. about beltline history
Beltline has 12 decades of history and buildings and every one of them still exist today. The name originated from Calgary Municipal Railway’s Route No.5 – the “belt line”. In the early 20th century the No. 5 trolley circled what is now the Beltline and connected to downtown.
The district was part of the Town of Calgary from the date of incorporation in 1884. Connaught was officially established as a district in 1905 followed by Victoria in 1914. Together, these districts make up the Beltline.
At the turn of the last century Calgary was developing into a regional warehouse and mercantile centre. The land north of the CPR tracks quickly developed so warehouses started to spring up south of the tracks along 10th and 11th Avenues. Some of these warehouses still exist today.
When Calgary Stampede named its new fairground Victoria Park the adjacent neighbourhood adopted this name as well. With the growth of warehouses and the relocation of main CPR operations south of the tracks the land was quickly taken up by houses, workshops, warehouses, stables, and eventually churches and schools.
Development was occurring in Connaught as well. Beautiful homes were being built by entrepreneurs such as James Lougheed, and open space was being planned in what would become Central Memorial Park, Calgary’s first public open space.
Over the years the district saw the addition of beautiful sandstone schools, grand churches, a trolley and underpasses connecting the community with downtown.
Residential and commercial development continued, turning once quiet areas of the Beltline into vibrant, mixed-used neighbourhoods. This mix still exists in many areas of the community today.
Stampede Park has always played an important role in the community district. In the late 1960’s expansion of stampede grounds resulted in a decline in population in Victoria and a decline in condition of existing houses.
The amalgamation of the Connaught and Victoria Community Associations into Beltline Communities helped to revitalize the area. Documents such as Beltline Initiative and Blueprint for the Beltline emphasized the importance of quality, density and variety. Increased investment and interest in urban living followed and Beltline has seen significant development and population growth in the last decade.
Despite this redevelopment Beltline still has strong ties to its past. Buildings from throughout its history still exist including warehouses, churches, schools, rooming houses and private homes. Beltline Communities has worked hard to research and compile detailed information on every historic property in the community district.
For more information about Beltline’s heritage, please visit our heritage page.