PHOTO: CHARLOTTE HOLMES

Calgary’s East Village community was not always filled with trendy restaurants, compelling public art pieces and award-winning architectural structures. This bright and vibrant community once was deemed “skid row.” 

Located on the traditional territory of the Treaty 7 peoples, East Village has gone through many different phases throughout the years. As Calgary has experienced its share of booms and busts, so has the riverside community. 

In 1941, the city’s medical officer of health declared East Village “skid row.” The area was left fairly neglected and untouched until 2007. 

Over the past decade, the community of East Village has evolved. Filled with high-rise living, local businesses and restaurants and a handful of different community spaces, East Village is catching both local and international attention.

One of the community’s most recognized features is the Central Library, which opened in 2018. The Library has been featured in different publications, including Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Places of 2019 and won architectural awards.

Andrea Chidley, an East Village resident, says she likes the details of the area, from the different businesses all the way down to the cobblestone streets, and how inclusive the community feels. 

“East Village [is where] you see the same people over and over again, you can say hello. There is more local support, home-grown support, “ she says. “There’s a sense of unity.”

Chidley moved into the area 10 months ago and says though there still remain some challenges with the community’s vulnerable population, East Village is a livable, vibrant and upcoming community. 

“It’s a young thriving population, full of young families, professionals — all just interested in the outdoors and being part of the downtown community.”

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