Calgary is a dog-friendly city that boasts around 150 off-leash areas in its parks. That means it has the most off-leash land of any major city in North America. It also has an average Walk Score of 48 (see sidebar at the bottom). While that makes it the 10th most walkable large city in Canada, its citizens still depend on vehicles to perform most of their errands.
Some Calgary neighbourhoods are more walkable than others. Here are six neighbourhoods located throughout the city —identified by real estate experts at The Chamberlain Group — that offer beautiful parks and pathways as well as great off-leash areas for our four-legged friends. The communities are listed based on their Walk Score.
Crescent Heights is a neighbourhood in northeast Calgary. The nearest off-leash area is Rotary Park, which also has a playground, picnic areas and tennis courts so it’s perfect for the whole family. McHugh Bluff is another park with an off-leash area. Crescent Heights has a Walk Score of 79, making it very walkable. Most errands can be accomplished on foot as it is near the downtown core. Crescent Heights has over 200 different amenities including restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, many just a short walk away.
Bridgeland-Riverside is a neighbourhood in the northeast quadrant, near St. George’s Island, St. Patrick’s Island, and the Calgary Zoo. The closest off-leash area is Tom Campbell’s Hill, which was once part of the zoo. Bridgeland-Riverside has a Walk Score of 68, and with more than 80 choices for bars, coffee shops and restaurants you’re sure to find something that’s a fit for whatever you’re craving. Public transportation is also readily available with one light-rail line and three bus lines passing through it.
Thorncliffe is located in northwest Calgary and is known for its large activity centre. It is also near Nose Hill Park, the largest natural area and dog park in Calgary. Nose Hill Park also has lots of hiking trails. Thorncliffe has a Walk Score of 60 which makes it somewhat walkable. You’ll find over 50 different coffee shops, bars and restaurants in Thorncliffe and a lot of them are within a reasonable walking distance.
Bowness is also in the northwest and is near at least two parks with off-leash areas: Bowmont Park and Edworthy Park. Bowmont Park sits on a plateau above the Bow River Valley, which provides wonderful views of the Rocky Mountains and the city. It also has picnic tables, playgrounds and hiking trails. Edworthy Park has picnic areas and playgrounds as well as a dog park. Bowness has a Walk Score of 57 and is home to a variety of bars, coffee shops and restaurants (29 if you’re counting).
Elbow Park is located in the southwest and is one of the oldest communities in the city, dating back to the early 1900s. It is bordered on the south and east by the Elbow River. The community is near River Park and Sandy Beach Park, which run along the Elbow River. Both have off-leash areas. Elbow Park has a Walk Score of 57, which makes it somewhat walkable. Not to worry though, as the beautiful surroundings more than make up for the lower Walk Score.
Ogden is located in southeast Calgary near Sue Higgins Park, an off-leash area with hundreds of acres along the Bow River where your dog can run or swim. Ogden is also near Carburn Park, a natural area with three manmade ponds and hiking trails. Dogs are allowed, but they have to be on leash. Ogden has a Walk Score of 53. It also has good access to public transportation. If you’re looking for a great place to take the dogs for a walk or grab a drink with a friends or dinner with the family, Ogden is home to 35 different bars, coffee shops and restaurants.
—Source: The Chamberlain Group, real estate experts. Visit www.thechamberlaingroup.ca for more info.
Walk Score, a private company based in Seattle, Washington, created a large-scale, public access walkability index that assigns a numerical walkability score to any address in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address. Canada’s most walkable cities include Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
90–100: Walker’s Paradise — Daily errands do not require a car
70–89: Very Walkable — Most errands can be accomplished on foot
50–69: Somewhat Walkable — Some errands can be accomplished on foot
25–49: Car-Dependent — Most errands require a car
0–24: Car-Dependent— Almost all errands require a car
According to Walk Score, there are many health, environmental and financial benefits to living in walkable neighbourhoods:
- The average person living in a walkable neighbourhood weighs six to 10 pounds less than those living in a sprawling community.
- Walkable neighbourhoods with good public transit and access to amenities promote happiness. Short commutes help to reduce stress and help increase community involvement.
- Walking creates zero green-house gas emissions, in sharp contrast to vehicles.
- Vehicles are usually the second largest household expense, so walkable communities save you money. Also, most dogs would rather go for a walk than ride in the car.