- The neighbourhood of Bridgeland (formerly known as Riverside) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is located to the immediate northeast of downtown Calgary. It is bounded to the south by the Bow River, to the east by Deerfoot Trail, to the west by Edmonton Trail and to the north by the community of Renfrew.
Bridgeland in winterThe community is primarily residential with a mix of parkside condominiums and single-family houses. Bridgeland contains a variety of restaurants, food markets, retail shopping, offices, financial services, churches and schools. The Calgary Zoo, Telus Spark, The Bridges urban renewal development and access to the city's large network of pedestrian pathways (the Bow River pathway) and parks are unique focal points for the community and surrounding region.
Bridgeland borders a natural environment composed of the confluence of the Bow River and Elbow River. Tom Campbell's Hill park lies on the eastern edge of Bridgeland and overlooks the downtown, Bow River and northeastern part of the city. St. Patrick's Island and St. George's Island lie in the southern part of Bridgeland. St. George's Island is home to the Calgary Zoo, Canada's second largest zoo.
Bridgeland is the site of the Telus Spark, a $160-million facility that opened on October 29, 2011 and Canada's first purpose-built science centre in more than 25 years.
The community of Riverside was established by Russian-German immigrants during Calgary's first population boom in the 1880s, when Riverside was known as Germantown. At the beginning of the 20th century, immigrants were mostly of Italian and Ukrainian origin.
The name "Bridgeland" appeared as a result of the Dominion Bridge Company operating nearby.
Riverside incorporated as a village on July 6, 1903, and was subsequently annexed by the City of Calgary in 1910. In 1910, the Riverside School opened and served the community for 50 years. In 1908, the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association was founded. A Red Light District survived in the neighbourhood until the First World War. In 1910, the Calgary General Hospital was built in this area. It was closed in 1997 and was demolished in a controlled explosion on October 4, 1998.
Parts of lower Bridgeland were popularly known as "Little Italy" in emulation of similarly named enclaves in other cities of immigrants of Italian stock. The concentration of Italian bakeries, restaurants and groceries has diminished over time but the strip along 1st Avenue NE is sometimes still referred to by this name.
The Calgary Zoo was established on St. George's Island in 1929 with 36 mammals and 78 birds. By 2006, it had expanded to over 1,000 animals with 290 different species with exhibits from Destination Africa, Canadian Wilds, Australia, Botanical gardens, Eurasia, Prehistoric Park and South America.
Over 5,000 people participated in a public process that is underway in 2010 to develop a master plan for St. Patrick's Island.
In modern times, the community is recognized as a "distinct bobo (bohemian/bourgeois) residential neighbourhood" and having a high degree of walkability. In 2013, Bridgeland/Riverside was ranked by Fast Forward Weekly magazine as the third "most livable neighbourhood" in Calgary.
In the City of Calgary's 2012 municipal census, Bridgeland/Riverside had a population of 5,594 living in 3,274 dwellings, a 6.5% increase from its 2011 population of 5,254. With a land area of 3.1 km2 (1.2 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,805/km2 (4,670/sq mi) in 2012.
The City of Calgary adopted an area redevelopment plan for this community in 2006, which regulates construction of buildings and recreational areas, with the intention of increasing population density in certain areas, as well as development of a public transit oriented community.
At the beginning of the 21st century, gentrification was occurring in Bridgeland. This resulted in new residents and business moving into the community. In addition, household incomes rose in real terms by +22.3% within Bridgeland between 2000 and 2005. This compares against a real household income growth of +1.8% in the rest of Calgary over the same period.
Bridgeland is the start and finish point for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon, Canada's longest running marathon. In 2009, the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon was rated as Alberta's best road race and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
Public recreational facilities within Bridgeland include Harvie Passage whitewater kayak park, soccer pitch, tennis court, community garden, baseball field, off-leash dog park, disc golf course, children's playground and toboggan run.
In 2010, based on an Ipsos-Reid Needs and Preferences study, the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association initiated a conceptual design for an ice rink.