Calgarians charge the most for monthly parking across the country, the report says

According to a recent report, Calgary is the most expensive city in Canada for monthly parking fees, averaging $366.  (CBC - photo credit)

According to a recent report, Calgary is the most expensive city in Canada for monthly parking fees, averaging $366. (CBC – photo credit)

Calgary ranks number one in the country for the most expensive monthly parking fees, according to a new report from commercial real estate firm JLL.

At an average of $366 (or $275) for an unreserved spot on third-party lot, the city occupies the third-largest monthly parking spot in all of North America, behind only New York ($570) and San Francisco ($340 -Dollar). said the report.

The average third-party reserved parking space in Calgary in January 2023 was $398.71. The average reserved parking space for tenants in a building in January 2023 was $525 and the average unreserved occupancy rate was $445.

After Calgary, Toronto ranks second in the country with an average monthly parking fee of $347 for an unreserved spot in a third-party lot, while Vancouver is $300. In Montreal, the average price is $124.

‚ÄúCalgary’s high cost of parking compared to other major markets is due to a lack of supply
for Calgarians, particularly in underground parking lots,” the report said.

It notes that there are 31,592 third-party parking lots north of 11th Avenue – operated by the three largest providers, the Calgary Parking Authority, Impark and Indigo. Last year, however, an average of 143,204 vehicles drove into the city center every day. That’s only about 18,000 fewer than before the pandemic.

One of the report’s authors, Mason Lam, vice president and head of office practice at JLL, said the sustained return of office workers to the core compared to earlier periods of the pandemic is helping to drive up monthly parking fees.

He said this is especially true for Calgary compared to cities like Toronto and Vancouver, where commutes are longer and therefore there has been less desire to return to in-person work.

“Calgary, you know, with downtown’s accessibility and proximity, it seems like it’s more encouraging and easier for employees to get back into the office,” Lam said.

“Coupled with the fact that oil and gas companies now frankly just want you there… From their perspective, it’s a productivity thing.”



Because of Calgary’s vast geography and sparse population, Lam said the city simply has more car culture than other places.

“It’s a cultural thing. Calgarians, they like their cars,” Lam said. “Until we get better access from a public transit perspective, those costs will remain inflated indefinitely because you’re going to get demand for them.”

According to a report by commercial real estate broker Avison Young, the vacancy rate in downtown Calgary was 27.2 percent in the final quarter of 2022.

While that number may seem high, Lam said the situation is nuanced.

“If you look at vacancy in Calgary, especially downtown, there really is a tale of two cities here.”

Lam buildings could become emptier in the west end, demand in the city center remains high.

The vacancy rate for AA properties – considered the highest quality and mostly located in the city center – was 14.8 percent, according to the Avison Young report.

“So downtown around Bankers Hall … it actually didn’t suffer from the kind of vacancy that Calgary’s West End suffered from,” Lam said.

The JLL report finds that parking rates in rates correlate with access to amenities, with lots near the CORE mall, near hotels and retailers showing the highest daily maximum and hourly rates.

The Calgary Parking Authority states that it sets its off-street parking rates based on a combination of on-site occupancy and market price analysis, which includes evaluating other parking providers in the same area.

“We are continually reviewing parking occupancy to determine if rate adjustments or operational changes are necessary,” it said in a statement.

“As we saw a drop in monthly parking demand during the pandemic, we introduced new affordable parking products like our Flex Pass to support hybrid work environments.”

Indigo also began offering monthly flexible parking for two to three days per week at a discount.


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