New condos, shops and restaurants add to ‘up-and-coming’ Calgary community

Bridgeland is Calgary’s most “up-and-coming” community, as described by homeowners and storeowners in the area.

“I just bought my condo and it’s beautiful,” said Carmen Wenstrom, a new homeowner in Bridgeland. “The view looks over downtown, and there are tons of trees.”

The blossoming, youthful community — formerly known as Riverside — is located in downtown’s northeast. 1010 Memorial Drive NE is the entrance into the community that has slowly been rebuilding from old to new.

Changing quickly

Sister’s Home displays many designs from various designers from all across North America. The eclectic shop sells anything from jewellery, tops, and dresses to antiques, art, and collectables.

Photo by Danielle HarderEstablished in 1908, its older homes are small and reflect Calgary’s history. However, new condo developments bring a modern touch to the neighbourhood, along with its almost 6,000 residents.

City of Calgary community social statistics show that in 2011, Bridgeland had a total population of 5,254. This area is a younger neighbourhood, with 22.8 per cent of residents aged 25 to 34.

As a community, 72.8 per cent of the homes are owned, whereas only 27.2 per cent are rented.

What to do

Sister’s Home is one of the area’s newest shops, which carries clothing brands and designers from across North America.

Barbara Lix, a staffer for Sister’s Home, describes the shop as a gorgeous eclectic, boutique. The pink sign and flirty mannequins out front support that description.

“There’s a large condo development here and lots of nice restaurants,” said Lix, an employee of Sister’s Home. “It’s up-and-coming, with new businesses moving in, which is why I like working in this area.”

When you walk from store to store in the trendy strip mall, the sidewalks are filled with runners and people of all ages finishing errands.

“All of these new places offer a great change. I don’t have to head into downtown for good food and shopping. It’s only a block or two away,” said new resident Lisa Paton, 23. “Makes living here comfortable and easy.”

Where to eat

Another new location is a restaurant with gluten-free and vegan options called Main Dish.

Neighbourhood residents have been heading to the eatery as an indulgent health option for take-home organic meals.

“It’s great if I’m ever having people over for dinner and don’t have time after work,” said Paton.

Blue Star Diner is one of the newest additions to the Bridgeland area, offering reasonably priced, locally grown, vegan and gluten-free breakfast and lunch options.

Photo by Danielle HarderAnother restaurant that opened just over a year ago is Blue Star Diner, which owner Shayne Perrin describes as a “diamond in the rough.”

“It’s not completely out of the way and off the beaten path, but it’s not in the middle of a congested area like 17th Avenue SW,” said Perrin.

Perrin appreciates how well the company has done in its location, with it still being so young.

“It’s a really great neighbourhood with lots of history and lots of people that have lived in the neighbourhood for a long time and take a lot of pride in it.”

Blue Star Diner, recently named “Best Brunch” joint by Avenue Calgary, offers vegan and gluten-free options such as smoked salmon and avocado eggs benedict. The meals are nothing shy of a healthy portion size.

Their pride in local grown food is a main component of what they have to offer, along with a wine bar for every connoisseur.

The atmosphere of Bridgeland is easy to see just by roaming the streets.

Unique for having shops and diners that aren’t franchised, this neighbourhood has a lot of new things to do and see.

afischer@cjournal.ca
dharder@cjournal.ca

What’s your favourite part about the Bridgeland community?