It’s early afternoon on a chilly Saturday in January, and in Calgary’s southeast community of Sundance, groups of teenagers gather to play a friendly game of shinny on the frozen, manmade lake that serves as a hub for the community. There is camaraderie here – an old-fashioned feeling of belonging. A fire pit takes centre stage at the upper skating rink, and an oversized sculpture of Santa Claus and his sleigh – remnants from holiday festivities – graces the promenade level of the park.
Just across Sun Valley Boulevard to the north, in neighbouring Midnapore, similar good times are unfolding. Here, young tots are sipping on hot chocolate, as mom and dad tug at their skate laces in preparation for a family glide along the shores of Lake Midnapore.
Midnapore and Sundance are two lake communities that flow into one another, sharing the same extensive amenities, from shopping centres to schools.
Each community revolves around its own beautifully landscaped, manmade lake, designed for the exclusive use of residents and their guests. Both lakes were carved out of the bedrock in the late 1970s. In fact, in 1976, when Lake Midnapore was dredged, 1.5 million cubic yards of sand were moved to create the 30-acre lake. Lake Sundance is roughly the same size at 33 acres. Both lakes are surrounded by acres of park space full of walking pathways, toboggan hills, fire pits and resident clubhouses.
“With the lake, there is so much to do. It’s a four-season playground.” – Joanie Cobb, Midnapore resident
Homes in both areas began sprouting up after the creation of the lakes and many still retain the charm and flavour of late-1970s and early 1980s styling. Today, 10,000 residents call Sundance home, with close to 3,500 homes peppering the community – some backing onto the lake, some with private lake access and others gracing tree-lined streets.
Anne Radic purchased a home in Sundance during the mid-1980s and recalls the developer being very hands-on, with well-defined architectural controls.
“We moved here in 1986 and basically bought a plot of earth,” she said. Since then, she and her husband have built two homes and raised a family.
She’s watched the community evolve and grow over the years, especially the amenities and nearby business park. But she notes it’s really the lake that makes the community special.
The 7,300 residents that live in Midnapore are spread throughout the community in homes on winding tree-lined streets and cul-de-sacs. Many of the homes are bungalow, bi-level or split-level designs. The sweet spot in the community is along its northern perimeter, where it spills into Fish Creek Park, giving residents instant access to nature.
Joanie Cobb and her family recently purchased in Midnapore, and she is thrilled with the community and its sense of connectedness.
“With the lake, there is so much to do. It’s a four-season playground,” she said. “Plus, with Fish Creek Park just next door, I can take the kids for nice long walks, and there is so much wildlife. It’s just beautiful.”