Downtown Parks (Part 2 of 2)

  • Parking: Street Parking (metered 9:00-5:00 Monday - Saturday)
  • Washrooms: None
  • Paved Paths and Sidewalks
An old train trapped in a modern landscape.
                                                                              Pockets of Peace - Part Two  

After exploring both the Lougheed House and Century Park (see my previous post), I continued my walk through downtown Calgary to the last park on my list.  I usually think of the core as a harsh place dominated by asphalt and car fumes, and wasn't looking forward to the nine block trek.  But at a walking pace, it was easy to spot the interesting details of the downtown infrastructure, and the unpleasant noises and smells soon faded away.

One of many artistic touches gracing
the streets of downtown Calgary.

The sidewalks were splashed with colour from hanging baskets, store front flower beds, and planters separating the bike lane from the rest of the traffic.  I found a quirky manhole cover along one of the rougher sections of the sidewalk, and there were sculptures on many street corners, from a working windmill adorned with metal birds to a copper tree growing from a cement crevice.  The most impressive installation, though, was the full-sized antique train engine in front of the CP building on 9th Avenue, standing defiantly between the modern glass towers.  

Formal gardens and statuary.

Finally, I arrived at Central Memorial Park. Built in 1912, Calgary's oldest park was designed as a formal Victorian garden, with symmetrical crushed rock pathways and flower beds and now flanked by two large fountains. It originally served as a cultural hub, a place to promenade on Sunday afternoon, to see and be seen.  Soon after its inception, however, the space took on its second role as a place to honour those lost in war.  The west end of the park is defined by the large cenotaph and an eternal flame that burns in remembrance of our soldiers.  
The eternal flame honouring our veterans.

Central Memorial Park is both an important historical 
landmark and a solemn place of remembrance, but it is also a lively and active element of the community.  People strolling between the flowers, chatting on benches, playing in the fountains.  It is a wonderful combination of our rich history and the vibrant life of today's citizens!

Learn more of the park's history and refurbishment at: 

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