Edit ModuleShow Tags
Photograph by Jared Sych
This year’s overall Best Neighbourhood sits in that sweet spot where you get all the best parts of being both old and new. Seniors aging in place in modest bungalows share calm streets lined with mature trees with energetic young families in new builds, creating a nice, welcoming mix.
The neighbourhood also occupies a sweet spot in terms of getting around. Located just west of the University of Calgary, residents get the benefit of both a reasonable commute to downtown (either by vehicle or via the C-Train from the Brentwood and Dalhousie stations on Varsity’s eastern edge) and an easy escape to the Rockies.
The banks of the Bow River beckon to the south, while Market Mall provides a convenient hub of shopping amenities within the community, everything from fun and frivolous boutiques to a full-sized Safeway grocery store.
Varsity’s streets and pathways are conducive to walking around, yet the neighbourhood’s expansiveness means you never feel fenced-in — even the actual fenced-in residential lots are spacious and comfortable-feeling. Plentiful park space and recreation facilities, including the scenic Silver Springs Golf and Country Club on the banks of the Bow, encourage active living in residents of all ages.
It’s a neighbourhood with a view, a river on one side and the C-Train on the other, wide-open sunny spaces and mature, shade-giving trees. It perfectly encapsulates what expat Calgarians dream about when they think about home, and it’s why Varsity deservedly owns the sporting chant of “we’re number one!” —Shelley Arnusch
Population in 2016
Community size in square kilometres
Median assessed property value in 2017
Percentage change in median assessed property value from 2016 to 2017
Voter turnout in the 2013 municipal election
Crimes per 1,000 people from Sept. 2015 to Sept. 2016
Percentage of commuters who walk or bike to work
Number of registered cats and dogs per 1,000 people
Number of nursing homes
Number of off-leash parks
Has approved secondary suites
Access to restaurants, coffee shops and bars
Access to parks and pathways
Value of homes
Our Best Neighbourhoods survey was open from the beginning of January through to the end of February, 2017. The survey is designed to get respondents to tell us what characteristics are most important to them in a place to live. The survey presents lists of characteristics and asks respondents to rank them in terms of importance. Leger, a research and marketing company, takes those responses and does a max differential statistical analysis to determine just how important each amenity and characteristic is. They use that info combined with data we collected on 185 established residential communities to rank Calgary's neighbourhoods.
Neighbourhoods: Neighbourhood names and boundaries follow those defined by the City of Calgary. Neighbourhoods were included by Avenue as long as they had sufficient data, including 2016 tax assessments, 2015 tax assessments, Calgary Police Service data and population data for 2015 and 2016. Neighbourhoods that are too new to have all this data were excluded in 2017.
Demographics: Population, percentage of single family dwellings, percentage of home ownership, number of children at home, percentage of commuters that walk or bike to work, and number of nursing homes all taken from the 2016 Calgary Civic Census. Number of secondary suites, registered cats and dogs and off-leash parks was gathered from the City of Calgary Open Data Portal.
Property value: Data gathered from the City of Calgary Property Assessment and Market Report 2016 and the City of Calgary Property Assessment and Market Report 2017.
Walk Score: Rankings determined by Walk Score, a private company that measures walkability by calculating the distance to amenities.
Transit Score: Rankings determined by Walk Score, a private company that measures how well a community is served by public transit.
Schools: Data was gathered from the City of Calgary Open Data Portal. Specialty schools were excluded from the count. A point system based on neighbourhood adjacency was used. Schools within neighbourhood borders received more points than a school in an adjacent neighbourhood.
Parks: A point system was created based on park size. Parks larger than 200 hectares received the most points while parks under 5 hectares received the least points. Neighbourhoods got park points if the park was in or bordered the neighbourhood. Data collected from City of Calgary Parks.
Pathways: Data collected from the City of Calgary Open Data Portal. A point system was created based on the pathways that are in and/or border a neighbourhood. Regional pathways were given the most points, local pathways given fewer points and trails given the least points.
Crime: Data taken from Calgary Police Service statistical reports. Crimes in each neighbourhood from September 2015 to September 2016 were totalled.
Playgrounds: Number of City-maintained playgrounds in each neighbourhood counted based on City of Calgary data.
Libraries: Data collected from the City of Calgary Open Data Portal. A point system was created based on adjacency. Libraries within neighbourhood borders received more points than a library that was in an adjacent neighbourhood.
Businesses: Number of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, grocery stores, drug stores and boutiques in each neighbourhood was determined from the City of Calgary’s business license catalogue, collected using the City of Calgary Open Data Portal in December 2016.
Recreation facilities: Data was collected from the City of Calgary Open Data Portal. A point system was created so larger, more diverse facilities received more points. The point system was also based on adjacency. Recreation facilities within neighbourhood borders received more points than recreation facilities adjacent to a neighbourhood.
Major roads: Major roads were determined as class 1 skeletal roads, as identified by the City of Calgary.
Community engagement: Data based on voter turnout in the 2013 municipal election, number of community supported projects, community online presence, frequency of scheduled community events, presence of a community centre, number of registered members and presence of a community garden.