There’s a groovy, hip, trendy happening place to be in every city. Think of Greenwich Village – everyone knows where that is. Think of Yaletown in Toronto or Gastown in Vancouver.
Cool neighbourhoods have been a thing ever since people pitched tents along the railway tracks next door to Fort Calgary.
Inglewood, Ramsay, Mission, Cliff Bungalow, Beltline and the uber-popular East Village are some of the current obvious ones, and as far as a quadrant goes, the South West has had more than its fair share of popularity.
It’s time to set our sights on Calgary’s North West as the latest and greatest spot in Calgary’s urban landscape.
First, think of the fantastic amenities particularly in what might be called the outside inner-city ring. The Alberta Children’s Hospital and nearby Foothills Hospital. The University of Calgary and the exciting University District project going in next door. SAIT is also in the North West. The neighbourhoods surrounding these areas is on the verge of becoming the latest and greatest.
That includes Montgomery, University Heights, Varsity, Parkdale and further east, Mount Pleasant. And not just for people who work at these places or attend classes, but for families as well.
With so much redevelopment doing on, families are again beginning to populate some of these aging neighbourhoods, bringing back a vitality, energy and desirability. New homes with modern layouts and back yards, within walking distance of local schools.
One of the things that makes a community desirable is the ability to hold value, and that seems to be happening in some of these close-in North West areas, even during the downturn.
A main-street area or local gathering spot is also part of the attraction of an emerging neighbourhood. Montgomery is a good example of this where new condo development has brought coffee shops and restaurants to the streetscape. Live up, dine, shop and socialize down all in what is now referred to as a walkable strip and in Montgomery, this is happening along Bowness Road and to a lesser extent, 16 Ave NW. In Mount Pleasant, it’s 20 Ave NW and especially 4 St NW. It’s what gives a neighbourhood soul.
Readily accessible transit is also a factor in creating a great neighbourhood. The mid-century community of Brentwood is immediately north of the University of Calgary. The community has reluctantly embraced transit oriented development out of fear that they will use the uniqueness of their community and with it, families. However, TOD has brought exciting new condominium towers by the LRT Station and revitalization of the local shopping plazas. The renewed commitment on behalf of long-time residents to keep their community safe and whole has within itself created a community buzz. This in turn as brought a renewed vitality to the local library, the hockey rinks and a new vibrancy that, as an older neighbourhood, it was in danger of losing.
The East Village has its place as an emerging neighbourhood. But the North West communities just might be where it’s at in the next few years.
And it’s about time.