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Project Type:






Site Area:  

Building Count:

Tsuut'ina Nation, Alberta

Multi-Building Commercial


Projected 2022-2024

TAZA Development Corp.

Elan Construction

26 883 square metres (289 370 square feet)

99 397 square metres (24.5 acres)


The Shops at Buffalo Run Project is one of the first components of the TAZA Development: one of the largest First Nations projects in North America.  When completed, the entire project will span

1 200 acres and provide $11B CDN in new construction.  Anchoring “The Exchange” district, The Shops at Buffalo Run will form a commercial hub for the adjacent residential districts to be constructed in the future, as well as the greater Calgary area.

Foundational design work was provided for the project by WZMH out of Toronto, arranging the 24.5 acre site into a series of distinct zones with pedestrian and vehicular linkages.  After becoming involved with the project in 2020, Systemic and the consultant team leveraged this work to further refine these concepts.  The site is organized around two spines: one running east/west and the other north/south.  These two spines meet in a central plaza that provides a drop-off point, gathering place, and focus of visual interest.  The east/west spine, which forms the main entry into the site, features a grand entrance boulevard that is tree lined and provides generous sidewalk widths for patios and pedestrian travel.  The balance of the buildings are located along the perimeter of the site, with “front” facades provided on both the internally facing elevations and those facing the adjacent public streets.

The pad buildings are anchored around a large, 1 000 foot long commercial structure designed to accommodate large-format tenants.  This building features two sub-structures, connected by a second level “bridge” that is formed by a professional centre.  The bridge component is located at the main plaza and is the main point of visual interest on the site.  The west face of this building features the “Eagle Canopies,” which are a series of two storey wooden structures that visually reference an eagle in flight.  Small commercial buildings are arrayed across the balance of the site, forming northern and southern sub-sections arranged around central parking fields.

Stylistically, the buildings are unified by a “ribbon” motif that frames each individual tenancy in the pad buildings.  This motif is complemented by a colour palette that includes a variety of earth tones and natural materials.  Particular emphasis is placed on the use of four different types of brick, which is coursed and arranged to reference Tsuut’ina beadwork.  Working with the TAZA development partners, care has been taken to include cultural references in a way that is respectful and culturally accurate.  This includes the use of various buffalo graphic elements that are to be included in specific areas of the project as murals and wall motifs.      

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