Executive condo living in a riverside, inner-city community
Great access to parks and strong community engagement define this riverside, inner-city community. But Eau Claire was not always the desirable neighbourhood it is today. Located south of the Bow River and north of Calgary’s commercial district, Eau Claire originally developed as an industrial centre where sawmills populated the river banks. Later, it became the site of Calgary’s bus barns. It was not until the 1990s that the city attempted a full-scale redevelopment to make use of this prime, riverside space.
Eau Claire Market was one attempt to revitalize the area, and although it failed to take off as a cultural and business hub, a few businesses have hung on through the years. Recently, the city renewed its efforts to increase the area’s potential, with ambitious plans to convert the market into a modern multi-use facility. The project is still in its early stages, and residents are not likely to see change for some time. As it stands, Eau Claire Market still offers important amenities to the community, including a small food market, liquor store, gym facilities, boutique shops, and a small movie theatre.
Despite the market’s difficulties, Eau Claire has developed into a highly desirable neighbourhood in the past twenty years. This community ranked among the top ten neighbourhoods in Calgary according to one local magazine, scoring highly in terms of walkability and community engagement. Eau Claire enjoys prime access to parks, the Bow River pathways, and top-notch restaurants and nightlife in the downtown commercial core. It even offers up a few culinary gems of its own (Q Haute Cuisine, Alforno Bakery & Cafe).
In 2014, the population of Eau Claire was mostly made up of seniors and older adults over the age of 45, with almost no children between the ages of 5 and 19 living in the area. However there was a surprising number of children under the age of 4, suggesting that young families are opting to wait longer before trading in downtown life for the suburbs.
Homes in Eau Claire are almost exclusively apartment-style, and the areas is known for having some of the city’s most prestigious executive-style condos. The average cost of a condo in this neighbourhood ($479,786 during the first half of 2018) is well above the citywide average of $257,000, but is still less than the average cost of a detached home in Calgary (about $503,000).
Below is a list of popular condo buildings in Eau Claire, with links to my reviews:
- Chateau La Caille (1999) – 200 La Caille Place SW, Calgary
- Churchill Estates (2007) – 701 3 Avenue SW, Calgary
Scroll down for photos and fast facts on Eau Claire!
LIVING IN EAU CLAIRE
- Several C-Train Stations within walking distance along 7th Avenue
- RiverWalk and Bow River pathways
- Downtown cycle tracks
- Access to Crowchild Trail and Deerfoot trail via Memorial Drive
Groceries & Shopping
- Five-minute drive to Safeway and Co-op on 11th Avenue SW
- Unique specialty stores in Eau Claire Market
- Five-minute walk to the CORE Shopping Centre
- Ten-minute drive to boutique shopping in Kensington Village
Dining & Nightlife
- A mix of casual restaurants (JOEY Eau Claire, Alforno Bakery & Cafe), fine dining options (Q Haute Cuisine, River Cafe in Prince’s Island Park), and a cozy pub (Barley Mill) in Eau Claire
- Lots of trendy restaurants, bars, and fast food options in the nearby commercial district
- Authentic Asian cuisine restaurants along Centre Street
Health & Wellness
- Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA and Goodlife Fitness
- Salons and spas in nearby commercial district and Kensington Village
- Grades K-6: Connaught School (Regular)
- Grades 7-9: Mount Royal School (Regular)
- Grades 10-12: Western Canada High School (Regular and French Immersion)
THINGS TO DO IN EAU CLAIRE
- Eau Claire Market: The Eau Claire Market is a quirky hub for gift and specialty stores, restaurants, local businesses, and a small Cineplex Odeon theatre. Although offering up quiet character, this relic from the 1990s failed to ever truly take off as a business hub. It is the subject of plans for an ambitious redevelopment intended to transform it into a vibrant mixed-use centre with a hotel, condominiums, and offices in addition to retail space.
- West Eau Claire Park: This riverside green space is currently under construction to develop a promenade for use as a new festival site.
- Prince’s Island Park: Calgary’s most popular inner-city park is filled with flower gardens, shady lagoons, ponds with fountains, and quaint footbridges. It’s also one of the city’s top festival destinations, hosting Canada Day celebrations and the Calgary Folk Fest each year. Upscale restaurant River Cafe is situated in the park and is known as a top destination for romantic dining. The park is also home to the Shakespeare on the Bow outdoor theatre.
- RiverWalk: The Jack and Jean Leslie RiverWalk was constructed in conjunction with the city’s revitalization plan for Downtown East Village. This dedicated bike and pedestrian pathway spans 2 km from the Centre Street Bridge to the 9th Avenue SE Bridge and connects to Calgary’s extensive pathway system. In addition to offering East Village resident an alternate commute downtown, the RiverWalk is a destination in and of itself. Dotted with look-out points and inviting seating spaces, the RiverWalk serves as host to food truck festivals, open-air markets, Canada Day celebrations and more.