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Calgary's skyline compared to others?

Your favourite skyline in Canada?


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    51

Meikkhaell

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Agreed on Edmonton. Skyline photos are going to look like if you took a kindergarten class picture, but three or four of the kids were 7ft tall. Edmonton's Ice District area also feels very sterile and master-planned to me, might be more fun during hockey games though.
I think Calgary will balance out even more once West Village Towers and and Arris finish, and Oxford Tower when/if that ever gets built.
I'm glad Toronto is a giant and easily recognizable internationally, but I wouldn't necessarily want to wake up every morning and see that skyline, Calgary, I would.
I feel like Montreal could be good (especially viewing from the top of the hill), but they aren't nearly as dense or tall as Calgary is, despite having far more people.
I actually really like Winnipeg's little downtown node haha, it's obviously not a contender in this comparison over-all, but it still intrigues me for some reason.
 

rotten42

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I'm not really a fan of Montreal's skyline. I absolutely love it from the street level but the skyline does nothing for me. In terms of comparing Calgary to an American city, I like to compare Charlotte. It is a similar size city (proper) in terms of population. I also split my time each month between Calgary and Charlotte. Charlotte has some interesting buildings but they don't have the shear density that Calgary has.
 

Surrealplaces

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I'm not really a fan of Montreal's skyline. I absolutely love it from the street level but the skyline does nothing for me. In terms of comparing Calgary to an American city, I like to compare Charlotte. It is a similar size city (proper) in terms of population. I also split my time each month between Calgary and Charlotte. Charlotte has some interesting buildings but they don't have the shear density that Calgary has.
I find even Atlanta, which reminds me of a bigger version of Charlotte also lacks the density of Calgary's skyline. Calgary definitely punches above its weight for skylines.
 

Mountain Man

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I think Edmonton looks better now that they have some actually tall skyscrapers, and they built a few of them so it's not just one tower. I hope they spread some of the height away from Ice District too, keep the skyline balanced.
 

CBBarnett

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I'm not really a fan of Montreal's skyline. I absolutely love it from the street level but the skyline does nothing for me. In terms of comparing Calgary to an American city, I like to compare Charlotte. It is a similar size city (proper) in terms of population. I also split my time each month between Calgary and Charlotte. Charlotte has some interesting buildings but they don't have the shear density that Calgary has.
Montreal - and many cities now that I think about it - lack what Calgary's skyline has; multiple, elevated viewpoints from different directions. It's skyline is very impressive, but doesn't reveal itself as easily as Calgary's. The view of Montreal and the mountain behind it coming from the Champlain or Jacques Bridge is quite spectacular as a rolling, dense mass of city spilling up the hillside. Much closer in, the view from the top of Mont Royal really can showcase just how dense and large Montreal's skyline is, stretching 5km or more from east to west (depending on the highly subjective opinion of what is part of the skyline and what isn't, I defined loosely by continuous area of 10+ storey buildings). Mont Royal also provides a good view of Montreal's more "natural" built form, of a mid-rise city slowly giving way to a high-rise city, almost organically.

Calgary's skyline is great too, thanks to our decades of way above average corporate office development for our size. We have height but lack the obvious feeling of density that a city like Montreal gives when you look at it's skyline - despite being shorter. Calgary's density changes in most directions are abrupt (partially due to our remaining large parking lots which Montreal simply doesn't have, and partially due to a lack of low/mid-rises, which Montreal is known for), however our transition from nature and the river is an amazing look, especially on the more-developed stretches of Chinatown and Eau Claire. Personally, my favourite view of Calgary is from our Mount Royal (named after Montreal's version) where the low/mid-rise density of Mission, Cliff Bungalow and the Beltline transitions to the mega-towers smoothly, making the city feel even more urban than we might actually be in reality.

Overall though, the bones and structure of Calgary's urban development patterns seem to be leading us to an ever more impressive skyline. Hopefully the death of the large-format office tower (at least in Calgary for the foreseeable future) will allow our low/mid/high rise residential game to catch up, smoothing out the transitions to the core and adding more of the real big-city urban experience that our skyline is selling so well.
 

Mountain Man

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My complaint with the Montreal skyline is that there is nothing that really grabs your attention, there is no signature tower. The quality of their towers is ahead of most of ours here (in terms of design not construction, the mafia was too ingrained in their construction industry there lol), but we have signature towers that become a focus of the skyline. I need to go there again soon though, you always get a much better perspective when you are actually there looking in 3D.
 

Oddball

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Pound for pound you're probably on to something. It's hard to judge subjective beauty on a per-capita basis, but I do think that most of the cities that have Calgary beat on the North American scale are substantially larger in population.
 

UrbanWarrior

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There is no metropolitan area on this continent within 1.5 million of Calgary's population that has a comparable skyline.

The closest in population while being the most comparable are: Denver (2.8 million), Minneapolis (3.6 million), Seattle (3.7 million). Of those, the only one that really comes close (and even arguably exceeds our skyline) is Seattle.
 

rotten42

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For shear size I like Toronto. I am biased with Calgary and I agree with many posters in that it has so many photogenic angles. I have never been a fan of the Montreal skyline. I think it is boring. Now from the street view it transforms and it one of my favourite Canadian cities to walk around. Vancouver has some really scenic shots. The blue/green glass thing is a bit over done but they also have and are getting some iconic buildings.

As for a US city, I'm digging Charlotte's. It isn't huge but it does have some character buildings and nice view points.
 

RyLucky

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Calgary has an incredible skyline for it's population. Here's why I think that is:

-massive corporate booms between 1980 and present day. This is the era of international style architecture (steel and concrete, glass curtain wall, floorspace! Floorspace! Floorspace!), and historically high liquidity with great access to the financial tools skyscrapers need. Earlier skyscrapers don't have nearly as much glass, and had our primary growth occurred before 1900, we'd have expensive stone and brick buildings in the way of modern booms.

- Suitable geography (level, appropriate depth to bedrock for cheap excavation and stability, no earthquakes). Calgary is also a bowl with many locations to catch an incredible view of Downtown. Also, there's no substitute for those beautiful turquoise waters of the Bow, lush trees on Prince's Island, and the sunset serrated by mountains. If your buildings are going to scrape the sky, may as well be a beautiful Alberta sky being scraped. ;)

-"Island" effect with strong commuter access to millions of acres of residential land. Thank the 1970s pioneers of the +15 system, the LRT, bonus density system, and the calgary parking authority. This, in my opinion, is truly a proud part of Calgary's history that other modest prairie cities ought to emulate. We've invested in some incredible bridges, especially the Centre St Bridge and the Peace Bridge, that offer great foreground subjects in skyline photos and functional gateways to the dense core.

- I also think there's something else that happened in the 70s about the perception of what uses are acceptable on one side of the tracks. It's like at a certain point every planner, resident, investor, and renter altogether accepted that downtown was for corporate buildings. Life in low/medium density residential buildings between 4th and 12th ave not only became unaffordable but undesirable, and the more these attitudes became common, the easier it was to offer the commercial highrise as solution. This phenomenon happens in some neighborhoods in some cities, but I think it's stifled in areas where the existing tenants have a strong voice, deep pockets, or media connections - think of the Annex in Toronto where even 2 subway lines and the threat of the Spadina expressway were not enough to lure many highrises. On this note, Calgary as a whole has been quite proud of its skyline. We love to compare ourselves to those cities like Toronto and Vancouver and countries like the US that have dominated our media. It makes us feel important to have such beautiful temples to our corporate gods (I kid! ... sort of).

- A singular, centralized municipal government. Calgary's planning is relatively uncomplicated by neighbours. Since 1900, finance, retail, transportation, and governance has been oriented around downtown. Even our addresses reflect this.


I'm in favour of continuing the centralized unicity model as far as we can, not just for the aesthetics of a beautiful skyline, but the functional benefits of reducing travel times, preserving greenfield, and providing services. Calgary is now at the threshold where people cannot commute much farther, so it will be tempting to develop bidirectional travel and more peripheral hubs. This makes sense sometimes, so long as those hubs are still connected to downtown and don't just generate ever more sprawl. Stay beautiful, Calgary!
 

Deadpool X

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Overall, Toronto has the best skyline because of height and density and the iconic CN Tower (although some new condo towers are now hiding the better looking office buildings).

But considering Calgary has 1.4 million people, it has a better skyline per capita than Toronto or any other city in North America in my opinion. To be honest, Calgary's skyline looks equally good as LA's - a city with 10 times more population.

Also, Calgary's skyline is mostly office towers at the moment, and that brings lot of variety and colour. Once we start seeing multiple condo projects in downtown, the skyline will grow but it will start looking a little dull, just like some similar looking blue glass condos have almost ruined the Toronto's skyline from its best angles.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Lmao, what a hilarious and outrageous assertion (on the part of the edmontonian)
 

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