Sunnyside is an innercity community in Calgary, Alberta located on the north side of the Bow River immediately adjacent to Calgary's downtown. The community partners with the neighboring community of Hillhurst to form the popular area known as Kensington.
Kensington is a Business Revitalization Zone and the communities of Hillhurst & Sunnyside has an area redevelopment plan in place. In short Sunnyside is a trendy area to live and has an exciting future.
Historically, Sunnyside is one of Calgary's oldest communities. Originally settled by homesteaders in the 1880's, the land was purchased by the City of Calgary and incorporated into the city proper in 1904. Although the majority of the original residents of Sunnyside were Canadian Pacific Railway and Eau Claire Sawmill employees, the community now mainly attracts urban professionals and their families due to its quiet neighbourhood atmosphere and close proximity to Calgary's active downtown.
Beginning in 1913, streetcars were the main means of transport within the city. One of the lines travelled east through Sunnyside on 2 Avenue to pick up workers for the CPR. It then went up the hill to the north end of the Centre Street bridge. There, the workers caught another streetcar to downtown. Today you can still see where the streetcar went up the embankment as it is now part of Calgary's paved pathway system; it begins behind the Calgary Curling Club, passes underneath the McHugh Bluff stairs and onwards to the top of the bluff.
Sunnyside's community association is known as the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association and is reportedly established in 1942. Their mandate today is the same as it was then: Provide and organize sports, recreational, and social activities, and act as an advocacy group for the community's interests on planning and other civic issues.
In the 1970s the integrity of neighborhood was threatened by proposed high-speed transportation routes and by increasing land development. It was proposed that Memorial Drive become a major highway and an interchange be built where Memorial Drive and 10th Street NW intersect today. The Louise Bridge would be replaced by two new bridges; a south bound bridge aligning to 10th Street NW and a north bound bridge aligning to 9A Street. The association adopted an activist approach, and succeeded in blocking the interchange plans and retaining much of the traditional small-scale quality of the community.
In the 1980s a new transportation development was proposed. Calgary's light rail transportation line was proposed to replace 9A Street NW and many homes were to be demolished to make way. This proposal did go through and in 1987 the Sunnyside Station was completed but not before many changes and concessions were made by city planners. While not all the homes and buildings were torn down, many of them were left with no front access point, instead relying on the alleyway.
Today the association remains very involved in the review of development plans through it's Community Environment Committee. The concern today is the City of Calgary's plan for Transit oriented development (TOD). TOD is a plan where higher density development is concentrated near the station (600m radius) to make transit convenient for more people and encourage ridership. The irony of this plan is that Sunnyside is positioned so close to downtown and already has most amenities that most residents walk to their destination. In fact many suburbanites choose to drive to Sunnyside, park their cars and then walk in to downtown for work. Furthermore, because the Sunnyside Station is the last stop on the NW line the trains are often packed to capacity. Although this may be alleviated by the introduction of 4-car trains in the future.
Sunnyside has an elementary school, a station on the C-Train (Calgary's Light Rail Transit system), and a grocery store as well as many popular restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique stores.
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