March 05, 2021 | Andrea Cox
Colourful community: natural and man-made beauty collide in Canyon Meadows
As the late-summer sun lingers long into the evening, the sound of children's laughter rings out and residents of Canyon Meadows ride their bikes through the tree-lined neighbourhood. It's a picturesque scene – one that attracted Susan Ortt and her husband Glen to the neighbourhood 25 years ago."We were really looking to purchase in a family friendly community close to the bike paths and Fish Creek Park," said Susan Ortt, who has watched the community mature over the years.
Her children attended the local schools and are now grown, but she is still fully immersed in the community. "I absolutely love my home. It backs right onto Fish Creek Park, and Glen and I really enjoy spending our weekends cycling around the pathways," she said.
"We just open our back gate and we are on the ridge over Fish Creek Park and the pathways are right there."
It was Canyon Meadows' location on the rolling bluffs above Fish Creek Park that inspired its name when the community was annexed by the City of Calgary in 1961. Construction and development began two years later. Today, Canyon Meadows features a mix of single- and multi-family homes, with almost 7,900 people calling the community home.
Located in Calgary's southwest – bordered by Fish Creek Park to the south, Anderson Road to the north, Macleod Trail to the east and 14th Street to the west – Canyon Meadows offers numerous recreational opportunities and amenities.
Taking centre stage is Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club, a private, 18-hole course founded in the 1950s that's nestled along the edge of Fish Creek Park. Nearby, the Canyon Meadows Aquatic and Fitness Centre offer a variety of indoor recreational opportunities to complement the natural wonderland outside.
"We just open our back gate and we are on the ridge over Fish Creek Park and the pathways are right there." - Susan Ortt, Canyon Meadows resident
Several separate and public schools also dot the area, including Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School.
The Canyon Meadows Community Centre – home to many activities, including yoga, dance, dog training, Brownie meetings and bridge games for seniors – anchors the community. In addition, two skating rinks create a four-season hub for kids and adults alike. In the summer, they are paved for inline skating and ball hockey, and in the winter, they are flooded for ice skating and impromptu games of shinny. Basketball courts, skateboard ramps and playing fields round out the offerings.
Gurmit Bhachu, president of the Canyon Meadows Community Association, says there are many new initiatives taking place in the area. Jane's Walk and Neighbour Day are innovative and popular annual events, and the community is partnering with the City to offer a mobile skate park program, a community clean-up day and a park play program.
Last year, a public art project at the Canyon Meadows Aquatic and Fitness Centre created quite a buzz. Two local artists re-envisioned the facility's garbage bins, applying beautiful vinyl wraps and painting them with pops of vibrant colour.
Another art project called On the Fence was recently completed. The project livened up a section of fence in the community by adding several colourfully painted discs along the chain link.
These public art initiatives, and others like them, contribute to a collective sense of pride in a neighbourhood already teeming with community spirit. More than 80 per cent of community residents own their home and many have lived in the neighbourhood for decades – seniors account for 14 per cent of the population in the community.
Certainly, the Ortts have no intention of leaving. "We absolutely love it here," said Ortt. "It's an amazing neighbourhood."
Tagged: Anderson Road | Calgary Community | Canyon Meadows | City of Calgary | Dr. E.P. Scarlett | Feature | Fish Creek | Fish Creek Park | Fish Creek Provincial Park | Glen Ortt | Gurmit Bhachu | Jane's Walk | Macleod Trail | Neighbour Day | On the Fence | Susan Ortt