Originally individual town sites, the Calgary communities of Bowness and Montgomery today have become two of the city’s most established neighbourhoods.
In 1911, when entrepreneur John Hextall registered subdivision plans for the framework of a village along the banks of the Bow River, little did he know that village would become one of Calgary’s most beloved communities.
The 100-acres of land Hextall donated to Calgary, first used as a weekend retreat for residents of the nearby city, today is one of its most endearing parks sealing his legacy in local history books. With Hextall’s plans stalled by the First World War Bowness didn’t become a village until 1948 but quickly graduated to town status in 1952. It was annexed by the City of Calgary in 1964.
Today Bowness continues to be a hustle and bustle of activity with a family oriented feel which includes events such as the annual Ice Breaker and Valentines Dance.
“Bowness is a community on the rise, I’ve been here myself for about eight years and I’ve seen it grow and change,” said Derek Podlubny, president of the Bowness Community Association. “There’s a lot of young families moving in, the yards and properties are pretty large compared to most inner city properties, there’s lots of amenities out there and there’s lots to do.”
Nestled in the heart of the community, Bowness Park has continued to be one of Calgary’s most popular green spaces since its early days as a weekend retreat in the early 1900s. From skating and marshmallow roasts in the winter to picnics and boating in the summer, the park is a City landmark.
In the spring of 2012, the park began a redevelopment project, which will see various renovations including a new central pedestrian area, a new wading pool, riverbank restoration and centralized parking to improve traffic flow.
Just down the river to the east of Bowness, the village of Montgomery was amalgamated into the City of Calgary in 1963. Today, Montgomery is a very tight-knit, community-oriented neighbourhood flanked by Shouldice Park.
Named after James Shouldice, a pioneer who donated land to the City on the condition it be used for a park – the area sat untouched for 40 years after his death before being developed in the late ‘60s.
The park is very popular with Calgarians and includes a playground, picnic sites, baseball diamonds and soccer fields.
Residents of Montgomery participate in a number of community events throughout the year including Noktoberfest, a community garden, community clean ups and the Humpty’s Awards. The Humpty’s Awards are an initiative of the local Humpty’s restaurant awarded to Montgomery residents who demonstrate special community citizenship.
Bow Cycle has been a Calgary mainstay in its location on Bowness Road since 1957. Founded by Jim Sibthorpe Sr., in the beginning the store sold products including bicycles, toys, sporting equipment and fishing tackle. After an expansion in 1973, Bow Cycle became the only bike store in the city to have a separate accessories department. Today Bow Cycle offers up a second location in the southeast and continues to set the standard for anything and everything to do with cycling in Calgary. Bow Cycle
Originally from Ontario, James Shouldice and his family eventually settled on a 470-acre farm west of Calgary, land that would eventually become the village of Montgomery. Shouldice donated the land to the City on grounds it would become a park. Today Shouldice is one of the city’s busiest parks with features such as playgrounds, picnic sites, baseball diamonds and privately operated batting cages. Aside from outdoor activities, the park also includes the Shouldice Aquatic Centre and Shouldice Arena. Shouldice Park
Echoing the ‘50s drive-in era of days gone by, Angel’s Drive In is a little piece of nostalgia tucked away in the community of Bowness. Serving up classics such as the Bowness Burger, Hot Turkey Dinner and fried chicken to the not so classic drive in fare of donairs and veggie burgers, Angel’s has something for everyone and is a convenient spot to grab a picnic lunch before heading to Bowness Park. When the weather is fitting, the drive in has a classic car and hot rod night every Wednesday. Angels Drive Thru
Voted second for fine dining in all of Calgary according to the popular foodie site Urbanspoon, NOtaBLE in Montgomery is one of the city’s most popular restaurants. Featuring the culinary creations of Chef Michael Noble, NOtaBLE includes dishes such as a new burger on the menu every month, crispy duck confit, pan-seared Queen Charlotte Sablefish, chocolate salted caramel tarte and the restaurants signature Stilton cheesecake. As stated on the website Chef Noble says, “don’t think fine dining, think great food.” NOtaBLE