Whether it’s finding the right family home, embarking on a new professional career, exploring a new educational path, or retiring and living life at its best, University District life means being part of a community where you can thrive and make connections.
In our next installment of Block Talk — a series that introduces residents and neighbours — we welcome the inspirational pair of residents that moved from Ottawa right into our growing community, and have shared their experience and love for life at U/D with friends, family, and followers on social media @thebalancedgrind!
Bailin and Connor have closely watched University District develop. They wanted to be a part of a community that is up-and-coming, and checks all of the boxes for accessibility, alternative commuting, and amenities. Let’s dive in and learn more about their U/D calling and how it fits their student life, healthy life, and Calgary life. These two have become great community ambassadors!
At different stages in a person’s life, opportunities and decisions can change where the road leads next. It can take you to new places, where you experience life a little differently and have a taste of what’s possible. In Connor’s case, it was an opportunity to revisit the past. Born in Cochrane, Connor’s family relocated to Ottawa at a young age and there are few memories of Calgary prior.
Connor reminisces, “I don’t remember heading out to the mountains much, or getting a chance to go into the city, raft by the river — the quintessential Calgary experiences. It just feels like we didn’t take advantage of what was around us.”
Growing up and studying in Ottawa though led him to Bailin, meeting her in middle school, going to high school together and now experiencing life together at their best. And as the studious pair went through their undergraduate degrees, Connor started to realize that moving back to Calgary was on his wish list.
As he looked at universities to study for his Masters, the opportunity at UCalgary was in reach and he jumped at the opportunity to head back to the prairies! The relocation to Calgary found him in Montgomery, University District’s friendly neighbour. And from there, he’s seen the community grow frame-by-frame and brick-by-brick over the course of two years.
Though Bailin was studying in Ottawa for her Masters, she joined Connor and spent time in Calgary during the summer of 2019. Together they visited U/D often. “I fell in love with the lifestyle here; living in an urban area but being only an hour away from the mountains was idyllic.”
Connor adds “We chatted about how amazing it would be to watch U/D change from the inside out, as part of the community. it was definitely on our radar and started to be the next place to call home.”
As Bailin and Connor considered their options, they really loved the concept of NW neighbour Kensington or other urban communities – easy to walk, great little boutique shops and it has its own personality. But there was something about being a part of U/D from the beginning.
“We’re a part of that growth and get to see the kind of impact our neighbourhood will have for this part of the city. It’s being part of something greater; Something the city has never had before!”
We wanted to live in a place where we could walk to get groceries or to go to school, to take our bikes out onto the pathways, and truly not need to rely on our car,” shares Bailin.
And admittedly, they’ve taken advantage of living the full urban lifestyle by leaving the car for the weekends to explore the Rockies. During the busy class-filled weekdays, Bailin and Connor enjoy being on foot or by bike.
“In Ottawa, we drove to most places,” says Connor. “There was a lot of time taken out of our day. And now, we get to fill that time with stuff we enjoy, rather than filling up the car after a full grocery shopping trip – which can take forever some times.”
And now it’s time well spent, whether hiking out in the mountains, exploring new recipes at home, to adding new workouts to their fitness routines, it almost feels like the sky’s the limit! For Bailin, she’s taken her yoga skills to the limit on their rooftop patio, where they get pretty close to the prairie sunny skies and starry nights.
After determining that U/D was in fact the next step of home life, the duo was open to their options in the community. Taking a look at each residence, they narrowed it down to their top priorities:
And all things considered, Noble by Truman was the best fit!
Since moving in July, they’ve felt like a part of the community from the beginning. “Each residential complex seems to have its own character or personality, and is where we’re really at home with our neighbours,” says Connor. “We have our own community chat, and there have been some get-togethers to check out the new retailers.”
Admittedly, we’re envious of the community garden at the Ivy. Over the summer, I planned meet-ups with fellow classmates so we could socially distance, and found out that there are a few who live here too!”
And as Connor gradually meets more fellow med students from his class of 170, mostly virtually, he’s starting to realize how many people are part of the U/D community. “It’s kind of nice because we’re relating to each other on a different level as community members.”
And for Bailin, who is currently studying her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, a true selling point for Noble was the rooftop patio. “We spend a lot of time out there – it’s one of my favourite features of our home. From breakfast in the morning to workouts in the sun, and winding down for the evening with something from Market Wines, it’s just really nice to have this extra space.”
Anticipating the U/D retailers to open, Bailin and Connor knew that the convenience was a plus to their lifestyle. But Bailin thinks they’ve underestimated their excitement for Save-On-Foods, being one of the first customers in line for opening day. She laughs and says, “It’s concerning how much we love it.
“There’s an ease to it all when you pack and carry home what you need. We also waste less food, which we feel is important for students on a budget but also for us to be eco-conscious and practice sustainability.”
So what else are they really excited about? The practicality of the retailers. “It’s trendy and hyperlocal but these are places that we visit or will visit regularly.”
One of the best additions to the mix so far has been the growler bar at Market Wines, and fitting into their fitness regime, YYC Cycle and OrangeTheory Fitness will be integrated into their active lifestyles, especially during the winter months. “Options are great, but having those options just down the street is amazing!”
“We hope to use this account as a reminder (for us too!) of the importance of work-life balance and prioritizing mental and physical health even with what can sometimes be a very busy schedule!” This is part of Bailin and Connor’s first post when they started their new journey in Calgary.
As students (which tends to be the theme of their lives) and trying to maintain an active lifestyle during COVID-19, the pair do their best to stay true to their own words. Prioritizing health and wellness has been key, and embracing fitness is at its core.
Bailin and Connor agree, “It’s about making that conscious effort. We know that with school and work, healthy eating and exercising can sometimes take a back seat.”
“We’re really enjoying our time and couldn’t ask for a better lifestyle right now. This is what we were hoping and planning for when we first made the decision to move to U/D,” the duo share.
As they look at the next stage of life in a few years, wherever Connor’s residency for medical school or Bailin’s work may take them, they feel that living in University District would be ideal.
“If I had the opportunity to work at the Foothills Hospital, the future Tom Baker Cancer Centre or Alberta Children’s Hospital, it would be really great to just walk home after a shift. We see the benefits of living here now that we experienced it first-hand.
And what makes life a little sweeter? Beyond the mountains that they so fondly chat about, Avatara Pizza and LICS ice cream in Parkdale typically hits the spot every time.
Did you know that we just announced a number of new retailers coming to the community? Have a look at what’s to come in 2021, and share with us in the comments below or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and a closer look at the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.