Downtown West Community Background
In the heart of downtown is the commercial core, bounded on the east by 3rd Street east, on the west by 9th Street west, on the south by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and by Chinatown and Eau Claire on the north. The downtown became established with the arrival of the CPR in 1883. By 1884, the CPR had laid out Calgary’s grid patter of streets and avenues, initiated by the sale of properties and, by its very presence, had dictated that the town centre would be situated close to the train depot. Many of the original sandstone buildings, developed around the turn of the century, are still found along Stephen Avenue Mall. Currently, the commercial core contains the greatest concentration of Calgary’s high density, commercial, financial and retail activity and governmental uses. The light Rail Transit (LRT) system, the +15 pedestrian system and open spaces, such as Olympic Plaza and the Devonian Gardens are some of the amenities found in the downtown commercial core.
Downtown West Community Association
Situated between 8 Street SW and 14 Street SW and between the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) tracks and the Bow River, the Downtown is a neighbourhood that is still evolving in its identity. Great potential exists to enhance it into a unique and integrated neighbourhood given the qualities of open and special spaces that currently exist and contribute to the Downtown West. The Downtown West also exhibits a unique mix of heritage resources (e.g. Mewata Armoury, the Kerby Centre and the former Science Centre site) that provide the opportunity to create a sense of identity for the neighbourhood.
The Downtown West is special for the presence of Shaw Millennium Park and its adjacency to the Bow River. In recent years, the Downtown West has experienced a significant amount of residential development however; it stands as an island at the west end of the Centre City, lacking the qualities of amenity and integration that would provide a stronger sense of identity. The Downtown West, although strong in its adjacency to the Bow River, it is not well-connected for pedestrian movements to the Bow riverfront, surrounding neighbourhoods and the Downtown.
The substantial amount of east and west vehicular movements bisect the neighbourhood therefore,
not fully achieving the components of an integrated neighbourhood. The policies for the Downtown West seek to provide a stronger sense of place and better integrate it as a neighbourhood both within and as a part of the Centre City.