Plenty of new amenities and features slated for Calgary’s downtown and beyond
For Mission resident Michelle Norman, living in the inner city allows for a variety of amenities but also some reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city.
“There are plenty of running paths along the Elbow River, which is beautiful in the evening, and allows you to feel like you’ve escaped the city for awhile,” she said.
“[Mission has] a variety of unique restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and shopping. You can do anything, from taking a yoga class, spin classes or even go and see a little art gallery. It’s walking distance from 17th Avenue and the core. The people are really friendly.”
Mission isn’t the only inner city spot catering to active residents like Norman. Calgary’s Centre City, comprised of almost a dozen communities centred by the downtown core is home to more than 39,000 people or three per cent of the city’s total population.
For residents of the inner city and beyond, here are some new features and amenities — either in construction or planned — to further enrich the area.
Located one block east of City Hall in new inner city hot spot the East Village, the new Central Library will include approximately 240,000 square feet of usable space, including room for a 600,000 book collection.
“The new Central Library has been a long time coming, and moving forward with this project was a key part of my platform when I was first elected,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The library’s design came from two years of public engagements ending with a public open house in mid-2013 in which more than 1,000 Calgarians turned out to hear how feedback had been incorporated — including wide range of gathering places and a plaza on Third Street S.E.
Construction on the site is underway with encapsulation of the LRT. The library is expected to open its doors in 2018.
National Music Centre
Quickly making its mark on the surrounding landscape, the National Music Centre (NMC), also located in East Village, is scheduled to open next year.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Gary Duke, project manager for the centre. “I’m thrilled to be involved in the project. A building like this has never been built before.”
Incorporating the historic King Edward Hotel into its design, the NMC will include five floors of exhibitions on the history of music in Canada, education programs for all ages, a collection of musical instruments and sound equipment available to artists for new works and live performances by national and international artists.
Urban Dog Park
There are 150 public off-leash dog parks in Calgary and, coming this year, inner city pooches will be allowed that same leash-less freedom in Connaught Park in the Beltline. The Connaught Park off-leash area will be the first fenced, urban park of its kind.
Construction on the park is expected to begin later this year.
In the community of Bankview, an old school is being given a new lease on life as an artistic and educational haven. The century-old King Edward School is the centrepiece for CSpace, which will include a variety of spaces for artists and non-profits to collaborate at below-market rent.
Changes to the school include full restoration of the façade, reinstatement of windows that were covered over in the 1970s, installation of environmentally friendly rubber shingles and modernization to a LEED Gold certification.