Calgary is a young, vibrant city with a population of more than one million people of which approximately 25% are under the age of 18. There is something for everyone here, from sports and recreation, to the performing and fine arts, to festivals and fine dining. For families, the education system has many options, all with an excellent reputation. For professionals and business, Calgary is the heart of the new west full of business and economic opportunities that continue to fuel its growth more than any other city in Canada.
Calgary is divided into four quadrants: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast. Each quadrant is full of neighbourhoods, or "communities" as we call them, that offer a variety of schooling, amenities, transportation and housing choices. In addition to Calgary, there are smaller cities and towns nearby including Airdrie (north), Okotoks (south), chestermere and Strathmore (east), Cochrane (northwest) and Springbank (west).
Anchored by the University of Calgary and SAIT, the northwest has an established transportation sytem that makes it easy to get anywhere in the city. The C-Train (LRT) goes right out to Crowfoot, soon to be extended to Tuscany and Royal Oak. The NW leg of the ring road, Stony Trail, is virtually complete and makes for easy commuting from the suburbs. Natural beauty abounds in Bowmont Park, Bowness Lagoon, Nose Hill Park, Edworthy Park, the riverwalk and countless acres of unspoiled land in communities such as Ranchlands, Tuscany and Valley Ridge. Inner City NW includes Reilly Park, four farmer's markets from Sunnyside to Dalhousie, and countless restaurants, shops and a few malls.
There are some key amenities that attract Calgarians to live in the NE: Peter Lougheed Hospital, the Calgary International Airport, and Village Square Leisure Centre, just to name a few. With a variety of inner city and suburban neighbourhoods offering international cuisine, libraries, sports and recreational facilities as well as the aircraft museum and quick access to CrossIron Mills shopping centre, there is a wide selection of housing options and price ranges. Transportation options are plenty with the LRT, express buses into downtown, Stony Trail and Deerfoot Trail.
With the highest population density of the four corners of Calgary, the SW includes downtown, reaches as far south as Spruce Meadows, west to Springbank and Canada Olympic Park and runs east to MacLeod Trail. There are a variety of recreation centres including Westside and Southland, golf courses, parks and walking trails. Shopping can be as big as Chinook Centre and the boxtop stores of Signal Hill, or as intimate as the boutiques of 17th Avenue. Transportation into downtown is expanding to include the west leg of the LRT (scheduled for 2013 completion), and the south leg of the LRT remains a popular way into the city in addition to buses.
The SE boasts the greatest number of lake communities as well as many communities that board the Bow River. Fish Creek Park, one of the largest urban parks in Canada, offers lots of outdoor opportunities for hiking, walking, picnics and learning in this protected area of our city. Lots of large suburban communities showcase a variety of housing options with lots of newer communities still building. Transportation into the core is mostly by bus or by Deerfoot Trail, but many commuters drive in to Somerset or Anderson LRT stations and take advantage of train service.
For more information on the many communities within each quadrant, visit Calgary Communities and Community Associations.