Scarboro Community Development Charter

It takes a collection of beautiful neighbourhoods to make a beautiful city. Scarboro is one such beautiful neighbourhood.  It has been nurtured within an expanding and encroaching City.     This Community Development Charter was established to detail the long-term preservation principles of Scarboro and the desired outcomes of planning, both within and on the periphery of our community.

Community Vision

The Scarboro Community Association (“SCA”) has worked to maintain this old neighbourhood with historical significance as an attractive single family residential area for families and others, with a strong social character and beautiful physical presence.

Scarboro was designed (under retainer by the CPR before 1912) by the Olmsted Firm, an important landscape architecture design group, whose principal designed Central Park in New York City and Mount Royal in Montreal, and has a legacy of designing “Garden City” neighbourhoods across the United States and Western Canada. Originally Scarboro was part of the greater Sunalta community but in the 1960s, Crowchild and Bow Trails were developed necessitating the removal of much open space and houses. Due to developments of major thoroughfares around Scarboro, it lost two community halls, tennis courts, skating rinks and a rock garden park behind Sunalta school.  These freeways split the original community into three areas and left us with a very small core developing its own identity as Scarboro. We have faced many other issues from the larger city, heavy internal traffic pressures, threatened closure of the school, redevelopment and the close presence of many social institutions. As a result, the community has united to stave off various threats and maintain its historic and beautiful aesthetic.

Despite, and perhaps due to these excisions, Scarboro has a stable, tightly knit community with proud traditions of dinner clubs, social functions, book clubs (for example, there are seven women’s book clubs among our 328 homes) and a community preschool. We value knowing our neighbours and having opportunity for interaction in our streetscape.

This history and context are important and affect the kinds of developments which will enhance rather than undermine our community.  The Olmsted principles of facilitating the intersection of people through environmental design are apparent throughout our neighbourhood – a variety of home styles, garages only on lanes with deep front set-backs to preserve the visual street scape, wide streets and green spaces. This history is essential to Scarboro’s community vision and attractiveness.

Reflective of its design, Scarboro continues to have a sense of early twentieth century charm and older style architecture.  It is a relatively quiet island in the sea of busy Calgary, due in part to the traffic calming initiatives that were instituted by the community in the 1980s when as many as 7000 cars per day cut through our neighbourhood and neighbouring Sunalta. Scarboro and Sunalta residents paid for these traffic restrictions themselves by way of tax levy, the only Calgarians to do so.

This history is all essential to Scarboro’s community vision. To maintain it as a viable and attractive neighborhood we have adopted the following key principles.

Key Principles

Grounded in our history, Scarboro’s key planning principles are:

The George Anderson Caveat (“the Caveat”), is a restrictive covenant on most of the parcels in Scarboro.  Created by the Olmsted firm, the 30 foot or 9.144 meter set-back from the street curb will maintain the open green streetscape for years to come (the Caveat is available on our community website) The Caveat is a private property right and obligation, which can be enforced by Caveat holders.

       This Olmsted design of broad setbacks is to be enforced and celebrated;

       Maintain a single-family character based on larger lots, not infills. Open space should be enhanced rather than diminished.

       Peripheral development needs to be consistent in scale and not undermine the boundaries of Scarboro.

       Internal development be made in accordance with the Caveat and respectful of the historical context of the community as a whole;

       The integrity of Scarboro be maintained through the enforcement of traffic calming measures;

       Existing schools and churches are important to the fabric of the area;

       All commitments as part of a plan or redevelopment should be audited and enforced by the City.

       The neighbourhood is tiny so the periphery cannot be sacrificed otherwise a critical size for viability may not be maintained.

Future Development

When discussing future development in the Scarboro community, all members of a municipal planning and development team as well as all architects, designers and real estate developers involved in an application for development should, as a rule of thumb, be sympathetic the key principles that made Scarboro the gem that it is, created during the infancy of landscape architecture design.

Scarboro is a residential neighbourhood, single residential contextual dwelling (“RC1”) with pockets of S-SPR (“Special Purpose – Park, Community Reserve”) parkland that brings children, athletes, neighbours or all of the above together throughout the seasons. Guiding principles when compiling your complete application requirement list (C.A.R.L):

1). The Caveat remains essential to development in Scarboro, maintaining open space and facilitating neighbour interaction

2). Community Institutions- new residents are welcomed and encouraged to maintain our local K-6 school, community association, book clubs and children’s fairs through neighbourhood engagement/ volunteerism.

3). The nature of all development permits in our area calls for discretional approval, case by case. Contextual criteria that are not highlighted in the by-law, and touched upon in the “Low Density Residential Housing Guidelines for Established Communities” December 2010, latest edition, height of front door with respect to the context of each adjacent neighbour’s front door should be respected.

4). While the heritage of the original 1912 to 1930 styles remains essential to the neighbourhood, all architecture is embraced with focus on quality materials for cladding, landscape design and front walk and drive dimensions, which compliment existing homes.  We remind applicants to clearly identify all dimensions, materials and structures on the initial circulation of drawings during the development application engagement process.

5). Green technology such as geothermal, solar, wind energy harvesting while strongly encouraged, should respect the general context of the street scape that we are striving to preserve.


© Scarboro Community Association 1727 14 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB  T3C 0W7

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