Downtown Core incorporated into Calgary community associations

Community association created for the more than 8,500 residents living in the core

A couple stopped to look at a selfie they made on Stephen Avenue in the Downtown Core on Saturday, November 6, 2021. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The Downtown Commercial Core has joined the over 150 communities across the city that have community associations.

The association announced their legal incorporation last week. It marked a major milestone after discussions to form the association began last year.

The newly formed association plans on running a newsletter, programs, and events tailored for Downtown core residents.

“Now that we’re legally Incorporated, that means we can do all of those actual legitimate things,” said Paul Fairie, one of the co-founders of the association.

“We’ve been working with the city and neighbouring associations for a couple months, but now we can actually do things rather than just meet,” he said.

Currently, there are six board members for the association. Several dozen more downtown core residents have said they are looking to help with association events.

As a part of Calgary’s Greater Downtown Strategy, the idea is to create more of a neighbourhood feel. In that is a plan to bring more events and routine services to the area.

Getting to know their neighbours

The Downtown Commercial Core has roughly 8,500 residents, including more than 1,000 children. It is one of the most diverse communities in Calgary, with a wide range of languages spoken and cultural backgrounds.

According to the City of Calgary community profile, 47 per cent of residents are immigrants to the city. And on a demographic basis, 58 per cent of residents are between the ages of 20 and 39.

"A favorite thing of mine in the past couple of months talking about this project has been telling people it's 8,500 people live in the downtown core—which doesn't mean Eau Claire, Downtown West, East Village, or Beltline—right, where you would think of the central business district," he said.

"There's all sorts of interesting things I think people don't think about when they think about downtown core."

Fairie has lived in the Downtown Core for 11 years. He said forming the association helped him to better connect with his neighbours.

"This process is genuinely led me to meet more people who live in my community than any other thing I've done," he said.

Association members have been trying to connect residents from all of the buildings in the area.

"Right now, we're just trying to get people from every building across the community involved, and then there's a couple of opportunities that we're going to talk about over the next couple of months," he said.

The community association plans to have more formalized announcements for residents regarding the newsletter, programming, and events starting in April.

Fairie said the best way to currently connect with the association is through their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Creating community events for core residents

Upcoming events, like Calgary's Chinook Blast, are among the many events that occur in the Downtown Core.

Fairie said this is one of the really cool things about living in the core. He indicated that the association would like to do more events specifically for residents.

"The thing that we've heard when we've done outreach, or when some of the community social workers in the neighbourhood have done outreach, is a lot of people feel like there aren't events for us," he said.

"If there's an event in Panorama hills, it'll probably be largely attended by people from the area so you can meet your neighbors, whereas in downtown you go to an event—what are the odds of meeting someone from nearby?"

He said the association isn't looking at creating member-exclusive events. Instead, they're planning on events that create opportunities for core residents to meet one another.

The legal incorporation allowed for the association to begin looking at grant funding to do small events starting this summer.

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