It’s ironic that despite its strong prominence and familiarity, the southwest community of Marda Loop isn’t technically a community at all.
A quick scan of the city’s latest census shows no sign of the area commonly referred to as Marda Loop, which is actually a Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ).
Bordering the community of South Calgary, which in turn has Bankview as its neighbour, Marda Loop makes up for what it lacks in officiality by being one of the city’s most sought after places to call home.
“It’s easy to get anywhere in the city, because you have access to Crowchild Trail, Glenmore Trail, Sarcee and the highway to the west, and downtown is literally just a quick bus ride or drive away,” says area resident Paul Kenney.
Along with the area’s easy access to the rest of the city, Kenney had plenty of praise for Marda Loop itself, evidenced by the fact he’s called the neighbourhood home for more than 20 years.
“It’s a very convenient place to live and for getting around. What I like about living here is you don’t have to drive your car if you don’t want to,” says Kenney, who can list a host of amenities within walking distance of his home, including grocery stores, restaurants and many others.
One feature Kenney is just beginning to appreciate is the city’s bike path network. Stretching nearly 800 km along the Bow & Elbow Rivers, Fish Creek Provincial Park, Nose Creek, West Nose Creek, the Western Irrigation District Canal and the perimeter of Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary’s extensive path system sits just a few minutes ride or walk from Marda Loop.
“I got a new bike this summer, and I can ride down to the Glenmore Dam and all along the pathways. It’s beautiful and there are lots of places to explore. That’s another thing I really love about the area,” he says.
A yearly showcase of all that’s great about the area, thousands of Calgarians gather every year for the annual Marda Gras festival. Hosted by the Marda Loop BRZ on 33rd and 34th Avenues SW, just east of Crowchild Trail, the festival includes bands, vendors and tasty food options.
Phil & Sebastian
Phil & Sebastian is a name synonymous with good coffee and its Marda Loop location in Calgary is no exception. Started by two Calgary engineers, Phil & Sebastian made its start at the Calgary Farmer’s Market and since then, as well as Marda Loop, have expanded to Chinook Centre and soon to the Simmons Building.
In a city known for its love of all things brunch, the nearly everpresent line at the Belmont Diner stands as proof of the spots popularity. Serving diner favorites like Smoked Meat Hash, French Toast and the excellent Calgary Sandwich, the food at Belmont is worth the wait.
One of the city’s most popular pooch-friendly parks, River Park is located in Calgary’s southwest on the ridge above Sandy Beach and has a large designated offleash area. Looking north towards downtown, Calgary’s impressive skyline provides a picturesque backdrop for the city’s canines and their companions.
Alexander Calhoun Library
Named for Calgary’s first librarian, who was appointed Chief Librarian of the Central Library (now known as the Central Memorial Park Library), the Alexander Calhoun Library provides a quiet spot for readers to sit down and enjoy an old (or new) favourite book while taking in views of South Calgary Park.