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Courtesy Mount Pleasant Community Association
Courtesy Mount Pleasant Community Association

March 05, 2021 | Andrea Cox

Bridging generations: Bridgeland and Renfrew are trendy communities in transition

On the north side of the Bow River, the inner-city communities of Bridgeland and Renfrew are attracting young, vibrant buyers in droves thanks to their funky vibe and smorgasbord of cool restaurants, coffee shops and eclectic boutiques. Here you can find local clothing designs, loads of vinyl and good local eats. Many of the venues pair up unlikely offerings, making the vibe even quirkier. Enjoy an old-fashioned shave while sipping on a vodka martini at barbershop/cocktail lounge Cannibale, or grab one of the best coffees in town at Lukes Drug Mart.

Both communities offer a close-knit, family-friendly feel, and there's always plenty of activity, from the seasonal farmers market that's open every Thursday from June to October, to summer street festivals.

Carmon Blacklock, president of the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association, says the community is constantly holding events, including community potlucks, skating parties, pub nights and musical performances like Cello in the Garden.

There is even a tool-share program, where residents can borrow from a selection of over 1,500 tools to help them complete their DIY projects.

"I can honestly say that Bridgeland-Riverside truly is a village within the city," said Blacklock, who grew up in rural Alberta in a small town of close to 200 people. "Many of the businesses are resident owned and operated. And it is a very walkable community."
"I can honestly say that Bridgeland-Riverside truly is a village within the city." - Carmon Blacklock, Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association president

Kathryn Trenerry-Harker, who has lived in Renfrew for 19 years, also raves about her community, Bridgeland's northern neighbour.

"Renfrew has a mix of eclectic, interesting people. The community association puts on lots of events that are well attended and help to foster community cohesiveness – dances, quiz nights and crib nights in the pub, an annual bike day event, and Renfrew's Stampede Day (down to the wee hours) is epic," she said.

"Renfrew feels like a small town in the middle of a big city."

Yet, both Renfrew and Bridgeland are close to everything. The Calgary Zoo, Telus Spark and St. Patrick's Island are all located within Bridgeland. The downtown core is walkable and access to the city's bike pathway system and river pathways is a snap.

Both communities are in transition, as the gentrification process that began with the demolition of the old Calgary General Hospital in 1998 continues. New condos, duplexes and infills are replacing older wartime bungalows, and millennials and young families are gravitating to the area, thanks to its trendy vibe.

"The resurgence of young families moving into the neighbourhood is growing exponentially, as seen in the community's athletic programs," said Blacklock. "Our soccer program has grown from 70 kids only five years ago to well over 300 kids today."

He adds the community's demographic is becoming much more balanced, with robust seniors' groups and programs being offered for all ages.

Also, from a development standpoint, he says that lots of changes are underway.

"First Avenue is planned for a makeover, and we are currently looking to revitalize the Edmonton Trail corridor," he said.

Tagged: Bow River | Bridgeland | Bridgeland-Riverside | Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association | Calgary Community | Calgary Zoo | Edmonton Trail | Feature | First Avenue | Kathryn Trenerry-Harker | Lukes Drug Mart | Renfrew | St. Patrick's Island | TELUS Spark

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