Overview of Revitalizing The River Districts

The Rivers

A revitalized Rivers District in the heart of Calgary ...

The Rivers revitalization is a public infrastructure program that will "kick start" the reclamation, redevelopment and revitalization of the area.

The Rivers location

The east end of downtown Calgary was once a vibrant residential, cultural and commercial neighbourhood. The land where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet was where Calgary first established itself as a community. Today, The Rivers District includes some of Calgary's most popular attractions: the Calgary Zoo, The Confluence Historic Site & Parkland (previously Fort Calgary) and Stampede Park. Refer to Map: The Rivers District revitalization area.

A part of the Rivers District is included in the Rivers Community Revitalization Levy initiative, a new financing mechanism. See Map: The Rivers (Community Revitalization Levy).

The challenge

Unfortunately, much of the area is undesirable for developers because of environmental concerns from past industrial and rail uses, and the need for extensive infrastructure upgrades raising roads and sites above the flood plain, upgrading and relocating utilities. Attempts to revitalize this area over the past 30 years have met with failure. For details, read The Challenge.

The vision

The vision for a revitalized Rivers district includes a lively mix of residences, shops and restaurants that draws people from all over the city. A series of waterfront parks and river walk systems could become one of Calgary's primary tourist attractions. To learn more, read The Vision.

Success with urban renewal

Other municipalities have successfully reclaimed similar waterfront areas. Winnipeg created The Forks an area with 3.5 million visitors annually - from old railway stalls. Portland's River District development projects have created a thriving residential community out of former industrial lands and rail years. To learn more, read Success Stories: Urban Renewal.

Financing strategy

The financing strategy for The Rivers is a combination of a Community Revitalization Levy (CRL), development fees and the strategic use of City-owned land. Existing taxes are not affected. A developed community adds tax revenue to the City, while an undeveloped area supplies little returns. To learn more, read Financing Strategy and The Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan.

For more information

Read the booklet The Revitalization of the Rivers District in Calgary.


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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. ​