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. 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. Pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and a regional pathway provide direct access to the adjacent Bridgeland Light Rail Transit (LRT) station, recreational amenities, main street retail stores, downtown Calgary, the Bow River, the Calgary Zoo and the River District.
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.
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