2014 Great Places in Canada – Neighbourhood
Inglewood, originally known as Brewery Flats, was established officially in 1911, named after the nearby homestead established by Colonel James Walker. Today, Inglewood is a vibrant, eclectic and ever-evolving arts and culture-filled district with more than two hundred shops, cafes, restaurants and live music venues, many located in Calgary’s historic buildings.
The business area is also at the heart of a dynamic residential community. The Inglewood Community Association (ICA) represents the residential community and works closely with the Inglewood business area on everything from broad city policy to local initiatives, such as building playgrounds, the ICA rink, and multiple events.
Nearly half of Inglewood businesses are either staffed by, and/or owned by residents of Inglewood. This means that many of those who live in the area, also work in the area; businesses and residents are closely intertwined. Never was this more in evidence than during and after the flood of 2013. Inglewood is a river- based community; it is located along the Bow River, and also its West end is at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow rivers. The high water from the flood had a devastating impact on many homes and businesses. Regardless of the challenges this presented last year, volunteerism in the neighbourhood was astounding. Local restaurants set up their food trucks in residential areas, giving away food for days on end as residents grappled with the flood clean up. Likewise, the ICA hall became the epicentre of all flood organisation, as well as providing breakfast, lunches, and dinners everyday for weeks for anyone who needed it, including the businesses owners and staff. Hundreds of volunteers assisted in clearing out the basements and storage areas of businesses that were flooded. Although natural disasters can have major impact on small businesses for years after the event, only one has closed in Inglewood as a result of the flood.
Calgary is an ever expanding city, but Inglewood -a downtown neighbourhood- has retained a sense of living in a village. Inglewood is a ten minute bicycle ride to the centre of Calgary. Cycling, walking and transit routes have extensive networks and are well used. Crime is low, vandalism is almost non -existent. Inglewood strongly adheres to the broken window concept and it shows. At the same time, Inglewood retains a diverse population, with more affordable housing units than any other Calgary neighbourhood, and a strong belief in all being welcome.
Inglewood is a community that values art and is home to many Calgary artists and musicians. It has a strong environmental leaning, with many backyard chickens and bee hives in gardens. It’s not unheard of to be cycling down a quiet street in Inglewood and see a chicken cross the road! (When Jane Goodall came to Calgary in 2013, she spent her time roving throughout Inglewood!). Even the public recycling bins in Inglewood’s business area are unique pieces of art- all designed and made by local welder and artist Michael Perks (see photos). It also has over six substantial city parks and a linear river pathway system.
Inglewood is also home to multiple events and festivals throughout the year. These include: Sunfest (attracts 30,00 people in one day), The Calgary Fringe Festival, The Bleak Mid-Winter Film Festival, Calgary Fringe Festival, Night Markets, Girls Night Out, Christmas In Inglewood, the Beakerhead science festival and Gallery Calorie.
Inglewood has been recognised by international, national and local media as a fantastic Calgary neighbourhood. It is proud, lively, diverse and inclusive and at its essence- the ideal example of a livable community.