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Downtown Calgary is a region of central Calgary, Alberta. It is not a single neighbourhood per se, but is actually a larger community containing three neighbourhoods and a number of districts.
Generally speaking, downtown Calgary is bordered by 14th Street W. on the west, 3rd Avenue S. and Eau Claire on the north, the Elbow River on the east and the CPR mainline tracks on the south. Within downtown are three city neighbourhoods. They are, the Downtown West End, the Downtown Commercial Core, and the Downtown East Village. The neighbourhoods of Eau Claire to the immediate north, Chinatown to the northeast and the Beltline to the south are usually considered to be part of downtown, but strictly speaking they are not.
The population of Calgary’s downtown is still low relative to certain other cities, despite major rejuvenation initiatives and the development of major condominium and apartment projects. The combined population of the three downtown neighbourhoods was 12,455 in 2009; however, this figure does not include the 1,700 that live in Eau Claire, the 1,300 in Chinatown, and the 18,000 that live in the Beltline. The Downtown West End and the Downtown East Village are generally considered to be the downtown’s residential neighbourhoods.
Calgary Transit’s C-Train light rail system runs down 7th Avenue S. through the middle of downtown, and the ride is free on this section.
Downtown commercial core
Calgary’s dense business area comprises the bulk of the downtown community. It is a core of skyscrapers. Some of the tallest buildings in western Canada, and a few of the tallest in the country, are in Calgary. It is arguably the densest downtown area of any city of its size in North America. Many of the buildings are connected via an 18 km (11 mi) long network of elevated walkways and bridges. The system, known as the “+15” is the largest of its kind in the world.
The area surrounding the Stephen Avenue Walk is Downtown Calgary’s primary retail area. Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue SW) is a pedestrian mall lined with historic buildings containing stores, restaurants, cinemas, and drinking establishments. Immediately adjacent to the outdoor portion of Stephen Avenue is an indoor complex of two shopping malls. The malls, The Core Shopping Centre (formerly TD Square/Calgary Eaton Centre) and the Scotia Centre are bordered at either end by the historicHudson’s Bay Company store and Holt Renfrew’s upscale department store. The street is also home to a number of galleries, restaurants, pubs, off-beat cinemas, and nightclubs. Other attractions in the commercial core include theDevonian Gardens in The Core, the Calgary Tower, the Art Gallery of Calgary, The Glenbow Museum, Olympic Plaza, The EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Telus Convention Centre.
The commercial core is also divided into a number of districts. They include the Entertainment District/Stephen Avenue, The Olympic Plaza and Cultural District, and the Government District.
The government district is an informal subdivision of the downtown core, and is centered along Macleod Trail, between the commercial core, Chinatown and Downtown East Village. It contains the City Hall, the Calgary Public Library, the Calgary Police headquarters, the Harry Hays building (federal government), Bow Valley College, the United States consulate and the Calgary Board of Education among other buildings.
The cultural district is centered around the Burns Building and Olympic Plaza, and contains educational and cultural venues such as Bow Valley College, Glenbow Museum and EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, including The Big Secret Theatre (home of One Yellow Rabbittheatre company), Jack Singer Concert Hall (home of Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra), Max Bell Theatre (home of Theatre Calgary), Martha Cohen Theatre (home of Alberta Theatre Projects), and Engineered Air Theatre.
A statue of The Famous Five stands between Stephen Avenue and Olympic Plaza.
The entertainment district is located along 8th Avenue South. It contains the pedestrian mall of Stephen Avenue, lined with restaurants and shops, enclosed shopping centres (including The Core, Scotia Centre, Bankers Hall and The Bay), as well as two art house movie theaters (theGlobe Landmark Cinema and the Uptown) and recreation areas such as the Devonian Gardens. Landmark buildings found in this district include the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which incorporates several historic buildings into its facade, the Calgary Marriott and Fairmont Palliser Hotel. Landmark skyscrapers in this district are Scotia Centre, Bankers Hall, and the under-construction Eighth Avenue Place.
The “Udderly Art Legacy Pasture”, a collection of decorated fiberglass cows built in 2000, is hosted mainly in the Centennial Parkade, while other particular exponates are spread throughout the city.
In the City of Calgary’s 2012 municipal census, Downtown Commercial Core had a population of 8,015 living in 5,121 dwellings, lower than that of downtown Edmonton and a -0.7% increase from its 2011 population of 8,071. With a land area of 1.3 km2 (0.50 sq mi), it had a population density of 6,170/km2 (16,000/sq mi) in 2012.
Residents in this community had a median household income of $30,126 in 2005 with 41.4% of the population reported as low income residents. As of 2006, 44.3% of the residents were immigrants. A proportion of 99.7% of the buildings were condominiums or apartments, and 95.9% of the housing was used for renting.