The rural lifestyle, proximity to Calgary and strong community spirit are all part of the appeal of Priddis. The hamlet is also home to its own church, coffee shop, convenience store and pub. Courtesy Ann and Sandy Cross

Priddis provides picturesque, rural lifestyle in Calgary’s shadow

Ed Osborne, the president of the Priddis Community Association and a former agricultural consultant, recalls when he relocated from the Calgary community of Woodbine to Priddis some 15 years ago.

“I grew up on and off my uncle’s farm in Manitoba. I always wanted to live in the country,” said Osborne, adding the allure of rural living is what drew him to the tiny hamlet about 10 kilometres west of Calgary’s city limits.

“We have every kind of fruit tree and bush, from currants and plums to apples and wild cherries.” Osborne says more than 50 bird species pass through the area yearly and, on any given day, it’s not uncommon to see a handful of deer in the yard.

Another charm of Priddis living, according to Osborne, is the water quality. “Our water is like bottled spring water, and it has a bit of naturally occurring fluoride in it,” he said. “I haven’t had a cavity since I’ve been out here.”

Besides a desire for the rural lifestyle, Osborne says it’s a “special kind of person” who chooses to live in Priddis, including independent business owners, farm owners and operators, retirees and contractors.

“The community participation rate is high in the hamlet, 30-40 per cent for any given event.” – Ed Osborne, Priddis Community Association president

When it comes to those who are looking for starter homes, however, Osborne says Priddis may not be the best choice. “It’s not expensive to live in Priddis, but it is expensive to buy in,” he said, noting many homes start around $1 million.

Initial buy in aside, Osborne says lower living costs are a definite advantage of the area. He cites his own 5,000-square-foot bungalow that sits on three acres of land and has a three-car garage as an example. “My taxes are $300 per year,” he said, adding that the property taxes for a similar dwelling in Calgary proper would be several times higher.

And despite what one may assume, Osborne says living in Priddis does not mean isolation from the conveniences of the city, thanks to mass expansion and development along Calgary’s southern fringe, including the new South Health Campus and the southwest leg of the ring road. In fact, he estimates it takes only about 15 minutes to drive from Priddis to Shawnessy, where he regularly goes to the YMCA.

Osborne says part of the appeal of living in Priddis is the strong sense of community. The community organizes many events open to Priddis and area residents, from casino nights to jazzercise. “The community participation rate is high in the hamlet, 30-40 per cent for any given event,” he said.

Many of the activities centre around the hamlet’s historic community hall, which is booked every day of the year. Because of its picturesque location beside Fish Creek Provincial Park, it’s also a popular spot for weddings.

Priddis also boasts a church, a coffee shop, a convenience store and a pub.

Osborne says, to the chagrin of locals, cyclists from Calgary frequently come to Priddis in the summer.

“All the back roads are paved, and the area’s aesthetics are attractive,” he said. “The weather here is also pretty good, and we have a few options for refreshments in town.”