The flow of history

Calgary’s rivers have shaped the city’s development since its inception

In 1875, members of the North West Mounted Police built a fort at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.

Fort Calgary quickly attracted early settlers to the area, and a thriving little community started to grow – one that never strayed far from the rivers that would shape its development.

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Making a mark

Battistella Developments raises the bar for architectural design in the Calgary condo market

Battistella Developments’ condo highrises are marked by explosive colour and sharp artistry, boldly standing in several trendy neighbourhoods across Calgary’s urban core.

Their names – and striking architecture – have become iconic: Orange, Chocolate, Chartreuce, Brunette, Ink, Pixel and Colours.

The goal is to bring something unique to the market, “every single time,” said Chris Pollen, Battistella’s director of sales and marketing.

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Inward growth

City continues process of intensification, as communities adjust to higher-density living

For a long time, news stories about development in Calgary tended to paint a picture of a city growing out of control, with headlines like “Calgary battles urban sprawl” or “Calgary versus the car: the city that declared war on urban sprawl.”

Rylan Graham, an instructor in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, says after the Second World War, much of the population growth in cities occurred on the urban-rural fringe.

“This is the form of growth that is often connected with the term urban sprawl,” he said. “Generally, planning has come to recognize the ills of urban sprawl – that it is unsustainable socially, economically and environmentally.”

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Inner-city escapes

Parks are especially important in densely developed downtown

“Quality, not quantity” is how City of Calgary parks manager Keath Parker characterizes green spaces in Calgary’s downtown core, an area that’s not only home to tall office towers, but residential neighbourhoods as well, including the Beltline (Connaught and Victoria Park), East Village and Eau Claire.

Parker explains it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that the province’s Municipal Government Act (MGA) gave municipalities the authority to take up to 10 per cent of a development for open public space. Residential neighbourhoods developed prior to that tend not to have as much green space as those created after the MGA.

However, Calgary’s downtown is still far from a cold, concrete jungle. In fact, there are 24 parks in the downtown area covering roughly 65 hectares of open green space, according to the City.

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Community rebirth

Revitalized East Village is becoming “the place to be” in downtown Calgary

The summer sun rises eagerly in the early morning sky, casting a glittering cascade of twinkling light on the surface of the Bow River. Joggers and dog walkers scoot along the river pathway, enjoying the public art and the perfection of nature against the city’s skyline. The smell of freshly roasted coffee and savoury bready morsels wafts from the Simmon’s Building, its glass-sheathed doors flung open in anticipation of the day. Just steps away, store owners set out their wares in the newly launched pop-up retail park, as brightly coloured shipping containers frame the backdrop and the East Village hums to life.

“The East Village is all about connecting people and the new pop-up retail park – East Village Junction – is one of the major place-making initiatives happening this summer,” said Jessa Morrison, senior manager of marketing and communications for Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, the developer behind the East Village, a 49-acre revitalization project on the east side of Calgary’s downtown.

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