The electoral district of Calgary-Foothills was created in the 1971 boundary redistribution from most of the area that comprised the old electoral district of Calgary Bowness.
The 2010 boundary redistribution saw only minor revisions made to the electoral district. The district's northern boundary was moved northward, adding a rural portion of Foothills-Rocky View riding, where the city of Calgary annexed new land. The district lost the neighbourhood of Citadel which was moved into the new riding of Calgary-Hawkwood.
Legal description from the Statutes of Alberta 2003, Electoral Divisions Act.
Starting at the intersection of the north Calgary city boundary with the west Calgary city boundary; then 1. east along the north city boundary to Simons Valley Road NW; 2. south along Simons Valley Road NW and Beddington Trail NW to Country Hills Boulevard NW; 3. west along Country Hills Boulevard NW to Shaganappi Trail NW; 4. southwest along Shaganappi Trail NW to John Laurie Boulevard NW; 5. northwest along John Laurie Boulevard NW to Sarcee Trail NW; 6. north along Sarcee Trail NW to Country Hills Boulevard NW; 7. northwest along Country Hills Boulevard NW to 112 Avenue NW; 8. west along 112 Avenue NW to the west Calgary city boundary; 9. north along the west Calgary city boundary to the starting point.
Calgary-Foothills was created in 1971 mostly from the predecessor district Calgary Bowness. That district had previously returned Social Credit MLA's from 1959 and 1963 and returned Progressive Conservative candidate Len Werry in the 1967 election. That district was abolished in 1971 and Werry ran as the incumbent in Foothills in the election held that year. He won the new district with over half the popular vote to take the new district for his party. Premier Peter Lougheed who had just formed government appointed Werry as Minister of Telephones and Utilities. On February 25, 1973 he died in a car accident resulting in a by-election several months later.
The 1973 by-election was a hotly contested race featuring a number of Alberta political party leaders. The riding returned Progressive Conservative candidate Stewart McCrae who held the riding with 44% of the popular vote. He defeated Social Credit leader Werner Schmidt who finished a strong second. The results of the by-election proved devastating to the Social Credit party who suffered from internal problems after Schmidt was unable to win a seat.
McCrae ran for a second term in the 1975 general election. He was re-elected with a landslide majority and appointed to cabinet by Lougheed after the election as the Minister responsible for Calgary Affairs. He was re-elected for his third term in the 1979 general election and kept his seat in cabinet this time becoming Minister of Government Services. McCrae retired at dissolution of the assembly in 1982.
The third representative was Janet Koper who was returned as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the 1982 general election with a landslide majority. She was re-elected in the 1986 election with a reduced majority. On December 18, 1988 Koper died. The electoral district remained vacant until the March 1989 election.
Pat Black was fourth representative in the riding. She was returned in the 1989 election holding the district was just 37% of the popular vote. She was appointed to the provincial cabinet as Minister of Energy when Premier Ralph Klein took power in 1992. She was reelected with a solid majority in 1993 and kept her seat in cabinet.
Black won her third term in office in the 1997 election with over 60% of the popular vote. After the election she became the new Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. In 1998 she got married and changed her last name to Nelson. In 1999 she was shuffled to be the Minister of Government Services. Nelson won re-election to her fourth term in the 2001 election winning a very large majority. She became the Minister of Finance until she retired from public office dissolution of the assembly in 2004.
The 2004 election returned Progressive Conservative candidate Len Webber. He won his second and third terms in 2008 and 2012. In March 2014 Webber left the PC caucus to sit as an independent. Webber resigned from the legislature thus giving Premier Jim Prentice, the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, an opportunity to seek the seat in a by-election in 2014. In the 2015 provincial election, Prentice led the Progressive Conservative government to defeat but retained his seat. Nevertheless, he resigned both the party leadership and his seat in the legislature, upon the announcement of the election results.
The subsequent by-election elected Prasad Panda of the Wildrose Party, who was the first non-PC MLA returned from Calgary-Foothills. In second place was NDP candidate Bob Hawkesworth, with PC candidate Blair Houston finishing third overall.
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.