March 05, 2021 | Andrea Cox
Making a mark: Watermark at Bearspaw provides inviting atmosphere for young and old alike
Vancouver-based Macdonald Development Corp. is known for its thoughtful community designs, often imbued with a west coast feel.
It's a vibe that resonates with residents – connecting neighbours and instilling a strong sense of community. Watermark at Bearspaw, the developer's latest master-planned community, is no exception.
The 290-acre community is located in Rocky View County at the edge of Calgary's city limits, touching the northwest neighbourhood of Tuscany.
"It's just the perfect community," said Watermark resident Amy Shafer. "It's everything that we were looking for and I don't think that we will ever leave."
Shafer, her husband and their three children purchased a 1.33-acre lot in the first phase of development more than six years ago, when Watermark was still a 'farmer's field' and her two youngest children were still in preschool.
The family built a French Country-style home that backs onto a pond and a natural forested area.
"It's just this private oasis and that is one of the reasons that we chose the lot," she said. What really sold her family on Watermark was the solid sense of community.
"It's all young families here and probably three-quarters of the kids go to Bearspaw School. The school bus literally stops on our driveway, so I don't even have to get out of my pajamas in the morning."
The kids aren't the only ones who get the chance to have fun either.
"The developer did all of these events at the beginning and still does, so that everyone gets to know each other," said Shafer, adding that she and her husband rarely need to leave the neighbourhood to socialize.
The developer did all of these events at the beginning and still does, so that everyone gets to know each other," said Shafer, adding that she and her husband rarely need to leave the neighbourhood to socialize.
"There is always something going on here."
Matthew Jones, senior director of development at Macdonald Development Corp., says what really sets Watermark apart are the lot sizes and the amenities.
"We always compare it to the typical Calgary estate community where you are seeing lot sizes that are 40- to 50-foot frontages," he said.
"Our smallest lot frontages are 80 feet – so quarter-of-an-acre lots to well over one-acre lots with comparable prices to what you would get in the city. And you are only 20 minutes from downtown."
In addition, the minimum side yard is 25 feet, creating even spacing between the homes and a uniform streetscape.
The area features five kilometres of paved asphalt pathways, 46 acres of parkland, 16 ponds, and a beautifully landscaped central plaza with a fountain and community clubhouse.
"The plaza is really the heart of the community," said Jones. The NBA-sized basketball court, amphitheatre, outdoor kitchen and playgrounds act as a honing beacon for residents. It's here that families gather for movies nights in the park, and where kids and their parents gather after school to visit.
"I heard someone describing it the other day, saying Watermark feels like it is a community out of the 1950s. We don't have a busy road or a commercial centre. Everyone knows their neighbours. It's very safe."
The trail system in the community will also be a highlight. When the future Haskayne Legacy Park just outside of Watermark is completed, the trail link will provide a continuous pathway to Cochrane through the 3,500-acre Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. It will also extend to Calgary and become part of the Trans Canada Trail system.
At final build out, Watermark will have 469 single-family homes and 101 luxury estate villas.