The riding was created in 1971 from the southeast part of Calgary-Glenmore and the southwest Part of the old Calgary South riding. Since 1971 the riding has been held by 4 MLAs, all of them Progressive Conservative except Craig Cheffins, who represented the riding from the 2007 by-election to the 2008 general election. Prior to this, it was the home riding of Progressive Conservative PremierRalph Klein between 1989 and when he vacated it on January 15, 2007. Until this time (at which it was won by a Liberal candidate) it was seen as a Progressive Conservative stronghold.
The electoral district was created in the 1971 boundary redistribution out of the electoral districts of Calgary Glenmore Calgary South and Calgary Victoria Park.
The 2010 boundary redistribution saw significant changes to the riding. Everything south of Glenmore Trail was moved into Calgary-Glenmore. The north boundary also changed significantly, exchanging and losing many different portions of land with Calgary-Currie and a significant re-alignment with the new boundary of Calgary-Buffalo.
Legal description from the Statutes of Alberta 2003, Electoral Divisions Act.
Starting at the intersection of Sarcee Trail SW and Richmond Road SW; then 1. northeast along Richmond Road SW to Crowchild Trail SW; 2. south along Crowchild Trail SW to 50 Avenue SW; 3. east along 50 Avenue SW and its easterly extension to the left bank of the Elbow River; 4. generally northwest and north along the left bank of the lbow River to the south easterly extension of the southwest boundary of Block 4, Plan 8035 AG; 5. northwesterly along the extension and the west boundary of Block 4, Plan 8035 AG to its northerly extension with 38 Avenue SW; 6. west along 38 Avenue SW to 14 Street SW; 7. north along 14 Street SW to Council Way SW; 8. northeast along Council Way SW to 10 Street SW; 9. north along 10 Street SW to Premier Way SW; 10. northeasterly along Premier Way SW to 30 Avenue SW; 11. east along 30 Avenue SW to 7 Street SW; 12. north along 7 Street SW to 29 Avenue SW; 13. east along 29 Avenue SW and its extension to the left bank of the Elbow River; 14. generally northeast along the left bank of the Elbow River to Macleod Trail S; 15. south along Macleod Trail S to Glenmore Trail SW; 16. west along Glenmore Trail SW to Elbow Drive SW; 17. south along Elbow Drive SW to Heritage Drive SW; 18. west along Heritage Drive SW and its westerly extension to the east shore of Glenmore Reservoir; 19. in a generally westerly and northerly direction along the east shore of Glenmore Reservoir to Glenmore Trail SW; 20. northwest along Glenmore Trail SW to the west shore of Glenmore Reservoir; 21. in a generally southwesterly and northwesterly direction along the west shore of Glenmore Reservoir to the east boundary of Sec. 25, Twp. 23, Rge. 2 W5; 22. north along the east boundary of Sec. 25 to the west city boundary (near 66 Avenue SW); 23. north and west along the west city boundary to a southerly extension of the Sarcee Trail SW; 24. north along the extension and the Sarcee Trail SW to the starting point.
The electoral district of Calgary-Elbow was created in the boundary redistribution of 1971 from Calgary Glenmore, Calgary South and Calgary Victoria Park. The first election saw former Calgary Victoria Park Progressive Conservative incumbent and former Calgary Alderman David Russell run for re-election. He won a hotly contested race over Social Credit candidate L.A. Thorssen to pick up the new district for his party.
Upon being elected Russell was appointed into the cabinet of Premier Peter Lougheed. He ran for re-election in 1975 and defeated future Senator Sharon Carstairs with a landslide. He would be re-elected with large majorities three more times while continuing to serve various cabinet portfolios. He would be appointed Deputy Premier by Don Getty in 1985. Russell retired from the legislature in 1989.
The second representative in the riding was former Mayor of Calgary Ralph Klein who was elected to his first term in 1989. Klein would win the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives in 1992 and become Premier of the province. He would hold the premier ship until December 2006 before resigning his seat in 2007. In total Klein was re-elected in the district four times.
A hotly contested by-election was held on June 12, 2007. The winner was Alberta Liberal candidate Craig Cheffins who managed an upset win over local business person Brian Henninger who owns a popular Toyota dealership in the riding.
The 2008 general election saw Cheffins defeated as Progressive Conservative candidate Alison Redford won back the riding for her party. She was promoted to cabinet by Premier Ed Stelmach after the election.
Redford became Premier of Alberta and leader of the Progressive Conservative party after winning the 2011 Progressive Conservative leadership race. She was re-elected in the 2012 provincial election.