Green grassy banks line the length of Nose Creek as it winds its way south through Airdrie’s city center. People ride bikes, push strollers, jog, board and gather on the paths and parks that flow through the city along with the creek. While cars blast past on the QE2 Highway on the east side, those who stop in know that the rest of Airdrie is a peaceful haven where they can slow down and connect with family and friends. Connecting people and places is how Airdrie got its start.
Founded in 1909, Airdrie grew up around a railway siding stop on the line connecting Calgary to Edmonton. Settler families came and stayed. Growth was originally slow. But today, Airdrie is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. There are over 70,000 people. The trend is 6.8 people move to Airdrie every day. The city attracts newcomers from around the province, country, and the globe.
Global immigrants bring diversity and that is reflected in Airdrie’s food scene. There are multi-cultural cuisine offerings here and – erasing the idea of Airdrie as just a bedroom community – the population of mostly young families engages in the offerings morning, noon and night. But best of all, people can connect through the diversity of food Airdrie has to offer. It might be over a pint of beer made from Alberta’s famous malted barley or over breakfast at Jam’s. It could be while enjoying dinner and live music at Sorso or mid-afternoon picnic of pastries and quiches from La Table. But, there’s one thing that’s certain. Along with an appetite for connecting, Airdronians have an appetite for great local food and a great appetite for life in their beloved city.
WHERE TO EAT
“East Coast Pub and Eatery has a massive following for their fish and chips. Same for Flavours of Montréal – people come in droves to this Main Street staple,” says Shauna Quinn, a bonafide food lover with a long must-eat Airdrie food bucket list.
Cheryl’s Country Kitchen is a family-centric restaurant that features a Prime Rib Roast with Yorkshire Puddings every Sunday and all-day breakfast every day. Paul’s Pizza Steakhouse and Lounge has been an Airdrie staple since 1995. They are almost as famous for giving back to the community as they are for their deep dish thickly piled pizzas. Tequila and Tacos serve up traditional Mexican fare and mouth-watering Alberta beef as Bistek a la Mexicana.
Quinn says, “There’s Thai Charm Eatery for lovely, light Thai food and Nojomi is the spot for Japanese and Korean food. For my kids, their favourite is Ferraro Truly Italian for the homemade fresh pasta and stone-baked pizza. My parents like some of these places so much they come up from Calgary to eat here and sometimes they don’t even tell me.”
Long-time resident and Alberta food lover Tanya LaCoursiere shared a few of her Airdrie gems as well, “We tend to gravitate towards the small restaurants that are family owned. Paros on Main is one of our favourites. It’s been here for years, and the quality of their Greek specialties is excellent. A lovely family runs Abe’s Modern Diner over on the east side of town. Main Street Beer and BBQ is where we go for bourbon and stacks of barbecue smoked meat. Sorso started as a cafe but now provides cocktails.”
The cocktails at Sorso come from award-winning mixologist and managing partner London Richard. Trained in New York City’s Tell No One speakeasy, Richard learned from the best mixologist in NYC. Sorso keeps expanding their menu and offerings because from the outset, their goal “was to be the restaurant that the people of Airdrie dreamed about having.”
Lacoursiere also shared, “We are lucky to have a bakery the caliber of La Table Haute Pastry and we hit the Caffeinated Squirrel Food Truck for our morning jolt of coffee.” Indeed, Chef Eric Bimenyimana of La Table is a French trained pastry chef with over 20 years of experience. He uses only organic flour, almond flour, butter, fresh fruits, and chocolate. After only a few years in business, Calgary’s finest restaurants are lining up to buy wholesale from this Airdrie based artisan.
WHERE TO PLAY
The Airdrie Farmers’ Market happens Wednesday afternoons, June to October, in Jensen Park. This is a showcase of locally grown ingredients that manifest the taste of this place. Alberta has seven signature foods – beef, bison, canola, honey, Red Fife wheat, root vegetables and saskatoon berries – and they all grow within a short radius of Airdrie.
Producers & Food Artisans
From Micro Acres microgreens to Maxi Foods tortillas, Airdrie has a fantastic variety of local food producers, processors, and artisans. The City of Airdrie’s Food Producer database has all of these businesses listed in one central place to help you find all your local ingredients. Don’t forget to check the local restaurants – quite a few also have products that you can take home!
Airdrie has three craft breweries (and a fourth on the way!) to quench the collective thirst for local barley beverages. Fitzsimmons Brewing is an award-winning brewery and the first in Airdrie. Balzac Brewing has a 125-seat taproom that has community connection written all over it. The newest brewery, 948 Brewing opened in 2020, and pays homage to the original prefix for Airdrie.
Other Places to Visit
Connecting is what Airdrie is all about. People can connect with nature while enjoying the 140 kilometers of trails. They can connect with the power of art and culture while taking selfies and appreciating the Korean Totem Poles at Gwacheon Park. Families can connect while riding the miniature trains at Iron Horse Park. History buffs can connect with the past at the Nose Creek Valley Museum.
WHERE TO STAY
ABOUT THE CITY OF AIRDRIE
Whether you perceive it as a ‘small town feel’ or ‘small city attitude’, Airdrie is filled with rustic charm and authentic appeal, farm fresh experiences, innovative technologies, urban design, neighbourly sentiment and family-focused events that draws visitors in.
The City of Airdrie is located 10 minutes north of Calgary along the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor (Queen Elizabeth II Highway) – the busiest highway in Alberta and one of the fastest growing and wealthiest regions in Canada. Just a quick 15-minute drive from the Calgary International Airport, we offer a wide range of accommodations, dining establishments, attractions, and experiences with both a small town feel and big city amenities.
Airdrie is a family-oriented community, known for attracting residents from across Canada. Nearby mountain vistas, safe and friendly neighbourhoods, and quick access to Calgary’s world-class amenities, keep residents here.
Airdrie continues to be one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, with its population doubling in the last decade. This equates to an average annual growth rate of 5.16 per cent, and 6.8 new residents per day. Airdrie’s current population is just over 70,000.
Airdrie is known for its youthful vitality – 74% of residents are under the age of 50. Airdrie residents are younger than the provincial average (average age of 33 versus 38 provincially) and more affluent ($65,213 average income versus $59,961). As a growing, family-oriented community, we’re home to many children and preschoolers.
In 1909, Airdrie was incorporated as a village with a population of 250 people. The area was named after a village northeast of Glasgow, Scotland. The name “Airdrie” means “The King’s Height.” William McKenzie, a contracting engineer for the Calgary and Edmonton Railway, named the village in 1889. A unique feature of Airdrie is that its elevation makes it the highest city in Canada.
Airdrie celebrated its centennial in 2009. Pioneer spirit shaped Airdrie’s story as settlers to the area relied on their own resourcefulness and hard work to create not just a place to live, but a community in which to watch their children grow.
We encourage you to celebrate our past by visiting the Nose Creek Valley Museum, travelling along our parks and pathways to explore the beauty of our city, learning more about our public art and the history behind each piece, and reading about the historical information that transformed a village of 250 people in 1909 into a thriving city with more than 70,000 people who call Airdrie home.
The Internet ❤ Airdrie!
- June 2018 Expedia names Airdrie the second friendliest city in Canada
- Nov 2018 Expedia names Airdrie one of the coziest cities in Canada
- Feb 2019 Amazon names Airdrie the 12th most romantic city in Canada
Airdrie is a city to celebrate innovation. Airdrie is home to Canada’s largest municipal rooftop solar installation, featuring over a 1.55-megawatt (MW) system consisting of 3,800 panels and supporting infrastructure is now providing renewable energy to Airdrie’s Genesis Place Recreation Centre.
Airdrie’s Urban Agriculture Program has moved the city towards more health-conscious and sustainable community values. In 2018, the City piloted an urban beekeeping program, the inaugural year on public lands, and the second year moving onto private land.
Airdrie is officially recognized as a Bee City for the work done to support healthy pollinator populations by preserving and promoting pollinator habitats. Airdrie is the 23rd city in Canada and the 2nd in Alberta to become part of the pollinator movement.
Airdrie’s hasn’t entirely gone to the bee’s. As of April 2021, Council approved a backyard hen pilot into a permanent program for Airdrie residents for a maximum of four (4) hens on a on single family lot.
Airdrie Transit provides safe, accessible, and reliable public transit services within the city and regionally to CrossIron Mills mall and various destinations in the City of Calgary (including the LRT).
Parks and Pathways
Airdrie has approximately 1,700 acres of maintained parkland and 130 kilometres of paved pathways, offering residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy living a healthy and active lifestyle. Airdrie also offers many cultural, outdoor recreation and natural features within parks’ spaces.
130 kilometres of linked walk/bike trails throughout the city make active transport a way of life. The Nose Creek open-space corridor, surrounded by naturalized areas, is a major amenity for the city of Airdrie.
Airdrie’s family recreation centre! The facility features an aquatics area with competitive, leisure and tot pools, dive tank, hot tub, steam room, and water slide. Genesis Place is also home to a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a child care facility, gymnasium and indoor soccer fields, the Kids Connection Preschool, twin NHL sized ice surfaces, and an outdoor athletic field with a 400 metre running track. A variety of registered and drop-in classes are offered throughout the year ranging from swimming, dance and fitness to name a few – there is something for all ages.
Chinook Winds Regional Park
Chinook Winds Regional Park offers over 55 acres of park land and an abundance of activities for kids and adults alike. This park has five ball diamonds, three playgrounds, a multi-use court, a skate park and a spray park.
Landmarks for Your Selfies
Airdrie has a number of must-selfie stops! Find a listing here.
- Airdrie Water Tower
- Centennial Sphere
- Totem Poles in Nose Creek Regional Park
- Miller Mural
- The Cowboy and the Rooster
- Iron Horse Miniature Railway Park
Airdrie offers a variety of arts, culture and heritage activities and events throughout the year, including:
- Airdrie Children’s Festival (May)
- Airdrie Farmers Market (June to October)
- Airdrie Pro Rodeo (June)
- AirdrieFEST (September)
- Airdrie Festival of Lights (December)
Nose Creek Amphitheatre
The amphitheatre is an iconic Airdrie landmark located in the heart of the city at Nose Creek Regional Park. It is used for a variety of events including weddings and musical performances. Recently, the park was adorned with a permanent pride sidewalk, leading from the concession are down to the seating bowl. It showcases Airdrie’s support for the LGBTQ community, and Airdrie as a safe and welcoming community.
Bert Church LIVE Theatre (BCLT)
BCLT is Airdrie’s artistic hub, offering a range of professional productions from family shows to live music and theatre. BCLT is a 377-seat facility with professional grade sound and lighting which provides audiences the opportunity to experience world renowned performances in an intimate setting. In addition to its regular season programming that runs from September to May, BCLT also hosts fine arts classes and camps for youth throughout the year.
Airdrie Public Library (APL)
APL is a dynamic, award-winning library that offers programs and services for citizens of all ages. From Babytime to Senior Coffee and Conversation to a Lego Club to virtual reality in the Makerspace, APL supports creativity and life-long learning with over 1,500 free programs and events each year.
The City has committed to building a new library in the Downtown.