It’s been 20 years since Calgarians discovered the charms of Airdrie just 20 minutes north of town. Accessible via the four-lane highway, the City still has a small time vibe - quiet and on may counts, less expensive. Airdrie is still very popular with Calgarians looking to get more house for less money. But Crossfield is waiting in the wings.
The Town of Crossfield is 43 km north of Calgary, so just 13 km further down the highway from Airdrie. It’s quiet, intimate and set back a bit from the highway. The current population is a modest 3,000 people but with new subdivisions on the books the town hopes to double its population just as Airdrie has in the past 10 years.
Even with twice the current population, Airdrie would still be 10 times the size.
A new 1,000-home development was recently unveiled to the public and the deputy mayor told CBC Calgary that the town council has been working behind the scenes to bump up the population for some time. James Ginter explained that the community hall has been spruced up and the town’s fire hall is being renovated and enlarged.
Trevor Dickie, a V.P with Dream Development which is building in the new development called Vista Crossing, noted that Crossfield has not been developed in a comprehensive manner.
Dickie pointed out that there are new employment hubs on the north side of Calgary and in Balzac at Cross Iron Mills which is fueling development in Airdrie. He suggested that in many ways, Crossfield is like a suburb of Airdrie.
The first 150 homes in the development should be completed in the next few years. The Vista Crossing website promises new character homes priced from the $350,000s.
The town’s history goes back to 1890 when a “stopping house” was built at this location to serve travelers on the Calgary & Edmonton Trail. The railway followed two years later. The first post office, blacksmith shop and retail stores were built between 1902 and 1905. Grain elevators soon followed.
The heart of downtown Crossfield was destroyed by fire in 1924 but was quickly rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by fire later than same year.
Undaunted, the town rebuilt and carried on. By 1980, the town’s population had grown to 1,000 and in the past 36 years has tripled to 3,000.
The town has provided incentives for small business with low monthly utilities and no business tax. An annual business license in Crossfield is only $75.
Crossfield’s official town motto is “Progress through Friendship” and they encourage citizens to get together at the town Farmer’s Market and at block parties.
Town councillors like to point out that there is plenty of land available for developers to create more neighbourhoods. Administration is working on an Area Structure Plan (ASP) with Rocky View County to provide for mixed-use industrial areas, future retail and residential land use.
Rebuilding and increasing the capacity of the town’s fire station is the first of many capital projects planned for this small town which is on the road to become the new Airdrie.