11 things I love about Ward 11

There is a lot to love about Calgary as a whole. And even more to love about the communities and spaces of Ward 11. Here are 11 things I love about Ward 11:

1) The trees. I will always remember the first time I turned down the street I now live on and saw the beautiful tree canopyframing the road. I had looked at several houses that day in many neighbourhoods outside of Ward 11 – but none of them had the treed landscape of my community. It was a big factor in why I chose to move into the neighbourhood and ward.

2) Small businesses! We have some really great businesses in Ward 11, with friendly staff and great service. While there are too many to list here, some of my favourites include: Bitter Sisters Brewery, J Webb Wine, the Calgary Farmer’s Market (and their many awesome vendors), Dogma, The Italian Centre, Bella Roma (there’s a strong food theme here…).

3)The Calgary JCC (Calgary Jewish Community Centre). I joined the JCC in 2020 – and I regret not doing it sooner. Not only do they have awesome amenities that I use almost daily like their pool and fitness centre, but they offer a wealth of programs for all ages. Even during COVID they shifted many of their programs to virtual to stay engaged with their members. That was super important as they have a number of seniors who rely on those programs for connection, physical activity and social interaction. Also the folks I’ve met there(both staff and members) are all very friendly.

4) Ward 11 is for the dogs – no really! We have over a dozen off-leash areas in addition to a huge network of pathways for me to explore with my rescue dogs Cricket and Sonny (and previously Ike). Ward 11 is also home to probably the best dog park in Canada – Sue Higgins, as well as some larger community based ones in Oakridge and Braeside.

5) Location. What I like about virtually every area in the Ward is location. We aren’t far from downtown, should you need to go there for work or socially, but we are far enough away you feel like you’ve left when the day is over. It’s very easy for Ward 11 residents who drive to get out of the city quickly for a day of recreation in the mountains. We also have a number of bike paths and bike route connections to help us get around (although there is always room for improvement).

6) Community Associations. Led by some of the most dedicated volunteers in the city, these organizations give us budget friendly activities to do with our family and friends. They have recreation opportunities, murals, social events, community gardens, and sports programs. They liaise with the city on things like planning and development, and issues like road safety. Community Associations are very unique to Calgary and really do make our city more connected (and fun!).

7) Our libraries. Did you know we have three libraries in our Ward? The library offers over 20,000 programs every year, online resources, early learning centres and, of course, books. All free with your FREE library card. We are fortunate to have so many in our area. (Disclaimer - I worked for the Library for almost two years as a project manager, but I’ve been big user of libraries since I was about 5).

8) The wildlife. Deer, jack rabbits, bobcats, coyotes, the occasional moose on the loose and once every few years, a bear. I have yet to see a bobcat or a bear (truthfully I’m okay with not seeing a bear) but I love seeing photos and hearing stories on community pages when others have spotted them.

9) The gardens. I think you need to have a green thumb to live in the Ward (hopefully not, as I would get kicked out) as there are so many beautiful gardens. The care and thought so many of our community members put into their yards and outdoor spaces is inspiring. The campaign has me out walking down virtually every street, and I see everything from wildflowers to roses to fairy gardens to veggies to garden gnome colonies. Amazing.

10) The water. I grew up in Ontario and was always within close proximity to lakes. When I first moved here, people warned me that I’d really miss the lakes, and that rivers aren’t the same. While rivers are indeed not the same as lakes, I have come to really cherish places like Carburn Park,  the Glenmore reservoir, and the Elbow river valley. Whether I’m going for a bike ride, a dog walk or having a visit with friends, these spots are always top picks for me because of their calming views of the water.

11) The people. I have great neighbours. And whenever I visit other communities in the Ward the people are just as nice. We have a lot of strong communities in our area, with generous people who step up and help each other when needed. One of my first experiences after I moved here was seeing neighbours come together to clear debris left from Snowtember in 2014. Public or private property, everyone chipped in to make sure things were cleaned up. Ward 11 has a great energy and I am very proud to live here.

All this talk of my favourite things has me wondering – what are your favourite things about Ward 11?