Nothing beats the gorgeous landscapes of northwest Calgary. Quick road access to the mountains, Winsport, the University of Calgary, SAIT and AUArts makes the city’s northwest a popular option with students and young families.
While NW Calgary does tend to be a little more expensive than some other parts of town, there are plenty of options for entry-level homes in the newer neighborhoods and developments to the city’s far northwest. Whatever age and stage your family is in and whatever your interests, NW Calgary is full of amenities and some of the city’s most interesting public parks and facilities!
Calgary is a beautiful city with many unique neighborhoods. Each quadrant has its own vibe, amenities, and attractions. Our new Discover Calgary series will be exploring each unique quadrant inside of Calgary. We’ll be sharing favorite hidden gems and must-see attractions and amenities, the best places to eat, shop, and relax as well as highlighting some of Calgary’s newest neighborhoods. Whether you're a longtime resident, new to Calgary, looking for a move or a first-time visitor, you'll discover what’s new and unique about each part of the city. Join us in this first of our series as we showcase the beauty and diversity of northwest Calgary!
Private/ Charter Schools:
While NW Calgary doesn’t have the breadth of international options that NE Calgary does, you can get pretty much anything you’d like to eat here. There’s a high concentration of Vietnamese, sushi, pizza and western-style Chinese eateries in the suburban areas, with a few higher-end options like Flores & Pine, and NOtaBLE ~ The Restaurant. There’s a good selection of family-style dining pretty much everywhere in the NW, mostly concentrated in the larger shopping centres. Hidden gems include Pelican Pier in North Haven, Lotus Fine Indian Cuisine in Charleswood, Salsita Mexican Food Market in Cambrian Heights and, one of our favorites, Lazy Loaf and Kettle in Parkdale. Don’t forget to bring home some treats and a loaf of their amazing kettle bread!
Places to Shop
Market Mall is by far the biggest mall in the northwest, with dozens of chain and boutique shops and a large selection of food court options. It’s far from the only shopping destination, though – other major shopping hubs include the University District, Beacon Hill, Sage Hill, Crowfoot Crossing, and Brentwood Mall.
For a high street experience, the Hillhurst/Kensington district is a great place to explore on foot. Located right next to the river, Kensington has tons of offbeat boutiques, restaurants, cafes and entertainment options.
University District's Retail Main Street was designed to foster a vibrant and welcoming community where people can connect, shop, eat, explore, and socialize. Whether you're looking to grab a quick bite, browse unique shops, take in a movie, visit the night market or simply soak up the atmosphere, you’ll find it there.
Parks, Playgrounds & Green Spaces
This is where NW Calgary really shines. From Nose Hill to 12 Mile Coulee to Confederation Park and Bowness Park, NW Calgary is absolutely packed full of urban parks and green spaces. It features excellent access to the Bow River for rafting and fishing, some beautifully-maintained neighborhood recreation areas (including the award-winning Silver Springs Botanical Gardens) and plenty of bike paths to explore. Beautiful Bowness Park features a lagoon that is popular for boating and paddleboarding in summer and is open for skating in winter.
“NW Calgary has fantastic playgrounds with something for all ages and abilities including the Shouldice Park playground, University District playground and Hidden Hut playground”, says Dana Wheatly with Calgary Playground Review. “You can find inclusive playgrounds, playgrounds with great shade, playgrounds with fun themes, playgrounds that will challenge bigger kids as well as playgrounds that are fun and safe for the littlest playground adventurers.”
Things to Consider
NW Calgary has the quickest access to the Rocky Mountains, which is a huge benefit if you’re planning to take advantage of all the mountains have to offer year-round. Crowchild Trail provides fairly rapid access to downtown Calgary, but traveling from the NW to other quadrants of the city can be slow-going depending on which neighborhood you live in. The new West Calgary Ring Road expansion (due to open in 2024) should significantly speed up the commute.
The northwest is also home to the Foothills Hospital, Alberta Children’s Hospital and Calgary Regional Fertility Program clinic and most of Calgary’s largest post-secondary institutions, including the University of Calgary, SAIT, and AUArts.
The northwest is home to many well-established neighborhoods (some dating back to the 1940s), but there are also some really exciting new community developments happening in this part of town catering to a variety of price points:
“Ambleton has come a long way over the years,” says Monica Bilyk, Marketing & Communications Coordinator of Qualico Communities. “The community currently has a completed stormwater pond with pathways and its first park. The second park, which will include the community’s first playground, is underway and will be completed by the end of the summer.”
Ambleton features local and regional pathway networks, pedestrian gathering spaces and play areas to make getting around and exploring the community easy. Residential streets within the community have also been modified to move bike lanes from on-street to off-street regional paths, which makes the community safer and provides more opportunities for car-free transportation.
Upon completion, Ambleton will have 7.3kms of pathways and five parks. It will also include a commercial area and there are plans for a high school in place. While the community is still under construction, homeowners have access to the neighboring community of Evanston, which features a full set of established amenities such as parks, pathways, playgrounds, schools, and commercial/retail areas.
Rockland Park is a new, master-planned community located to the southwest of Tuscany, just north of the Bow River. Featuring laned and estate homes, this is the perfect spot to set down roots in the northwest.
“I may be biased as I live in the community, however Rockland Park is northwest Calgary’s hidden gem!” says Mikaila Windjack with Morrison Homes. “You truly feel like you’ve stepped outside of the hustle and bustle of the city as you drive up the hill into Rockland, being surrounded by nature on every side. The community has an overall sense of serenity and relaxation to it. We have amazing walking trails throughout the community and with every phase that’s brought on, more trails are built.”
Rockland Park is being designed as a truly full community, with all amenities right at your doorstep. “In the future, we will have a beautiful Homeowner’s Association Centre that will have many features such as a skating rink, an outdoor pool and an HOA centre that will feature classes and activities. We’re ten minutes away from the Tuscany LRT station as well as the brand new Calgary Farmer’s Market West.”
The U/D has been on the map for a few years now, quickly becoming a social hub for students and families alike thanks to its close proximity to the University of Calgary, Market Mall, and the Bow River. Most of U/D’s housing options are multi-family, including beautifully-designed townhouses and condos with an incredible variety of community amenities right on your doorstep.
“University District is a great place because it has a vibrancy and personality that is unique for an emerging urban community. It’s become a destination for all ages,” says Maureen Henderson, the Vice President of Community Experience for the University of Calgary Properties Group. “Whether you are visiting the shops or businesses on our Retail Main Street, attending one of our signature community events, skating on the rink in Central Commons Park, moving in as a new resident or passing through on your daily commute, U/D is inviting and energized by the people and the activity that happens every day. There’s something for everyone.”
If you’re looking for a home with a slightly smaller footprint but an incredible urban feel with restaurants, entertainment, community spaces and more, this might be the perfect choice for your family!
Glacier Ridge is an exciting new community just north
of Nolan Hill. With excellent access to Stoney Trail and all of the amenities of Sage Hill and Beacon Hill, Glacier Ridge is the perfect neighborhood to grow into. Framed by views of the Rocky Mountain Foothills, distinguished by the natural coulees that cross its land, Glacier Ridge is full of natural beauty.
“The vision and focus of Glacier Ridge’s parks and outdoor programming is nature play, as displayed by its bold red fox play structure standing beside an outdoor skating pond,” says Maia Dyer from Anthem. “At the heart of Glacier Ridge is its central Residents’ Association Village. The building will provide indoor and outdoor amenities for all ages such as a gymnasium, banquet rooms, a toboggan hill and more.”
Homes from all of Canada’s top builders are available in Glacier Ridge at a wide variety of price points, starting in the mid-550s for laned homes.
Calgary's northwest communities offer a perfect blend of urban convenience and serene natural beauty. Whether it's exploring the stunning parks and trails, enjoying the vibrant local culture, or experiencing the warm sense of community, there's something for everyone in Calgary's northwest.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2023 Calgary’s Child