What is a Condo?
Firstly, Condo is short for Condominium - in Alberta - this is the term we use. In other provinces you may find the term "Strata" being used. Pretty much the same thing.
Condo Associations are also referred to as Condo Corporation.
Condos can be an apartment style or town / row house complex or it can be villa style, semi-detached or even detached homes. In a nutshell - it can be anything - which is why the importance of knowing what you're purchasing is critical.
Condos are set up in such a way that individual units are owned privately, and the general "common" areas (hallways, elevators, grounds) are owned by the corporation.
There are fees associated with your condo, they are based on the how many shares you have - this is called your Unit Factor (UF). The fees are absolutely mandatory.
Your condo board of directors are elected by owners and make the day to day decisions for the corporation. You as an owner, can also (and I encourage this) try get on the board. It is in your best interest the board is run properly - a perfect way to ensure this - is be on your board.
This is probably the most common kind of condo corporation and you will most often find an apartment complex is "conventional".
A conventional condo boundaries are defined by the walls, ceilings and floors - you own what is within. You also have undivided interest in the common areas. Means it is shared space between you and other owners.
Bare Land Condo
Not quite as common and it is important you know the difference.
The boundaries of a bare land condo are defined by the land / lot. Any structures must be within the lot. Where you typically find bare land condos are town / row housing or even full neighbourhoods. A neighbourhood might look like it's non-condo - until you check - you will not know 100%.
The common portions of the bare land condo might be a play park or sidewalks - this will be defined in the condominium plan.
You may find monthly condo fees for bare land condos slightly less. This can be because of a variety of reasons such as no elevators, less common building etc.
Very good question - your lifestyle may or may not fit condo living. There are many variables to consider and you can learn more here.