Northwest niches

Communities of Bowness, Montgomery retain small town charm, big city amenities

Nestled along the Bow River in the city’s northwest, the communities of Bowness and Montgomery each enjoy storied histories dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

Even today, their modern-day transformations from towns to neighbourhoods are far from complete, with ongoing development redefining expectations of life in Calgary.
Before the First World War, Bowness was a “suburb perfect” vision of Englishman John Hextall, the visionary behind Bowness Park.

“But for Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, Bowness might have been one of Canada’s most exclusive residential communities,” wrote John Taylor for the Calgary Herald in 1959.

The area retained its independence until being amalgamated by Calgary in 1964. While controversy around land-use designations and the extension of Sarcee Trail later sparked conversations about the community joining the then-District of Rockyview, Bowness remains a thriving cultural hub within the city that many residents still prize for its uncharacteristic diversity.

“I really like the location – close to downtown, near the river,” said Bowness resident Casey Irving. “The main strip is very cool. It has shops, a library, restaurants and things to do.

“I have awesome neighbours. The community usually has cool things going on.”
Irving’s not alone in her affinity for Bowness. According to the recent City’s civic census, the community’s population grew by 8.2 per cent in 2014 from 2010 to 11,611 residents.

Down the river to the east, Montgomery was similarly amalgamated into the city, just a year before Bowness in 1963.

And like neighbouring Bowness, “Montgomery retains many of its small-town charms,” said the Montgomery Business Revitalization Zone.

“It boasts a highly walkable environment, a mixture of commercial, residential and recreation amenities in close proximity and a closely-knit community of residents and businesses.”

The community of 4,104 residents grew by 11 per cent in 2014 from 2010, according the City civic census. Most recently, it has become a community on the move, highlighted by a proposed development at nearby Paskapoo Slopes.

Developer Trinity Hills is proposing an urban-village style community on the 105 hectares of land adjacent to Canada Olympic Park, complete with residences, commercial, retail and entertainment offerings. While some residents have expressed concerns at the idea of losing a big chunk of natural land, Trinity Hills has said it will save two-thirds of the area for a regional park.

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