If you’ve ever spent a Thursday or Friday night in Inglewood, it is likely you’ve noticed a tune on the breeze; a gentle serenade coming from a cafe or a bar. This is typical for Inglewood; a plethora of music venues stretching from one end of 9th Avenue SE, Calgary’s original main street, now aptly named Music Mile.
“I noticed that Inglewood was not only a great mixed use urban village and a real people place, but also an authentic hub for live music, with some of Calgary’s most prominent venues - a potential themed destination district”
The Music Mile officially stretches 1.1 miles from The King Eddy in the East Village all the way to The Blues Can right here in Inglewood. It also encompasses the many nearby venues just blocks from 9th Avenue. Music Mile celebrates Calgary’s incredible music scene and the venues and festivals that continue to set the pace for amazing local and visiting musicians. They have given the city a gift that can only be repaid through patronship.
Speaking with Meg Van Rosendaal, a grassroots cultural leader in Calgary who was part of the team that originally conceptualized the Music Mile, it is easy to see why this project has been such a labour of love for those involved.
“I had worked on developing the Olympic Plaza Cultural District when I worked at Arts Commons (previously Epcor Centre) before I moved to Inglewood. I noticed that Inglewood was not only a great mixed use urban village and a real people place, but also an authentic hub for live music, with some of Calgary’s most prominent venues - a potential themed destination district,” shares Meg.
Meg first shared the idea with Bob Chartier, a recently retired public servant and amateur musician. Bob, obviously one for music-related adventure, hopped in his Volvo the day after retirement on a 40 day pilgrimage to the United States’ biggest music cities such as Nashville, New Orleans and Austin. Upon returning from his travels, Bob was renewed with admiration and appreciation for his home city and it dawned on him that he “he actually lived in a music district” much like these places he sought out on his trip.
It was completely serendipitous when Meg reached out to him about this concept she had been mulling over. “We decided to test the idea of a music district by walking into every shop along 9th Ave from the Blues Can to the future NMC (and blocks nearby) and asking “What would you think about this strip getting the name it has earned: Music Mile?",” says Meg.