Middle-ring neighbourhoods like Canyon Meadows have many of the amenities of an established inner-city community, combined with the large lots and green spaces typical of a newer suburb. CREB®Now Archive

The forgotten option

Middle-ring neighbourhoods offer perfect balance of suburban charm and inner-city convenience

Between the inner city and the burgeoning suburbs lie Calgary’s so-called “middle-ring neighbourhoods,” a concept explored in a 2010 study by the University of Calgary’s faculty of environmental design.

As the study describes, Calgary’s 80 middle-ring neighbourhoods – which include communities like Acadia, Glamorgan and Huntington Hills – are those developed between the 1950s and 1970s and “poised to undergo redevelopment.”

Canyon Meadows, established in 1963, is one such community. When Gurmit Bhachu, the current president of the Canyon Meadows Community Association, moved to Calgary in 2004, he and his wife looked for a home.

“I had gone down Elbow Drive. I hit a neighbourhood with lots of trees, and I thought I was leaving the city,” said Bhachu. “A few months later, we were looking for homes, and we came across Canyon Meadows, and I realized this was the neighbourhood I had thought marked the edge of the city.”

“We all have sidewalks, big driveways, places to park and roads that are wide enough you can actually pass your neighbour’s car.” – Mike Mikkelson, Lake Bonavista Homeowners Association president

Besides the greenery, Bhachu says he and his wife were looking to settle in a community with convenient transit access and schools for their future family. Unlike many of the new suburbs, Canyon Meadows fulfilled both those needs. Today, Bhachu’s two daughters attend the community elementary and junior high schools, and E.P. Scarlett High School awaits when they get a bit older.

Over the past 14 years, Bhachu says he has noticed a shift in the community’s demographic towards more families.

“The population in 2004 was really different, with more seniors and fewer kids,” he said. “It feels more vibrant these days, with more children.”

Mike Mikkelson, president of the Lake Bonavista Homeowners Association, has witnessed similar changes occurring in his own community.

“We still have a lot of seniors in the community, but we’re getting a revitalization of families again,” said Mikkelson, who has lived in Calgary’s original lake community for the past 23 years. “The community is recycling.”

Mikkelson says the “big draw” to Lake Bonavista is the lake. “The lake is the centrepiece of the community,” he said.

As with other established, middle-ring neighbourhoods, Mikkelsen points to the community’s social amenities as another part of its appeal, including five schools, three churches and established shopping areas. It’s also near several major arteries, including Anderson Road, Deerfoot Trail and Macleod Trail.

“Lake Bonavista is a 45-year-old community. Everything is getting older, but you get big yards, lots of green space and houses are not on top of each other, as in many newer communities,” said Mikkelson, adding that each home is distinct.

“We all have sidewalks, big driveways, places to park and roads that are wide enough you can actually pass your neighbour’s car.”

Like Bhachu, Mikkelson cites a “pride of ownership” in the community, describing it as “a little oasis in Calgary.”

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