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Calgary's Community Downtown Strategy Snapshot: How are we doing?


The downtown Calgary snapshot is a graphic report updated quarterly based on current statistics, research and measures and offers a one-stop glance at how we are doing with our economic recovery efforts.

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Downtown Development Incentive Program expands

City Council approved an additional $55 million in funding for the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program (for a total of $100 million). This funding will allow the program to support eleven short-listed downtown office to residential conversions that have been submitted through the first phase of the program. The eleven short-listed properties exist within the Greater Downtown Plan area Downtown Core, Eau Claire, Chinatown, Downtown West, East Village, and the Beltline) with the majority being within the priority area of the Downtown Core.

Program facts:

  • 11 applicants short-listed for the program’s first phase
  • ~1.3 million sq. ft. of office space will be converted to ~1,400 residential units
  • 22% of The City’s goal of removing 6 million sq. ft. of vacant office space over the next ten years

Source: The City of Calgary

Platform Innovation Centre and Parkade

Plug and Play accelerates the growth of Calgary’s innovation ecosystem

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) is supporting local entrepreneurs and startups through the establishment of Plug and Play Alberta by global business accelerator Plug and Play LLC with its headquarters in downtown Calgary. Plug and Play Alberta will deliver programs in Calgary to bring venture capital from around the world to Alberta. They will offer accelerator programs in digital health and sustainable clean resources across the province. Plug and Play will offer local companies support in several ways including workshops and webinars, 1:1 mentoring and coaching, investment pitch opportunities, and pilot-project facilitation.

Plug and Play facts:

  • Network of 30,000 startups and 500 corporations worldwide
  • Part of $35 million investment from all three orders of government for the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator program

Source: Calgary Economic Development

Return of cozy in the East Village

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and the East Village have welcomed back their Hygge Hut and Nordic Loop to bring winter community spaces back to downtown’s east end. Hygge Hut – (pronounced “hoo-ga”) - is a Scandinavian-style space is inspired by the Danish idea of hygge, which means a special kind of well-being—it’s a cozy, easy togetherness. The nordic loop is a partnership with Foothills Nordic and The Confluence Historic Site & Parkland (previously Fort Calgary), to create a free, groomed cross-country ski trail open to people of all abilities.

Hygge Hut and Nordic Loop facts:

  • Hygge Hut is located at C-Square (4 St. S.E. and 7 Ave. S.E.)
  • Nordic Loop is 1 km long with entrances at The Confluence Historic Site & Parkland (previously Fort Calgary), Elbow River bridge and 6 St. S.E.

Source: Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

Greater Downtown Perception Survey highlights citizen views of downtown

The sixth iteration of the Greater Downtown Perception Survey (formerly the Centre City Perception Survey) highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Calgary’s downtown and how Calgarians view the centre of the city. Key takeaways from the survey are that far fewer Calgarians are visiting downtown and it’s CTrain stations are seen as less safe, downtown is less likely to be viewed as heart or identity of Calgary, and downtown is less likely to be viewed as desirable place to live or to meet people. The City is currently working to address these perceptions through safety programs like the Downtown Ambassadors and Stephen Avenue Safety Hub.

Greater Downtown Perception Survey facts:

  • 1,021 Calgarians surveyed in Fall 2021
  • 68% surveyed viewed CTrain stations as safe (decline from 2019)
  • 88% surveyed who lived  downtown said they were likely to remain living downtown (decline from 2019)

Source: The City of Calgary