Calgary City News Blog

Calgary City News Blog

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  • CTrain Operator rescues forgotten purse filled with birthday cash 29 March 2017 Calgary Transit customer Li Feng Yang got her 75th birthday wish.

    After receiving $1,300 in cash gifts from family and friends for her recent birthday, the mood went from joy to sorrow when she accidently left her purse containing the money on a CTrain during a trip to see her family doctor.

    Yang was also planning to deposit the money in the bank.

    She immediately notified Calgary Transit about her devastating loss.

    “It must have slipped off my arm,” Yang said of her purse, which plopped onto the seat beside her. After notifying Calgary Transit, the senior said she had a “sleepless night” wondering if she would ever see the purse and money again.

    Enter CTrain operator Mesfin Tadese. “I found it on the train during a walk through at 69th Street,” Tadese said. “I called it in and kept it safe with me.” The purse was turned over to Calgary Transit’s lost property unit and returned to Yang with all its precious contents intact.

    “I was just so happy,” said Yang. “I’m so grateful!”

    “I’m just glad she got her purse back” Tadese said. “I wouldn’t want to lose that amount of cash.”

    Every day, 50 to 100 forgotten items are turned in to Calgary Transit’s lost property department. It takes teamwork behind the scenes to help with the speedy return of wallets, cell phones and other valuables left behind. Everything from musical instruments to false teeth have turned up after being mistakenly left behind on buses and CTrains. Winter is peak season for forgotten goods, most notably toques, gloves and scarves.

    All found items are collected at our bus garages and secured in a metal bin for delivery to our Centre Street Lost Property office.

    Lost property can be reported online at or by calling 403-268-1600. Owners can also call 403-262-1000 to learn if their property has been turned in. Be prepared to give a detailed description of the lost item, the date and time it was lost and the route number.

    Providing transit service that is helpful is part of Calgary Transit’s Customer Commitment.

  • Green Line LRT Update – March Committees 24 March 2017

    What was discussed and what it means

    The City of Calgary’s Green Line LRT team is continuing to explore potential routes in the Beltline and working towards finalizing the alignment on the north segment of the line. This month, we presented information updates to two City Council committees. Here is a breakdown of what was discussed and approved in these meetings.

    SPC on Planning and Urban Development – March 8

    Green Line TOD: The focus of this report was to provide an overview of the transit oriented development (TOD) planning activities undertaken so far. These activities will inform a future TOD Implementation Strategy. Members of the Council Committee asked questions around how the Green Line is approaching TOD differently than previous projects, and how our efforts relate to the other planned and existing TOD sites in Calgary. Read the meeting minutes or watch the recording here.

    Update on Area Redevelopment Plans (ARP) – March 8

    The Planning and Urban Development (PUD) committee approved a deferral of the Inglewood ARP, Ramsay ARP, Millican-Ogden ARP and South Hill Station Area Plans, to return to Council no later than Q4 2018. This deferral allows us time to learn more about the final alignment of the LRT, the Developed Areas Guidebook and the TOD Implementation Strategy. In June, we will be working with Community Associations in each of these areas to determine our next steps, together. Please stay tuned to our website and our newsletter for regular updates, and learn about opportunities for public participation.

    SPC on Transportation and Transit – March 15

    This quarterly presentation to Committee included an update on program progress, including an update of the alignment on the north segment, and an update on the evaluation of Beltline alignment options. Committee unanimously approved the recommendation to narrow the focus of work to the underground option for 12 Avenue S, between 2 Street S.W. and Macleod Trail S.E. Administration has not made a recommendation for the alignment connecting the Beltline with Inglewood/Ramsay Station, as more technical investigation and community engagement is required. Read the meeting minutes or watch the recording here.

    Green Line in Ramsay

    The City’s Green Line team has started working with the community of Ramsay to discuss the possible implications and opportunities of an alignment option on MacDonald Avenue S.E. We hosted a public meeting on Thursday, March 2, and continue to meet with property owners one-on-one. 

    We heard many questions and comments from the community, and submitted that feedback as part of our report to SPC on Transportation and Transit on March 15. Those questions and comments have been compiled here (Click “open” if dialogue box appears). We don’t have all the answers to your questions yet, but you can see early responses to some of your frequently asked questions here (Click “open” if dialogue box appears). We will keep you informed and involved as we move through the evaluation of the MacDonald Avenue S.E. option. Stay tuned for details about upcoming engagement opportunities by subscribing to our community email list

    Provide your input

    There are currently online opportunities to provide your input on the north leg of the Green Line! Get involved at . Stay informed on the overall project by visiting

  • After a cold and snowy winter, crews set sights on spring road maintenance 22 March 2017
    Snowier weather could come back at any time, and if it does, crews will be ready for it. But in the meantime, The City’s focus has turned to spring maintenance work.
    Crews take on a variety of projects as temperatures rise and roads become drier, including:
    ·         Clearing catch basins: Crews clear the area around catch basins with a grader so that water can run into it. In some instances, they’ll move ice from the shady side of the street near around a catch basin to the sunny side, where it can melt.

    ·         Filling potholes: Every year The City of Calgary fills over 10,000 potholes. Due to heavier snowfall over the last several months and the recent freeze-thaw cycle, crews expect to be filling more potholes than last summer. This year, crews are using an asphalt recycler built in-house, which will reduce material costs.

    ·         Picking up roadside debris: This includes general cleaning and garbage pickup on our streets and boulevards.

    ·         Training: Both new and seasoned members of City crews take pride in always being fully trained on the latest technologies and machinery. Crews train on new equipment and new techniques for upcoming projects.

    If the warm weather trend continues, The City anticipates that Spring Clean-up will launch in early April. Spring Clean-up is the annual street sweeping program that removes sanding materials and debris that has accumulated on roads over winter. Due to heavier snowfall and colder temperatures, crews applied about twice as much salt and gravel material to the roads this winter compared to last year. That means keeping streets clear of vehicles and bins to clear a path for sweepers will be especially important in the coming months. Check for program updates coming soon.

    Between potholes, windrows, and preparing for Spring-Cleanup, crews will continue to watch for potential snowfall. For questions about snow and ice control, visit, and if you see a pothole or blocked catch basin, please report it to 311.

  • Construction in Calgary remains strong in 2017 13 March 2017 Recent building permit values indicate a steady year of construction in 2017, says Calgary Building Services Director Kevin Griffiths.

    With $4.7 billion in building permits taken out last year, and total construction value up 29 per cent in the first two months of 2017 totaling $416 million, we continue to see interest in development despite the current economy.

    “Calgary is enviable in that we continue to be seen as a growth area,” says Griffiths. “We are still a region that is considered prosperous and an area of opportunity. In 2014, we were growing at a rate equal to New York City. It’s natural that we have slowed down a bit.”

    Building permit values 2007-2016

    One of the biggest projects in the works is Crosstown, a mixed-use development directly across from the Erlton-Stampede LRT station, with an estimated construction value of over $78 million. It will feature four residential towers and a high street pedestrian-oriented area with a grocery store and other shops.

    “We worked extensively with the community to develop the concept for Crosstown,” says Paul Faibish, vice president of development with Anthem Properties Group. “I think people are excited about what it will offer – it’s a very positive thing for the community. Right now, residents in that area have to walk over to Mission to get a coffee, pick up groceries and more. With Crosstown, those amenities will be right in Erlton.”

    The project will also include a pedestrian connection across Macleod Trail to the LRT station.

    Other developments that have taken out a building permit recently include Arris Towers, with a construction value of about $131 million, the Orchard at $57 million and Seton High School at $42 million.

    Building a great city together

    The City continues to work closely with industry partners to better serve our city and enable development that meets the needs of Calgarians. The Industry City Work Plan has identified opportunities to improve City processes to help get more projects to the construction phase. One example includes improvements on how The City processes several development permit application types, which has reduced the time it takes for developers to obtain decisions.

    “Improvements such as these make Calgary a more attractive place for real estate investment as they create more certainty in the process. This can contribute to moving our economy in the right direction,” says Griffiths.

    As part of the Industry City Work Plan, The City has significantly improved its review times on several key development permit applications types since March 2016.

    Top 15 building permit applications in 2016 by construction value

    For more information about developing our city, visit

  • What you should know before renovating your home 8 March 2017 Home renovations can be a lot of fun – styling your home with your own look and personality. As you begin planning your next improvement project, here are three things you should consider:

    1. Do your research

    One of most important steps, but often overlooked, is planning. Do your research first, so that you are not overwhelmed by the time, cost and requirements later on. A good place to start is for information on your project and the permitting and inspection requirements to make sure your home is safe.

    2. Hire the right professional

    Do-it-yourself projects can end up costing more in the long run, if you make mistakes or aren’t sure of the safety requirements. Hire a professional if you aren’t skilled in certain areas. If you are going to hire a contractor, make sure you ask for references and a written contract. You should also ensure they are licensed; use The City’s search tool to verify a licensed trade contractor.

    3. Get the right permits and inspections

    Depending on the extent of your renovation, you may need a permit. This is to ensure your project meets Alberta’s safety codes and bylaws, so that your family, neighbours and tenants are safe. Your permit includes City of Calgary inspections – so you have a certified plumber, gas fitter or electrician familiar with Alberta’s safety codes looking at your work. Our safety codes officers can answer your questions before or during your home renovation. Contact our Technical Assistance Centre for code related questions.

    To learn more about home improvements, inspections, hiring a contractor and more, visit

  • Working together to build a great city 8 March 2017 The City is planning for the future of our youngest citizens today. We’re focused on balancing growth and development while maintaining liveable community design and planning for the future.

    The total construction value for new building permits submitted to The City declined in 2016, but remained strong. In 2014 and 2015, Calgary experienced record highs for these types of applications (about $6 billion in each year), and in 2016 we saw numbers on par with 2011 and 2012. We issued over $4.7 billion in building permits, an indication that a good amount of construction was applied for in 2016. For those major projects applied for in 2016, construction is likely to have started or will start and continue over the 2017 and 2018 period.

    Here are a few highlights of our work in planning and development in 2016.

    Industry/City Work Plan

    In 2016, we processed key application types faster than previous years as part of the Industry/City Work Plan. These application types are:

    • Infill development permits: A planning application that allows the city to review a new home in a developed area to ensure it meets the rules of the Land Use Bylaw.
    • Development permit and land use amendment initial team reviews: a review to make sure your application is complete. The decision is whether to accept the file for review or not.
    • Development permit detailed team reviews: A review of your plans, with comments, that inform what you need to get an approval.
    • Development permit decisions with applicants: A planning application that allows the city to review a development to ensure it meets the rules of the land use bylaw.

    Inspections and permits

    City representatives continue to provide technical expertise and consult on provincial and national building, technical and environmental code standards. Last year, we verified that all new buildings and renovation projects met quality and safety standards by conducting almost 200,000 building and development inspections.

    In our Planning Services Centre, we connected with over 170,000 customers in person or over the phone last year, helping to answer questions about Alberta’s safety codes and The City’s Land Use Bylaw. We continued to put new permit types online, ending the year with all residential building permit types available on We took in 3,391 building and development permits through this system in 2016.

  • City hosts information sessions for projects in Inglewood and Ramsay 7 March 2017 The City is investing in Inglewood and Ramsay to make life better every day. With more than 20 City projects under construction or under consideration, we know there’s a lot going on. We want to make sure you have the information you need and the opportunity to ask questions, so we’re bringing many of these projects together for two public information sessions. Drop in at either of our upcoming information sessions to learn more and provide your input. These events are identical but offered at different times.

    Thursday, March 9
    4 – 8 p.m.
    Alexandra Centre
    922 9 Ave SE

    Saturday, March 11
    9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Festival Hall
    1215 10 Ave SE

    Drop in at any time to view the information boards and talk to the project teams. There will also be a brief presentation by the project manager every hour (at 5, 6, 7 p.m. on Thursday, and at 10, 11 a.m., 12 p.m. on Saturday).

    We hope you can join us on one of these dates, but if you’re unable to attend, you’ll have the opportunity to provide online input beginning Thursday, March 9.

    At the information session, you will learn more about:

    • How The City is coordinating these projects to help create the best possible neighbourhood with the lowest impact to your everyday during construction 
    • The 9 Avenue S.E. Main Streets Streetscapes project
    • The 12 Street S.E. Bridge Replacement project
    • The 9 Avenue S.E. Bridge Replacement project 
    • The 25 Avenue S.E. LRT Grade Separation Study 
    • The 17 Avenue S.E. BRT project 
    • The Inglewood Storm Trunk project
    • The Bioengineering project

    You will also be able to provide your input on:

    • The structure and design of the new 9 Avenue S.E. Bridge 
    • Landscaping and commemoration of the 12 Street S.E. Bridge
    • Priorities, ideas and concerns for the 25 Ave S.E. LRT Grade Separation Study
    • How you like to receive information from The City
    • How you like to provide input to The City
    • Your transportation priorities and how you get into, out of and around your community

    The City will be back later this spring to update you on project progress, and to collect more feedback, as each of the projects moves through their respective visioning, study, design or construction processes.

    Learn more about what we’re working on in Ramsay and Inglewood at, and stay up-to-date on the latest news by subscribing to our mailing list.

  • Roadway Activity Map allows citizens to identify projects happening in road right-of-ways 1 March 2017
    Have you ever been travelling down a street in Calgary and come upon a crew doing some work and wonder to yourself what kind of work are they doing? Now, you can find out easily by visiting The City of Calgary’s new Roadway Activity Map.
    This map is a collaboration between Roads and several other City business units, including Water Services, Water Resources, Transportation Infrastructure, Transportation Planning, Recreation, Corporate Analytics and Innovation, and Information Technology.

    Not just another map

    While The City has an array of helpful maps on the map gallery, The Roadway Activity Map sets itself apart by being a real-time application that shows both planned and active work. This includes both short term and long term projects including work like construction paving, sidewalk concrete work and microsurfacing.
    The map also has the functionality to show special events – such as road closures for parades or festivals.
    “This map was created to help eliminate potential conflicts from work happening on roadways (for example underground work happening on fresh pavement),” states Henry Sun, Business Strategist with Roads. “It provides both citizens and third party providers a glimpse at the bigger picture on our roadways in terms of construction.”

    Added benefits

    The map combines information from a number of data sources and allows both citizens and third party access to unprecedented information on work happening around Calgary.
    The Roadway Activity Map project is the first City map to use the ArcGIS Online technology, which is a Cloud-based technology solution. Unlike traditional map applications, the functions on the Map are called Widgets, which can be reused by other City map applications using the same ArcGIS Online technology.
    To see the map in action, visit
  • Calgary Recreation has what you need to get up, out and active this spring and summer 28 February 2017
    As we look forward to a spring thaw, Calgary’s Spring/Summer Recreation Program Guide has hit stands at Recreation facilities around the city. In the printed guide, and online, you’ll find thousands of day camps, classes and programs designed to help you and your family shake off the winter blues and become more active and creative.

    There are programs for every age, skill level and interest. Some of our popular programs include:

    For children & youth:

    • Day Camps – everything from sports to dance, 3D Animation to “Zombies & Ninjas.” 
    • Skateboarding lessons – for beginner to intermediate skateboarders.
    • Dance – including Hip-hop, Ballet, Jazz and Irish. 
    • Martial Arts – try Aikido, Karate, Kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do, or Tai Chi. No previous experience required.
    • Junior Sailing Club – learn the fundamentals of sailing surrounded by the beauty of the Glenmore Reservoir. 

    For Adults:

    • Whip that body into shape with Bootcamp – Beginner. There’s even a new Bridal Party Bootcamp just for women training for the big day.
    • Birdwatching – learn to tell a red-winged blackbird from a red-tailed hawk at a number of Calgary parks.
    • Oil Painting for the Completely Intimidated – develop the skills to capture Calgary’s beauty on canvas.

    For “Together Time:”

    • Stroller Fitness – Bring your baby and stroller for a unique and fun cardio workout.
    • Golf – Family Beginner Series: great for new golfing families or families who want to improve their golf skills. Professionals will guide you from your first swing to your first round on the course. 

    All programs are priced to be affordable, and our Fair Entry program also provides fee assistance to qualified individuals.

    Registration is open now – make sure to pick up your copy of the program guide today, or customize your registration online.

    Register soon so you can be on your way to fun and active times!

  • Green Line LRT project considers alternate route in Victoria Park and Ramsay 23 February 2017
    The Green Line LRT team has been evaluating alignment options in the Beltline since early last year. We began with more than a dozen options and, through several phases of evaluation, narrowed those options down to two: 12 Avenue S Surface, and 12 Avenue S Tunnel + Surface, shown in the graphics below.

    12 Avenue S Surface
    12 Avenue Tunnel + Surface

    Over the course of our detailed evaluation, we’ve discovered significant technical and operational considerations for the alignment east of 4 St S.E. (the East Victoria Park area). As a result, we have been considering alternative options to connect the Green Line from the Beltline to the Ramsay/Inglewood area.
    Considerations include:
    • Victoria Park redevelopment -Canada Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is currently developing its Rivers District Masterplan, which includes potential Calgary Next facilities and consideration of future Olympic infrastructure . The Green Line will be part of these discussions to ensure the LRT supports the future area transportation network to best serve Calgarians who travel by foot, bike, bus or car
    • Travel times – The alignment to the north of the Victoria Park Transit Centre would result in slower travel times for Calgarians, and costly wear and tear on LRT vehicles due to very tight turns
    • Existing transit operations – Operations of the Victoria Park Transit Centre would be significantly impeded by a Green Line alignment around the north side of the facility, impacting transit service reliability throughout the city
    • Budget –The Green Line does not have the budget to re-locate the Victoria Park Transit Centre, so the team is exploring alignment options that do not require the relocation. The team has also explored a tunnel option through Beltline and under MacDonald Avenue SE. This option, while technically feasible, has been removed from consideration due to cost.

    The City of Calgary’s Green Line team is now exploring the option of a street-level LRT on MacDonald Avenue SE to address the challenges created by the original 12 Avenue options. The MacDonald Avenue SE options are:
    12 Avenue S Surface – MacDonald Ave
    12 Avenue Tunnel + Surface – MacDonald Ave

    The City will present these four alignment options to City Council’s Transportation and Transit Committee on March 15, 2017. After further evaluation, we intend to take a single recommended alignment to City Committee and Council later this spring.

    We are committed to working with the communities to determine how the Green Line on MacDonald Avenue SE could best be integrated into the neighbourhood to create connections and build community spaces, if this option moves forward.

    There are a number of opportunities to get involved:

    • The City will continue to meet with the Ramsay community association and homeowners whose properties could be impacted
    • Join us at a public meeting on March 2, 2017, at 6 p.m. at The Hemmingway Room of The Commons, 1206 20 Ave SE. This presentation will be a preview of the update the Green Line team will provide to City Committee on March 15, which will include:
      • An overview of our evaluation and how we arrived at the MacDonald Avenue SE option
      • An overview of the trade-offs of each option
      • An outline of the next steps in the evaluation and decision process 

    We will provide more opportunities for public and community involvement this spring. Watch for more information about other upcoming opportunities to get involved.

  • Seeking input on the Southwest BRT Project 9 February 2017

    The City of Calgary is moving into the last phase of design for the Southwest BRT project, and we’re seeking stakeholder and public input. An online tool will collect input from Calgarians beginning February 22, and a facilitated session in March will gather feedback from representatives of area community associations, institutions and citizen groups.

    The input collected online will be used at the March session to inform the workshop of the themes and comments provided by their fellow Calgarians. The in person sessions will have up to three representatives from stakeholder groups to ensure a balanced conversation about the topics The City is seeking input on. Calgarians and stakeholders will be asked to provide their input on:

    • Pedestrian overpass at 90 Avenue S.W. 
    • Construction staging and phasing 
    • Station connections (including pedestrian overpass at 75 Avenue S.W.) 
    • Parking 
    • Landscaping 
    • Noise attenuation 

    Once we’ve heard from the Calgarians living and working near the future route, as well the Calgarians who may someday make use of the city’s BRT network, we will compile and analyze all feedback, which will help inform the final design for the Southwest BRT project. Calgarians input along with technical and engineering considerations will inform the final design for the SWBRT. The City will post a “What We Heard” report which will be made available online in April.

    The City is committed to providing opportunities for Calgarians to provide input into the final design for the Southwest BRT, so sign up for the mailing list to get up to date information on the online engagement that begins on February 22.

    The Southwest BRT is one of four BRT projects that fill important gaps in Calgary’s primary transit network and provide reliable, efficient transit to communities. Along with the Southwest BRT, The City is implementing the North and South Crosstown BRT and the 17 Avenue S.E. BRT to provide more transit options for Calgarians.

  • Newcomers and refugees continue building their lives in Calgary 6 February 2017 Hundreds of newcomers and refugees met new faces at “Building a Life in Calgary”, an event designed to connect them to City and community resources, services and programs.

    The event, which took place on Saturday, February 4 at the BMO Centre, was hosted by the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP). “Building a Life in Calgary” is part of CLIP’s ongoing response for refugee resettlement in Calgary.

    It was day of learning and family friendly activities for the attendees, most of whom arrived in Calgary in the past year or so. Attendees participated in many activities, including:

    • A cultural exchange with newcomers from Vietnam, South Sudan, and Colombia who shared their experiences settling in Calgary 
    • Educational workshops about volunteer opportunities, career development, English language supports, and financial literacy
    • A resource fair featuring City business units and community organizations, and  
    • Family-friendly activities, including cultural performances and wagon rides and crafts, courtesy of the Calgary Stampede. 

    Honouring the victims of the Quebec City shooting

    At  1 p.m., attendees gathered together to observe a moment of silence to honour those who were injured or killed during the Quebec City mosque attack on January 29.

    “We send our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and communities of the victims,” said Jessica Pauletig, an issue strategist with Calgary Neighbourhoods who helps coordinate The City’s role in CLIP.

    The moment of silence was followed by a performance by the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra (CMO), a youth program run by the International Avenue Arts & Culture Centre.

    A smile means ‘welcome to Canada’

    Afran Hajj Hammoud and Nour Yassin, two youths who arrived from Syria last February, helped to emcee the cultural performances. Nour, who didn’t speak English when she first arrived and is now attending high school, describes her first year as amazing.

    “Our lives are getting better every day,” said Nour. “I don’t feel like I’m just a Syrian refugee – everyone has been so helpful.”

    Afran, who arrived with her husband, brother-in-law and two young children, adds: “I love how everyone smiles here. That smile means ‘welcome to Canada’. It means everything to me.”

    Approximately 1150 refugees arrive in Calgary each year. From November 2015 to March 2016, Calgary also received an additional 1400 Syrian refugees as part of the federal government’s response to the global Syrian refugee crisis.

    About the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership

    The Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP) is a multi-sectoral partnership designed to help improve the integration of immigrants and strengthen the city’s ability to better integrate and address the needs of newcomers. The Government of Canada works with municipalities to establish local immigration partnerships across Canada. For more information about CLIP, visit

  • Have a vote on public art in your community 26 January 2017
    Learn how artworks are selected, discuss issues with artists, City staff, fabricators and other professionals and see how public art evolves from an idea to reality.

    How it works

    All artists commissioned through The City of Calgary Public Art program are reviewed by a selection panel. Each panel consists of three community members, three arts professionals and one City employee, who vote to choose an artist and their concept for a particular public art project. You can sit on one selection panel per year and will be considered for all opportunities throughout 2017. We typically hold 5-15 selection panels per year and the time commitment is usually 4-6 hours per panel.

    Who should apply

    Anyone with an interest in public art in our city and in their community is welcome to apply. The selection panels present opportunities to learn about public art projects and programs and to participate in the selection process.

    We are committed to making our city vibrant and diverse and giving you a voice on what art pieces are selected and displayed. For more information and to apply for the Public Art Selection Panel.

    We would like to extend huge thanks to our 2016 panelists:

    Emily Promise Allison
    Rajesh Angral
    Alana Bartol
    Vicki Brunet
    Naeem Chaudhry
    Jason Clark
    Erin Contreras
    Marc Dionne
    Douglas Driediger
    Kirstin Evenden
    Sandy Grewal
    Heather Huston
    Megan Kerluke
    Mary –Beth Laviolette
    Roger Leach
    Maria Loaiza
    A.J.A Louden
    Skye Louis
    Brendan McGillicuddy
    Joseph Mosca
    Illyas Pagonis
    Dean Peterson
    Teri Posyniak
    Nora Spencer
    Andy Smardon
    Monika Smith
    Rick Smith
    Su Ying Strang
    Diane Stevenson
    Lisa Thomson
    Joleen Toner
    Twyla Wehnes
    Kris Weinmann
    Charlene Wilcock
    Reinhold Winterer
    Perry Wilford
    Will Yee
    Gary Young

    Submitted by Roisin Haughey, Recreation
  • Langevin Bridge gets a new name: Reconciliaton Bridge 26 January 2017 The signs on Calgary’s Langevin Bridge will be replaced at a later date to reflect its new name — the Reconciliation Bridge.

    The change comes after Council voted to rename the bridge on Monday “as a sincere act of reconciliation on behalf of the citizens of Calgary.”

    The Langevin Bridge was named for Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, the Minister of Public Works who authorized the funding for the first bridge’s construction in 1888. While Langevin made great contributions to Canada and played an important role in Confederation, he also played a foundational role in the establishment of the Indian residential school system.

    During this time, the Government of Canada removed several generations of Indigenous children (over 150,000) from their families and communities and placed them in the residential school system — a system that inflicted abuse on its students and left a legacy of intergenerational harm.

    The recommendation to rename the bridge came out of the White Goose Flying Report, written by the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC) in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) 2015 final report.

    CAUAC suggested, “The City of Calgary to consider re-naming the bridge to a name that signifies building communities rather than dismantling them is a powerful symbol of mutual respect for the future.”

    The renaming of the bridge is also being done as a way to spark discussion. As the TRC summary states: “Reshaping national history is a public process, one that happens through discussion, sharing, and commemoration. As Canadians gather in public spaces to share their memories, beliefs, and ideas about the past with others, our collective understanding of the present and future is formed.”

    While the name change takes effect immediately, an official ceremony will take place in the coming months to rededicate the Langevin Bridge as the “Reconciliation Bridge” and to foster healing and reconciliation within the community.

    City Administration will also work with the Mayor’s Office, interested Members of Council, Treaty 7 Knowledge Keepers, CAUAC and the Calgary Heritage Authority to develop a plaque for the bridge that will explain the history of the bridge structure, as well as the stories of both Hector Langevin and the Indian residential school system’s impact on Canada’s Indigenous community.

    More information will released about the ceremony once it is known.

  • Secondary suite successes: programs boost number of legal suites 23 January 2017 It’s a sweet time to build a secondary suite – or at least, that’s what 383 families decided after The City of Calgary introduced a development permit exemption for basement suites and an online suite registry in September 2015.

    That’s over 400 per cent more secondary suite applications than The City received previously on a monthly basis.

    “It’s a faster, cheaper and easier process to build a basement suite in areas where they’re already permitted; you can go straight to the building permit phase,” says City of Calgary Senior Special Projects Officer Cliff de Jong. “Because of that and the introduction of the registry, we’re seeing more Calgarians than ever before build a new suite or make their existing suite safe and legal.”

    Applicants can skip the development permit process entirely if they meet the rules of the Land Use Bylaw, saving up to $2,000 in application costs, which includes commissioning architectural drawings. In some instances, you may still require a land use redesignation or development permit; in which case, the fees for both are currently waived. The exemption is a pilot project that could end in March 2017, but is up for discussion at City Council on Feb. 13 (after being deferred at the Jan. 16 City Council meeting).

    “I think as a homeowner, it’s easy to say, ‘I can get this basement development permitted in a day, but a secondary suite development takes three months,’” says Calgary secondary suite owner Sean Hayes. “Now, with the development permit exemption, you may be able to get that secondary suite development in a day or two as well.”

    The launch of both secondary suite programs has helped to create conversations between The City and citizens in person and on social media, says de Jong.

    “We’ve been talking to people on a number of platforms and getting a lot of positive feedback about the online registry and development permit exemption,” says de Jong. “We know the process can be confusing; sometimes people are misinformed about what it takes to build a legal and safe suite. Social media is an easy way to direct them to the correct information and for us to be a part of the online conversation.”

    Calgary basement suite owner Kim Ketchum says that in particular, the online secondary suite registry has helped her talk to her neighbours about secondary suites.

    “The registry is important for the community,” Ketchum says. “I think it’s really important that the image of secondary suites is enhanced within the city. I think the registry can help do this, because my next door neighbour, somebody down the street or two blocks over can go to the website, pop in my address and see whether or not the suite is legal. When they see that it is registered, then that can help change perceptions around secondary suites and people will know all of Alberta’s safety code requirements have been met.”

    To learn more about renting or building a secondary suite, visit

  • Celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary at a winter fun day – January 28 20 January 2017

    The weather is cold, but Calgarians are warming up to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary throughout 2017!

    The City of Calgary invites Calgarians to come out for a free winter fun day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28 at five park locations throughout the city. Bring your ice skates and enjoy Calgary’s outdoor skating rinks, participate in nature education games, and warm up with complimentary hot refreshments (while quantities last), next to a toasty fire. Winter fun day locations are at select parks where outdoor ice skating is offered:

    Each winter fun day site is unique and offers a beautiful setting with a variety of activities:

    • Prince’s Island Park will feature free horse drawn wagon rides from 12 to 2 p.m. as part of this all-Canadian winter fun experience.  
    • Big Marlborough Park will feature a mobile adventure playground, offering a new way for kids to explore, create, imagine and learn. This type of playground contains a variety of items such as buckets, tires, tarps and rope that children are free to use to build, demolish and assemble as they desire.

    Refreshments at Confederation Park, Carburn Park, Prince’s Island Park and Big Marlborough Park are courtesy of Tim Hortons. Refreshments at Bowness Park are courtesy of Seasons of Bowness Park.

    Chris Hicks, City of Calgary Program Advisor, encourages Calgarians to “dress warmly and bring your Canadian spirit to celebrate our country and our city. Winter is a shared Canadian experience and we hope to see Calgarians come out and celebrate our city!”

    More Canada 150 events and initiatives will be announced for Calgary throughout the year. Visit for more information.

    Venez célébrer le 150e anniversaire du Canada et vous amuser lors d’une journée d’hiver

    Les journées sont froides, mais les Calgariens se réchauffent pour célébrer le 150e anniversaire du Canada tout au long de 2017!

    La ville de Calgary invite tous les Calgariens à venir se divertir en cette journée d’hiver du 28 janvier 2017. Les activités sont gratuites de 11 heures à 15 heures dans cinq parcs à travers la ville. Vous pouvez aussi participer à des jeux éducatifs et vous réchauffez grâce aux rafraîchissements chauds gratuits (jusqu’à épuisement des stocks), offerts près d’un feu. Les activités sont offertes dans les parcs qui comprennent des patinoires extérieures. Apportez vos patins à glace et venez vous amuser aux parcs suivants:

    Chaque endroit est unique et offre une gamme variée d’activités. Vous retrouverez en plus :

    • Au parc de Prince’s Island: Afin de représenter l’hiver au Canada, il y aura des promenades gratuites en wagons tirés par des chevaux de 12 h à 14 h.
    • Au parc Big Marlborough: Ce parc mettra en vedette une aire de jeux mobile d’aventures qui offrira aux enfants une occasion d’explorer, de créer, d’imaginer et d’apprendre. Ce type de terrain de jeu contiendra une variété d’articles tels que des seaux, des pneus et des cordes que les enfants pourront utiliser pour construire, démolir et assembler comme ils le désirent.

    Les rafraîchissements qui seront offerts aux parcs Confédération, Carburn, Prince’s Island et du Big Marlborough sont une gracieuseté de Tim Hortons. Les rafraîchissements du parc Bowness sont gracieusement offerts par Seasons of Bowness Park.

    Chris Hicks, l’un des organisateurs des activités pour la ville de Calgary, encourage les Calgariens à «s’habiller chaudement et à revêtir leur esprit de solidarité canadienne afin de célébrer notre pays et notre ville. L’hiver est une expérience canadienne et nous espérons que tous les Calgariens viendront fêter avec nous. »

    Plus de 150 événements et initiatives seront annoncés tout au long de l’année dans la ville de Calgary. Visitez pour plus d’informations.

  • Calgary AfterSchool has a variety of free programs to keep kids active, creative and social 6 January 2017 With our shorter days and freezing temperatures, it’s not uncommon for the winter blues to set in. It can be a challenge to keep your child or teen active and engaged as they settle back into the school grind.

    A great cure for the winter blues is to help children and youth find new and stimulating activities to keep them active, creative and sociable. An easy remedy is to have kids or teens drop into one of The City of Calgary’s free, safe and fun after school programs.

    We have a variety of programs to get kids and youth thinking, creating, moving and socializing. Our unique programming is designed to help children and youth do better in school, stay productive, learn new skills and make new friends.

    Best of all, parents will never hear the words, “I’m bored” again.

    Held after school hours on school days, there are dozens of locations across the city.

    Give Calgary AfterSchool a try. Visit to find a program that’s right for you.

    Submitted by Eric Michalko, Calgary Neighbourhoods

  • What to do when snowfall turns into windrows 29 December 2016 Since snow stopped falling on December 25, crews have completed maintenance on Priority One and Two routes, which include major roads like Crowchild Trail and most bus routes. Crews continue working in accordance with The City’s Seven Day Snow Plan, which means plows are now in residential areas and playground zones.

    On residential roads, you may see vehicles “flat-blading”, which means turning the blade under a sander downward to flatten the snow to a hard pack, so it is easier to drive on. Sometimes, this results in windrows, which many Calgarians have questions about.

    What is a windrow?

    According to The City’s Snow and Ice Control Policy, crews are mandated to maintain the driving lane on residential streets to a safe, reasonable winter driving condition. Crews do this by “flat-blading,” turning the blade under a sander downward to flatten the snow to a hard pack so it is easier to drive on. Flat-blading causes a continuous a build-up of snow along the side of a roadway, also known a windrow.

    While this is good for motorists, the snow left over after crews have flat-bladed can create some extra work for property owners.

    There is a windrow in front of my driveway. Who is responsible for clearing it?

    The clearing of windrows in front of driveways left by snow plowing equipment is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, much like sidewalk shovelling. Plow operators make every attempt to keep driveways clear or keep windrows as small as possible, but any spillage that does occur is the responsibility of the property owner.

    What does The City do about windrows?

    City forces do their best to keep windrows small by evenly distributing the snow on either side of the road, however, after heavy snowfalls windrows can build up. Under extreme circumstances, if a windrow is impeding a resident’s ability to enter their driveway, a crew can come by and assess the windrow and remove if required.

    Citizens should contact 311 if they have concerns about a windrow.

    Visit for more information on how The City clears snow.

  • City services respond to the needs of vulnerable Calgarians during cold weather 14 December 2016 As Calgary continues to experience a deep freeze, we are working with partner agencies in Alberta Health Services and across Calgary to make sure our more vulnerable citizens have options to stay safe.

    Thankfully, the Government of Alberta has informed us that shelter beds are available in Calgary for those who would like to come in from the cold at night. As well, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) has an emergency plan in place if shelters become overwhelmed. They also work with shelter and other agency partners to help ensure the needs of the homeless are met during the cold months.

    Our Community Standards Partner Agency Liaison (PAL) Team has been busy this week, along with the Calgary Police Service and the Downtown Outreach Addictions Program (DOAP) , visiting locations where homeless Calgarians have been known to sleep. These teams check up on people who may need help during the cold weather and to pass out items such as warm socks and other clothing items, and bagged lunches provided by The Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Centre (SORCe).

    This is a time of year when we all need to watch out for one another. If citizens see a person in distress or who is unresponsive, they should call 9-1-1 immediately. If you see a person who needs help, call 311. Here are a few tips for anyone trying to help out a homeless person, or person who is struggling in this frigid climate:

    • The person you are helping may have special needs such as a mobility or emotional wellness issue, so be sure to take this into consideration before acting.
    • Always keep the person informed of what you are doing and ask for their agreement before taking any action.
    • If the person does not agree to the help you are offering, call 311 or 911, depending on the urgency of the situation, to ask for help and guidance. 

  • A look into the transformation of The City’s Historic 8 Street S.W. underpass 14 December 2016
    The 8th Street underpass opened fully to the public today. We sat down with Ben Barrington, Centre City Implementation Program Manager, to learn about what citizens can expect from this important infrastructure investment.

    Q: How does the new underpass increase pedestrian safety?

    We’ve approached safety from a number of angles which we think citizens and local businesses will appreciate. Complementing new security cameras and call boxes, are design features that include improved lighting, new sidewalks, new stairs and an interactive art installation. These elements contribute to a safer, more enjoyable, experience. Our approach has transformed, what some folks previously thought, were just poorly lit “sidewalks” into a place that is that feels much bigger,  brighter, and more welcoming and  interesting, which  substantially enhances safety.

    Q: How many people use this particular underpass?

    Situated along the 8 Street S.W. Corridor, this underpass is one of the most used by Calgarians, averaging around 9000 pedestrians a day.

    Q: What will be displayed on the public art installation?

    Panels along the sides of the s-curve installation will scroll across the snippets and fragments of Calgary’s past;  bits of old advertising, classified  ads from 100 years ago, personal  reminiscences on details of daily life. The installation will help present-day Calgarians understand a snapshot of the history of the underpasses and the role of the railway in shaping our city. As they enter the underpass it’s as if they are experiencing the past.

     An interesting aspect of this artwork is that pedestrians will have opportunity to interact with the scrolling texts using their smartphones. This feature won’t be functional until late January. By sending keywords to the controlling computer, passers-by can influence the content of the script by finding story from the data base. For example, sending the keyword “oyster” might dig up advertising copy for fresh oysters that were regularly brought to Calgary daily by rail in the 1910s.

    Q: Will other underpasses be getting similar treatment?

    Yes, in Centre City we’ve been investing in our Corridor program, and underpass improvements are the first phase of these improvements. This is the third underpass improvement project, having recently completed 5 Street S.W. and 1 Street S.W.,  and in 2017 will start construction on the 4 Street S.W. underpass. Planning for the remaining underpasses will start in the next two years.

    For more information, visit


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