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Old Posted Jun 30, 2018, 4:24 AM
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Calgary - Downtown - Skylines, Plazas, and Historic Buildings

Calgary is the 3rd largest city in Canada by population (1,240,000) and is the largest city of the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area in Alberta (containing 1,393,000, the 4th largest in Canada).

Downtown is located on a gentle bend of the Bow River which forms its Northern boundary. I will define Downtown as including the adjacent districts of Downtown Commercial Core, Downtown West End, Eau Claire, Downtown East Village, and Chinatown, as well as Beltline to the South of those districts.

This thread will focus on some skylines and then to various public plazas and spaces before showing a collection of the historic buildings in the area.


Skyline as seen from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology:





Skylines around Downtown:



















Stephen Avenue Walk structures:
One block of this pedestrian mall features these soaring sculptures.







The Core Shopping Centre:
This indoor mall connects three blocks of downtown's retail concentration.





CTrain stations along 7th Avenue:
For nearly it's entire length of downtown, this street forms the spine of the city's light rail system.















A small plaza at the corner of 1 St SW and 9 Ave SW:



A larger plaza along Centre St. S:







Another plaza, this one is located in the East Village:





Beltline Park:









Harley Hotchkiss Gardens:

















Olympic Park:
This plaza was built for the 1988 Winter Olympics hosted by Calgary.









A sculpture group in another half-block park:



Central Memorial Park:















Stephen Avenue:
Downtown's greatest concentration of historic buildings is situated along several blocks of a renamed 8th Ave that forms a pedestrian mall.























More historic buildings, not located along Stephen Avenue:



















Mewata Armoury:





More historic buildings, with prominent brick facades:















Fairmont Palliser Hotel:









Old Courthouse:



Memorial Park Public Library:







More historic buildings:





















All photos taken by geomorph in 2017.

For my other Calgary threads, see:

Downtown - Bow River Waterfront: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=234312

Downtown - Highrises 1: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...17#post8247517

Downtown - Highrises 2: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...89#post8276889

Last edited by geomorph; Aug 10, 2018 at 12:18 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2018, 2:26 PM
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Beautiful!
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2018, 4:04 PM
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REALLY, REALLY BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

That's one of the nicest cities in North America.

Great photos too!!!

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Old Posted Jun 30, 2018, 11:37 PM
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The first photo of the skyline is awesome, great angle.

Calgary, at least in these pics seem so shiny, new & well-manicured that IMO it feels like it's missing something...I can't quite put my finger on it. Don't get me wrong though, the city looks great.
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Old Posted Jul 1, 2018, 1:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
Calgary is the 3rd largest city in Canada by population (1,240,000) and is the largest city of the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area in Alberta (containing 1,393,000, the 4th largest in Canada).

Downtown is located on a gentle bend of the Bow River which forms its Northern boundary. I will define Downtown as including the adjacent districts of Downtown Commercial Core, Downtown West End, Eau Claire, Downtown East Village, and Chinatown, as well as Beltline to the South of those districts.

This thread will focus on some skylines and then to various public plazas and spaces before showing a collection of the historic buildings in the area.


Skyline as seen from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology:

I'd like to know how does a city with only a metro population of 1 to 2 million people have such a large and dense downtown. I'm sure it has to do with the difference between American and Canadian governments, but it would be interesting to know more about that. Compare other American cities of that same size metro population, and their downtowns are much smaller, and sprawl is much greater.
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Old Posted Jul 3, 2018, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post
I'd like to know how does a city with only a metro population of 1 to 2 million people have such a large and dense downtown. I'm sure it has to do with the difference between American and Canadian governments, but it would be interesting to know more about that. Compare other American cities of that same size metro population, and their downtowns are much smaller, and sprawl is much greater.
All Canadian medium and large cities have impressive density when compared to american cities of similar sizes, even smaller cities like Victoria, Halifax and Saskatoon have really impressive cores
checkout this thread to see all of Canada's skylines, http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...22250&page=399

Last edited by Nite; Jul 3, 2018 at 12:35 AM.
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Old Posted Jul 3, 2018, 3:12 AM
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Nice pictures!
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Old Posted Jul 3, 2018, 7:10 AM
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Nice pics and thread about Calgary but this :


https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/924/eEuGll.jpg

Oh Lordy !



It was a pleasure viewing this thread.
Thanks!
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Old Posted Jul 3, 2018, 7:42 AM
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Skyline of Calgary need a supertall, well make them two.
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Old Posted Jul 5, 2018, 6:06 PM
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Great architecture, both the old and the skyscrapers. Calgary looks very clean and well organized.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2018, 1:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy de la Sucre View Post
Skyline of Calgary need a supertall, well make them two.
So far the tallest is 247 meters, how tall would you propose to go?
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Old Posted Jul 10, 2018, 3:22 PM
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Very impressive skyline for a city its size. I will say that with the exception of the Bow, the skyline is nondescript. This is true for most Canadian cities. In fact the only Canadian city with a U. S. style skyline (which I prefer) with several unique buildings is Montreal. Just my opinion.
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Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 2:11 AM
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Originally Posted by East72nd View Post
Very impressive skyline for a city its size. I will say that with the exception of the Bow, the skyline is nondescript. This is true for most Canadian cities. In fact the only Canadian city with a U. S. style skyline (which I prefer) with several unique buildings is Montreal. Just my opinion.
I am going to post two threads of closer views of highrises in Calgary, hopefully you will find some fairly interesting variety if you check them out, especially the more recent additions.
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Old Posted Jul 23, 2018, 5:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post
I'd like to know how does a city with only a metro population of 1 to 2 million people have such a large and dense downtown. I'm sure it has to do with the difference between American and Canadian governments, but it would be interesting to know more about that. Compare other American cities of that same size metro population, and their downtowns are much smaller, and sprawl is much greater.
Calgary is easily the most American influenced city in Canada due to its economy and history. DT is dense for a number of reason, only some of which are planning related:
1) DT is land constrained as is the inner city. DT proper is a triangle with river on two sides and train tracks on the other. The Calgary area is bowl shaped with the inner city at the bottom. The hills surrounding the inner city are a semi barrier.

2) Oil and gas companies used to have a competitive advantage in locating close to the land titles office, so most wanted to be within walking distance. Land titles have long been electronic but the culture persists

3) The oil and gas industry is highly collaborative. Companies tend to cluster so that employees in oil and gas, engineering and finance can easily meet face to face. This is changing

4) Calgary has US level GDP with an outsized corporate sector, meaning much higher than average demand for office space

5) inner city Calgary was never dangerous or perceived as such. While inner city multifamily never really caught on until the 1990's that was more due to highly affordable SFH in the suburbs. Affordability and traffic got much worse in the 2000's so inner city residential became more attractive

6) Prior to office towers, most of inner city calgary was SFH, so it was comparatively easy to redevelop

7) Inner city Calgary had few significant heritage or institutional buildings like a university to work around. The towers have less impediment to clustering. DT is probably unique in having next to no institutional buildings, which tend to be low rise

8) Southern AB is sparsely populated due to developing after the railway Era and was based on ranching and dryland farming. There were few small towns around Calgary that could have become suburbs

9) Calgary annexed all of its then suburbs in the 1960's. More distant towns started to grow rapidly in the 1990's which will likely break down the unicity model

10) Calgary has a poor freeway system mostly because it grew after the freeway construction booms of the 1950's and 60's. Most of the freeway proposals from the 1960's were never built due to community opposition and fiscally conservative governments than resisted funding. Inner city freeways would have been tough to build due to the the rivers and hills

11) Calgary started to limit dt parking in the 1970's which pushed parking rates to some of the highest in NA

12) Calgary introduced its light rail system when the regional population was under 600K, in 1981

The skyline also tends to look big due to topography. From virtually any vantage, one looks down on the skyline.

Last edited by Doug; Aug 1, 2018 at 11:24 PM.
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Old Posted Aug 1, 2018, 9:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post

2) Oil and gas companies used to have a competitive advantage in locating close to the land titles office, so most wanted to be within walking distance. Land titles have long been electronic but the culture persists

3) The oil and gas industry is highly collaborative. Companies tend to cluster so that employees in oil and gas, engineering and finance can easily meet face to face. This is chsngingu
Thank you for the informative summary of downtown's realities, I found these comments about the energy sector to be most interesting.
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2018, 4:36 PM
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^ Another Thank You to Doug for the interesting write-up on Calgary!

Back in the mid-1990's I was in Vancouver, BC on business and was talking with commercial real estate brokers about differences between Canadian cities. I recall one telling me that the average size office lease in downtown Vancouver was about 20,000 square feet, whereas the average size lease in Calgary was close to 200,000 sf (or some proportion that was generally similar). The difference is that Calgary was a corporate HQ city, especially in the energy sector. Vancouver, by contrast (at least then), was more of a branch office city. I don't know if this is still true, but I always found that fascinating.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 12:11 AM
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Calgary: a city of 1.4 million metro population, with the skyline of a city with 5 million metro population.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 3:06 AM
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^ Another Thank You to Doug for the interesting write-up on Calgary!

Back in the mid-1990's I was in Vancouver, BC on business and was talking with commercial real estate brokers about differences between Canadian cities. I recall one telling me that the average size office lease in downtown Vancouver was about 20,000 square feet, whereas the average size lease in Calgary was close to 200,000 sf (or some proportion that was generally similar). The difference is that Calgary was a corporate HQ city, especially in the energy sector. Vancouver, by contrast (at least then), was more of a branch office city. I don't know if this is still true, but I always found that fascinating.
Probably more true now than ever despite the downturn in the energy industry. Virtually all the large companies in Canada are headquartered in Toronto or Calgary.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2018, 2:21 AM
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Extremely impressed.
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2018, 7:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Urbanguy View Post
The first photo of the skyline is awesome, great angle.

Calgary, at least in these pics seem so shiny, new & well-manicured that IMO it feels like it's missing something...I can't quite put my finger on it. Don't get me wrong though, the city looks great.
I visited Calgary for the first time a few years back and left with the same feelings. The skyline is very impressive for such a small metro but left wondering what was missing. I think a couple of things are at play.

Calgary went from frontier oil town to corporate headquarter city very quickly. A ton of towers went up but not much attention was paid to architecture, the public realm, or building a place that functions after 5pm. There's not much of a residential population downtown; it's one office after the next with a small retail strip and a big underground mall. I don't think Calgarians actually go downtown other than for work. They go to the neighbourhood south of the rail line. The Beltline???

Calgary has started to put more emphasis on quality architecture and so far has 3 great looking new towers to show for it. The Bow, Brookfield, and Telus Sky are fabulous. Love love love Telus Sky. Next they need to build a sizable resident population right in the downtown. 100,000 people living downtown will do wonders for the vibrancy of the area. With more residents comes more retail, more restaurants, and more pressure to improve the public realm (sidewalks, trees, benches, etc.) I found most of the downtown streets surprisingly shabby/unattractive.

I hope my criticism doesn't come off as harsh. I liked Calgary and think it has a very bright future. I just think the downtown needs more time to come together. Start building condos and I don't mean in the Beltline!
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Last edited by isaidso; Aug 4, 2018 at 7:49 PM.
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