First established in the 1960s, the Calgary community of Varsity is known for its variety of amenities, vast green spaces and mix of single and multifamily homes.
As of the 2013 Civic Census, Varsity is home to 12,265 residents in 5,666 dwellings, the second largest community in Ward One behind Tuscany.
Varsity is a bustle of activity especially in the fall as students return to their studies at the University of Calgary. The university is also home to the Olympic Oval, site for the 1988 Winter Olympics where speed skating made its indoor Olympic debut. The oval includes three ice surfaces, one long track speed skating oval and two Olympic-size hockey rinks. The oval continues to attract athletes from around the world to train and compete at the facility while the ice surfaces are home to the University of Calgary Dinos hockey men’s and women’s hockey teams.
For fans of shopping, there are several strip-malls and box stores. Market and Northland Village mall’s offer up retail names such as American Apparel, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Swarovski and Winners.
For taking advantage of the sunshine and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends there are several parks in the area including Nose Hill Park, John Laurie Park, Varsity Estates Park and Bowmont Park Natural Area. For golfers, there’s the convenient Silver Springs Golf & Country Club located off 53rd Street NW. Sports fans have easy access to nearby McMahon Stadium and the Saddledome is just a short CTrain ride away.
A natural jewel of the community, Bowmont Park Natural Area is currently in the midst of two improvement projects to enhance enjoyment of the park. In May 2013, public feedback was gathered regarding concepts developed for the former Klippert gravel pit located in the east portion of the park. Off-leash areas will also be adjusted for the betterment of the park.
“The Off-Leash Area Management Plan outlines specific criteria to protect sensitive natural areas,” said Chris Manderson, Parks Natural Areas Management lead. “At the same time, Parks recognizes the value that Calgarians place on off-leash areas. The proposed changes to off-leash boundaries are intended to better protect sensitive habitats and to also make the boundaries more clear to the park user through better signs and sight lines. While some space was removed to protect the natural area, additional space was added in less sensitive locations within the park.”
For families with school-aged children there are plenty of schools within walking distance including F.E Osborne School, Marion Carson School and St. Vincent De Paul School. Bookworms can get their fix at the Calgary Public Library located just off Northmount Drive in Brentwood or in nearby Crowfoot.
University of Calgary
Ranked one of Canada’s top eight research universities, the University of Calgary was founded in 1966 and lies minutes from Varsity’s borders. Sod was turned for the current campus in 1958 with the first faculties of the university including fine arts, graduate studies, social work and medicine. The university is currently nearing the completion of its largest expansion ever including the Taylor Family Digital Library and the Energy, Environment and Experiential Learning building.
Alberta Children’s Hospital
After staying in the same location for more than 80 years, the new Alberta Children’s Hospital was opened to the public at its current location along Shaganappi Drive in 2006. Today, the majority of the patients treated at the hospital are outpatients and the facility includes features such as heated, covered walkways, sleeping facilities in each of the inpatient rooms, a healthy cafeteria menu and gardens surrounding the building to allow for relaxation.
Bowmont Park Natural Area
Created in the 1980s, Bowmont Park Natural Area encompasses 164 hectares along the northern bank of the Bow River and is named for the nearby communities of Bowness and Montgomery. The park is known for its playgrounds, sports fields, off leash areas, hiking trails, cliff faces and wide variety of plant and grass life.