Courtesy Jeremy Klager
March 04, 2021 | Andrea Cox
Community Profile: Bowness and Montgomery
There is something special about living close to the river – waking up in the morning to the sounds of water swishing along the banks and birds singing their morning symphony.
It's that sense of getting away from it all that is attracting people to the riverside communities of Bowness and Montgomery. Both communities boast a deep and storied history – originating as villages and then towns before being amalgamated into the city – which led to the development of a distinctive flavour and culture that is still visible today.
For third-generation Bowness resident Jessica Clark, purchasing a fixer-upper in the community was a no brainer. She's lived in the neighbourhood for most of her life. Five years ago, she found a bungalow in need of a big refresh and set to work renovating it with the help of her father – a red seal carpenter – and both of her brothers, all of whom live just blocks away.
"There is a real sense of belonging in the community," said Clark, who is also the communications co-ordinator for the Bowness Community Association. "It is this idea that your neighbours know who you are, they are invested in you and you are invested in them."
It's that concept of connectedness that has spurred on the Connect Bowness initiative, spearheaded by the community association.
"It's just a logical fit for the community and it is the kind of thing that happens day-to-day on an organic basis," said Clark. "Reaching out to your neighbours, shovelling sidewalks, building a little library on your lawn, hosting potlucks and street parties – it is really about a sense of neighbourliness."
"There is a real sense of belonging in the community." - Jessica Clark, Bowness resident
Recently, this nature-filled community has seen the addition of ample public art. Those who wander along the main street will be greeted by a series of murals painted by artists from Bowness High School. Other art on display here includes a collection of metal sculptures on lampposts and a community mural in Bowness Park designed by local artist Brad Hayes.
Also, as part of the Liveable Streets Program, come spring and summer – just in time for the 18th edition of the popular Tour de Bowness road race for cyclists – street corners will be brimming with picnic tables and umbrellas.
- Bowness Park was built before the First World War as a retreat for Calgarians. The park features a train, outdoor ice skating, a lagoon and nature-laden walking trails along the south shores of the Bow River.
- Skiers and mountain bikers from both communities enjoy easy access to WinSport's Canada Olympic Park and its abundant sporting amenities.
- Shouldice Park, a 28-hectare athletic park on the shores of the Bow River, is home to batting cages and soccer fields, as well as an outdoor stadium, indoor aquatic centre and ice arena. A 15,000-square-foot accessible playground is currently in the works as part of the Jumpstart Inclusive Playground Project Initiative.
Originally founded as Shouldice Terrace on land gifted by the Shouldice family, the community of Montgomery was rechristened Montgomery in the 1940s. In 1958, it earned status as a town, spurring on the creation of indoor plumbing and sewer systems for the community. Prior to 1959, individual well systems (remnants of which remain today) and outhouses were still common here.
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