Cliff Bungalow-Mission is composed of two communities that developed during the early part of the 20th century and were annexed to the City of Calgary in 1907. Together, they are one of Calgary’s oldest and most historic neighbourhoods. The community boundary extends south from 17th Avenue between 1st SE to the east and College Lane to the west and along the north and west bank of the Elbow River.
Mission encompasses the site of the land grant obtained by the Oblate Fathers in 1883 who had hoped to establish a French-speaking community. The area became the village of Rouleauville, named after the Rouleau family, notably Charles Borromee Rouleau, who was a judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, and his brother, Dr. Edouard Hector Rouleau, who helped establish the Holy Cross Hospital. The influx of English-speaking settlers ended the dream of a French-speaking community, however the legacy of the era remains evident in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sacred Heart Convent, the Holy Cross Centre and St. Mary’s Parish Hall (now the home of the Alberta Ballet). In 1907 Rouleauville was annexed into the City of Calgary and renamed “Mission” in honour of the Roman Catholic settlement.
Cliff Bungalow is comprised of the land west of 4th Street, south of 17th Avenue and east of the escarpment (or “cliff”). Originally part of the CPR landholdings of 1882, the portion between 4th Street and 5th Street was subdivided in 1907 and called “Addition to the City of Calgary.” In 1910, development in Calgary was extended into the area between 5th Street and the Cliff and was called “An Extension of Mount Royal.” It was later renamed Cliff Bungalow.
In 1990, Cliff Bungalow and Mission were combined as one community to preserve the character of the area, which was under pressure for redevelopment. The 1990’s began a rejuvenation process for the community that was motivated by renewed interest in local history and historic architecture. Area Redevelopment Plans were established and the Fourth Street Business Revitalization Zone was formed.
Cliff Bungalow – Mission has always been a community with a rich mix of single-family residences, duplexes, apartments, commercial establishments and institutional uses. The early housing stock included homestead, foursquare, semi-bungalow, cottage and bungalow styles. Mission has always been defined by a mixed socio-economic population demographic. Cliff Bungalow’s socio-economic population has been more uniform.
For more information on the history of the Community, see:
The Cliff Bungalow-Mission Building Inventory, published in 1995.