Killarney Calgary History: The Story Behind the Community

Killarney real estate listings

In the early 20th century, the foundation for the Killarney/Glengarry neighborhood was laid out with careful planning and foresight. Here are key points regarding its initial development:

  1. Registration and Annexation:
    • The first subdivision plan for Killarney/Glengarry was registered in 1906, signaling the beginning of the community’s formal development.
    • By 1910, the land that comprises today’s Killarney/Glengarry was annexed by Calgary, integrating it into the city’s expanding framework.
  2. Early Settlers and Naming:
    • The neighborhood’s name pays homage to the origins of its early settlers, with ‘Killarney’ referencing a town in Ireland and ‘Glengarry’ nodding to a county in Scotland.
    • This naming convention was a deliberate choice to provide a sense of belonging and familiarity for the settlers who called this area home.
  3. Housing and Development:
    • Prior to World War II, the housing landscape in Killarney/Glengarry predominantly consisted of one-storey clapboard structures.
    • The post-war era saw a significant shift, with the construction of numerous stucco and clapboard bungalows on the subdivided 25- and 50-foot lots, reflecting the community’s growth and the demand for family homes.

      The Killarney/Glengarry neighborhood’s rich history is rooted in its early planning and the sense of community established by its first residents. The careful subdivision of land and the decision to name the area after places familiar to settlers were pivotal in shaping the community’s identity. Over time, the architectural landscape evolved, but the initial spirit of Killarney/Glengarry remains a cornerstone of its heritage.

Origins of Killarney Calgary

Understanding the roots of Killarney-Glengarry in Calgary involves tracing the connections to its namesake regions in Ireland and Scotland. Here’s how the origins of Killarney Calgary reflect a bridge between the old world and the new:

  • Naming as a Nod to Heritage:
    • The choice of the name ‘Killarney-Glengarry’ was intentional, aimed at providing Calgary’s newcomers with a comforting reminder of their homeland. ‘Killarney’ is a nod to the Irish town renowned for its natural beauty, while ‘Glengarry’ references a historic Scottish county, both symbolizing a connection to the settlers’ origins.
  • Geographical Footprint:
    • The community’s boundaries are well-defined, encompassing the south side of 17th Avenue SW, the centre of 25A Street SW, the centre of Richmond Road SW, and the centre of 37 Street SW. This delineation has been crucial in giving Killarney-Glengarry a distinct identity within the broader Calgary landscape.
  • Architectural Evolution:
    • Initially, the area was characterized by simple one-storey clapboard houses. Over time, the architectural fabric of Killarney-Glengarry diversified to include stucco bungalows and, more recently, modern infill housing, reflecting the community’s growth and adaptation to changing times.

      The early planning of Killarney-Glengarry, starting with its subdivision registration in 1906 and annexation into Calgary in 1910, laid a solid foundation for a community that would cherish its heritage while embracing evolution and change.

Post-War Development and Change

In the wake of World War II, the Killarney-Glengarry neighborhood of Calgary experienced a significant phase of development, characterized by the construction of modest homes for returning soldiers and their families. Here are the key aspects of this post-war transformation:

  • Affordable Property Lots for Veterans:
    • To facilitate the transition to civilian life, soldiers were offered property lots at the nominal price of $25. This initiative was aimed at providing affordable housing options to veterans, enabling them to rebuild their lives and raise their families in a stable environment.
  • Residential Construction Trends:
    • The predominant architectural style of the period was one-storey stucco and clapboard bungalows, constructed on 25ft or 50ft lots. These homes were designed primarily for single-family use, reflecting the community’s focus on family life and residential stability.
  • Evolution of Housing:
    • Since 2002, many of the original post-war bungalows have been replaced with modern infill housing. This shift marks a progression towards contemporary living spaces while maintaining the neighborhood’s commitment to community and family-oriented development.

      The post-war era in Killarney-Glengarry represents a time of growth and community building, with the construction of homes that supported the needs of returning soldiers and their families, setting the stage for the neighborhood’s future evolution.

Modernization and Infill Housing

Since 2002, Killarney Calgary has been undergoing a significant transformation, with a focus on modernization while preserving the community’s cultural legacy. This modernization has been evident in the rise of infill housing, which has brought a variety of benefits and changes to the area:

Housing Diversity and Real Estate Value

  • Mix of Styles: Killarney offers an eclectic mix of housing styles, including traditional bungalows, ranches, older-styled homes, alongside newer apartment blocks, condos, and townhouses.
  • Price Range: The diversity in housing is reflected in the prices, which vary widely, from approximately $345,000 to over $1,799,000, catering to a broad spectrum of buyers.

Infill Housing Popularity and Availability

  • Desirable Locations: Infill homes in Killarney are sought after due to their prime location in established neighborhoods, offering a lifestyle that is both walkable and close to essential amenities.
  • Market Demand: The demand for these modernized homes is highlighted by the 145 infill properties currently for sale in Calgary, with prices ranging significantly from $100,000 to more than $10,000,000.

Impact of Revitalization on Community

  • Enhanced Quality: The renovation process has not only modernized the look of Killarney but has also involved intricate stages of development such as lighting, glass detailing, and the installation of high-quality finishes like leathered quartz.
  • Skilled Workforce: These improvements underscore the importance of skilled tradespeople in delivering high-quality results that enhance both the aesthetic and functional aspects of the community.

    The modernization of Killarney Calgary has successfully increased real estate value and housing options, making it an attractive community for potential homeowners who value both tradition and contemporary living.

Community and Civic Engagement

The Killarney-Glengarry community in Calgary is a testament to active civic engagement and the power of local initiatives in shaping a vibrant urban environment. Here’s how residents and local bodies contribute to the community’s well-being:

  • Civic Participation and Local Governance:
    • The Killarney-Glengarry Community Association, established in 1945, functions as a vital organ for local governance, fostering community spirit and participation.
    • The Development and Planning Committee (DPC), operating under the association, plays a pivotal role in representing the community’s interests in public planning and land use issues, aiming for expertise in zoning designations and by-laws.
    • DPC meetings, open to the public and held monthly, offer a platform for residents to engage with development permit and land use applications circulated by the City of Calgary.
  • Community Services and Educational Facilities:
    • City services enhance the quality of life with amenities like the Killarney Aquatic & Recreation Centre and two schools—Holy Name Elementary (Bilingual, Separate) and Killarney Elementary (Public).
    • The community association not only operates recreational facilities such as tennis courts and an outdoor skating rink but also offers diverse programs ranging from dance to senior activities.
  • Engagement and Future Planning:
    • Initiatives like the ENVISION Engagement phase and the Killarney/Glengarry Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) update process demonstrate the community’s dedication to thoughtful urban planning.
    • Events like The Great Soup Debate exemplify unique ways the community engages its members in the democratic process, fostering informed decision-making.

      By maintaining these robust platforms for engagement, Killarney-Glengarry continues to evolve as a close-knit yet forward-thinking community.

Education and Amenities

Within the Killarney-Glengarry community, education and amenities play a pivotal role in enhancing the residents’ quality of life. The following points offer insight into the available resources:

Education and Learning Opportunities

  • Schools Serving the Community:
    • Holy Name Elementary School offers bilingual education in a separate school setting, catering to diverse linguistic needs.
    • Killarney Elementary School provides a public education environment with additional support for students, including English Language Learners and those requiring resource assistance.

Recreational and Wellness Facilities

  • Killarney Aquatic & Recreation Centre: A hub for fitness and leisure with an array of programs, including swimming pools and fitness centers.
  • KGCA Programs: The Community Association enriches local life with offerings such as yoga, high fitness, Vibrational Music Therapy, and the Calgary School of Highland Dance.

Community Spaces and Accessibility

  • Green Spaces and Play Areas: Multiple playgrounds and parks, including a designated off-leash dog park, cater to both active and passive recreation needs.
  • Public Transportation: Efficient access to major routes and the forthcoming LRT enhances connectivity to the University of Calgary and downtown, supporting the community’s urban forest and close links to the city center.

    The educational institutions in Killarney-Glengarry not only focus on academic excellence, as reflected in the higher-than-average school score, but also emphasize environmental awareness and peace-building among students. The community’s commitment to education is complemented by its well-developed amenities, ensuring a well-rounded urban living experience.

Killarney, The Next Chapter

As the narrative of Killarney Calgary unfolds, it is clear that the community’s journey from its early 20th-century origins to its current phase of modernization and engagement is the cornerstone of what makes this neighborhood not only historically rich but vibrant and full of promise. Through the deliberate planning and diverse residential development, Killarney Calgary has become a testament to balancing tradition with progress, where echoes of the past meet the innovations of the present.

Embracing its heritage while looking towards the future, Killarney Calgary continues to be a dynamic community, woven tightly by the threads of its residents’ active civic engagement and the ever-evolving landscape. As one looks at the opportunities that lie ahead, it is an invitation to become a part of Killarney Calgary’s evolving story—a call to engage, connect, and contribute to this flourishing community.


Q: Can you tell me about the historical background of Killarney in Calgary?
A: Killarney/Glengarry is a community that became part of Calgary’s southwest in 1910 when the lands were annexed. The neighborhood’s layout was first planned in 1906, with properties divided into lots of twenty-five and fifty feet. In the early 20th century, the area was characterized by single-story clapboard houses.

Q: How would you describe living in Killarney, Calgary?
A: Living in Killarney-Glengarry offers an ideal blend of suburban comfort with convenient access to downtown Calgary and its inner-city amenities. The community is very popular among those looking to refurbish an older property or to construct a new home in an already established area.