The Sunnyhill Housing Co-operative is located on 3.3 acres within the Calgary neighbourhood of Sunnyside, one of the city’s oldest communities. The Co-operative boasts an extremely attractive and valuable site - framed by a natural escarpment to the North, with close proximity to the Bow River, walking distance from the downtown core and at a major confluence of the City’s pathway system. Sunnyhill is made up of a total of 66 residential units, ranging from 1-3 bedrooms. The current land usage of Sunnyhill is 27% housing stock and 19% vehicle access and parking, with the remaining 48% made up of green spaces and pathways.
The Housing Co-operative was brought to fruition in 1976 as a result of shared interests and strategic partnerships with the community and many levels of government. Sunnyhill was founded on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy and equality. Sunnyhill was conceived of and built by a group of citizens interested in establishing affordable and quality housing while maintaining a residential population in Calgary’s central core. The project was, and continues to be, endorsed and supported by the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association.
In the mid-70s the Co-operative worked to convince the City of Calgary that the project was viable and met a need not addressed by public housing. Through a process of negotiation the City agreed to lease the land to the Co-operative for a period of 60 years.The physical construction of Sunnyhill was made possible through financial assistance provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which was developing alternative models of affordable housing across the country at this time.
In supporting the Co-operative, the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association hoped to attract young families to the area and to ensure the survival of the Sunnyside Elementary School, which faced imminent closure as a result of limited enrollment at the time. To this day many of the member’s children are enrolled in the school and continue to populate nearby Junior and Senior High Schools as well.
Over the past several years Sunnyhill Housing Co-operative has undergone an extensive evaluation of its current situation. The community participated in the national Co-operative Housing Federation’s Compass 2020 initiative, facilitated by the Southern Alberta Housing Co-operative’s (SACHA) Vision 2020 process. Vision 2020 examined Sunnyhill’s history and evolution, current context and future opportunities. Sunnyhill was the first housing cooperative in Alberta to receive Vision 2020 designation. Through this process Sunnyhill identified a number of priorities that will shape our future. We intend to move towards post-carbon urban living, socio-cultural, economic and ecological sustainability and resilience, as well as intensification and diversity of land uses.