Calgary’s Best Neighbourhoods 2013

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For the fourth year, Avenue has created our list of Best Neighborhoods in Calgary. But, rather than have us tell you which neighborhoods we like best, we turned to our readers. We asked you to complete a survey telling us what you think the most important attributes in a neighborhood are. You told us that being close to parks and pathways, safety and friendly neighbors are what you most care about. We weighted those categories heaviest in our calculations. Conversely, what you care least about is whether the area is newly developed, has a uniform look or has large homes. Those factors were weighted lightest.

We also used the survey to gather data about your own neighborhood. You told us how friendly your neighbors are, which of your community’s amenities you love most and how you would rank your neighborhoods restaurants, shopping and recreation. Our partners at Leger Marketing took those answers and combined them with updated empirical data including crime statistics, property assessments and business licences and crunched the data. The result is our 2013 list of best neighborhoods based on what readers value most and which neighborhoods delivered the best on those attributes. What we didn’t factor in, because it happened after our survey was complete, is the effects of the flooding, both in terms of physical space and property and the generosity of neighbors toward each other. The flooding did remind us that neighborhood pride should be celebrated, particularly as it crosses borders to help communities rebuild. —J.M.

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #1 Arbour Lake

arbourlake2013

Anyone who lives in the suburbs knows it isn’t so much the distance that matters, but the roads that get you there. Arbour Lake, named Calgary’s top neighborhood by our readers, has access to Crow-child Trail, John Laurie Boulevard and Stoney Trail, if you want to get out. But why would you? Everything you need is right here.

The lake brings people together for fishing derbies, stand-up paddle-board races and bouncing on the water trampoline. Groceries are available at Amaranth Whole Foods Market and Co-op in Crowfoot Crossing. There are nearby spas and yoga studios, vet clinics and pet day-cares, restaurants and pubs, movie theaters and a YMCA, as well as specialized medical centers for diagnostic imaging, dentistry, chiropractic care and family medicine.

In addition to its top-10 finishes, Arbour Lake also scored above average for access to LRT (Crowfoot Station is close), property value (it had a slight 1.9 per cent increase from 2012 to 2013), proximity to parks and recreation facilities (the aforementioned lake and Y, plus Crowfoot Park), and schools (Robert Thirsk High School will open this year), and well-maintained homes. Plus, survey says, the neighbors are friendly.

The stats

  • Population: 10,836
  • Average property value: $412,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 1.9%
  • 88% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 85% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 15% live in duplexes, apartments or town-homes
  • 51% of homes have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Close to grocery stores (3)
  • Access to major roads (4)
  • Close to drug stores (5)
  • Close to coffee shops (7)
  • Close to entertainment and the arts (9)
  • Active community association (8)
  • Walkability (10)
  • Close to restaurants (10)
  • Mixed-use area (10)

Calgary’s Best Neighbourhoods 2013: #2 Acadia

acadia2013

It’s the closest community to the Calgary Farmers’ Market and all that nearby Deerfoot Meadows has to offer. Inside its boundaries, Acadia has a city rec center with an indoor pool, sundeck, classes, cardio and The ARC, an indoor complex for skating, hockey and curling. The average household’s 0.8 kids can attend one of nine schools in Acadia, including three bilingual, a charter and a high school.

The Stats

  • Population: 10,705
  • Average property value: $339,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 3.6%
  • 56% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 52% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 48% in duplexes, townhomes or apartments
  • 71% of homes have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Access to recreation (2)
  • Close to elementary, junior high and high schools (2)
  • Close to restaurants (7)
  • Close to drug stores (7)
  • Well-maintained homes (8)
  • Close to grocery stores (8)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #3 Varsity

varsity2013

Varsity is so good because it’s so green. A bird’s-eye view shows huge swaths of land where nary a building exists, mostly because of Silver Springs Golf and Country Club and Bowmont Park, the 164-hectare grassland that leads Varsity residents to the Bow River. When they are not basking in the outdoors, Varsity-dwellers are probably bragging about the nearby Dalhouise CTrain station and access to Crowchild Trail at coffee shops like Euphoria Cafe, where you can get a waffle or gelato to go with a Turkish hazelnut latte.

The Stats

  • Population: 12,200
  • Average property value: $449,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 6.3%
  • 62% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 58% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 42% live in duplexes, townhomes or apartments
  • 68% of households have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Close to parks and pathways (2)
  • Close to coffee shops (2)
  • Close to elementary, junior high and high schools (7)
  • Close to drug stores (8)
  • Close to recreation facilities (10)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #4 Brentwood

brentwood2013

If it wasn’t enough that Brentwood shares its northern border with Nose Hill Park, this community also has Sir Winston Churchill Aquatic & Recreation Centre with its salt-water swimming pool and steam room, as well as the Brentwood Sportsplex for ice-skating and hockey. It’s also a quick walk across Crowchild Trail to the University of Calgary and all of its Olympic-calibre rec facilities. For shopping, there is Brentwood Village in one corner and Northland Village Mall in another.

The Stats

  • Population: 6,059
  • Average property value: $461,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 6.2%
  • 67% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 85% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 15% live in apartments or townhomes
  • 63% of homes have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Close to recreation facilities (1)
  • Close to grocery stores (2)
  • Close to drug stores (2)
  • Close to elementary, junior high and high schools (3)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #5 Hillhurst

hillhurst2013

A quick walk from your restored heritage home, low-rise condo or modern town-home will get you pizza at Pulcinella, sandwiches at Peppinos, lemon ricotta pancakes at Chef’s Table and suckling pig at Muse. If liquids are more your pleasure, meeting for coffee means choosing between Higher GroundThe House and The Roasterie. Hillhurst also gets to claim a stretch of the Bow River, one end of the Peace Bridge, Riley Park and SAIT Polytechnic’s campus as its own.

The Stats

  • Population: 6,291
  • Average property value: $528,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: -0.9%
  • 38% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 39% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 61% live in apartments, duplexes or townhomes
  • 79% of households have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Close to restaurants (2)
  • Close to recreation facilities (3)
  • Close to coffee shops (3)
  • Access to entertainment and the arts (3)
  • Walkability (4)
  • Access to LRT (6)
  • Close to elementary, junior high and high schools (9)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #6 Lake Bonavista

lakebonavista2013

Lake Bonavista finds itself nestled in a sweet spot of amenities. It has two lakes (Bonavista and Bonaventure) available to members of the community. It has Fish Creek Provincial Park to the south, and Southcentre Mall and Willow Park Village just past its northern edge. And, within its boundaries, you can stretch out at Breathe Hot Yoga Studioand grab a slice at Pies Plus Café in Avenida Village, take home beef bourguignon from Italian market Soffritto and grab a java at Gourmet Cup in Lake Bonavista Promenade.

The Stats

  • Population: 10,475
  • Average property value: $495,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 2.2%
  • 89% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 89% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 11% live in apartments
  • 58% of homes have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Close to coffee shops (4)
  • Close to drug stores (4)
  • Close to elementary, junior high and high schools (4)
  • Close to recreation facilities (5)
  • Close to parks (8)
  • Close to restaurants (8)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #7 Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill

hounsfieldheights2013

Tucked between Crowchild Trail, 16th Avenue N.W. and 14th Street N.W., Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill has been awesome since the 1950s when it was home to Calgary’s first mall.North Hill Centre now also includes a professional building with plenty of health-related resources mere steps from a CTrain station. And, despite being in the middle of three major post-secondary schools — Alberta College of Art + Design, SAIT and the University of Calgary — the area is mostly single-family homes lived in by their owners, who get to enjoy the killer views that come with living on an escarpment.

The Stats

  • Population: 2,954
  • Average property value: $609,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 7.7%
  • 75% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 73% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 27% live in apartments or townhomes
  • 66% of homes have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Access to major roads (3)
  • Access to LRT (5)
  • Walkability (9)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #8 Beltline

beltline2013 In terms of access to amenities, the almost entirely apartment-living dwellers in the Beltline have it the best. On 17th Avenue S.W., alone, newbie Analog and old favorite Caffè Beano will keep you caffeinated. Burgers at Clive Burgerand hot dogs at Tubby Dog keep it casual, while Brava,Cilantro and Model Milk are a few of the nearby restaurants worthy of a long, drawn-out meal. The Beltline also gets the best of 11th and 12th avenues with their collection of home decor stores and art galleries, with Co-op Midtown Market at one end and Sunterra Keynote Market at the other.

The Stats

  • Population: 19,681
  • Average property value: $277,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 3%
  • 31% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 1% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 99% live in duplexes, apartments or townhomes
  • 91% of households have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Active community association (3)
  • Access to LRT (7)
  • Access to major roads (8)
  • Close to entertainment and the arts (10)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #9 Scarboro/Sunalta West

scarborosunaltawest This inner-city enclave is all single-family homes, each with its own character, lining traffic-calmed streets. It is west of the neighborhoods of Sunalta and Scarboro proper, bordered to the east by Crow-child Trail, bisected by Bow Trail and close to the new showcase CTrain line. On one end of its tiny 0.5 square kilometers is access to the Bow River and on the other is a sliver of 17th Avenue S.W. that includes Casel Marché withCassis BistroMarket 17 and J. Webb Wine Merchant.

The Stats

  • Population: 410
  • Average property value: $787,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 7.1%
  • 83% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 100% of residents live in single-family detached homes
  • 60% of households have one or two people

Top 10 finishes:

  • Active community association (3)
  • Access to LRT (7)
  • Access to major roads (8)
  • Close to entertainment and the arts (10)

Calgary’s Best Neighborhoods 2013: #10 Bridgeland/Riverside

bridgelandriverside2013 This neighborhood gets a gold star for urban development. The Bridges is currently in the second of three phases to fill the land left vacant by the old General Hospital and add 2,000 new condo residents. Already, 1st Avenue N.E. has been revamped with added residential and retail — Bridgeland Market, Blue Star Diner and DeVille are a few gems. At the end of the main street, Luke’s Drug Mart is a one-stop shop for prescriptions, vinyl records and a cup of Stump-town coffee. The community has its own CTrain station and is within walking distance of downtown’s 7th Avenue lines.

The Stats

  • Population: 5,594
  • Average property value: $384,000
  • Property value increase from 2012 to 2013: 8.4%
  • 38% of homes are owner-occupied
  • 38% of residents live in single-family detached homes; 62% live in duplexes, apartments or townhomes
  • 85% of homes have one or two people

Top 10 finishes

  • Access to LRT (1)
  • Close to drug stores (6)
  • Good resale and investment potential (8)

by Jaelyn Molyneux, Sara Samson and Jay Winans, photos by Jared Sych, illustrations by Clair Manning http://www.avenuecalgary.com/articles/calgarys-best-neighbourhoods-2013

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One thought on “Calgary’s Best Neighbourhoods 2013

  1. And no surprise, Tuxedo Park is still not one of them, what with its crime and sirens going off and such…

    Still, where else can you find Italian tailors who will fix a broken seam in your pants for a loonie or two?

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