The riding comprises primarily the downtown core of the city of Calgary. The riding has broad demographic diversity, and comprises the most transient population in Alberta.
The riding contains a mix of corporate office towers, luxury apartment buildings, Chinatown in the north part of the riding and lower income apartments in the south along the Beltline community. Calgary Buffalo is generally regarded as Calgary's only swing riding, and is traditionally less conservative then the rest of Calgary. The Liberals have won this riding six times, and the Progressive Conservatives six, while the Alberta Reform Movement was represented very briefly.
Due to the nature of the riding, candidates have a tougher time running a campaign in Calgary Buffalo, as traditional campaign methods have proven relatively ineffective — i.e., placement of lawn signs, door knocking, and voter identification have proven to be of limited usefulness.
The riding was created in 1971, largely out of the old Calgary Centre riding and a small portion of the eastern part of Calgary West.
The electoral district was created in the 1971 boundary redistribution out of parts of Calgary Centre, Calgary Victoria Park Calgary West. The district has shifted boundaries many times over the years but has always covered the downtown core of Calgary. The 2010 boundary redistribution saw significant changes. The electoral district lost a huge portion of land to Calgary-Currie on the west boundary when it was cut from 37 Street to 14 Street SW. The East Village neighborhood and Fort Calgary were moved into Calgary-Fort on the west side and the south boundary was pushed from 17 Avenue into Lower Mount Royal to run along approximately 19 Avenue in land that used to be in Calgary-Currie.
Legal description from the Statutes of Alberta 2003, Electoral Divisions Act.
Starting at the intersection of the northerly extension of 37 Street SW with the right bank of the Bow River; then 1. southeast along the right bank of the Bow River to the left bank of the Elbow River; 2. south and west along the left bank of the Elbow River to 1 Street SE; 3. north along 1 Street SE to 17 Avenue SE; 4. west along 17 Avenue SE and 17 Avenue SW to 45 Street SW; 5. north along 45 Street SW to 8 Avenue SW; 6. east along 8 Avenue SW to 37 Street SW; 7. north along 37 Street SW and its northerly extension to the starting point.
The electoral district of Calgary-Buffalo was created in the boundary redistribution of 1971. The area it covered primarily consisted of three antecedent riding's Calgary Centre, Calgary Victoria Park and Calgary West. The riding primarily covers the City of Calgary's downtown core and belt line as well as some southwest inner city neighborhoods. The riding is one of Calgary's few swing ridings.
The Progressive Conservatives won the first election easily under Ron Ghitter who was later appointed to the Canadian Senate. The second member of the riding Tom Sindlinger who was elected in the 1979 general election. He was removed from the Progressive Conservative caucus on October 16, 1980 and sat as an Independent Conservative after calling for increased transparency with the Heritage Trust Fund.
Sindlinger formed the Alberta Reform Movement, a right wing party and became its leader on September 17, 1982. He was the first and only member of that party to form the Alberta Reform Movement caucus in the legislature. He was defeated in the 1982 general election in a landslide by Progressive Conservative Brian Lee.
Lee only held one term before being defeated by Liberal Sheldon Chumir in 1986. Chumir was re-elected with a landslide in 1989. He died on January 26, 1992. Liberal Gary Dickson won a by-election later that year and held the district for three terms before retiring.
The Progressive Conservatives won the seat back in 2001 with Harvey Cenaiko who was later given the cabinet portfolio of Solicitor General. He retired in 2008. Liberal candidate Kent Hehr won back the electoral district for his party in 2008. April 23, 2012, Kent Hehr was re-elected for a second term during the biggest percentage turnout of eligible voters since 1993.
On November 19, 2004 a Student Vote was conducted at participating Alberta schools to parallel the 2004 Alberta general election results. The vote was designed to educate students and simulate the electoral process for persons who have not yet reached the legal majority. The vote was conducted in 80 of the 83 provincial electoral districts with students voting for actual election candidates. Schools with a large student body that reside in another electoral district had the option to vote for candidates outside of the electoral district then where they were physically located.