Courtesy City of Airdrie

Airdrie resident and REALTOR® Matt Carre was always a big-city guy. He was born in Montreal and grew up in Toronto, with a few years spent in major U.S. centres. In 2004, he moved to Calgary.

But in 2006, he left the big city and moved to Airdrie with his wife and fellow Realtor Michelle, who was born and raised in the charming, community-centric city of just over 68,000 people. It didn’t take long for him to change his allegiances.

“I’ve often described Airdrie as being a very aggressive community in establishing its own identity. We are not satisfied with just being a bedroom community of Calgary,” said Carre.

“Because of that, we are a very connected community. Whether it is the support behind the local food bank, the building of a women’s shelter, or the Blue Zones Project, people get behind it.”

In keeping with that spirit of giving back, the Carres founded the Airdrie Angel Program in 2013 to assist struggling families by offering need-based gift packages ranging in value from $1,500 to $2,000. So far, they have helped 94 families and provided over $180,000 of cash, gift cards and other items.

While a community’s character often stems from the grassroots level, it must also be supported on a municipal level, and Airdrie’s municipal leadership is championing strong growth and cutting-edge sustainability endeavours.

“I’ve often described Airdrie as being a very aggressive community in establishing its own identity. We are not satisfied with just being a bedroom community of Calgary.” -Matt Carre, Airdrie Resident & REALTOR®

As part of its Airdrie One initiative, the City of Airdrie is working with Enmax Energy to install 3,900 solar panels on the roof of the Genesis Place recreation centre. It will be the largest rooftop municipal solar array in Canada. Once it is up and running, the solar system is expected to produce 1.59 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power 220 average households.

Emissions will be reduced by more than 1,000 tonnes in the first year – the equivalent of taking 275 vehicles off the road or planting 21,000 trees.

“This source of renewable energy will also reduce overall electricity cost for the facility by up to $80,000, making it good for the environment and for taxpayers,” said Chris Reason, project manager in the capital projects office with the City of Airdrie.

Meanwhile, Airdrie’s housing market remains attractively affordable, with significant resale and new-build single- and multi-family options available.

“Half of Airdrie’s population growth has been from Calgary. It offers a great opportunity. The real estate price differential is significant,” said Carre.

“Although pricing fluctuates and is relative to what you are buying, it is around $80,000-$100,000 less to purchase a single-family home in Airdrie compared to Calgary.”