Airdrie was first established as a railway village in 1889 during the construction of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway, named for Airdrie, Scotland. Only railway buildings existed until 1901 when the first farmhouse and barn was built, followed by a post office and store in that same year. Today, Airdrie is a bedroom community and industrial centre.
Recent annexation of land by Airdrie to the south, coupled with recent expansion of Calgary's city limits in July 2007, have placed the two cities' boundaries within only a few kilometres of each other.
In the 2011 Census, the City of Airdrie had a population of 42,564 living in 15,024 of its 15,638 total dwellings, a 47.1% change from its 2006 population of 28,927. With a land area of 33.1 km2 (12.8 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,285.9/km2 (3,330.5/sq mi) in 2011. The 2011 census also indicated that Airdrie was ranked as the municipality with the eighth-highest population growth between 2006 and 2011. Following its 2011 annexation, Statistics Canada adjusted Airdrie's 2011 population by an additional 707 people to 43,271.
The 2006 census also indicated that Airdrie was ranked as the municipality with the fourth-highest population growth among municipalities in Canada with a population of 5,000 and over between 2001 and 2006.
Nose Creek Park hosts the annual Airdrie Festival of Lights in the Christmas season. Other annual festivals include the Canada Day Parade and the Airdrie Pro Rodeo. Airdrie's primary cultural venues include the Nose Creek Valley Museum and the Bert Church Live Theatre.
Due to its proximity to Calgary, Airdrie receives radio and television broadcasts from the city (see Media of Calgary). It at present has no local television broadcasters but has a radio station, Air 106.1 FM. The city has two local newspapers, the Airdrie City View and the Airdrie Echo. A community newsletter, Here's the Scoop, is also published weekly and delivered door to door as part of a larger flyer package throughout the city. A quarterly magazine, AirdrieLIFE, is also available, and community internet portals, DiscoverAirdrie.com ,"AirdrieOnline.com and "Airdrie360.ca" . There is also a new website for the city's economic development agency at AirdrieNow. Airdrie is also in the local delivery area of theCalgary HeraldandCalgary Sun.
Airdrie offers a full slate of resident services, with any services not available in the city easily obtainable in nearby Calgary.
The city is served by a number of strip-mall developments, including Tower Lane Mall (a former enclosed shopping centre converted to a strip mall in the late 2000s) and Yankee Valley Crossing. On the city's south end, the Sierra Springs area is seeing the ongoing development of big-box retail, including a Walmart Supercentre. The city's north end includes Real Canadian Superstore and Canadian Tire locations and other major grocery chains such as Sobeys, Canada Safeway and Calgary Co-op are also located in the city.
Airdrie is located immediately north of the hamlet of Balzac, which is the location of the major regional shopping mall CrossIron Mills, which opened in 2009, and its neighboring retail/business park development. In addition, north Calgary's numerous malls and retail areas are quickly accessible via Hwy. 2 and the extension of Calgary's Métis Trail into the Balzac/CrossIron Mills area.
^"Table I: Area and Population of Canada by Provinces, Districts and Subdistricts in 1911 and Population in 1901". Census of Canada, 1911. Volume I. Ottawa: Government of Canada. 1912. p. 2-39.
^"Table I: Population of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta by Districts, Townships, Cities, Towns, and Incorporated Villages in 1916, 1911, 1906, and 1901". Census of Prairie Provinces, 1916. Population and Agriculture. Ottawa: Government of Canada. 1918. p. 77-140.
^"Table 8: Population by districts and sub-districts according to the Redistribution Act of 1914 and the amending act of 1915, compared for the census years 1921, 1911 and 1901". Census of Canada, 1921. Ottawa: Government of Canada. 1922. p. 169-215.
^"Table 7: Population of cities, towns and villages for the province of Alberta in census years 1901–26, as classed in 1926". Census of Prairie Provinces, 1926. Census of Alberta, 1926. Ottawa: Government of Canada. 1927. p. 565-567.
^"Table 12: Population of Canada by provinces, counties or census divisions and subdivisions, 1871–1931". Census of Canada, 1931. Ottawa: Government of Canada. 1932. p. 98-102.
^"Table 4: Population in incorporated cities, towns and villages, 1901–1936". Census of the Prairie Provinces, 1936. Volume I: Population and Agriculture. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1938. p. 833-836.
^"Table 10: Population by census subdivisions, 1871–1941". Eighth Census of Canada, 1941. Volume II: Population by Local Subdivisions. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1944. p. 134-141.
^"Table 6: Population by census subdivisions, 1926–1946". Census of the Prairie Provinces, 1946. Volume I: Population. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1949. p. 401-414.
^"Table 6: Population by census subdivisions, 1871–1951". Ninth Census of Canada, 1951. Volume I: Population, General Characteristics. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1953. p. 6.73–6.83.
^"Table 6: Population by sex, for census subdivisions, 1956 and 1951". Census of Canada, 1956. Population, Counties and Subdivisions. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1957. p. 6.50–6.53.
^"Table 6: Population by census subdivisions, 1901–1961". 1961 Census of Canada. Series 1.1: Historical, 1901–1961. Volume I: Population. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1963. p. 6.77–6.83.
^"Population by specified age groups and sex, for census subdivisions, 1966". Census of Canada, 1966. Population, Specified Age Groups and Sex for Counties and Census Subdivisions, 1966. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1968. p. 6.50–6.53.
^"Table 2: Population of Census Subdivisions, 1921–1971". 1971 Census of Canada. Volume I: Population, Census Subdivisions (Historical). Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1973. p. 2.102–2.111.
^"Table 3: Population for census divisions and subdivisions, 1971 and 1976". 1976 Census of Canada. Census Divisions and Subdivisions, Western Provinces and the Territories. Volume I: Population, Geographic Distributions. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1977. p. 3.40–3.43.
^"Table 4: Population and Total Occupied Dwellings, for Census Divisions and Subdivisions, 1976 and 1981". 1981 Census of Canada. Volume II: Provincial series, Population, Geographic distributions (Alberta). Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1982. p. 4.1–4.10. ISBN0-660-51095-2.
^"Table 2: Census Divisions and Subdivisions – Population and Occupied Private Dwellings, 1981 and 1986". Census Canada 1986. Population and Dwelling Counts – Provinces and Territories (Alberta). Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1987. p. 2.1–2.10. ISBN0-660-53463-0.
^"Table 2: Population and Dwelling Counts, for Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions, 1986 and 1991 – 100% Data". 91 Census. Population and Dwelling Counts – Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1992. p. 100-108. ISBN0-660-57115-3.
^"Table 10: Population and Dwelling Counts, for Census Divisions, Census Subdivisions (Municipalities) and Designated Places, 1991 and 1996 Censuses – 100% Data". 96 Census. A National Overview – Population and Dwelling Counts. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1997. p. 136-146. ISBN0-660-59283-5.