wife don’t need to work weekends and say the work-life balance is a lot better. They often find themselves traveling the four hours to Fernie, driving the 45 minutes to Elkwater or walking onto a nearby trail in the city when they want to experience the outdoors.
“We like to snowboard and hike, and we have a nice place in Fernie, and the fact that we can afford two places is because the cost of living in Medicine Hat is so low,” says Lofgren.
When they’re not spending time in the mountains, they’re walking or biking the trails with their children and dog, or ice-skating or swimming at one of the many accessible facilities, like the Big Marble Go Centre.
“We love walking and biking with our kids on the trails. We have a dog so we love walking with her on the trails as well,” he says. “We really enjoy swimming and skating — the number of facilities we have for the size of the population is unheard of. When we go skating, we know there’ll be a free skate somewhere. There’s always something available, and it’s only ever a 10 minute drive away.”
Next were his parents. Since all three of their children were in Alberta, they made the decision to move to Medicine Hat.
“When they came here, they noticed the massive shift in the cost of living. My mom stopped working while my dad continued to work. They didn’t have to pay excessive bill prices — so they saw a quicker path to retirement. They bought a condo with a swimming pool, so they’re totally set.”
Lofgren is always telling friends and family how wonderful life is in Medicine Hat.
“I really enjoy the river valley and the fact there’s a lot of trees here in the prairies. That was really unexpected, because you drive through dryland with no irrigation or vegetation for the longest time, and then you enter Medicine Hat and you can see Cypress Hills Provincial Park in the background and all these trees. In the summer, it’s really nice."
We love checking out a new playground every day. Whether we walk or drive, we take the dog and explore a new trail or park. The kids’ favourite place is Strathcona Island Park.Read More
“It’s so much fun to have the wildlife here with children. I think I even get a little more excited about it than they do.”Read More
When you cross the street, someone stops for you, and when you stop for someone, you get a little wave. It’s the small things that make a big difference and it showcases the quality of people that live here.Read More
Move to Medicine Hat is actively supported by these lead community minded organizations, and made possible in part through funding / sponsorship.
The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services. Les gouvernements de l’Alberta et du Canada travaillent en partenariat et financent conjointement des programmes et des services d’aide à l’emploi.