17th Avenue: its past, present and future

Skinny jeans, late night pizza by the slice and a good place to have one too many beer. Part of the heart and soul of Calgary, 17th Avenue has a long history as a place to strut your stuff with friends.

What a stroll down the strip says about our city

A street is pictured with cars parked on the side.
Calgary's 17th Avenue is home to more than 400 unique shops, restaurants, services and more. (

This story was originally published Feb. 4.

No matter where you live in Calgary, you know the strip stretching from the Stampede grounds to 14th Street.

17th Avenue is like the social heart of our city — our playground, the city's backyard.

It's the place to go drinkin', grab a slice of pizza at 3 a.m., sit and watch the game in your jersey and brag about how you could've played "pro." 

You can also pick up some skinny jeans, lounge in the park, learn some new profanity, or just hang and have a cup of coffee with the cool kids.

17th Avenue has been "17th Ave." pretty much forever.

For at least 100 years there's been some kind of magic that has drawn people to this rather ramshackle asphalt strip.

Sure, it's got problems.

When the city asked people what they thought of it, people said it was ugly, a bit dodgy, dangerous for cyclists and that if you were walking, well, look out for cars. Still, it's one of the places to be in Calgary, most nights.

The City of Calgary figures there are about 24 "main streets" in Calgary.

As part of our Calgary at a Crossroads project, Jenny Howe has saddled up and hit the trails to check out our city's main streets.

Calgary at a Crossroads is CBC Calgary's special focus on life in our city during the downturn. A look at Calgary's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. Read more stories from the series at Calgary at a Crossroads.