What does it mean for a public community to be "University Linked"?

November 16, 2016

The creation of University District was born out of a gift given to the University of Calgary. University District will, by The Trust, on land endowed to the University of Calgary serve the purpose of enriching the city and the University community.


Even though The Trust as developers and University District as a community operate outside of and separate from the University, we feel its DNA in almost every way and benefit from an unique connection.

So what does it mean for an independent community to be ‘University linked’? Here are few ways we feel that link:



That philosophy extends even into the streets where we’ll live; University District plans to recognize 13 Chancellors of the University of Calgary with street name titles. You could drive down Thirsk Boulevard or take a right on Lebel Drive and in a small way be paying tribute to the incredible accomplishments of a Canadian Astronaut or Supreme Court Judge. We thought it a fitting honour for these extraordinary leaders and the legacy they’ve left at  the University, especially considering that in 2016 the University will celebrate its 50th anniversary.


University District residents will own ‘leasehold’ properties rather than traditional ‘freehold’ properties, since the land University District sits on cannot be traditionally bought and sold because an educational institution owns it. Instead, homeowners ‘lease’ the land for a set period of time – in our case, a healthy 99-year lease.


All net income from the development will support future University initiatives as it continues to serve Calgary. But meanwhile, this community will support main campus activity by providing an integrated neighbourhood to help to attract talent – highly qualified personnel – faculty, researchers, and students, who will enhance the University’s reputation on a national and international level.


The University of Calgary’s commitment to developing a community that will outlast all of us and support generations to come – well beyond the 99-year lease.  The development will be a showcase for the University’s leadership role in environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Both a community and a campus could survive comfortably independently, but there are huge benefits to growing stronger together.


Naturally, University District will be an attractive area to live for students and staff of the University. We know that staff from nearby medical facilities will be a big part of this community as well. Whether you’re a nurse or professor, you know what they say: location, location, location.

And yet, University District is not campus housing; it’s a community for everyone – individuals and families of all sizes – regardless of attactment to the University of Calgary.

Instead of fighting the obviously link, we embrace it. We welcome everyone, and appreciate that the nearby institutions attract some of the brightest, most energetic, and most innovative people in the world to study, teach, and work. They will be our residents’ neighbours, baristas, babysitters, and fellow dog-walkers and span across all generations.

Families who live in University District will be able to walk to their medical appointments or to the Oval for a public family skate. The access works both ways, and we think this will contribute to a rich community full of engaged residents.


The plan to develop this land as a leasehold community, and therefore to establish The Trust as its developer, was the result of research and education at the University of Calgary. When considering how this land could best benefit the City as a whole, the University of Calgary took a page from the Calgary playbook to employ entrepreneurial thinking and educated research.

We feel that at The Trust every day, and are reminded of it when we consult our Board of Directors, some of which are University of Calgary alumni.

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