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It’s Throwback Thursday and with that, I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you on Stephen Avenue.

Stephen Avenue is one of Calgary’s most iconic and vibrant streets, located in the heart of downtown. The avenue, named after Canadian businessman and politician George Stephen, was once the commercial center of the city and has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s.

Today, it remains a bustling hub of activity and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

As you stroll down Stephen Avenue, you’ll notice a wide variety of architectural styles, from the Art Deco-inspired Bank of Montreal building to the ornate sandstone facade of the Hudson’s Bay Company department store. These buildings are not just beautiful landmarks, but also tell the story of Calgary’s growth and development over the years.

One hidden gem along the avenue is the Devonian Gardens, an indoor botanical garden located on the fourth floor of the TD Square shopping center. The garden features over 500 species of plants and trees, as well as a playground and a fish pond. It’s a perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Another must-see spot is the historic Calgary Tower, which offers stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains. The tower, which stands at 626 feet tall, was once the tallest structure in Calgary and remains a popular attraction to this day.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the area, a visit to the Glenbow Museum is a must. The museum features exhibits on Calgary’s history, as well as art and culture from around the world. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant past.

Now, there are plenty of places to eat and shop along Stephen Avenue Walk. The area boasts an array of restaurants ranging from upscale dining to casual eats such as Stone’s Throw Cafe which offers all-day breakfast dishes and fresh baked goods.

But Stephen Avenue isn’t just about modern entertainment and retail ventures; a visit down this street will also reveal its fascinating history.

The area was first established in 1884 after it was surveyed by John Palliser and named for Donald A. Smith (later Lord Strathcona) who had recently been appointed superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

With the completion of the railway in 1885, Calgary’s economy started to boom and 8th Avenue SW became known as a commercial hub and home to iconic landmarks such as The Lancaster Building (1912) and Stephen Avenue Mall (1970).

Whether it’s grabbing a bite to eat at one of its many restaurants, shopping for unique items or taking in some entertainment, Stephen Avenue is certainly worth exploring.

But don’t forget to take a look back at its history too — you may be surprised by what you find!

Happy Thursday!
Shane Wenzel

Shane Wenzel

Shane is the President & CEO of the Shane Homes Group of Companies and the namesake. Shane's responsibilities include strategic direction for the companies, policy advice for the building industry through BILD Calgary, and political involvement through the Alberta Enterprise Group on the economy, making him an industry leader in his field. Shane's sales and marketing background comes from growing up with two entrepreneurial parents, Cal and Edith, and participating in a business advisory group. On the personal side, Shane considers himself a bit of a "tech junky" and social media influencer on various platforms. He's also proudly apart of the LGBTQ community.