The movement has gathered official momentum recently under the leadership of Colin Jackson, president of the Calgary Performing Arts Centre.
A city without a heart is a suburb, he
says. At the end of the day, whats going to hold you there?
Medication to restore the heart has, so far, taken the form of research on the area that is bounded on the east and west by 1st Streets S.E. and S.W. and on the north and south by 7th and 9th Avenues.
The concept is so new, it doesnt even have a name yet, although the Cultural District is being bandied about in the interim.
The area includes such august institutions as City Hall
, the Glenbow Museum
, Olympic Plaza
, the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer
, the Calgary Urban Project Society
, two convention centres, several hotels and restaurants including Teatro
and the new Hyatt as well as the Famous Five group of statues, a popular attraction.
expects that in January a formal application will be made for the interested partners to become an association and for the work to begin on making the area brighter and more welcoming.
If life at the centre of the city isnt revived, Jackson and other participants including Mike Robinson, president of the Glenbow, believe that the loss will be financial, artistic and spiritual not necessarily in that order.
says U.S. cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are revitalizing their cores and consequently establishing stronger identities.
Calgarys future is not assured unless it acts consciously to do something similar, says Jackson
who moved here partly because he
believes of all Canadian cities, Calgary is the one most likely to grab onto its destiny and make something sustainable.
Both men would like to see the Cultural District become something of a destination as Kensington, Inglewood and 17th Avenue have over the years with funky shops, outdoor patios, galleries and a residential component.
The most important thing we can do to enliven, enrich and improve the downtown core is help people live there, says Robinson. People like to watch each other, he
says, adding he
believes this is quite achievable with East Village, Eau Claire and Bow Valley Centre all doing their bit.