Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Planning for change within Calgary's hidden gem, Millican-Ogden

Tucked away above the Bow River in southeast Calgary, Millican-Ogden is one of Calgary's oldest communities. It was originally built to house Canadian Pacific Rail workers. Over time, Millican-Ogden developed into the established residential community that it is today, with a rich variety of housing types, commercial developments, and park spaces. For many, Millican-Ogden is a "hidden gem" within the city, and interestingly, in some ways that's how residents want to keep it.

The Green Line will be coming to Millican-Ogden with two LRT stations to be located within the community. These new stations will bring the area lots of attention. It is inevitable that people traveling through the community will start to see the unique amenities it offers and its enviable location. This will no doubt spur significant redevelopment interest in the community.

To get ahead of development pressures and to plan for change, my team and I are leading the development of the new Millican-Ogden Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP). It is a document that will outline a vision for the future of the community and include policies to guide redevelopment to achieve this vision.

Last year, community members got together for a series of workshops. They mapped out ideas and a vision of the future of the area. My job is to continue that work with community members, City departments, landowners and others to develop a plan to implement these ideas and to identify local improvements that can be made to the area to benefit existing and future residents. The new ARP we are developing will include up to date policies to facilitate transit-oriented development that is sensitive to the local neighborhood.

What has struck me most while talking to Millican-Ogden residents is the commitment and passion they have for their community. Many of them have lived in the community for decades and it is common for children who grew up in the neighborhood to move back to Millican-Ogden to start their own families. The community offers so many unique resources and supports for its residents and is inclusive and welcoming of people of all ages and incomes.

Like many communities of its age, Millican-Ogden could benefit from new investment and residents are excited about the Green Line and the opportunities it will bring with it. When a “hidden gem” such as this is discovered by so many people, it can be both good and bad for the community. They will recognize its many positive attributes and want to become part of it too. My job is to make sure that redevelopment in the Millican-Ogden enhances and contributes to the community's unique character and facilitates positive change in the lives of residents who have called Millican-Ogden home for generations.

The post is written by Jill Sonego, Lead Planner for Millican-Ogden station area planning. To learn more about the ARP, the public is invited to attend an open house on June 22 from 5-8 p.m. at Banting and Best School (1819 66 Avenue S.E.), or visit


  1. Hello, I am a home owning resident of Millican-Ogden. While I think it is great to plan for our community and participate in that process my wife and I were a little take aback by your first statement.

    You said: "Most of us Calgarians have probably heard of the community of Millican-Ogden. But if you're like me, you have not spent much time there."

    And what kind of people are "like you"? And why would people "like you" not go to Millican-Ogden?

    That is a very insulting (condescending) way to begin a blog post about a community that you are planning for.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I sincerely apologize for that statement – that really is not the tone that I intended and I feel terrible that it has come across that way. I wanted to explain that Millican-Ogden is a “best kept secret” in Calgary. I have spent a lot of time there since I began working on this project, and I am very impressed with the friendliness and character of the community. I have adjusted the beginning of the blog to better reflect that intention. Please feel free to connect with me directly if you would like to talk further.

      Jill Sonego

  2. Ogden is awesome. I drive through rather than taking Deerfoot when possible. Reminds me of home.

    1. UGH yes I live in Ogden and the 'river' of cars fleeing the city makes it nearly impossible to enter Ogden Road from 3-6pm. Ogden Road was 'discovered' as a thru-road by commuters when 52 ST closed a few years ago to build the bridge across the WID canal... and now it's a defacto freeway including 'smart guys' racing thru the tiny side streets to 'jump ahead' of their fellow commuters (that's just human nature, but planners should know better)
      I'm sure traffic calming will make the traffic on Ogden Road a 100% constant flow with no breaks to shoehorn in a local resident from 3-6pm (or 7-9am too!) so you might as well install lights on every cross avenue (72/74/76/78th) since the intersection at 69th is going away (replaced by a tunnel under tracks on 78th)
      Ogden Road has become a rush-hour(s) shortcut as it does bypass Deerfoot - but it was never designed to be this - so why not just build a thru-way that's over/under/around the community and we can retain ogden road as a low volume street?
      When Ogden road backs up at Glenmore, the 'smart guys' exit on 76 ave and race over to the 18 st/glenmore interchange thru the various school zones to plug it up there too.
      Cars are not going away - so plan for them!!!

  3. If that's the way it was written, I would not agree that it was insulting - that's skewing what she's saying. Most people don't don't much about Ogden or Lynnwood due to it's geographic isolation as it's only neighbour is Riverbend. It's easily traversed by Ogden Road but that doesn't tell you much about the community as a whole.