In the world of real estate, everyone will always tell you it’s all about location.
Location, location, location.
And when it comes to Calgary neighbourhoods, you can’t beat Crescent Heights with its placement just off the downtown core and overlooking the Bow River valley below from on top of the hill.
“Proximity to views. Proximity to schools. Proximity to downtown. Proximity to transportation. Proximity to a revived Edmonton Trail coming along. There’s quite a few things,” says Atkinson.
According to the Heritage Inspires YYC website, Crescent Heights began in 1906 when A.J. McArthur subdivided a quarter-section of land south of 16th Avenue NW, and began selling lots. In 1908, the Village of Crescent Heights was founded, with 24th Avenue North as its northern boundary and 8th Avenue North as its southern, and by 1910, had a firehall and a school, before being swept up in that year’s massive annexation by Calgary.
“Shortly after, the City provided an upgraded firehall, and in 1913, Calgary’s first branch library opened in Crescent Heights in the Hicks Block; it is still standing. To replace the 1907 bridge across the Bow River, the City built Centre Street Bridge in 1916, improving Crescent Heights’ connection to downtown; streetcars beginning in 1911 also improved the connection. During the 1950s, the community expanded to the south and east, absorbing portions of Beaumont, Regal Terrace and ‘old’ Mount Pleasant. Today, Crescent Heights has evolved into a vibrant inner-city neighborhood,” explains the website.
“When I started working there, working in that area, the high interest rates, even in the early 80s, went all the way up to 21 per cent. All the cities across Canada, but Calgary specifically, the market just shut down. There was literally nothing going on anywhere and then I found out just by going to various open houses that the inner north which was Sunnyside and Crescent Heights, they were the only two areas that actually had a pulse,” he says.
“And I guess the reason why is just simply because it’s so darn close to the downtown and it was fairly inexpensive – a fairly low cost area. And to this day, it’s almost like that too. There’s single-family homes for as cheap as probably $400,000 or so if you can find them and there’s condos probably starting at about $175,000 for just a basic ground floor unit. But Crescent Heights itself is all over the map. It starts there and then it goes to sales as high as the millions, seven, eight, nine, 10 million, depending on the type of property.”
Atkinson says one of the aspects of Crescent Heights that is appealing to homeowners is its maturity with trees and the natural landscape. There’s also quite a variety of different types of housing in the neighbourhood from single-detached homes to attached properties.
The area is mainly bounded by 16th Avenue NW, Edmonton Trail and 4th Street NW and is directly up the hill from Memorial Drive and McHugh Bluff.
While the community has such easy access to the downtown straight down Centre Street, the Green Line rapid transit system is also being planned for the coming years.
Centre Street is a key corridor for the neighbourhood from 16th Avenue down the hill to the Centre Street Bridge and the entrance to Chinatown and the core of the city. So is Edmonton Trail.
Palibroda says the access to Chinatown is a big bonus and the neighbourhood has always been popular with the Asian community because of its proximity to Chinatown. But the neighbourhood demographic on the whole is diverse.
The view along Crescent Road NW which overlooks the heart of the city is simply spectacular and a very well used pathway by the citizens of the neighbourhood and others for walks and bike rides.
“The neighbourhood itself with the views of the Bow (River) and with the real nice panoramic views with a couple of lookout points is appealing. It’s got lots of shops. It’s got lots of ethnic diversity in food, restaurants, everything,” says Atkinson, adding the community is also home to Crescent Heights High School right in the heart of the neighbourhood.
“Crescent Heights used to be its own village . . . The Bow River pathways are very, very key. It’s a bicycle and walk neighbourhood.”
And if people are looking for a unique and challenging fitness regime, taking the steps from Crescent Road down to Memorial Drive and the Calgary Curling Club is an ideal way to get fit.
(Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and only Canadian)