Transitioning from high school to university

Transitioning from high school to university is one of the hardest things we can go through at such a young age. The change alone is tough. The change in pace, the abundance of material you’re absorbing, the people you’re surrounded with; these are all changes we find when we begin university. Throw in an additional change in where you’re living? That’s a huge uproot on top of the already large changes in your life. You want to find somewhere that will make moving less of a stressor and more of a saving grace. Aria is your answer. 

The Amenities

The amenities that come with living at Aria are bountiful. The building is situated right above a Save-On-Foods grocery store, making grocery shopping easier than can be, that alone is a huge bonus. We all get busy sometimes, especially if you’re a working university student. The convenience of not just having a grocery store close, but within your building is unbelievably substantial. Plus, save money on grocery delivery by living somewhere where you don’t even have to leave the building to pick up tonight’s dinner. There’s no more ‘stopping on your way home’ when the grocery store is literally at your home. On top of having such a crucial necessity directly in the building, Aria has many more amenities to keep you and guests entertained, and fit. Including a large event kitchen for large parties, or a private kitchen for smaller ones. The courtyard has not one, not two, but EIGHT barbecues. If you’re looking to fry up some patties for your parents in town you can do just that while enjoying the outdoors. There are two separate spaces to stay in shape, the fitness facility and the yoga studio give more of a gym then most apartment complexes. But it doesn’t end there. In the courtyard there is also a pickleball court and a bocce court for more space for fitness. For the kids, there’s a fenced in play area. Let the kids play while you and your partner play some pickleball! Finally, take a break and spend some time in the lounge or the games room to forget about work, school assignments, or just the daily stressors in life. The courtyard alone deserves a highlight because my oh my is it beautiful. Grab a drink from the Land Yacht and sit around the fire pit year round with some friends or neighbours!

The Transit System

Although Aria is a ten minute walking distance from the university (lucky you, beating the parking pass prices!), the winters here in Alberta get cold and sometimes you just want to hitch a ride. Luckily, Calgary has a well developed transit system and Aria is directly across the street from a bus station. The university of Calgary is only a six minute bus ride away. If you’re not going from Aria to the main university of Calgary campus, the accessible bus stop makes the rest of Calgary a short trip away. Mapping the trip to the downtown university campus, it’s only a 30 minute bus and train ride. 

The Neighbourhood

If you aren’t one to travel far for entertainment you don’t have to worry. Along with the amenities that come with living at Aria, the businesses and services are sure to keep you entertained. From spin class, to the movie theatre, to many places to eat, there are plenty of places within walking distance sure to make you excited to call University Ave your home. Spend a night at the movies and then head to The Banquet for some drinks and bowling. The Banquet is a brand new bar that gives you a unique experience, within walking distance from both the university and Aria. In the morning, take a walk across the street to Orange Theory for a fitness class and grab a post-workout bite to eat at OEB Breakfast Co, a 4.5 star restaurant according to google with over 180 reviews! Need a new hobby? Monogram Coffee, just down the street, offers classes on topics varying in the art of being a barista. Make your favourite Starbucks drink from home! Or, walk to the one just down the street from you. No matter where you turn on University Ave, you’re sure to find entertainment in some place new. 

Your Home

The apartments in Aria are stunning, the website has virtual tours if my words aren’t enough but let me try to sum it up for you. Modernly, Chic. The Allegro, a one bed one bath space is perfect for a single University student or a young couple. Walk right out of your bedroom to your desk positioned right in between your storage space and pantry in your 532 square feet of home. If you’re a family of four, the Libretto is sure to suit your needs with three bedrooms and four bathrooms. 1124 square feet of spacious apartment living and a balcony to enjoy any time of the year. The Galileo is the most grand apartment with 3 bedrooms, 1148 square feet, and a corner balcony situated right outside the living room. The ceiling to floor windows make it so you don’t even have to step outside to enjoy the view. Whatever home you choose, enjoy the academia aesthetic of these spacious and modern apartments. 

Ultimately, the move to a university town is scary and (unfortunately) expensive. Nowadays, even if you’re on a full ride scholarship, you still have to pay for housing. Whether you’re a twelfth grade student expecting to enrol next fall, or a mother of two looking to go back, it’s a change that needs to bring comfort. University housing is often near the same price as a single apartment and you don’t even have your own bathroom. Make your transition to university and a new town easier by choosing Aria. Along with a beautiful home, you have more amenities that any university would ever offer you all the while being practically right on campus. Let Aria be your saving grace, choose Aria. 

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Best Mini Eggs treats to find around Calgary

Easter is only a few hops away, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with some treats involving chocolate Mini Eggs.
No matter how old we get, Easter will always be a good excuse to indulge ourselves with Mini Egg donuts, cupcakes, cookies, and more.

This year, we’re saving you from the hassle of trying to find them so you can use your time devouring them instead.

Here is a list of where to find the best Mini Egg treats in and around Calgary.

Crème Cream Puffs

Everyone loves a classic cream puff. For an Easter twist, Crème Cream Puffs are offering Mini Eggs cream puffs filled with Mini Eggs cream. If you’re not feeling like having cream puff but still want to indulge on some Mini Egg-flavoured desserts, you can choose to order their Mini Eggs cake instead. Easter pre-orders will be available for pick-up from March 30 to April 3.

Address:150 – 221 62 Avenue SE # 150, Calgary
Phone: 587-917-1319


BFF Cookies are dropping an Easter-themed chocolate chip cookie topped with some chocolate icing, sprinkles and Mini Eggs. They bake their cookies during the week and do deliveries every Friday. You can place an order through their website and get free delivery if you’re in Calgary.

YYC Food Trucks

YYC Food Trucks are going all out for Easter offering three different types of desserts involving Mini Eggs. They have Mini Eggs marshmallow blocks for $9, Mini Eggs Salted Chocolate ice pops in a pack of nine for $36, and lastly, Mini Eggs edible cookie dough for $18. Through their website, you can place an order or check to see where their next truck stop location is going to be.

Phone: 403-605-8806

Pie Junkie

If pies are your go-to for desserts, then check out Pie Junkie YYC. They are offering their chocolate silk nest pie in-store during Easter week, or you can place a special order if you want it sooner. Pie Junkie YYC also offers the option of curbside pick-up or city-wide delivery with 24 hours’ notice for $10.

Address: 8 Spruce Center SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-452-3960

Phone: 403-605-8806

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Taking a Big Step: Rent with Confidence and Pride

Picking up the fresh set of keys to a new home is a joyous milestone in life, whether you’re renting or buying.  And there are a number of reasons to decide to rent.  Maybe it has to do with your stage of life: Are you on your own for the first time? A downsizing senior? Or moving with your partner into your ‘first place together’? Or, maybe you need the flexibility that a rental apartment provides. And there is always the perk of easy, maintenance-free living!

Rental living affords huge possibilities for residents who aren’t in the market to buy at this time. Whatever your reason for renting, the options at U/D are plentiful. And we have a few suggestions to get you to that point with confidence so you’re moving with your best foot forward!

What’s New? Introducing Aria!

At U/D, we’re excited to welcome our own amenity-rich, purpose-built rental building called Aria by builder partner Gracorp Properties which is now leasing. Aria features 288-units with one, two- and three-bedroom rentals.

Did you know that it’s also pet-friendly with a fenced-in dog run and wash area?

Have a look here at what life could be like at Aria!

As residents begin to move into Aria in Fall 2020, we know there’s a process and commitment that comes with deciding on the right rental apartment for you at just the right time.

It can be overwhelming, like any move to a new home. Questions swirl in your head as you think: what kind of rental unit suits my needs now? Is it long-term? How many bedrooms do I need, and how much space? Because that determines affordability and looking at a budget is always a good idea. From the amenities nearby, to ground-level to top-floor, and all of the necessities in between, there are many aspects to consider.

But to help make the experience of renting a little simpler we’ve put together some tricks and tips from the trade to be rent-savvy!

Where to Begin on This Rental Journey?

Let’s get down to the brass tacks of renting. Understanding how to approach the rental market can result in a smoother, more cost-efficient and organized journey as you make the big move. First, take a moment to think about what home means to you. Imagine what that looks like, whether it’s the surrounding community and amenities, to cost of living, and the interior design.

Make a list of what those must-haves are, but also identify what things you can compromise on.

Community is Everything


Next, think about your location. Does it matter? If you’ve lived in Calgary for a while or are a lifelong Calgarian, chances are you probably prefer a certain quadrant of the city to live in. Start your rental home hunt there. Everyone has a personal motivation, whether it be staying close to family, creature comforts or beloved local hotspots. Or maybe now is the time to mix it up! Switch schools, live closer to work, or be closer to the mountains! It could be time to cue a change!


There are many reasons to consider the established and growing Northwest, especially University District: proximity to the mountains, the prevalence of parks and handy urban trails, and being close to the University of Calgary! Have a look at our great Northwest guide that will let you shop, play, eat and explore our area of the city.


Tip: Knowing the communities you would want to live in can help determine your budget and what’s available. Here are some considerations when looking at your top choices for a community:

  • walkability
  • commute time
  • amenities
  • schools
  • healthcare
  • public transportation
  • views
  • inner-city or the suburbs

Make a list and order the importance. Then, spend a day or two in and around the community and see if it feels like home. Have a look to see what’s around like cafes, restaurants, schools, parks and shops! Step into the shoes of a local and think, ‘Is this for me?’

Now, What Can You Afford?

Enter the renting process with a budget in mind to help determine your price range with confidence based on your income. Also, factor costs like utilities, insurance and security deposits.

Tip: A financial plan is key so you can see what the big picture will look like once you move into your home.  Apply the 50/30/20 budgeting guideline: allocate 50% to your needs, 30% to your wants, and 20% to your savings. Visit a bank and work with a financial advisor to learn what makes sense for your needs and with your income as budgeting is different for everyone.

If you’re looking to rent at U/D, find the bank around the corner to help with all of your banking needs! Scotiabank will be moving into the community as part of our retail offering, and it has specialty services and savings plans that might suit your needs. Thinking of owning a home down the road? Take a look at their rent versus mortgage calculator!

Tip: After you find your home and move in, get organized so you can really enjoy the benefits of a fresh start rather than managing clutter. Need some suggestions on what to do? Have a look at these fresh tips from local company The Space Reclaimers!

Shop Around

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred location and budget, the true search begins and what we think is one of the most fun parts of the search! Research which rental properties are available and start scheduling walk-throughs to see the homes first-hand. Take some time to walk around the building to get a better sense of place. It’s okay to trust your instinct when falling in love with a home! The same goes for the home layout, wear-and-tear, privacy, security, parking, and storage.

Tip: Create a list of questions that you have for the landlord. Remember: there are no silly questions!  Here is a list to start: May I paint the walls? Are there move-in, move-out policies to be aware? Will the apartment be professionally cleaned before possession?  Just a few things to consider for peace of mind!

It’s the One!

You’re at the point where you’ve seen your options and that last one, maybe at Aria in University District, is definitely the clear winner! So what are your next steps? It’s time to take a look at the application process.

Tip: Applications can be filled out while you do your onsite tour, or the landlord may ask you to fill it out electronically. Be prepared to have this information handy to save time and show that you’re a qualified option as a tenant:

  • Photo ID
  • Payslips
  • Proof of employment
  • Rental history and references if applicable
  • Personal and professional references
  • Also, be prepared to do a credit check and understand what that involves.


The moment that you get the call – you’re the best tenant option! Time to celebrate, so you start dreaming about how to make your place a true place to call home. Here are a few reminders before getting caught up with the excitement. Take time to read and understand the lease and terms, from noise and visitor policies, to parking and buzzer set ups. It’s best if there aren’t any surprises before you make that move. Lastly, renter’s insurance is a must-have, not only because it’s required but it’s best to protect yourself in the event something happens out of your control.

Renting with Pets? Sealed the deal and maybe you’re ready to move in with a fur baby as part of the household? At U/D, pets are always top-of-mind and we have some tips and suggestions for quirky ways to keep your space primed for you and your furry.

Welcome Home!

Planning and budgeting doesn’t stop at renting your new home; there are costs involved with moving and naturally, the fun part of decorating! Decide on what you need to make your home feel comfortable and plan each room in phases so you’re not making large purchases all at once. Find your style and start building your vision! Have a look at local stores, especially in NW Calgary, for some inspiration and decor options that are truly unique. When in doubt, browse show suites for some inspiration. Whether it’s on-point design trends or the Pantone Colour of the Year, chances are local interior designers have already picked it up and applied it to their creations.

Have a look at what our builder partner Gracorp Properties has planned for the Aria interior design.

A Quick Recap!


Let University District be the first neighbourhood to consider renting for its prime location, exceptional buildings with quality construction by trusted builders and close-by amenities that are unlike anywhere else in the city. Here are five of the top reasons to put U/D on your rental location list and turn your compass to NW Calgary!

  1. Proximity to the University of Calgary with its vibrant classes, culture and amenities
  2. Exceptional access to downtown by car, transit, bike!
  3. Natural surroundings that are perfect for pets, healthy living and connections with green spaces and neighbours
  4. Urban living benefits that come from shopping, restaurants, doctors, sports facilities, parks, entertainment and more at our doorstep
  5. Exceptional quality construction in an award-winning, LEED-certified development

Connect with the team at Aria to learn more about the amenities, suite features, and availability and connect to their registration page. And welcome home!



University District’s Retail Community Calgary

West Campus Development Trust (the Trust) is launching the new year with the announcement of an additional six new retailers who will be calling University District home.

Located in Calgary’s northwest, University District is quickly taking shape as a highly dynamic, connected, responsible and innovative community, becoming a new destination and landmark for the city of Calgary. Once complete, the community will span 200 acres, including 40 acres of open space, 15,000 residents and jobs and 300,000 square feet of retail along nine blocks.

What sets the community apart from other developments is its connectivity on every level: To existing transit, major roadways, pathways, surrounding hospitals, the University of Calgary and established neighbourhoods. University District is LEED ND Platinum Certified and appeals to residents across all generations for its accessibility, universal design and strong work-life balance.

“It’s rare for a community to have so many key retail tenants secured at this stage of development,” says James Robertson, West Campus Development Trust President and CEO. “It demonstrates their confidence in our project, and the appeal of being part of a leading Calgary community that focuses on being connected and supporting smart and healthy lifestyles. Our new retailers are truly our partners and have been carefully curated to match the desires and needs of our residents and neighbours.”

The new retailers that have joined University District and are anticipated to open in 2020 include:

OEB Breakfast Co.: Chef-driven and bolstered by artistry and passion, OEB Breakfast Co. offers farm-to-table breakfast and brunch fare focusing on seasonal, fresh ingredients from local partners. This will be OEB’s fourth location in Calgary, and customers can expect an open and airy concept space, and the restaurant will also feature a patio where guests can enjoy their morning coffee or mimosa as an “al fresco” experience.

Orangetheory: Offering another fitness option for residents, Orangetheory offers science-backed, technology-tracked, coach-inspired group workouts. To provide flexibility for the needs of residents, nearby workers and neighbours, the University District location will offer classes between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Press’d Sandwich Shop: Obsessed with sandwiches, Press’d invests in the process, like baking their bread from scratch and preparing their vegetables in-house and making fresh guacamole each morning. Their University District location is looking to provide new offerings such as a “build your own” option, in addition to their gluten-free and vegetarian options. They will also have a catering facility to meet the growing demand for their award-winning food at nearby facilities, organizations and businesses.

UC Noodles & BBQ: Providing another choice for a tasty food option, explore the spices and aromas of Asian-style noodles and BBQ dishes. UC Noodles & BBQ will serve fresh dishes to suit every palette.

University District Dental: Offering complete dental care and a flexible schedule, University District Dental will help residents and neighbours keep their smiles healthy. Dr. Jaffer and his team will provide professional, friendly service and be an active part of the University District community.

YYC Cycle: Alberta’s largest spin studio, which has donated more than $500,000 to charities in the past five years, will bring its Bikergang to University District, immersing participants in a fitness experience that has been inspiring Calgarians to be “Stronger than Yesterday” since 2014. YYC Cycle plans to create a studio that will meet the unique needs of University District, including continuing its 10% discount to AHS workers, and offering a greater variety of class times to accommodate the varying work hours of hospital staff and students.  YYC Cycle currently has three other locations in Calgary, and two in Edmonton.

These new retailers join the businesses who were recently announced in December, including Blaze Pizza, Copper Branch, Curious Hair Skin Body, Denim & Smith Barbershops, Freshii and Scotiabank, along with the growing roster of previously named tenants including Save-On-Foods, Analog Coffee, J. Webb Market Wines, the ALT Hotel and Cineplex VIP Cinemas.

All of these retailers will be located in phase one (of four) of the Retail Main Street on University Avenue, which has been thoughtfully designed to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in a vibrant urban setting. The complete main street experience will offer a variety of essential services, home fashion, daily needs and food, social and entertainment options, incorporating recognized local, national and global brands.

Additional retailers and announcements will be made as University District continues to unfold as a dominant Calgary leader in thoughtful and responsible urban development. Visit for more information, or sign up for the newsletter to be notified about exciting announcements, updates and events from West Campus Development Trust.


About West Campus Development Trust

West Campus Development Trust (the Trust) was created by the University of Calgary to oversee the development of the lands known as University District. With a financial model that provides an innovative approach to land development, profits from the Trust are directed back to the University to fuel its academic mission. Setting a high standard for sustainable neighborhood design, the Trust has created and led a progressive community Master Plan for 200 acres of land. With quality, design and expertise at the forefront, its team and 14-member board of directors are dedicated to creating the city’s premier urban residential community. True to fundamental values of transparency, collaboration and mindful progress, the Trust is creating amazing places for people to thrive. Learn more at

About University District

To the west of the University of Calgary and overlooking the Bow River and Rocky Mountains, University District is a comprehensive 200-acre community with a bold new vision for urban life in Calgary. Through a collaborative, people-first design process, the master planning and thorough engagement program forged strong respect between local stakeholders and the Trust. The neighbourhood applies the best ideas in city design and incorporates the wants and needs of surrounding legacy communities – weaving current aesthetic, technology and lifestyle options into the strong social fabric of the city.


Want to set your New Year off Right?

The holidays are over, the new year is here, and we’re nothing if not shell-shocked, still, over what transpired in 2020. While I know my situation isn’t everyone’s, I spent many of my days simultaneously overloaded by the stimulation of so many people in the house all the time (all seven of my family members, including me), and lonely from missed opportunities to connect and be together that I relied on in the past and, honestly, took for granted.


This Weekend: Call a loved one.

Start the year off tending to one of the things that fill life with meaning: your relationships with others. No need to set up a Zoom, if you don’t want to. In fact, being off-camera allows you and whoever you’re calling to focus on the conversation rather than any self-consciousness. (But you can video-chat if that’s your thing!)

On the heels of a holiday season that may have left you feeling hollow, wishing you could have been with the ones we love, now is the perfect time of year to check in on a loved one or two over the phone. The connection will warm their hearts and yours and set the tone for the year to come.


Calgary University District Living

Community, convenience, and quality of living.

These are three of the core values at the heart of life in the Calgary University District. Designed to incorporate the perfect blend of work, rest, and play, the entire 200-acre University District area has something for everyone.

From the cute boutique-style stores, the green spaces to the convenience of a discretely located supermarket, residents want for nothing. In the modern, fast-paced world we all live in, time is precious. Professionals and students alike live on tight schedules, so convenience matters. Similarly, the value of community has never been higher. The ability to be a part of a community thriving with like-minded people who believe what we believe is rare.

Here at Aria, we believe in community. We understand the need for convenience, and we see the role both play in improving quality of life. Achieving the synergy between these vital aspects of life is why we designed Aria to be a harmonious, amenity-rich environment. Boasting outstanding internal amenities like a fully equipped gym, yoga space, games room, lounge, on-site storage, and bike lockers. Plus external features like a 20,000 sq.ft. inner courtyard with 8 BBQ areas, demonstration / large group kitchen and dining area, pickleball court, bocce court, fenced-in dog run, and wash area.

Urban living has never been so fun or luxurious. Aria offers suites ranging from 532 sq.ft. to 1,149 sq.ft. across a selection of one, two, or three-bedroom units. Each suite brings a blend of fresh and contemporary interior design, with modernist kitchens with stone countertops, stainless steel appliances, in-suite washers, dryers, and innovative systems for décor and storage. If those exceptional features are not enough, all suites are pet friendly, and select suites are available with a private balcony.

Calgary University District Living is effortless at Aria.

For more information about life at Aria, reach out to Jillian directly by phone via :403 479 4340 by email:, or alternatively, you can click here to book a consultation.

Calgary University District. Life Works Here.