Evolution of the Infill in Calgary 

Hillhurst Calgary, April 24, 2020

Inner-City Revitalization 

For the past 40+ years, some of Calgary's oldest and desirable inner-city communities (Altadore, South Calgary, Inglewood, Sunnyside, Hillhurst, West Hillhurst, Parkdale, Mount Pleasant, just to name a few) have been gradually but steadily revitalized as infill construction replaces the existing classic homesteads.  These new homes, more suited to the modern family’s needs and expectations, have made these communities attractive to young professionals, families and empty-nesters alike.  As a result, businesses and residents continue to move inward from the suburbs and Calgary stands as one of the only Canadian cities that has seen continuous growth in these inner-city neighborhoods since the 1970s.  From their humble beginnings, infill developments have not only supported this community growth but become some of the most luxurious and sought-after properties in our city.

Early Infill development in Calgary; 

In the traditional sense, an infill is defined as 2 dwellings replacing a single dwelling on a subdivided lot.  Calgary’s first infill homes, built back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, were nicknamed “skinnies” for obvious reasons – they were only 17-feet wide (all detached).  They were typically raised following the demolition of an old 800 square foot home on a 50-foot lot and subdivision of the lot into two 25-foot sections, building two homes where there once stood one.  At the time, side yard allowances limited the building footprint significantly and these new builds were normally not much bigger than the original single-storey home.  Driven by the modern home buyer's demand for more space, a second storey was added to create a taller and skinnier 1,700 square foot home.  Over time, construction plans have been optimized and city guidelines have evolved to allow the development of the spacious homes we are seeing around the city today.

Calgary's Evolution of Infilling!

1970's- Detached, 2 Storey, 1000-1200 sq ft

1980's-Mostly Detached, 2 Storey, 1200-1500 sq ft

1990's- Mostly Detached, 2 Storey, 1400-1800 sq ft 

2000's- Attached 80%, Detached 20%, 1500-2500 sq ft

2010 to present- Attached 90%, Detached 10%, 1700-3000 sq ft

Nowhere is the evolution of the infill more evident than in the photographic record.  Below is a real look of just how infills have evolved in Calgary (all properties I've had the pleasure of selling)
1970 's Infill Calgary Elboya1980's Infill Calgary Renfrew

1990 's Infill Calgary Killarney2000 's Infill Calgary

2019 Built Infill Mount Pleasant, Calgary

Corner Lot Infilling of Row Houses, Killarney Calgary

Family Friendly Luxury! 

There is a common market misconception that what inner-city infills offer in terms of convenience (location, amenities, etc.), they lack in luxury features and finishes.  This is certainly not the case, as demonstrated by one spectacular infill currently listed in Cambrian Heights. It's a 4 level home with private elevator access to all levels and includes an amazing 3 floor master with downtown views.

Listing Details here

Stunning 3-Storey infill in Cambrian Heights $1,099,900

A review of the City of Calgary’s community profiles shows that city-wide, 19% of Calgarians are under the age of 14.  The distribution of these residents is interesting - Altadore 20%, West Hillhurst 17%, Hillhurst 15%, Capitol Hill 14% and Bridgeland 11%.  These are very healthy numbers and support the idea that families are moving back to the inner-city.  And who can blame them - these communities have a lot to offer! 

If you'd like more information on infill possibilities in Calgary's inner-city, I would be happy to speak with you - I live in one!  Or for any information on the Calgary Real Estate market, I'm always looking forward to talking Real Estate with you. Contact Ross Aitken.


Ross Aitken has over 22 years of selling experience in Calgary's Real Estate market and coupled with 700+ residential sales is one of Calgary's most trusted and experienced agents. 
Ross Aitken - Re/Max Real Estate (Central)