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Edmonton or Calgary?


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Haha, let the bloodshed begin! I've lived in both cities. I think in terms of Universities, Calgary seemed a bit friendlier overall, but I think U of A has the edge in terms of the doctors they produce, CaRMS matching, and the licensing exam, as well as facilities... though the student room at U of C was pretty awesome, there's new construction at U of A, and I imagine the Med students here will get a new lounge, as their current one will become a pedway soon.

 

In terms of social life/bars/going out, I kinda of like Whyte ave in Edmonton a bit better than 17th ave in calgary, it's closer to the university, and thus closer to most student housing, so is only a short walk/stumble/crawl away. As for hot people... hard to say really, there's loads in both cities. But Edmonton has the mall.... which can be fun. Though Calgary is warmer and has chinooks. And then there' s the flames and the Oilers, a subject which will cause much debate, I like both teams, but prefer the Flames. Thats really a personal choice though. (and on that note.... NO not Ryan Smyth... why!?).

 

So overall, I think I like edmonton a bit better, but Calgary is awesome as well.

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This is interesting: Edmonton has one of the lowest population densities in North America, about 9.4% that of New York City. (Wikipedia Edmonton).

 

It looks like Calgary is winning so far with a greater population and greater population density, meaning a higher score on the hot-girl factor.

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If you want to be a generalist or do medicine focused more on patient interaction, UofC is best... there is more emphasis on med as a way of helping the whole person in their life-context.

 

If you are more academic or careerist then UofA has many strengths, such as high scoring on national exams, good research opportunities, etc.

 

It's quite a tossup for me, too, although I think my wife is the hottest babe :)

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I'm a born and raised Calgarian who did med school at U of A. Overall, I MUCH prefer Calgary... not sure why... maybe this is a result of growing up with the Battle of Alberta?

 

Seriously, in terms of the university, I found people in Edmonton much more stuck-up. They were friendlier in Calgary.

 

I really missed out on the Chinooks when I was in Edmonton (and now I miss them even more in SK).

 

I found Edmonton kind of 'blah', and generally less exciting than Calgary. Their downtown was DEAD.

 

Although the cities are a similar size geographically, I found Edmonton to be more sprawling and difficult to get around in if you are relying on public transit.

 

Calgary has a better Chinatown (I'm not Chinese, but all of my friends were growing up, so I went to all of the 'authentic' Chinese restaurants and shops, and even attended Chinese school for a while!)

 

On the plus side for Edmonton, Whyte Ave is close to the university, and there really are a lot of fun, student-oriented places close to the university. In Calgary, the university area is kind of dead.

 

Housing has gotten outrageously expensive in both cities since I left, but I think Calgary is worse.

 

As far as quality of doctors... well, I didn't do med school at U of C, but I know a number of residents who graduated from their program. It's a 3-year program, with lots of self-directed learning (from what I understand). The residents I know from U of C are all great doctors. I've heard attendings say that "the best residents and the worst residents come out of Calgary". I think he was alluding to the fact that because it is a short program, and because there is much self-directed learning, "what you get out is what you put in" becomes a major factor. This is the case with any school, though. As far as U of A goes, we definitely got a solid education and I felt prepared when I started residency. I did find that U of A had a bit of an "ivory tower" mentality, and at the times the wards could be very cold and hierarchical - ie. attending would not speak to clerk or junior resident. I find USask much friendlier in this respect - even the lowliest 3rd year clerk is a valued/respected member of the team.

 

These are just my opinions. I disliked Edmonton when I was living there, but can't put my finger on any specific reason. Maybe it just had more to do with my mindset at the time. I know lots of people who prefer Edmonton to Calgary.

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I did find that U of A had a bit of an "ivory tower" mentality, and at the times the wards could be very cold and hierarchical - ie. attending would not speak to clerk or junior resident.

 

I've heard this, and that the U of A is an 'old boys club' and it's a much easier ride if you know the right people.

This is just hearsay though...

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Hey there,

 

I'm a relative Calgary newbie, having come out here for medical school just over 2.5 years ago from Toronto. No, it doesn't have the resources of TO or Montreal but it has much more that other cities don't. For me, it's one of the most incredible cities in Canada. I love it here and consider it one of my three homes (in addition to Glasgow and TO).

 

Although I haven't been to Edmonton, I was always curious as to the reasons for Margaret Atwood's disdain for it when she lived there... :confused:

 

Cheers,

Kirsteen

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One thing they sure have yet to change is the whole "ivory tower/we're better than you" image. All dealings that I have had with the faculty have been very much a case where they are the all-knowing all-powerful almighty and how honoured I must be that they are sparing two seconds of their enormously precious time for my unworthy ass. Other med schools have been far more open. I particularly enjoyed my dealings with manitoba. Very helpful people there.

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Well from what I saw it was just about ego. The surgeons there had an inflated sense of self but were otherwise good teachers and good surgeons. If the resident I was shadowing didn't know something they did make him feel his ignorance, but I think in a way thats a good thing...you'll never forget it the next time. Really I think you just have to have a thick skin more than anything...the quality of teaching is still there. But this is just my opinion from my limited exposure to UofA med (even though a lot of the med students I talked to at interview day seem to agree).

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I think that U of A med did provide me with an excellent education, and I felt very prepared when I started residency. I think that any Canadian school will provide a fairly standard education - I've met/worked with residents who trained at all of the Canadian English med schools at least, and everyone starts PGY-1 at a fairly similar level (there is probably more intra-school variation than interschool).

 

The key is finding a school where you "fit in" - where your personality jives with the personalities of your colleagues.

 

I did find U of A to have an ivory-tower/shame-based learning approach. At the time, I thought this was just a normal part of being in medical school. It wasn't until I did my residency at USask, and subsequently did a cardio elective at Dalh, that I came to realize how different other schools could be. At both of these schools, even the most junior medical student is treated with respect. If you don't know something, or have trouble with a specific procedure, they HELP you out instead of treating you like a piece of gum on the bottom of someone's shoe. That's not to say that laziness is tolerated, but medical students/residents are treated like colleagues. You aren't invisible, you aren't a slave, and you aren't an inconvenience.

 

Some qualifiers: I trained at U of A from 1999-2003. Things may have changed since then. Also, it might be just MY personality that didn't fit in there. I had classmates who just thrived in the U of A environment and seemed to feel that humiliation was an effective teaching method. Also, not ALL preceptors were like that. I met some wonderful clinicians, teachers and role-models at U of A. It's also not that I did badly at U of A - I made Dean's Honours list all 4 years (top 10% of class). I just wasn't as happy and comfortable during my clerkship as I could have been.

 

I have some specific examples of things I experienced in my medical training that I think might help others on this board, and I'll post about them later (studying for my licensing exams and have to present at a conference this weekend).

 

I think the main thing is finding a school where YOU FIT IN. You'll get a good education wherever you go - it's just a case of having a wonderful 3-4 years or a miserable 3-4 years. The best way to ascertain this is to talk to students who have been through that particular school, or are current students. Ask lots of questions. Identify what is important to YOU in a med school/residency location.

 

Good luck :)

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