Calgary City News Blog

Calgary City News Blog

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  • Planning Chinatown: Listening to the Community 29 September 2016

    Over the last four months, The City’s Planning Chinatown team has been engaging Calgary’s Chinese community and other stakeholders to understand how to preserve Chinatown’s unique cultural identity while shaping a vibrant and mixed-use area that can be enjoyed by all for years to come.

    Earlier this summer, the project team went out into the community to gather input on the future of Calgary’s Chinatown. Through online engagement, a walking tour and pop-up events, more than 3,600 ideas from nearly 2,000 participants were gathered and analyzed.

    “The team was thrilled with the level of involvement from the community,” said Allison Chan, Planning Chinatown project manager. “We spent the summer listening to those who live, work and visit Chinatown and have heard many different viewpoints about how Chinatown should grow and change over time. With such a large and diverse community it’s important to consider all opinions, they are both helpful and welcome.”

    The ideas collected in Phase 1 were sorted into broad themes and formed a set of draft planning principles, which were then reviewed by stakeholders during Phase 2 of the project.

    “Over the past two weeks, we’ve held four interactive workshops as well as an open house and heard from nearly 300 participants,” continues Chan. “The sessions were well-attended by a diverse group of stakeholders, who reviewed the guiding principles and shared honest feedback about the issues and opportunities affecting the community.” Although the group was diverse, a common theme emerged, Chan explains, “Almost everyone agrees it is vital that Chinatown retains its distinct cultural look and feel.”

    The feedback will be collected and summarized in a report to Council on December 5, 2016. To learn more about Planning Chinatown and to stay connected, visit or subscribe for email updates.

  • Calgary builds resilience with help from global network 26 September 2016 In May of this year, Calgary was selected to join 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation as part of the final wave of cities to join the global network.

    100RC was launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in 2013 to enable 100 cities across the globe to better address chronic stresses and increasing incidents of acute shocks being faced by cities in the 21st century.

    This week begins Calgary’s first official step as part of the 100RC Network – with a kick-off visit from Calgary’s 100RC Liaison and Advisor, Katya Sienkiewicz, Associate Director for City and Practice Management at 100RC.

    This visit will give The City an opportunity to understand her role, learn more about the 100RC program and Calgary’s role within the network. We will spend the week orienting Ms. Sienkiewicz to City Administration and identifying action items to prepare for the next step in the program.

    “This is an exciting time for The City,” says Christine Arthurs, Director of Resilience & Infrastructure Calgary. “Being part of 100RC means we will be able to tap into resilience experts around the world to elevate the resilience work that is already underway at The City and in Calgary.”

    The next few years will be full of exciting opportunities as we participate in the 100RC Network. Without question, being a member of this global network will yield great benefits for The City, the community, our citizens and the region.

    It is Calgary’s time! We will collaboratively rise to the challenge of building a more resilient city, and apply our learnings, strategies and vast support networks to achieve that goal.

  • Green Line committee update – what was approved and what it means 22 September 2016
    Council’s Transportation & Transit Committee has approved a fully tunneled LRT route in Calgary’s downtown core. This recommendation will now be taken forward to Council on October 3 for a final decision.

    Since December 2015, the Green Line team has been studying five possible routes in downtown to find the best way to integrate the Green Line into Calgary’s core, and connect across the Bow River to the communities along Centre Street North. After extensive analysis and public engagement, the fully tunneled option was found to be the best investment in Calgary’s future.

    The fully tunneled option would see the Green Line LRT run underground from the Beltline, under 2 Street S.W., and under the Bow River. The line would resurface north of 16 Avenue N along Centre Street N.

    Why is underground the best recommendation for Calgary?
    While this option requires significant up-front investment, it offers the best opportunities for future generations of Calgarians. It allows us to maintain the pedestrian, cycling and vehicle connections in the core, while enabling future development to occur unhindered in our city’s economic centre.

    Consider this:

    • All five options evaluated in the downtown core would require some length of underground tunnel in order to connect with the existing Red and Blue LRT lines. It would not be possible to connect with these lines with a street-level system due to technical challenges with operating three intersecting LRT lines in addition to the existing road network, and the requirement to be under or over Canadian Pacific Railway’s main line.
    • The fully tunneled option enables the road, cycling and pedestrian network to remain intact in downtown.
    • The fully tunneled option reduces potential impacts to Prince’s Island Park and the Bow River valley.
    • The cost of the options varies from $1.5B (street level) to $1.95B (fully tunnelled).
    • The fully tunneled option was highly supported by the public, and stakeholders including Chinatown BRZ, Crescent Heights Community Association, Eau Claire Community Association the, local developers and residents.

    What happens next?
    The Green Line team will now continue their analysis and public engagement on the route in the Beltline. We are currently reviewing 10 Avenue and 12 Avenue S as potential routes. As per Councillor Woolley’s amendment to the recommendations at Committee, the Green Line team will explore both surface and underground options along both 10 Avenue and 12 Avenue S. A final recommendation for the Beltline is expected to be brought to Committee in December 2016.

    Public engagement is ongoing to refine the route in the north, and land use policy planning is now being refined in the southeast. Final recommendations for the full Green Line route alignment will be brought forward by June 2017.

    We often get questions about the expected price tag of the Green Line – so we thought we’d provide you with an update on what we know to date.

    Where we started: Earlier in the planning process, it was estimated that the Green Line could cost between $4.5 and $5 billion. This estimate was based on per-kilometer costs of past LRT lines in Calgary, and did not include the results of public engagement, a full analysis of land requirements or the recommendation for underground stations. 

    Where we are today: As of today, we know that there will be four underground stations and a tunnel in the downtown core. Public engagement and design is ongoing on the route alignment in the Beltline and along the northern portions of the Green Line. Once the route alignment is refined in these areas, cost estimates will be adjusted to reflect the updated route and land requirements.

    What’s the deal with funding?
    The Green Line will be a long-term investment in Calgary’s future, and will likely be constructed in phases over a number of years. Discussions are currently progressing among all three levels of government.

    Federal Government: In July 2015, the Government of Canada announced support for the Green Line for up to $1.53 billion from the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. The City is currently awaiting application guidelines to be released in order to apply for this funding.

    Provincial Government: Funding discussions are ongoing with the Government of Alberta. The City applied for funding through the Province’s Green Transit Incentives Program (GreenTRIP) on August 31, 2016.

    Municipal Government: In December 2015, The City committed $1.56 billion over 30 years, contingent on receiving support from the Provincial government.

    Stay tuned over the coming months to learn more about the cost estimates as they become further refined. Visit to find out how you can get involved in the public engagement process.

  • Centre Street North paving project to begin this weekend 22 September 2016
    In order to extend the life of one of Calgary’s busiest roadways, Roads crews will be paving Centre Street North between 7 Avenue and Beddington Boulevard N.E. starting this weekend.  

     “We’ve identified sections of the roadway that are in immediate need of rehabilitation along Centre Street and hope to have the work completed over the next couple of weekends,” says Chris McGeachy, spokesperson for Roads.

    Due to the scope of the work, crews will have to close various lanes which will have an impact on traffic.

    “To maximize efficiency, we will begin work on localized sections of the northbound lanes this weekend, weather permitting, and then turn around and head southbound the following weekend,” adds McGeachy.

    The first weekend closures will be focused on the northbound lanes, with milling work starting on Friday, Sept. 23.
    • Milling on Centre Street N will take place on Friday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from 7 Avenue to 16 Avenue. The road will be reduced to a single lane in each direction at various areas throughout this closure. Police will be onsite to detour traffic when milling work occurs in the intersections
    • Milling and paving work will occur from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25. During these times, the northbound lanes of Centre Street will be closed and two way traffic will be in place in the southbound lanes between 7 Avenue and Beddington Boulevard N.E. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes when possible.
    While the schedule for the following weekend (Sept. 30 – Oct. 2) has not been finalized, motorist should expect to see similar closures in the southbound lanes during that time.

    The City of Calgary’s Surface Overlay program helps rejuvenate our transportation network and provide a smooth surface for road users. For more information on paving, visit
  • The new Green Line LRT: Shaping the way we move 15 September 2016
    Over the past 20-30 years the city of Calgary has seen tremendous growth, both in jobs and population. Since the creation of Calgary’s first LRT line in 1981, Calgary has grown from a city of 600,000 to over 1.2 million people. Transit ridership has followed the expansions of the LRT network, averaging 320,000 passengers per day in 2016; the highest LRT ridership per capita in North America. Now with the Green Line LRT, we have another opportunity to plan for future growth of the city by providing Calgarians with even more ways of getting around.

    At our last speaker series session, the team explored “Building transit villages” and on September 20 you’ll learn more about the past, present and future of mobility options in Calgary and hear how the panelists shaped mobility in their respective cities.

    Panelists include Tamim Raad, former Director of Strategic Planning and Policy at TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority, Brian McCarter, Principal at ZGF Architects in Portland, Oregon and Allison Brooks, Executive Director of the Bay Area Regional Collaborative in San Francisco, California.

    We hope you’ll join us for a brief presentation followed by our panelists who will be answering your questions on mobility trends.

    Tuesday September 20, 2016
    Glenbow Museum Theatre,
    130 9 Avenue S.E.,
    Doors open at 5 p.m., presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. 
    Event concludes at 7 p.m.Light refreshments will be available, seating is limited so please arrive promptly

    Upcoming in the series (more details coming soon):

    • Calgary’s Potential – October 2016
    If you missed the previous sessions, watch the video recaps:

    Follow the Green Line story on Twitter @yyctransport #GreenLineYYC, and for more information on the project, visit For questions about the Green Line project, please email

  • Working Dogs Day: Getting to know the hero beneath the vest 14 September 2016
    Ever wondered about the dog beneath the uniform? The police dog chasing down a bad guy or searching for a missing person? The therapy dog comforting a hospital patient? The guide dog helping its owner safely navigate a busy intersection? 
    Wonder no more! Working Dogs Day takes place on Saturday, September 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Bowmont Off-Leash Park (5550 85 Street NW). This free, family-friendly event gives everyone the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with working dogs from 20 organizations from around the province. It is also a perfect opportunity to learn more about responsible pet ownership and positive dog-people interactions. 

    Working dog organizations 

    Working dogs are the heroes of the canine world. Like dogs everywhere, they offer support, care and companionship. But unlike other dogs, they are specially trained to offer professional, often life-saving support, as service, detection, police, military, search and rescue, therapy, compassion and guide dogs.

    Fun for all the family

    Bring your own dog to Working Dogs Day and treat him or her to free nail trimming. Learn tips and techniques from our on-site dog behaviour and pet first aid specialists and The City’s P.U.P.P.Y. team
    The Canine Good Neighbour Program Certification program will be offered to family dogs on a first-come, first-serve basis. Attendees will also be treated to agility, rally, carting, scent and disc demonstrations. 
    Surprise VIPs and celebrities will be in attendance and there will also be door prizes and a White Hat Ceremony.

    Hero volunteers

    Working Dogs Day is part of The City’s Off-Leash Ambassador program, which was launched in 2013. This program features volunteers who promote the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw and encourage positive pet interactions and safety in our off-leash parks. 
    Ambassadors act as community liaisons and positive role models in off-leash areas, providing education, demonstrations and discussions. They are the heroes of the Off-Leash Ambassador program and their hard work helps make this program and all its supporting events possible.
    For more information about Working Dogs Day or how to become an Off-Leash Ambassador, visit
  • City of Calgary takes holistic approach to planning in iconic Inglewood/Ramsay area 12 September 2016

    The Inglewood/Ramsay area is a lively, bustling neighbourhood, with many upcoming improvements to roadways, parks and public transit, among other things.

    We know there are a lot of City projects happening in the Inglewood/Ramsay area, and we understand that all the conversation and public engagement about these projects can be overwhelming.

    We want to assure you that we are looking at the area holistically and are coordinating all of these projects, across City departments and project teams, to ensure we are working cohesively towards the same vision: building the best possible future for an iconic Calgary neighbourhood.

    The City has appointed Dale Lynch, Manager of Liveable Streets with The City of Calgary, as the project coordinator for the Inglewood/Ramsay area. Dale will be working with project teams and City departments to coordinate the design and implementation of these upcoming projects.

    You may already be familiar with many of the projects: the replacement of the 12 Street S.E. bridge, Riverwalk, Bend in the Bow, streetscapes, and the Green Line LRT, to name a few. There are also several new projects and changes to the area that you won’t have heard about yet, including the closure of 8 Street S.E.

    We have confirmed that 8 Street S.E. will closed to traffic in the future, though the timing of the closure is yet to be confirmed. The City is working closely with Canadian Pacific Railway to facilitate the closure. This closure is not expected to have significant impact to traffic operations in the area, and we are beginning to identify other area improvements that might now be possible due to the road closure. Stay tuned for more details.

    Finally, we’d like to thank you for your patience and your input as we work to plan the future of the Inglewood/Ramsay area.

    Visit for more information and for details about upcoming opportunities for engagement.

  • New eLearning modules help Calgarians ReTree YYC 8 September 2016 As fall sets in and leaves change colour, it’s easy to see the beauty of our city’s trees. But the benefits of a healthy urban forest go far beyond aesthetics: trees clean the air, improve our health, absorb noise and increase property value.
    screen shot of eLearning module

    For these reasons – and so many more – we want to keep our urban forest growing for future generations to come. In fact, The City’s goal is to increase our tree canopy from 8.23% to 20%.

    Our tree canopy includes every tree in our city – from streets, parks, public spaces and backyards. And with over 50% of Calgary’s trees located on private land, we need your help. Events like the 2013 flood and the 2014 Snowtember storm damaged much of our urban forest, reducing our canopy cover. ReTree YYC has been working hard to prune and replace public trees, and support Calgarians’ efforts of caring for trees in their yards.

    Now we’ve launched new eLearning modules to further support citizens in growing our urban forest. We want to give Calgarians the tools to plant new trees and care for the ones we already have. They’re free, and available 24/7 to do at your own pace.

    second screen capture of eLearning module

    The first module “Right Tree, Right Location” focuses on:

    • The types of trees that work for you.
    • Where to plant safely in your yard.
    • Step by step instructions for planting a tree.
    • How to care for your tree after it’s been planted.

    Did you know: Early fall is a great time to plant, as the tree is focused on root growth, instead of new leaves – and trees are often less expensive to purchase at the end of the growing season.

    Check out the module and learn more about what you can do to help ReTree YYC!

    Submitted by Erin Smith, Calgary Parks

  • Becoming the city we imagined 8 September 2016 This month marks 10 years of work towards a shared view of Calgary’s future through the imagineCALGARY Urban Sustainability Plan.

    The plan includes a 100 year vision along with numerous long-term goals and targets, with a vision of making Calgary a great place to make a living, a great place to make a life.

    10 Years ago, over 18,000 Calgarians contributed to the goals and aspirations of imagineCALGARY. The resulting award-winning plan envisioned a community in which Calgarians would:

    • be connected to each other, our communities, and beyond;
    • have a lighter footprint on the earth; and
    • sense a vibrant, healthy, and strong community fabric.

    Fast forward to today and the vision and core principles of imagineCALGARY have become deeply rooted in much of what we do as The City of Calgary and as a community.

    As a community-owned plan, many people, organizations and businesses continue to work towards, or in the spirit of, the imagineCALGARY goals that are now embedded throughout The City’s plans (such as the Municipal Development Plan, the Calgary Transportation Plan, the 2020 Sustainability Direction), and long-term sustainability goals for City business units such as Waste and Recycling, Water Resources, and Parks, to name a few. In addition, community efforts such as the Calgary Economic Development Strategy, Calgary Arts Development Strategy, Calgary’s community driven poverty reduction strategy (a.k.a. the Enough 4 All Strategy), and the Calgary Board of Education’s Sustainability Framework.

    As our city evolves, emerging efforts continue to contribute towards our long-term vision. Initiatives related to innovation, community and economic resiliency, as well as initiatives that address climate change, all contribute to the imagineCALGARY vision and core principles.

    To highlight people, places, projects, and movement being made towards the goals and aspirations of the imagineCALGARY plan, we’ll be sharing 10 stories via the imagineCALGARY Twitter account and website. Watch for the storyboard display in the City Hall atrium from September 19-23!

    We’re excited to continue working with Calgarians and community partners every day to help ensure Calgary remains a great city to make a living, and a great city to make a life.

  • Accessibility Awards: Nominate someone who improves the quality of life for people with disabilities 7 September 2016 Do you know an individual, group or organization whose work or services improves access for Calgarians with disabilities? If so, we want to celebrate them and their accomplishments.
    Accessibility Awards

    Since 2009, we have been handing out the annual accessibility awards to recognize people who create an accessible and barrier-free city. Leanne Squair is the Issue Strategist that supports the Advisory Committee on Accessibility which sponsors the awards.

    “Improving accessibility benefits everyone, especially as our population ages,” says Squair. “There are many people – including businesses and organizations – who are breaking down barriers for people with disabilities by raising awareness, using universal design, or applying innovative technology in our community. These awards recognize and celebrate Calgarians who are doing this important work.”

    Nominations are open for the 2016 annual accessibility awards until Nov. 18. Submit a nomination for any of three categories:

    The Advocacy Award

    The Advocacy Award recognizes an individual or group of people who have improved the quality of life for people with disabilities.

    Previous award recipients include Constable Christine Robinson (2013), Westside Recreation Centre (2014) and Accessible Housing’s RAD Renovations Program (2015).

    The Access Recognition Award

    The Access Recognition Award acknowledges how an individual or group, through universal design, has improved access for persons with disabilities in Calgary. This award covers improved physical access and/or technology or products.

    Previous award recipients include Calgary Hard of Hearing Association (2013), Calgary Emergency Management Agency (2014) and the Fairmont Palliser Hotel (2015).

    The Ella Anderson Accessible Transportation Award

    The Accessible Transportation Award celebrates an individual or group whose work makes public transportation more inclusive in our community. This award was created in memory of Ella Anderson, who served on the Advisory Committee on Accessibility, and positive attitude and willingness helped to shape a more inclusive, customer-focused public transportation service.

    Previous award recipients include Karim Rayani, manager of Calgary Transit Access (2013), Calgary Transit’s Travel Training Program (2014) and Jim Brown (2015), a long serving board member for Calgary Handi-bus.

    The annual accessibility awards will be handed out in a public event close to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December. Stay tuned for more details.

    To nominate an individual or organization for an award, and to learn about some of The City’s accessible services and programs, please visit

  • Roads wraps up another successful season of summer maintenance 6 September 2016 City crews finished spring-cleaning our roads in early May, which meant getting a head-start on summer maintenance work. Despite heavy rains in July, crews have kept busy over the last few months with pothole repair, boulevard maintenance and gravel lane repair.

    “Having warm weather early in the season gave our crews a great opportunity to fill extra potholes and get a jump on asphalt repair. This work helps keep motorists, pedestrians and cyclists safer all year round,” says Roads Maintenance Manager Bill Biensch.

    Here’s a look at some of the maintenance work done on City streets over the past few months.

    Pothole Repair

    Potholes can pop up on any of Calgary’s roads, even after a mild winter. When water seeps through cracks in the asphalt, it freezes and expands, causing the road surface to rise. Melting ice then leads to an empty space beneath the asphalt. The weight of vehicles driving over the asphalt causes the surface to collapse, creating a pothole. While major roads are inspected regularly, crews rely on citizen reports to 311 for potholes on residential roads.

    In May, June and July, crews filled over 3,600 potholes across the city, with nearly half of those potholes being filled in July. Crews were also able to fill some potholes throughout the 2015-2016 winter season when the weather was warm and dry.

    Go online to report a pothole on City roads.

    Boulevard Maintenance

    The Roads boulevard crew had a busy summer maintaining over 1,400 hectares of green space that runs along roadways. Boulevard maintenance includes mowing, managing pests, landscaping, and cleaning up litter. Between May and August, our boulevard crews:

    • Collected over 2,000 bags of garbage on the boulevards and 900 bags of prohibitive noxious weeds.
    • Planted and maintained 65 annual planters along the cycle track network
    • Planted 125 larch tree seedlings along Sarcee Trail 
    • Scouted locations to plant 4,000 trees across the city in 2017

    Gravel Lane Repair

    Every community across Calgary is inspected as part of the gravel lane repair program. Crews inspect gravel lanes to see if it is necessary to re-grade them, to address issues like potholes and drainage.

    To date, crews have inspected and completed re-grading of gravel lanes in over 100 communities across the city, with several more scheduled to be done in September and October.

    Click here to see the full gravel lane repair schedule.

    As fall approaches, crews will be completing summer maintenance projects and preparing for the inevitable first snowfall. Stay up to date on all Roads projects by following @yyctransport on Twitter.

  • Labour Day weekend construction – what commuters need to know. 1 September 2016

    Long weekends are an opportune time to get construction done without impacting the 9-5 weekday commuters. While motorists may notice several projects around Calgary, these closures can happen for a variety of reasons.

    This weekend, paving continues on Silver Ridge Drive N.W., 14 Street N.W. and Edmonton Trail N.W. Keep in mind this work is weather dependent and rain could cause delays. For more information on paving, visit
    • Edmonton Trail N.E. will be reduced to a single lane in each direction between 4 Avenue N.E. and 16 Avenue N.E. from 5 am to 10 pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday this weekend.
    • 14 Street N.W. has moved into phase 3 of 4 of paving work – traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction from Kensington Road to 5 Avenue N.W.
    • Silver Ridge Drive N.W. will be closed to through-traffic between Silvercrest Drive N.W.  and Silvercrest Crescent N.W. beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday. This closure remains in place until 7 p.m. on Monday and accommodates paving work.
    LRT Maintenance Work

    LRT maintenance work will occur on 14 Avenue N.W. This will affect certain bus/train routes, for more information visit

    • 14 Avenue N.W. is closed between 14 Street N.W. and 19 Street N.W. beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday. This closure continues until 11:59 p.m. on Monday and accommodates LRT maintenance work.

    Water Services utility work

    48 Avenue N.W. is reduced to a single lane in each direction at 23 Avenue N.W. and there will be no access to westbound 23 Avenue N.W. via 48 Avenue N.W. This closure remains in place until 8 p.m. on Sunday. Local access will be maintained in the area. This closure accommodates water services utility work.

    • Elbow Drive is closed at 75 Avenue S.W. beginning at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Sept. 2). This closure remains in place until 5 a.m. on Monday and accommodates water services utility replacement. Motorists will be detoured around the closure via signage, and are advised to expect delays and use alternate routes when available.
    Deep underground utility work
    • 5 Avenue S.W. is closed between Centre Street and 1 Street S.W. beginning at 7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 2.) This closure remains in place until 5 a.m. on Tuesday.
    • There will be a two-way setup on 4 Avenue S.E. between 1 Street S.W. and 1 Street S.E. beginning at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Sept. 2). This setup accommodates a detour around construction at Centre Street S, which will be closed between 4 Avenue S.E. and 6 Avenue S.E. during this time. This closure remains in place until 5 a.m. on Tuesday and accommodates deep utility work. Motorists are advised to expect delays and use alternate routes when possible.
  • A history of Calgary’s trees 30 August 2016
    Over 100 years ago Calgary’s early landscape was completely void of trees. In fact, our current urban forest is a remarkable achievement, given the city is located in an arid prairie climate that doesn’t naturally grow many trees.
    So how did we become the “City of Trees” we are today?

    William Pearce Estate, c 1890s 
    Glenbow Archives NA-3898-5

    Early Years

    Starting in the 1880s, during the European settlement of North America, trees in Calgary were planted for practicality, especially as wind breaks against our strong gusty weather.
    Civic leaders at the time dreamed that the Calgary landscape could be transformed into a “City of Trees.” Once the Town of Calgary was incorporated in May 1884 it started to distribute spruce trees to taxpayers for a small fee – you could call it the original ReTree YYC.
    William Pearce 

    Calgary owes much of the early beginnings of its urban forest to William Pearce. He envisioned Calgary as a city with grand boulevards connecting a series of park spaces. In 1884, Pearce used his position as an inspector for the Dominion Land Agencies in Ottawa to reserve land along the north side of the Bow River. Today it is the city’s landmark boulevard — Memorial Drive, and Pearce has his lasting patch of green in our city – at Pearce Estate Park near Inglewood.
    William Reader

    In 1913 William Reader became Calgary’s third Superintendant of Parks and Cemeteries. One of his first priorities was the development of the new civic nursery, located at the bottom of Union Cemetery hill.
    From 1932 – 1942, Reader planted trees in all areas of the city, including Bowness, Mount Royal, Centre Street and Memorial Drive. Many of these trees today are on the “Heritage Tree Foundation of Canada” list –over 73 in Calgary!
    Reader noted: “I very much doubt if any other public improvement will tend to create and foster a civic pride in Calgary to the same extent as the making of boulevards, and planting of trees on our streets.”

    Olympic Plaza trees
    Olympic Plaza


    Today the urban forest consists of over 1.5 million trees in manicured parks, green spaces, natural areas, boulevards, and private trees.
    Do your part to help ReTree YYC: Autumn is one of the best times to plant a tree, as the tree puts energy into establishing roots, rather than leaves. Plus, we’re offering free mulch at landfills from September 1 – 30 to help insulate your trees over winter. 
    For more information on how you can contribute to Calgary’s legacy of planting and caring for trees, visit

    Submitted by Erin Smith, Parks

  • 17 Avenue SW gets a facelift 24 August 2016
    After 30 years, we’re rebuilding 17 Avenue SW so it can continue to serve businesses and citizens for decades to come. What started out as a routine road maintenance project, turned into one of the more complex projects on The City’s docket. The biggest factor? It’s location.
    Macleod Trail S.E. to 2 Street S.W.
    Logan Tolsma, Project Manager

    In the heart of one of Calgary’s most popular places to shop, dine, and do business, one does not simply dig up the 2.5km road between Macleod Trail and 14 Street SW, replace 3m deep utilities and then rebuild the road. In addition to this work, the project includes new sidewalks east of 2 Street SW, improved sidewalk space and pedestrian crossings at all intersections, new LED lighting and a new road design.

    How is The City planning this project so the 17 Avenue SW area can continue to be a great place to visit during construction? Project manager Logan Tolsma explains, “We’re approaching this project differently because of its unique surroundings. We’ve been meeting with businesses and learning about their priorities for the past year. That includes regular meetings with BRZs and a questionnaire for businesses. It allowed us to learn about their busy times, deliveries, access, patio locations- all the things that combined, results in their success”. Tolsma adds, “In the end, this information feeds directly into the construction planning.”
    Volunteer Way (Centre Street S.) Gateway
    That intimate approach applies to how construction is now unfolding. “We actually changed the schedule once we heard that businesses wanted more predictability and lead time before construction started,” Tolsma continues. That means starting the less impactful shallow utilities this year, followed by the major work in 2017 and 2018. This two-phase approach also provides less risk to the project overall. Furthermore, a contractor will be hired seven month before the major work begins. The extra time means a better approach to planning and staging the construction in this busy entertainment district.
    5 Street S.W. Gateway
    “When it comes down to it, we want to make sure people can still get to the area safely while we’re doing this work,” Tolsma confirms. “While we can’t make the construction invisible, we can certainly do our best to make sure it respects the people and businesses that make the area a great place to be.”
    14 Street S.W. Gateway

    You can read more about the 17 avenue SW reconstruction project at
  • Cycle Track Pilot Project set to reach one million bike trips (and other highlights) 17 August 2016

    Since the cycle track network opened last June, The City has been counting bicycle trips, using automated counters embedded in the pavement at 10 different locations along the network. Based on the data collected at the three middle count locations, one along each route of the network, we are set to reach one million trips this week.

    We are holding an on-street event to commemorate this milestone and to continue to educate and connect with Calgarians as they walk, drive, take transit or bike along the network. Stop by, grab a cookie and chat with our team about some of the new bike data being released and general cycle track information.

    When: Wednesday, August 17 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Where: 5 Street and 9 Avenue S.W. by the CPR underpass

    June 2016 was the busiest month on record with 116,621 trips, and although July 2016 was the rainiest in 90 years, it was still busier than July 2015 with over 100,000 trips last month.

    Cycling census data shows a doubling of bike commuters
    The one million cycle track trips milestone comes on the heels of the release of other cycling-related data. The City of Calgary Civic Census collected information from one working adult in the household about their mode of transportation to work in 2011, 2014 and 2016. Since 2011, 58 km of new bikeways (including the cycle track network pilot) have been constructed or improved around the city. Many communities adjacent to new or improved bikeways saw an increase in cycling as a way to commute. The percentage of Calgarians that reported travelling to work by bicycle doubled from 0.87% in 2011 to 1.75% in 2016.

    According to the census data, in 2011 there were six communities which reported more than 4% of respondents commuting by bike. In 2016 there are 43. Communities like Rosedale and Wildwood have seen some of the fastest growth with more than 9% ridership, thanks in part to improvements such as the 10 Street N.W. and Spruce Drive S.W. bike lanes that were installed in 2011.

    Cordon count data shows 40% increase in bike trips since cycle tracks installed
    Every year in May, the Transportation Department conducts the Central Business District (CBD) cordon count. The cordon count is performed at 31 locations around the CBD over a three week period by counting every single person entering or exiting downtown and how they were travelling; whether on foot, by bicycle, on a C-Train or bus, as a passenger in a car, or as the driver of car.

    The 2016 data showed that during the morning peak hour traffic, travelling into downtown, cycling increased from 1.9% in 2010 to 3% in 2016. During a 16-hour period, the number of cycling trips into and out of downtown almost doubled from 9,400 in 2010 to 17,200 trips in 2016. In 1996, 61% of morning peak period trips into downtown were by automobile; in 2016, 59% of morning peak period trips into downtown are now made by sustainable or active modes.

  • 3804 businesses open in the first half of 2016; numbers holding strong 12 August 2016
    Business in Calgary may not be booming, but it’s not busting either, according to City licensing data.

    Calgary’s seen an increase of 293 more new business licenses taken out in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year. This could be attributed to a boost in home-based and consulting businesses, says City of Calgary Business Registry Coordinator Sherry Bourque.

    “Anecdotally, we’ve seen more people come in for these types of businesses, perhaps to make some extra cash on the side in a fluctuating economy and use their expertise in a different way,” says Bourque. “But for both businesses licenses opened and closed overall, the numbers we’re seeing are pretty status quo.”

    New business licenses taken out by quarter, from 2013 to 2016

    Closed, moved or changed address business licenses by quarter, from 2013 to 2016
    If you’re thinking about operating a business in Calgary, The City’s online registration system can help you determine what approvals, permits and licenses you may need. Visit for more.
  • The Fall Recreation Program Guide helps you stay active and save money 8 August 2016 Registration for our fall programming starts today, with nearly 3,500 options to get you and your family up, out and active.

    In the Fall 2016 Program guide, you’ll find a wide variety of wallet-friendly programs in art, fitness, sports, sailing, nature, and much more. Our goal is to make sure that everyone can get active, regardless of their financial situation.

    All programs are priced to be affordable, and the program guide also lists several programs you can try for a toonie –  so you can see if you like the class before registering.

    Our Fair Entry program is also available to qualified individuals and provides fee assistance to recreation programs and services throughout Calgary.

    Programs are suitable for all ages from prenatal to active aging; and all levels of ability ranging from adapted fitness to marathon training. Some of the fun and affordable programs you’ll find this season:

    • YYC Barre fitness class – try the new fitness technique that’s gaining recognition across the country
    • Snorkelling – to get you ready for that next trip to the beach 
    • Ballet classes for kids – or adults
    • Programs just for the winter holidays – for when the kids aren’t in school
    • Rock climbing – did you know there’s a 40 ft outdoor climbing wall at Beltline Aquatic & Fitness Centre?
    • Learn how to make your own teapot
    • Introduction to sailing – life can be a breeze 
    • Free family events throughout the city
    • Parent & baby fitness
    • “Real Men Do Yoga”

    So get planning, and give us a call at 403-268-3800. Or visit us online to find more programs and to register today.

    Submitted by Joshua Hesslein, Calgary Recreation

  • Preview in the Plaza – get a sneak peek at some hot musical acts this August 3 August 2016 Did you know this year is the Year of Music in Calgary? To help keep the party going we have organized a number of free concerts in Olympic Plaza from noon to 1 p.m. So grab your lunch and maybe even your dancing shoes and come on down.
    Add a little Latin spice

    Wednesday, Aug. 3 come down to hear the acts kicking off this year’s Expo Latino. International recording artist Natalie Castro and Grammy-nominated Cuban superstar Wil Campa with his orchestra will be entertaining anyone who comes to Olympic Plaza. 

    East meets West

    Wednesday, Aug. 10 Plaza goers will get the chance to The Futhers. This Iranian band will be sharing their unique blend of Middle Eastern folk melodies and contemporary western music. The band will then be playing at the Tabestoon Festival, happening Aug. 12 and 13 if you find you want to hear more. 

    Take a short break to the Caribbean

    Thursday, Aug. 18 we are previewing the rhythmic reggae of Aktivate. This group is Calgary-based and will be performing later that week at Reggaefest, which runs Aug. 19 and 20.

    Learn more about the Year of Music at or check out our events calendar for more information on different festivals and events around Calgary, including other free music events such as our Music in the Park

  • Road paving is heating up – long weekend construction blog 28 July 2016
    Heading into the long-weekend, paving is heating up across the city.
    “Paving is essential for maintaining our roadways. It helps restore a smooth surface and keeps the base layers intact to prevent costly and large impact roadwork from happening down the line,” says Chris McGeachy, Communication Advisor, Roads.
    The long weekend is always an excellent opportunity for crews to get work done without the large volume of 9-5 traffic during the week. Here are some areas where motorists can expect delays this weekend:

    • Edmonton Trail is being paved from 16 Avenue N.E. to 42 Avenue N.E. on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Motorists can expect a single lane of traffic in each direction during the work.

    • Crowchild Trail N.W. will have lane reductions in both directions at the University LRT Station beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 30. Motorists can expect reduced speeds and delays in the area. This closure remains in place until 4 a.m. on Monday, August 1.
    • Banff Trail N.W. will be closed to all northbound traffic at 16 Avenue N.W. beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, July 29. This closure continues through 4 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2 and accommodates work on the Banff Trail C-Train station.
    • The exit ramp from northbound Crowchild Trail N.W. to Northland Drive N.W. is closed beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 28. This closure continues until 10 p.m. on Monday, August 1 and accommodates paving.
    • Centre Street N will be reduced to a single lane in each direction at 31 and 32 Avenue N.W. beginning on Saturday, July 30 at 6 a.m. This closure continues until Sunday, July 31 at 8 p.m. and accommodates utility work.

    • Centre Street S is closed between 6 Avenue and 8 Avenue S.E. beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29. This closure continues until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2 and accommodates construction.

    • Anderson Road S.W. will be paved between 14 Street S.W. and Macleod Trail. There will be various lane closures along this stretch daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning on Saturday, July 30. These closures also occur daily during these hours on Sunday, July 31 and Monday, August 1. Motorists should expect delays in the area and use alternate routes when possible.
    • 17 Avenue S.W. between 8 Street and 9 Street S.W. will be closed beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29. This closure continues until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2 and accommodates deep utility installation. Eastbound traffic will be detoured to north and southbound 9 Street S.W. to 14 Avenue S.W. Westbound traffic will be detoured north of 8 Street to 14 Avenue S.W. and south on 9 Street to 17 Avenue S.W.
    Intersection Approach Paving
    From 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 there will be a various lane closures in certain intersections as part of the intersection approach paving program. Motorists should expect delays in the area.
    • 16 Avenue at 6 Street N.E.
    • 16 Avenue at Deerfoot Trail
    • Memorial Drive at Deerfoot Trail
    For more information on all these projects and more, visit
  • Five places to catch ’em all 27 July 2016
    So you’ve decided to catch ’em all and are walking around the city, getting your daily exercise, and fulfilling your gaming goals, but do you know where to go? 

    We’ve made a list of the top five places where you’ll find more than just Pokémon!

    1. Prince’s Island Park


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