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Stephen Avenue

The future of Stephen Avenue

Fresh ideas for Calgary's most iconic street

Why it’s time to enact change on Stephen Avenue

Stephen Avenue is, and always has been, Calgary’s iconic downtown main street. It has played various roles and functions over its history to ensure it stays a vital part of working and living downtown. The success of Stephen Avenue is inextricably linked to the success of our downtown. It provides a wide array of amenities to downtown office workers, residents, local visitors and tourists who visit to dine, shop, play, and enjoy the many arts and culture offerings available on any given day.

In recent times, Stephen Avenue has encountered some challenges that are making it less vibrant than it once was. In some ways, these challenges mirror those faced by Calgary’s downtown more broadly due to a decline in the downtown workforce; an increase in office, retail and hospitality vacancies; and increasing concern from citizens and business owners that the physical condition of the avenue is in decline as it approaches the end of its usable life-cycle.

We are embarking on an exciting journey to reimagine Stephen Avenue and position it for a renewed era of success. As a flagship project for Calgary’s Downtown Strategy, The Future of Stephen Avenue project provides a foundation for The City to collaborate with stakeholders to consider and implement strategic improvements – whether near, medium or longer term – that will re-position Stephen Avenue, and ensure its future as Calgary’s hallmark downtown main street.The project team held an online virtual info session to present this public realm study, along with a proposed vision and road map for Stephen Avenue. The recording of the session is available below.

If you would like to download a full resolution copy of the presentation slides, please click on one of these links:

If you would like to download a copy of our entire Public Realm Study, please click on the link below.

Warning: this file is very large so we recommend a high-speed internet connection to download the file.

To learn more about phase 1a public engagement and feedback, please download our Phase1a What We Heard Report.

The Future of Stephen Avenue Vision and Roadmap Presentation

Why this project now?

  • Stephen Avenue helps define the identity of Calgary’s downtown
  • A vibrant Stephen Avenue is critical for attracting new businesses and tenants downtown
  • Physical conditions are deteriorating – a new plan for the street is needed
  • Clearly defining a path forward sends a positive message to property and business owners, and Calgarians

This project will aim to:

  • Extend the energy and liveliness of the pedestrian mall westward along 8 Avenue S.W.
  • Establish a new vision for Stephen Avenue that creates opportunities for private investment and redevelopment
  • Create short and long-term strategies that can be implemented over time to make Stephen Avenue better for Calgarians and visitors

A path towards success

Generating a bold and compelling vision for the future of Stephen Avenue will require new ways of working and thinking for The City of Calgary and its cultural and business partners. In order for any public space to thrive, like a garden, it must be actively cultivated.

A great public space must be well located and well designed; seeded with the right combination of culture, commerce and play; and create authentic invitations for many people to care and participate in actively stewarding and caring for the space.

A new streetscape design is necessary but not sufficient to catalyze the transformation of Stephen Avenue. Great design must be paired with a robust program for economic investment and redevelopment and a strong framework for operations, maintenance and stewardship.

Project scope

Click to view larger image.

Project timeline

Phase 1A: Craft the Vision and Roadmap


  • Engage citizens and stakeholders to understand challenges and opportunities and define what success looks like

Phase 1B: Activate and Experiment


  • The project moves from planning to doing by testing ideas from the roadmap
  • Ideas/pilots may include governance concepts, programming, temporary street closures, short-term intersection improvements and economic development concepts

Phase 2: Capital Investment Strategy


  • The project will be eligible for capital funding in the November 2022 budget cycle
  • Plans, pilots and evaluation will be presented to Council through a Capital Investment Strategy to seek support and funding for capital implementation

Phase 3: Design and Construction


  • The pilot concepts that generate desired results will be developed into more permanent, detailed designs
  • These may include streetscape improvements, economic development strategies and governance concepts
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This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​