Supermarket opening makes living inner-city more convenient for Calgarians

Living inner-city usually comes with the notion that you will have it all: walkability, proximity to restaurants and more. For years, Calgarians on the east side of downtown were lacking a full-service supermarket, but now there's a Superstore in East Village.

East Village finally gets full service grocery store

A shopping centre in the East Village is bringing conveniences like groceries closer to home for residents of the neighbourhood and nearby communities. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Living inner-city comes with the notion that you will have it all: walkability, proximity to restaurants and more.

But over the years, many who have chosen to live in or near downtown Calgary, particularly on the east side, have had to trek outside the core for one essential shopping experience: groceries.

Erin Joslin is the former executive director for the Ramsay Community Association. She says that every time the association reached out to residents for any type of public engagement, a grocery store was always at the top of the list. 

"Finally, it looks like we're starting to hit that tipping point where we're starting to get some of the services that we've been missing," Joslin said. "I always joke that I live in our city but I've got to go to the suburbs to get all my services and do my shopping." 

This week, the East Village's newest building "5th & Third" filled the need. The Real Canadian Superstore is the first business to open at the new 178,000 square foot shopping centre. More retailers are expected to open this summer — including a Winners, pizza shop, TD Bank and Olympia Liquor store.

Now that the grocery store is open, Joslin expects to see people walking and wheeling their groceries from surrounding communities. But she hopes this new hub means the city will help connect pathways and sidewalks so folks can access the stores easily without the need for a vehicle.

Calgary's East Village now has a Real Canadian Superstore. (Submitted by the Real Canadian Superstore)

The shopping hub has a sidewalk lined with bike racks and also offers underground parking for shoppers. On Friday, racks were full and customers were filing in and out of the Superstore.

Luis Marzano lives in East Village. He excitedly showed off his full grocery bags before heading to the crosswalk. 

"It has been a great experience shopping here. We are very excited for the opening of this supermarket. Feeling very grateful." he said. "Anything we need from home, we just go downstairs and get it!" 

Marzano says typically he would travel more than 10 kilometres to grab his weekly shop. Now, it's an elevator ride away.

Other grocery options already around

Dani Niven, who also lives in the East Village, says she was baking and missing a few ingredients. Instead of hopping in her car, she walked to the store and bought the things she needed to finish her recipe. 

Joslin says there are already options, like corner stores in Ramsay and Inglewood that have stepped up produce offerings to fill gaps. There's a local grocer, Bite, in Inglewood that also serves the communities, and on weekends there's the Crossroads Farmers market. 

But she says a Superstore offers different hours of operation and pricing for those living nearby.


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