Old meets new in one of Calgary’s most established areas
One of the oldest communities in the city, Mission began as a French-speaking Catholic mission in 1875. In 1899 the community was incorporated as the Village of Rouleauville in what was at the time, the Northwest Territories.
Some of the original buildings still exist today, such as St. Mary’s Cathedral and the convent. The European vibe can still be felt – there is just something a little bit different about the area, which seems to bubble with what the French would call a je ne sais quoi.
In 1990, Mission joined Cliff Bungalow to form one community association, charged with protecting the character of the area.
“Today, the Cliff Bungalow-Mission community is definitely a community of residents. The people who live here really choose to get involved and love to live in their community,” said Jennifer Rempel, executive director of the 4th Street Business Improvement Area (BIA).
She also adds that the Lilac Festival celebrates the area’s French genesis.
“We called it the Lilac Festival because the French settlers brought the lilacs over and planted them on the side streets and the festival is held in June every year. It’s the time when the lilacs are blooming.”
The community, like the lilac bushes, has blossomed into an upscale, vibrant place to live and to hang out.
“In the past, Mission was really known for its artsy bohemian community and I think that still exists, but there is now actually a lot of young families and professionals moving into the neighbourhood,” said Rempel. She has seen a positive evolution during her 17 years with the BIA.
In the past, Mission was really known for its artsy bohemian community and I think that still exists, but there is now actually a lot of young families and professionals moving into the neighbourhood.
The humming vibe on 4th Street, with its upscale mom and pop stores, and wide array of eateries, bars and coffee shops is what attracted local resident Sheri Starko to the community.
“I love it here,” she said, of 4th Street’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and walkability. “Everything is within walking distance – grocery stores, coffee shops, my spin studio, and of course the river is a huge draw. When the weather is nice, it’s fantastic to go running along the pathways.”
Against this backdrop, 4th Street also offers a fulsome experience with medical, dental, and a selection of excellent restaurants, grocery stores, retail and work out facilities. It’s highly walkable and the streetscape boasts an array of public art, such as street sculpture, much of which was installed in the 1990s.
ree 10-foot high frogs lounging on a steel bench, Scene and Heard – four, five-foot high cows and a dog constructed from weathered steel ambling south along 4th Street or Chippendale Bench, the pink concrete chaise sofa crafted from textured metal on 4th Street at 15th Avenue.
When it comes to home offerings, Cliff Bungalow-Mission features an eclectic mix of housing opportunities from older rental apartments, converted Victorian homes, to upscale condominiums and infills.
The Duke by Avi Urban, a collection of townhomes and condominiums on 18th Avenue, is currently under construction. Meanwhile, Boulevard’s The District, which has 59 condominiums in the heart of Mission, is available for immediate occupancy.
Additionally, The River, an exclusive collection of riverside condominium-style homes fetches top market prices, even as the appetite for luxury homes wanes.
Rempel says future plans for the area include evolving densification, but woven with respect for the community’s heritage.
“The community really supports bringing a broad spectrum of people together,” said Starko.