Stuck in the January blues? We have just the cure! Get out and enjoy the great outdoors here in the city. From the Central Commons Park ice rink, to plenty of restaurants, new retailers and more, there are so many things to do in U/D and beyond.
It can take some extra motivation to spend time outside in the winter. Lucky for us, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. There’s plenty to explore in our own backyard and we have a great to inspire your next outdoor winter adventure.
Consider these ideas to help make your winter…simply wonderful!
1. Explore the urban outdoors in U/D – A must-see new amenity in University District is the Central Commons Park skating rink. Adorned with a larger than life light display, a temperature-regulated rink, fire features and community gathering spots, this urban park is the perfect destination to reconnect with family and friends.
U/D is also home to 12 kilometres of interconnected pathways, perfect for a walk with friends, getting exercise with your dog or taking a fat bike out for a spin. Nearby Bow Cycle has convenient rental options for all skill levels in case you haven’t tried a fat bike before.
2. Hit the slopes at Winsport – Calgary’s Winsport is home to so much more than a ski hill. Their tube park, public skating rinks and terrain park give you plenty of options to make this winter an adventurous one. Not sure where to start? Winsport offers lessons and rentals, and they also offer evening skiing and sliding under the lights.
PC: Neil Zeller, Chinook Blast
3. Visit ChinookBlast – Held annually at the end of January and early February, Calgarians are invited to celebrate winter through theatre, live music and community installations across the city during Chinook Blast. The public event showcases the best of Calgary’s recreation and arts scene while bringing warmth to some of the city’s coldest months. Events include light and art installations in Olympic Plaza, 10-minute plays by the High Performance Rodeo and plenty of live music at the Block Heater musical festival.
4. Go tobogganing in Confederation Park or in St. Andrew’s Heights – If the rush of skiing or tubing down Winsport is too much for you, keep it lowkey at a community toboggan hill. Northwest Calgary is home to four city-approved hills including Confederation Park, Hidden Valley, Royal Oak and St. Andrew’s Heights. If an incline isn’t your idea of fun, Confederation Park is also home to one of the city’s most popular cross-country tracks.
5. Visit the U/D Winter Pop-ups. As Calgarians we are used to not letting the winter weather keep us indoors. U/D is embracing the season and helping the community warm up to winter with some fun events.
On January 21 from 1- 4 join us in Central Commons Park for some winter fun. If you missed the skating performances at the Central Commons Park opening you are in luck as they are back again to dazzle us on the outdoor rink. You can also try your hand at Cabane à Sucre – maple sugar taffy making, first 150 complimentary, and take in the music and entertainment.
Then on February 18 from 4 -7 head to the skating rink for a date night! With music, entertainment and hot drinks it’s the perfect way to spend some time with that special someone taking in the sights, sounds, and lights of Central Commons Park.
Watch our social media for all the details on the winter pop-ups.
A new year is a great time for a home refresher. We sat down with two award-winning interior design experts, including Leanne Jenkins of Leanne Jenkins Design and Louis Duncan-He from Louis Duncan-He Designs, to get the scoop on each of their top five design trends in 2023.
Both of these Calgary-based designers bring a unique perspective to their craft. Leanne specializes in a variety of high end spaces including residential interiors, hotels, restaurants and office design. Louis and his team are the minds behind Rohit Communities Dean’s Landing in U/D.
Leanne Jenkins’ top five home design trends of 2023
1. Bold colours
Whether it be in wallpaper, appliances, bedding, furniture or paint, bold colours will be a strong trend in 2023. A tranquil colour palette with jewel tones, or one with bright cheerful colours, is emerging in interiors. Not sure where to start? Throw pillows and artwork are a great way to introduce colour into your space.
2. Overscale pendants
Gone are the days of three simple pendants over the island. Two large scale pendants at the island, or an oversized single pendant at a nook table are increasing in popularity. Overscale pendants are a great way to add a personal statement to a space. They are also an easy update to make. Experts at local lighting stores like Carrington Lighting and LightForm Calgary can set you up to ensure you find the right size and scale for your home.
According to Jenkins, warm brown tones in furniture, cabinetry, flooring, paint and accents are providing a feeling of coziness and dimension missing from monotone white and grey interiors. Rich wood tones are being used to balance white interiors to create a bright but cozy feel. A natural wood coffee table, warm toned blankets and throws or a new area rug are easy ways to mix and match warmer tones into your space to test them out.
4. 60’s and 70’s influence
This style may be somewhat short-lived, but can be incorporated tastefully into design with some long-term pieces such as Eames chairs or stained wood pieces (tying in with the brown trend). Not all 1970s design was bad design, and it can be done without reminding you of your grandparents’ basement. A great place to start with some small changes is a shag area rug or smaller decor pieces, both of which can be found at the Homesense on Shaganappi Trail in Market Mall.
5. Closed floor plans
As people worked from home during the pandemic, the desire and need for privacy and quiet spaces have led away from open floor plans. Creating cozy quiet areas, formal entries and closed off retreats are becoming a home must-have. Think about repurposing that small nook or unused corner in your home for some added separation from the main living spaces.
Louis Duncan-He’s Home Design Trends for 2023
Louis is an internationally published, award winning designer and entrepreneur. He believes that spaces should be timeless, authentic and designed with heart and soul. Hailing from a background in corporate advertising, Louis applies a unique client-centred approach with the goal to create distinctive spaces that reflect distinctive people.
We can’t deny that the focus on sustainability is becoming not just a trend, but a necessity. We’re seeing a real shift towards environmental education which impacts where products are sourced from and their carbon emissions. People are willing to pay a little more for locally sourced quality products and bringing vintage pieces into the mix. In addition, adding in hits of green (think large plants or living moss installations) to help increase the air quality in the home.
For some tips on how to bring some green into your living space, check out our blog on Indoor Plant Tips for Beginners, Collectors, and Pet Owners.
2. Fluted & Caning Detailing
Fluted and caning details are everywhere! Fluted details offer a ribbed or grooved texture (usually vertical) applied to millwork, metals, glass, furniture and other accent pieces. Caning is a weaved texture (usually out of rattan or wicker) derived from cane, used in furniture and other accents. These details are elegant and are the perfect way to add in depth or a hint of an organic quality.
Whether you start with a rattan chair or wicker side table, there are plenty of places to find fluted and caning home decor including Homesense at Market Mall, Urban Barn at Crowfoot or Metro Element in Kensington.
Whether it’s furniture, accessories or architectural details, curves are making a comeback. From elegant and simple executions like a curved dry walled staircase and arched wall details to cozy off-white boucle sofas, adding curves throughout a space is a seamless way to add cohesion and flow.
4.Plaster & Limewash
In 2022 we saw the emergence of “japandi”, a minimalist yet rich and layered mix of Japanese and Scandinavian design with key elements featuring limewash and plastered walls, soft and airy woods along with a minimalist sensibility. We are now seeing this more organic textured approach be applied to not just walls, but even in finishing textures of chandeliers and furniture – think plaster textured metals, milky and pearlescent glass and faux finished consoles and credenzas.
Limewash and plaster walls are easy to accomplish at home. By mixing plaster and paint, you can give any wall a rich and layered look.
5.Return of the Dining Room
While the last few years really tested the functionality of our home, one room that became the “sacrificial landing zone” was the formal dining room. We saw them metamorphosize to function as home offices, game zones and even make-shift classrooms. People are excited to claim their homes again and make them feel special for reconnecting with friends and family as we find our new normal, and the dining room is a huge focus for so many of our clients.
Valentine’s Day is for more than just couples. Check out our five V-Day date itineraries and get inspired to spread the love with the people in your life, including your friends, family, and pups! Enjoy these experiences in University District and the surrounding NW Calgary community.
It’s always the right time to show your appreciation for your pals! Take time to gather, connect, and find new ways to celebrate your friendship with these YYC experiences.
Solo Self Care
There are no rules about how and who you should spend Valentine’s Day with. Plan the perfect self-care day by giving yourself a little extra love.
Where: Espresso Cafe, 273 10 Street NW
When: Feb 14, 5-7 PM
To finish off your evening, visit Save-on-Foods to build your own personal charcuterie board, or make a special meal like their Smoked Apple Sage Sausage Picatta or Braised Chicken with Gnocchi and Arugula Pesto.
We know that pets play an important part in our lives and showing them some love on v-day is no exception. Bring your pooch along for these fun experiences you can share together.
To finish off your date, grab a sweet treat on Retail Main Street. Find drool-worthy pastries and tarts at Cobs Bread, and an abundance of biscuits and bones for your pup just down the block at Pet Planet.
While we make time for family year round why not use this Valentines Day as an opportunity to celebrate that love and spend some unique quality time with them!
Where: StoryBook Theatre – 375 Bermuda Drive NW
When: February 10 – March 11 2023
To finish off your evening, stop by Village Ice Cream in U/D for a scoop of their new feature flavour of the month, or bring a pint home to enjoy around the table.
For the Romantics
If you have a partner you’re celebrating the holiday with, there are plenty of romantic activities to fill your day with, and special moments to share together.
The vision for University District has always been about an inclusive community where people can thrive and connect. Now that the Retail Main Street is establishing itself as a shopping destination and people are flocking to our parks and green spaces, the vision is finally turning into a reality.
University District was built on four pillars: A connected community, mindfully made, complete and urban and university linked. The area is rapidly growing and yet these pillars continue to be front and centre with each addition to the neighbourhood.
The latest addition to the Retail Main Street, The AdaptAbility Store, is just one reason why U/D has become such a hub for inclusivity. We sat down with store owner, Tara Nelson to learn more about their first brick and mortar location and why they chose U/D.
Why did you choose University District as the home for The AdaptAbility Store?
Tara Nelson: We chose University District because of its close proximity to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the Child Development Centre, the Ronald McDonald House, Vecova, the Rotary Flames house, and Foothills Hospital. Our store is also right across the street from one of Calgary’s newest inclusive playgrounds! From the first time we came to the University District we sensed a feeling of community and immediately felt at home. With so many great amenities and so much growth potential, we knew it would be the perfect place for our store.
What types of products can people expect to find at the new location?
Tara Nelson: We will be selling a variety of unique products for children and adults with diverse and special needs. We will have sensory integration tools, developmental tools & toys, adaptive clothing, classroom aids, safety equipment, mobility aids & rentals, sensory room equipment, assistive technology, and daily living aids.
Why is this type of store important to have in the community?
Tara Nelson: Most people have someone in their lives with either a disability or special needs. As much as our store is a place for people with disabilities, it is also here for parents, teachers, aids, therapists, and caregivers.We think that everyone should be excited to shop at our store.
The AdaptAbility Store fits right at home in U/D. Just steps away from Northwest Commons Park and Central Commons Park, Tara and the team can’t wait to be a part of the community.
Accessing U/D’s Parks
The Northwest Commons Park Playground uses Playcore’s 7 Principles for Inclusive Design and has become a must-see stop for all families in northwest Calgary. In addition to being wheelchair accessible, the park has two double swings – one for an adult and a baby to enjoy and another for two adults or children of all abilities to enjoy. Some of the other accessibility features include a tactile and musical station, a saucer swing, an accessible spinner and a wheelchair accessible sway rocker.
As for Central Commons Park, when we sat down with lead designer, Heath Mizer, he described how the team used visual triangulation to make everyone feel calm and at ease in the space. Visual triangulation means that people can see every part of the park, no matter where they are located in it. This is an important rule of design when considering how you want people to feel in the space.
In the winter months, Central Commons Park is home to an outdoor ice rink. It officially opened on December 4, 2022 and is a perfect place for families to lace up their skates. The rink is set up for leisure skating so people of all ages and levels can enjoy a day on the ice. Be sure to bring your skates and helmets. If you are interested in renting skates nearby check out our recent blog on where you can rent them.
There’s something meaningful about taking time during the holidays to create items with your own hands. Whether it’s a bowl of cookie dough, a fancy drink, charcuterie board or a unique decoration, add some homemade festive cheer with these tips, recipes and inspiration.
The holidays are a great time to bring out the flour and bake some homemade treats. We asked Allison Sides, Owner of COBS Bread University District & Kingsland for her best tips and tricks for baking this season.
3 Baking Tips
3 Baking Best Practices
If you want to maximize your holiday treat offerings without maxing out the bank or the clock, consider an exchange with friends. Gather your crew equipped with their own baking and do a swap! This is a great way to have a variety of treats over the holidays and connect with family and friends.
If you still don’t feel ready to take on baking at home, stop by COBS Bread in U/D to take home their freshly made breads and pastries.
DIY Gift Wrappings
Wrapping and unwrapping gifts is a big part of the fun over the holidays! Instead of traditional patterned paper and bows, try some of these unique DIY gift wrapping options.
Add a natural touch. Use dehydrated fruit slices, a berry branch, or wooden tags as part of your gift wrapping – they look beautiful and can easily be displayed as holiday decor, composted or reused.
Delectable Dessert and Fireside Sipper Recipes from Borough Bar + Grill
The holidays are the perfect time to cozy up inside with a delicious snack and a toasty beverage. Alejandro, the Chef de Cuisine of Borough Bar and Grill in U/D, has shared a trifecta of easy to make recipes that can be enjoyed on their own, or all together!
Alejandro explained, “For a delectable dessert and fireside sipper (cold or hot!) we put together a classic crème brulee recipe with our spiced cookie, and our mulled red wine, which we are currently featuring at our bar.”
Levente Sarkozi’s Mulled Wine
2 x 750 ml fruity, young, inexpensive red wine
1 x 500ml orange Juice (or squeeze your own! We do!)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise pods
1 tsp of allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
4 whole cloves
Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel pot, and bring up to a simmer, turn off and let the spices infuse for an hour, strain and serve either warm or chilled over ice.
Classic Crème Brulee
800g whipping cream
200g whole milk
1 vanilla bean
12 egg yolks
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk and cream in a stainless steel pot. Bring to scald over medium heat, remove vanilla bean. Mix together sugar and egg yolks, and gently temper in the milk and cream by pouring in a little at a time into the yolk mixture and mixing completely before adding more until it is all mixed in. Divide evenly into ramekins about ¾ full, and place into a deep baking dish. Fill the baking dish with hot water ½ way up the ramekins and place into a preheated 325 F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center is barely set and jiggles like jello. Place in a fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, top with extra sugar, and brulee with a small butane torch. Let the sugar fully cool before digging in!
Mini Cardamom Prinz
288g soft butter
75g egg yolks
½ tsp Vanilla extract
Cream together ingredients under step 1, add ingredients under step 2 to mixture, fold ingredients under step 3 in slowly to make a soft dough. Do not overwork. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll out ½ an inch thick and punch out into little 2 inch rounds. Bake at 350F for 8-10 min or until just brown on the edges.
For more culinary delights from Borough Bar + Grill, visit their restaurant along Retail Mail Street in U/D and experience their full menu. Enjoy half priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays (under $100), and a list of rotating seasonal features.
Decoration Inspiration at the U/D Discovery Centre
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your holiday decor, stop by the Discovery Centre in U/D to explore the Aly Velji tree installation. This Calgary designer has curated three unique tree decorating designs: Modern Moody, Floral Fantasy and Natural Nordic. Let us know which one is your favourite.
This installation can be visited until December 21 at the Discovery Centre:
4410 University Ave NW
Tue-Fri: 1-7 PM
2022 was a big year for U/D! Our Retail Main Street grew with exciting additions, we welcomed a new builder, connected at community events, opened a new park space and won big at the BILD Alberta and CHBA Awards. We are looking forward to the year ahead and we are proud of the many people who have helped make U/D one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Calgary.
Over the last 12 months, U/D’s community vision has continued to grow thanks to plenty of new retailers and events.
Says Maureen Henderson, VP of Community Experience for University of Calgary Properties Group, “In 2022, we saw the vision for University District truly emerge as reality. The people who live here, the businesses opening their doors and all of the incredible people who visit or work nearby are making the community an incredible place to live, work and play.” She continues, “Celebrating major milestones like the opening of Central Commons Park, construction on the Alt Hotel and selling out four different residential projects are just a few of the ways this year has been a pivotal one for our community.”
Five things to celebrate in U/D this year
1. U/D welcomes more retailers. More than a dozen retailers opened this year including McDonald’s, Fuwa Fuwa, Borough Bar + Grill, Village Ice Cream, Cobs Bread, The Hearing Loss Clinic, Bottoms Up Scrubs and The Banquet. We also welcomed the first office tenants to U/D Clara Optometry, Hi-Flyer and Cloudbreak.
2. U/D wins big at industry awards. As the developer for U/D, UCPG was recently recognized with three prestigious awards at the annual BILD Alberta Awards, the Developer Pinnacle Award, Best Existing Community and Best Community Feature, for the inclusive playground in Northwest Commons Park. U/D was also recognized by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association National Awards for Housing Excellence as Canada’s Best Growing Community. Locally U/D also earned the title of Best Future Neighbourhood by Avenue Magazine this past June.
3. U/D brings back community events. The 2022 U/D events calendar was once again full of pop-ups, signature events and community happenings. In addition to celebrating the annual Block Party and Tails & Treasures events, we launched the U/D Night Market and saw the return of summer pop-ups. On December 4th, U/D celebrated the grand opening of Central Commons Park. We couldn’t be more excited to have been able to once again connect with the community throughout the year.
4. U/D sells out four residential projects and welcomes new ones. Our builders have been keeping busy this year! August, Maple, Ivy and Esquire all sold out this year. Adding to the growing number of residents that call U/D home Major construction milestones were also reached with both Capella and Argyle. We also welcomed a new builder , Rohit Communities and their project Dean’s Landing offering condos and stacked townhomes. Construction of The Forge by Vivenda Group began which will offer purpose built rentals.
5. U/D Opens Central Commons Park. On December 4 we officially welcomed Calgary to discover Central Commons Park. After years of design, planning and construction, this unique space is ready to establish itself as a community hub. The refrigerated skating rink, BBQ’s, splash pad and fire features are just a few of the ways this park will be a hub of community in northwest Calgary. Bring your skates and stop by to check it out!
Five things to look forward to in 2023
1. The opening of the Alt Hotel. We are excited to see the Alt Hotel open their doors in 2023. In addition to bringing 155 hotel rooms into the community, the Alt Hotel will also be home to boardrooms and business spaces, a signature restaurant and more.
2. New retailers. If you have walked down University Avenue lately, you will notice all the new retailers there are to explore and 2023 will see more new additions. The first new retailer to open will be The AdaptAbility Store anticipated in February. Stay tuned to see who else you can expect to be opening up U/D with new announcements to come.
3. New office tenants. We will be adding to the growing list of offices calling U/D home in 2023 .Among them UCPG is excited to be moving into the community with their office relocating in early 2023.
4. Purpose built rentals from Gracorp Properties. Gracorp Properties is a subsidiary of Graham Construction, one of Canada’s largest and most well-respected construction companies. With the proven success of U/D’s Aria, their 2023 plans are sure to be welcomed by the community. Stay tuned for details!
5. The return of The U/D Night Market. Back by popular demand, the U/D Night Market will be even bigger and better in 2023. The signature U/D event will move to Central Commons Park allowing for more people to take in the sights and sounds. Adding to the growing list of events throughout the year.
In the true spirit of the season, we’re sharing some of our favourite ways to give back over the holidays. Whether you are giving you time, money or items, this time of the year is the perfect opportunity to give back a little bit more.
While every month of the year is a good time to give back to the community, something about the holiday season seems to inspire Calgarians to go the extra mile. We are proud to be part of a city that has overcome countless challenges and changes.
Giving back isn’t just about helping others. Many studies have found that volunteering helps combat depression and anxiety by keeping loneliness at bay. Volunteering will help you feel like you are part of a community and can lead to new friendships.
Volunteering is also known to benefit physical health. A study in 2022 found that adults over 50 years of age who volunteer are less likely to experience hypertension or high blood pressure compared to those who don’t.
5 Volunteering Opportunities in Calgary
One way to volunteer is through giving your time. We have gathered a few ideas that can help make our community a better place for all and encourage anyone who has some extra time to give.
Donating your time is not the only way to give back this season. Plenty of Calgary charities depend on monetary and goods donations to keep their programs running for those who are able to.
5 Calgary Charities in need of Donations
With the holiday season in full swing, we’re excited to share some of the most anticipated events and happenings around NW Calgary this season. Whether you like to stroll markets, relax with friends and family, or get moving, there are plenty of holiday activities to keep you entertained.
1. Stroll Through These Holiday Markets in U/D and beyond
2. Visit the Festival of Lights
This year is the 35th Annual Display of the Lions Festival of Lights. Stop by Confederation Park anytime after 6pm starting on November 27th to enjoy the fun display. It can be viewed along 14 St NW, North of 24 Avenue.
3. Lace Up Your Skates
Visit Central Commons Park in U/D and try out the new outdoor skating rink following the grand opening December 4th. This state-of-the-art rink has temperature regulated ice so that it can be used all winter long. Stay warm with one of the fire pits, and take in the holiday lights.
Call Out: While in U/D be sure to stop by the Discovery Centre for some holiday decorating inspiration. We’ve partnered again this year with local designer Aly Velji on three unique ways to trim a tree. Take them in from Nov. 22-Dec. 21. Which one will be your favourite style?
4. Raise a Glass of Bubbly
Join Market Wines U/D for their “Bubbles Galore” tasting event to learn more about the world of sparkling wine. Sample Prosecco, Cava, and Cremant, and bring home a few bottles for your holiday celebrations. If you are looking to book an event for the holidays be sure to check out the nearby Borough Bar + Grill, Canadian Brewhouse and The Banquet. December 10, 1 PM & 4 PM
5. Enjoy “Home Alone in Concert”
Watch this classic Christmas comedy at the Jubilee Theatre, with music performed live by Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Taking place on December 9 and 10, this immersive event will be fun for the whole family.
6. Get Crafting in Varsity
Visit Varsity Community Centre for their Community Craft Day with community artist, Tracy Franks. You can decorate cookies, make your own holiday cards, create a hanging ornament, or build your favorite winter animal with colorful cardstock. Bring $5 and a donation to the food bank for admission. December 10, 2022 1-3 PM
7. Shop Unique Finds at Edelweiss Village
This stand-alone store off 19th Street NW carries imported goods from Germany, Poland, and eastern Europe, including authentic homeware and specialty food items that are perfect for the gift-giving season. Carrying everything from Cuckoo Clocks and Swedish linen, to rare cheeses and German tortes, you’ll enjoy wandering this shop! 1921 20 Avenue NW
8. Spend an Evening at the Ballet
The Nutcracker is a classical ballet enjoyed by many every holiday season. Book your tickets to the University Theatre at UCalgary to experience an adaptation of this holiday favourite by Jeunesse Classique Ballet featuring a cast of young and talented dancers. December 9-11 230 University Court NW
9. Hit the Hills at WinSport
If you want to get outside and get moving this winter, the Servus Tube Park at WinSport has eight lanes for tubing fun, plus a magic carpet to bring you and your tube back to the top. You can even link your tube together with your pals and go down the hill together! Equipment can be rented on site.
10. Pick Out the Perfect Tree
If you’re a traditionalist who loves the fresh smell of pine from a real tree, you can find the right one for your home this holiday season at Plantation Garden Centre. Their trees are 100% Canadian grown and sustainably harvested, and range from two to 14 feet tall. Trees arrive at the end of November.