Less is more

The benefits of small-space living

When software developer Mike Surbey and occupational therapist Kaitlyn Bernardin got married earlier this month, they were already ensconced in a 498-square-foot, one-bedroom condo just off popular 17th Avenue S.W.

The young couple — he’s 32 and she’s 29 — along with their cat, love their open-concept, efficient space in Grosvenor’s Smith project in the Beltline. The smaller living space is the perfect fit for their lifestyle.

“We don’t accumulate a lot of stuff and it is really easy to clean,” said Bernardin.

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Living the high life

Patricia and Michael Insole went from renters to buyers and never looked back

For Patricia and Michael Insole, timing was everything when it came to purchasing their penthouse condo in Calgary’s inner-city Beltline neighbourhood.

They weren’t really looking to buy a home, but when the building where they were renting became a condominium conversion, they jumped at the chance to purchase. They gathered a down payment, borrowing from family and friends, and purchased their 1,700-square-foot condo on the 15th floor. (more…)

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Old community, new energy

Historic Connaught provides inner-city lifestyle with old-world charm

Humming with an eclectic, urban vibe, Calgary’s inner-city community of Connaught attracts a variety of residents, from millennials to empty nesters. The community brims with multi-family housing, tree-lined parks, community vegetable gardens, purpose-built dog playgrounds, and a variety of unique restaurant and retail offerings. As an added bonus, many of these businesses, such as Kalamata Grocery and Analog Coffee, are spearheaded by local entrepreneurs.

“There is just this huge appeal – there are the parks and the trees and you are also in the thick of it. It’s a real community where there is something for everyone,” said Connaught resident Patricia Insole.

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Affordable core

Joshua Smith achieved his ideal downtown lifestyle at the right price point with a new Beltline condo

Joshua Smith, a 31-year-old communications adviser, was living in the northeast community of Taradale with his brother, commuting close to two hours a day to his job in the downtown core and back. His goal was to save some money and purchase a condo in the inner city. He yearned for the downtown lifestyle, where he could be close to coffee shops, restaurants and workout facilities. He wanted to be able to walk to work, and to meet friends for dinner or drinks without having to worry about a lengthy drive or an expensive cab fare. He also required a home with a great view, and it had to be affordable.

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Inner-city escapes

Parks are especially important in densely developed downtown

“Quality, not quantity” is how City of Calgary parks manager Keath Parker characterizes green spaces in Calgary’s downtown core, an area that’s not only home to tall office towers, but residential neighbourhoods as well, including the Beltline (Connaught and Victoria Park), East Village and Eau Claire.

Parker explains it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that the province’s Municipal Government Act (MGA) gave municipalities the authority to take up to 10 per cent of a development for open public space. Residential neighbourhoods developed prior to that tend not to have as much green space as those created after the MGA.

However, Calgary’s downtown is still far from a cold, concrete jungle. In fact, there are 24 parks in the downtown area covering roughly 65 hectares of open green space, according to the City.

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