7th Avenue History
Originally 7th Avenue was called McIntyre Avenue. It wasn’t until 1904 when the city dropped street names in favour of numbers that it became 7th Avenue. In some ways, 7th Avenue has always played second fiddle to 8th Avenue as Calgary’s best urban streetscape. The original City of Calgary trolley system used 8th Avenue not 7th Avenue and given this was before mass car ownership this meant almost everyone arrived downtown on 8th Avenue.
In the ‘70s, the situation changed. 7th Avenue became Calgary’s downtown’s transit corridor when part of 8th Avenue was converted to a pedestrian mall and rebranded as Stephen Avenue Mall. At the same time, new office shopping complexes like TD Square and Scotia Centre turned their backs on 7th Avenue having their front doors on 8th Avenue. 7th Avenue has struggled for the past 35+ years to find its mojo.
But if you look closely, you’ll see 7th Avenue is more than just a transit corridor. It is home to Old City Hall, W.R. Castell Central Library, Olympic Plaza, Hudson’s Bay department store, Core Shopping Centre, Holt Renfrew, Devonian Gardens, Harley Hochkiss Gardens, Calgary Courthouse complex, Century Gardens and Shaw Millennium Park.
Indeed, 7th Avenue has all the makings of a great street and has had for many years with parks, plazas, shopping, churches, major office buildings etc. It is also currently being radically transformed by three major new buildings, sure to become architectural icons – TelusSky, Brookfield Place and 707 Fifth. TelusSky is notable also as it will bring much needed residential development into the downtown office core.