Information | Rezoning for Housing

Public hearing on April 22, 2024. Proposed rezoning will support more housing options in all communities.

Learn more
Heather Sorensen with husband Axel at Fringe Coffee

Creating connections in Montgomery

For most families living in a big city like Calgary, living, working, and attending a community school all within walking distance doesn’t seem possible. Heather Sorensen feels extremely fortunate to have all that and more living in the community of Montgomery.

“It's incredible,” says Heather, mom of three and resident of Montgomery since 2017. “Walking my kids to school and then walking to work are my most special moments of the day. Our kids want to walk to school and now in Montgomery, it feels so great and so safe. How lit the streets are, how wide the sidewalks are - just the general feel is incredible.”

Beginning in the summer of 2020, The City, through its Main Streets initiative, transformed Bowness Road through the community of Montgomery into a pedestrian-friendly, sustainable, and multi-modal street with widened sidewalks, multi-use pathways, and landscape and lighting improvements.

“When we moved here, Montgomery’s main street needed some work, but I could see the potential for it to be an Inglewood, Kensington, or Marda Loop,” explains Heather. “As a licensed realtor, you need to know where the puck’s going, not where it’s been, and what brought me back to Montgomery time and again was its main street. We picked Montgomery because the value was so there. We felt like we were buying a stock and it was low - like it was Amazon before people knew it was Amazon - and the land was really well priced.”

Montgomery was so appealing, Heather and her husband Axel made the decision to also move their custom home building business, Homes by Sorensen, to the main street.

“Our first project was in Montgomery,” laughs Heather. “With the growth of this community and this street, I’m so proud to bring my clients to our office, go for coffee at the local coffee shop and talk about building incredible net-zero energy homes. A lot of them are surprised to see how the street has transformed.”

“It's such a simple thing but to be able to walk my kids to school, come to work, popping over to my son's assembly. I literally just finish up my e-mail, shut my computer, walk five minutes to the school -it's not like I need to block off my whole afternoon. I get to go, and I get to live. I don't have to commute. I don't have to strategize about what I'm going to do. I just get to show up and be my best self because it's all here in my community.” -- Heather

The masterplan for Montgomery was created in part from valuable input from residents as well as a technical analysis and financial considerations. The project vision resulted in enhanced pedestrian safety and comfort, improved mobility options including transit and cycling, and design that is uniquely “Montgomery” with green, friendly streets, naturalized boulevards, trees, and seating. The result is to make Montgomery a destination that will support existing and new businesses as well as improved connections to park spaces and amenities.

“One of the biggest impacts of the program is that improved access for people to move around Montgomery,” says Business Improvement Area executive director Marion Hayes. “As a result, we are seeing a lot of people walking when prior to that, pedestrian traffic was missing.”

Montgomery street

Marion says that Montgomery has always been a great community with supportive and caring residents. She adds that the project attracted a variety of new businesses and added increased connections within the community for both residents and visitors.

“This put Montgomery on the map, and polished the gem we always knew Montgomery to be,” says Marion. “One of our businesses who has been here for over 15 years said all of her clients are saying what happened to Montgomery, it’s just awesome! It’s that accessibility to get to the grocery store on the nice wide sidewalks, or that it feels safe to cross 16 Avenue to go to the batting cages, or ride your bike to the river pathways and they now join up with city parks. It’s just created a good community feel.”

Heather agrees and thinks there is so much more opportunity for increased quality of life when there are convenient and safe community connections. She adds that increased mobility means the connecting of people, not just the destinations.

“The infrastructure supports the connections, but the end goal is that collaboration, that connection, that impact,” says Heather. “And it's happening. It's happening right here in Montgomery. I'm witnessing it. I'm a part of it.”

Did you know?

The award-winning Montgomery Main Streets project was built and managed by an all-women team of landscape architects and engineers.

The project was featured at the Main Streets Now Conference held in Boston in March where The City’s team presented about Main Streets program.

Categories: Communities, Planning