Calgary Parks & Gardens
One of Calgary's finest natural gems, Edworthy Park is a treasure. Encompassing 128 hectares (70 acres) of natural parkland within the city, Edworthy is fascinating historically and environmentally. In the past, the area was used as a bison kill site, tipi camp, commercial garden, brick factory and sandstone quarry.
Today, the park is mainly used by family picnickers (there's park and barbeque area), cyclists and rollerbladers (on the extensive concrete trail), and hikers (on trails that stretch throughout the woodland).
The Douglas Fir Trail leads through a woodland of fir trees, some older than 400 years. Other indigenous flora includes native grassland, shrubland, mixed coniferous forest and sedge wetland.
Sien Lok Park is located in Calgary's Chinatown along both sides of Riverfront Avenue, between 1st and Centre Streets Southwest. This is Chinatown's only green space. The park was completed in two phases. Phase one was completed in November 1999 with the unveiling of the central monument of the park. Phase two was completed in 2001 and features the "Wall of Names." This wall is dedicated to Chinese immigrants who made Canada their home between 1886 and 1947.
Created in celebration of the new millennium, Shaw Millennium Park is North America’s largest skateboarding and inline skating park. Open year-round, 24 hours a day, the park features numerous concrete dips, mounds, bowls, and runs that cater to many skill levels. Even a large fullpipe is available. Other amenities the park has to offer include a stage and amphitheatre, a clock tower, a landmark building, basketball and volleyball courts, and a children’s water area. Admission is free.
Fish Creek is Canada's largest urban park. Open for day use only, the park offers a variety of recreational activities, as well as the fully restored historic Bow Valley Ranch House, Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre, picnic areas and Sikome Lake (a man-made lake). Open year round.
Stanley Park is a 21 ha (52 acres) park that has access to the Elbow River. This allows visitors to enjoy water activities such as fishing, canoeing, and rafting. The area features water fountains, an outdoor swimming pool, picnic areas with BBQ pits, and playground areas for the children. The park is also home to Calgary’s outdoor bowling club.
Central Memorial Park
Calgary’s oldest park, Central Memorial Park is home to eight memorials including the Boer War equestrian statue and various others that commemorate both World Wars. Set aside for park space by the Federal Government in 1899, the park is also home to Alberta’s first public library. Another important feature of the park is that it is host to the city’s annual Remembrance Day celebration.
Built in 1988 for the Olympic Winter Games held in Calgary, Olympic Plaza now sees various festivals and special events held there each year. Located in the city centre, the plaza is a popular warm weather lunch spot for downtown workers. A pond and fountains are in operation during the summer months while winter weather sees free public skating.
Murdoch Park is located in Bridgelands. This 8.6-acre (3.5-ha) park is named after Calgary's first mayor, George Murdoch. It's a popular spot for soccer and tobogganing.
Pearce Estate Park
William Pearce, a pioneer who helped in the development of the west, donated the land that is now Pearce Estate Park to the city of Calgary in 1929. Located along the Bow River just northwest of Nose Creek Park, Pearce Estate Park is the location of the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery, which is a fish rearing and education facility. The Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland, a city initiative dedicate to the re-naturalization of the park, is also located here.
The ChevronTexaco Learning Pathway
The ChevronTexaco Learning Pathway is a unique trail through a constructed wetland located on the east end of Calgary’s Prince’s Island. The footpath has signs posted at various spots, explaining interesting and notable facts along the route. The wetland is a natural filter and treats stormwater that previously drained into the lagoon between Prince’s Island and Eau Claire. It is a fun, environmentally conscious and beautiful area.
Home to the annual Global Fest Fireworks Competition, Elliston Park’s central feature is the 20 ha (49 acres) of pond used for storm water retention. While water activities are not permitted in the pond, the park offers green space filled with pathways, two playgrounds, picnic areas, a rose garden, and a water fountain.
Springbank Park For All Seasons
As the name implies, the Springbank Park For All Seasons offers year-round, family-friendly sports and recreation opportunities. During the summer months enjoy outdoor activities such as baseball, softball, soccer, football, in-line hockey, lacrosse and more. During the winter months enjoy figure skating, hockey and curling.
Located on Signal Hill just west of Sarcee Trail, Battalion Park is an area dedicated to the commemoration of the First World War and the Canadian Forces that fought there. The park’s highlight is a series of gigantic numbers made up of about 16,000 large whitewashed stones located on the side of the hill.
The series of numbers correspond to four battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who fought in the war. The park also offers several interpretive displays throughout. Once forgotten and in threat of being removed, the area was finally restored and officially opened in November 1991.
Located along the Elbow River just west of Glenmore Park, Weaselhead Flats is the place to go for wildlife viewing. Because it is located near the edge of the city, animals such as deer, moose and the occasional bear will follow the river down to Calgary and wander into the area. Beaver dams can also be seen here. Hiking trails are available in the park along with guided nature walks offered by the city.
Peace Park opened in 1992 in celebration of Canada’s 125th birthday and as part of a national project to commemorate Canada’s peacemakers. Replacing two gravel parking lots along the Bow River, the park was one of 250 peace parks that opened throughout Canada that year. Peace Park features a large sandstone Memorial Arch at its entryway, erected in memory of the soldiers who died in both World Wars and the Korean War. Twelve elm trees arranged in a circle, an ancient Bosco Sacro design that represents peace, were also planted in the park.
Nose Hill Park
A large hill in the middle of Calgary, Nose Hill Park is 1127 hectares (2818 acres) of natural environment. It is the largest municipal park in Canada. There are a few trails throughout, most mainly made by years of people treading the same ground, making it popular with walkers and mountain bikers. The park provides a look at what the land known today as Calgary may have looked like at one time, featuring over 66 native plant species, such as crocus, sage, golden bean and rough rescue, which is considered endangered. Wildlife also thrives; there are approximately 200 identified species.
Prairie Winds Park
This 16 ha (2.5 acres) park located in Calgary’s northeast features playgrounds, numerous picnic sites and shelters, softball and soccer fields, and a large hill great for tobogganing in the winter. A wading pool is open during the summer months.
Riley Park Calgary
Located between the neighbourhood of Kensington and SAIT, Riley Park features gardens, baseball diamonds, cricket fields, and an outdoor children's pool.
True to its name, Beaverdam Flats is home to many beavers who build their dams in the area. Bordering the Bow River both north and south of Glenmore Trail, the area is also a natural habitat for wildlife including waterfowl, a variety of birds, mammals, plants, and even bald eagles. Picnic areas, hiking trails and pathways, fire pits, and a playground are available here.
This fairly large 135 ha (336 acres) park is an important resource for Calgary’s wildlife, specifically waterfowl and predatory birds. This natural park is filled with backwater channels and wetlands that support various birds, mammals, and plants. The park features three manmade ponds where fishing is permitted, hiking trails, picnic areas and fire pits, and a playground. While swimming is not allowed, canoes, dinghies, and paddleboats are permitted.
Waiparous Recreational Area
This rural area just off Highway 1A near Cochrane and beside Calgary offers dozens of camping options and off-road vehicle trails.
Baker Park, located just north of Bowness Park and above the river, is Calgary’s most popular park for outdoor weddings and wedding photographs. The park’s Sun Bowl, a grass amphitheater, is often booked out throughout the summer and warm months. The park features a gazebo, a river observation point, water fountains, and picnic areas.
Devonian Gardens, the largest indoor garden in Alberta, is located downtown on the fourth floor of TD Square. Approximately 20,000 plants (including tropical and local plants) are featured in the gardens, as well as several bridges, fountains, waterfalls and sculptures.
One of Calgary's most popular parks, Prince's Island is located in the city's core by Eau Claire Market on the Bow River. The park hosts many music festivals throughout the summer as well as outdoor theatre performances in the evenings. There is an extensive trail that runs through the park and along the Bow, popular with joggers, walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers. A children's park is onsite and large grassy spaces are perfect for relaxing in the sun or a game of frisbee.
Ralph Klein Park
Ralph Klein Park is a regional park featuring a man-made wetland in southeast Calgary. The park has many on-site programs and events. Private functions may also be booked. Some of the features at the park include the Environmental Education and Ethics Centre, outdoor amphitheatre, picnic and day use area, public art and community orchard. The park is closed on statutory holidays.
Glenmore Park South
South Glenmore Park is made up of the area surrounding the south side of the Glenmore Reservoir. This consists of approximately 107 ha (264 acres) of land ideal for hiking, biking, picnicking, playing tennis, or enjoying the playgrounds. The city of Calgary provides guided nature walks in this area for those who desire. This side of the park is also home to the city’s Glenmore Sailing School were boat rentals and sailing lessons are available. The Variety Children’s Park, a playground and water park area designed with disabled children in mind, is also available here.
Reader Rock Garden
Located just north of Union Cemetery, Reader Rock Garden is a historic site dedicated to William Roland Reader, Calgary’s parks superintendent from 1913 to 1942. The 3-acre land was originally Reader’s place of residence in which he transformed the area surrounding his home into a budding garden.
In 1944, a year after his death, the garden opened as a city park and was named in his honour. In full bloom from mid-March to mid-November, the garden features a stream and two pools, a small gazebo, floral displays, trees, shrubs, and numerous plants from around the world.
Calgary Olympic Plaza
Olympic Plaza was another addition to Calgary’s cityscape for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. During the Olympics, the plaza was the location for the official medal presentation ceremonies. Today, the plaza is used often for various special events and concerts. A Legacy Wall, which serves to honour the winter Olympians still stands. In the middle of the plaza is an area that is a wading pool in the summer and a skating rink in the winter. Located in the city centre, the plaza is a popular warm weather lunch spot for downtown workers.
James Short Park & Cupola
Formerly the site of the James Short School, this small city park was created in 1991. A historic cupola on the corner supports an 1880s time piece and the structure showcases plaques and photographs of some of Calgary's original buildings. The park is also home to the semi-circular Sun Life Plaza Plus 15 Bridge which is part of the extensive Plus 15 Skywalk system.
This urban park is a popular location for wedding photographs because of its vast amount of green space, mature trees, arched bridges, and ponds. Numerous hills located throughout make the park a great place for tobogganing in the winter. The park is also the location of the Confederation Golf Course as well as the annual Lions Club Christmas Light Display, available from December to January.
Bowness Park is located directly within the City of Calgary. It encompasses approximately 30 hectares. Open year round, Bowness Park is ideal for skating on the lagoon in the winter or picnicking in the summer. Other possible activities include canoeing, paddle boating and cross-country skiing. The park also includes "Playland" with rides for young children.
Largely an athletic park, Shouldice Park features 7 ha (17 acres) of space for recreational activities. The park features nine softball diamonds, numerous soccer fields, football fields, tennis courts, and one Big League diamond. Privately operated batting cages are available onsite as well as a concession stand that is open during major tournaments.
Glenmore Park North
Located on the north side of the Glenmore Reservoir, this 84 ha (208 acres) park features vast green space, numerous picnic areas, playgrounds, and tennis courts. Outdoor BBQ pits also come supplied with firewood if booked beforehand. Weaved with pedestrian and bike trails, the area is an ideal place for an outdoor jog.