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Northwest Calgary is home to some of the city's top spots - here's why!

September 20, 2022 by University District

We might be a little biased, but Calgary’s NW quadrant is a thriving hub of activity, with award-winning homes, facilities, community activities and public parks. We connected with our neighbours in Varsity, Montgomery, and University Heights to learn more about the places and spaces they offer for all Calgarians to enjoy, and we’ve included a few ideas of our own too. 

Outdoor play

Spending time in the great outdoors is important to many Calgarians. The city’s northwest offers a variety of outdoor spaces to practice your favourite sport or simply take time to explore and enjoy nature. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Practice mountain biking right here in the city. Children and beginner mountain bikers can take advantage of the dedicated space at the Montgomery Bike Park. Construction of a paved pump track, suitable for riders of all abilities,  is currently underway, with an anticipated completion date of Fall 2023.
  • Shouldice Athletic Park is a favourite among aspiring and established athletes in the northwest, with batting cages, biking trails, picnic spots, and an accessible playground where children of all abilities can enjoy sport and play together.
  • University District is also home to a Playcore National Demonstration Site for inclusive playground in the Northwest Commons Park. The park was recently recognized with a BILD Alberta Award for Best Community Feature. U/D was also presented with the award for Best Existing Community. 
  • Varsity Ravine Park offers plenty of space to explore, with access to Bowmont Park. It’s a popular destination for dog walkers, or to enjoy a casual bike ride or rollerblade along the pathways. Varsity GM Doug Smith shares, “Varsity’s streets and pathways are conducive to walking around, yet the neighbourhood’s expansiveness means you never feel fenced in.” The community of Varsity welcomes visitors to the community to be engaged too. Continues Smith, “The Varsity Community Association (VCA) offers many recreational and cultural programs for all ages. Memberships for the association are not limited to Varsity residents. Benefits include tennis and pickle ball access, before and after school childcare, community clean-up, craft sales and engaging play tools for kids.”

Farm-to-Table Shopping

Shopping local is a great way to support your community, while accessing fresh and organic food and reducing your ecological footprint. You can find weekly farm stands in communities across the NW including:

  • University District – Fridays between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the University District Discovery Centre (Seasonal)
  • University Heights – Thursdays between 10am and 1pm at the Foothills Mennonite Church south parking lot (Seasonal).
  • Varsity Community Hall – Wednesdays between 2 p.m. and  6 p.m.

Artisan Markets

Local markets help showcase small businesses and artisans, while connecting the community. U/D has been holding monthly Night Markets this summer with music and entertainment, and there’s only one left this season!

  • University District Night Market: Wednesday, September 28, 5-9pm
  • Varsity Christmas Craft Sale: November 18, 2022 from 3 – 8 PM, November 19, 2022 from 10 AM – 3 PM
  • Montgomery Annual Festive Artisan Market: Friday, December 2 & Saturday, December 3, 2022

Community events are one of the best ways to bring residents, visitors, and retailers together. The U/D plaza is where the Night Markets are held and is designed to be a central meeting point for groups can gather, shop, and dine along University Avenue, while providing easy access to Central Commons Park, which will provide ice skating when it opens later this fall. 

There’s nothing better than getting your skates out of storage once the snow starts to fall! University Heights has a community rink thanks to the City of Calgary Adopt a Rink program. You can find the rink behind the alley that connects Utah Cres and Utah Place NW. If you’re looking for something larger to really stretch your legs or play a game of hockey, check out the Varsity rink – it’s three quarters the size of a standard NHL rink. 

Parkdale also offers a unique skating experience. Designed for sledge hockey and accessible ice activities, this rink is the first of its kind in Alberta. The entire facility is accessible including the washrooms, social areas and change rooms. 

If you prefer to stay warm in the winter, try some of the indoor classes offered at Varsity community centre, including pilates, dance, seniors yoga, art, and Bridge.

Book a Special Event

Looking to host your own event? The communities of Varsity and Montgomery rent out their community spaces to accommodate a variety of public and private events. Visit their community websites for more information.

No matter the season, NW Calgary has a long list of activities for you to take part in as a resident or a visitor. We invite you to go out and explore!


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