The community of Bridgeland-Riverside in Calgary is located northeast of the city centre. It is a desirable community to live in because of its proximity to downtown Calgary and natural environments, and its burgeoning community spirit. It has a distinctive village feel and is known for its friendliness and walkability. Bridgeland-Riverside is bounded by Bow River to the south, Deerfoot Trail to the east, Edmonton Trail to the west, and Renfrew to the north. The neighbourhood is consistently rated in the top 10 in Calgary in both Avenue Magazine's "Best neighbourhoods" and rated as one of Calgary’s “Five most livable neighborhoods” in Fast Forward Weekly magazine. It was named "Best Neighbourhood" by Best of Calgary in 2017.
Bridgeland-Riverside in Calgary is a primarily residential area that is comprised of a mix of single family homes and park-side condominiums; it’s also home to a variety of shops, offices, churches, schools, parks, and restaurants. If you want to live in a walkable, pedestrian-friendly community with a unique array of bustling small local businesses, Bridgeland-Riverside is an excellent choice that offers easy access to the city’s pedestrian pathways, St.Patrick's Island, Downtown and East Village.
In the southern part of Bridgeland-Riverside are St. Patrick’s Island -a beautifully revitalized 31-acre backyard- and St. George’s Island. St. George’s Island is home to the Calgary Zoo, which houses over 1,000 animals from around the world. The Calgary Zoo is the second largest zoo in Canada. Bridgeland-Riverside is also home to Calgary's cutting edge Science Centre, Telus Spark. Creating a welcoming entrance in Bridgeland-Riverside's southwest, a new 4th Avenue Flyover Public Space is being developed. The 4 Avenue Flyover Public Space final concept incorporates a rain garden, public art, play elements and a plaza; all inspired by ideas from Langevin students (#FlyoverKids) and community priorities. In November 2017, the 4th Avenue Flyover Project was recognized with an Honourable Mention, Community Improvement Projects, at the Mayor's Urban Design Awards.
Bridgeland-Riverside in Calgary is popular with people who lead active lifestyles, not only for its pedestrian-friendly amenities, but also for its abundance of sports facilities. Recreational facilities that Bridgeland residents can enjoy include a tennis court, various playgrounds, toboggan run, soccer pitch, off-leash dog park and baseball field.
Bridgeland-Riverside in Calgary has a rich history. It was first settled by Russian-German immigrants who came to Calgary during the city’s first population boom in the 1880s. At the time, the community was called Germantown. By the early 20th century, however, the majority of residents were Ukrainian and Italian immigrants. By 1908, the community’s name changed to Bridgeland-Riverside.
A portion of lower Bridgeland-Riverside used to have a large concentration of Italian restaurants and shops, and was therefore referred to as Little Italy. Although the Italian influence in Bridgeland-Riverside isn’t as ubiquitous as it once was, some people still call a portion of 1st Avenue NE Little Italy.
A "working man's" district, the community was the first home in Canada for a predominantly immigrant population intent upon establishing a new life in an often challenging land. Although within sight of Calgary's downtown core, the region remained quite separate from the bustling new city during the three decades before the annexation of Bridgeland in 1907 and Riverside in 1910.
In the century's first decade, Calgary’s population skyrocketed from 4,000 to 40,000 people. During this population influx Italian and Ukrainian immigrants seeking inexpensive places to live began flocking to the terrace above Riverside, where Bridgeland is now.