Riley Park

  • Washrooms: North East corner of the park  
  • Brick, flagstone and gravel paths
  • Parking: Parking lot on site
A Hillside Garden  

This morning I walked through Riley Park in the center of the city.  In addition to the cricket pitch, playground and wading pool, there is a large open lawn space dotted by old growth trees and secluded picnic tables, all bordered by a wide gravel path.  On the east side of the park is a formal symmetrical garden and a sundial - that actually pointed to the approximate time!

Unfortunately, the park is sandwiched between two busy commuter routes, and the traffic noises dominated the soundscape of the park.  No bird song or buzz of insects this morning - I didn't even hear the chatter of the squirrels scampering from tree to tree.  But although the sound of the city wafts through the space, the beautiful landscape more than makes up for the noise.

On the steep hillside on the northwest corner of the park I found the Senator Patrick Burns Memorial Rock Garden. It is a very small area, but it sure packs a punch!  Colourful leaves and flowers line the labyrinth of brick and flagstone paths zigzagging across the slope.  I was amazed at how well the plants thrived, given that most of the garden is heavily shaded by the evergreens above.  Vibrant colour everywhere!  

I was approaching the far end of the garden when I heard the sound of running water, which led me to a charming waterfall tumbling over several levels of rock, under a foot bridge and into a shallow pool below.  How lovely to find this little gem tucked away in this already tiny garden!

Caught somewhere between a sprawling suburban green space and the compact downtown parks, this little area make excellent use of it's limited space.  It offers everything from luscious gardens to quiet walking paths to cricket pitches to a playground - a wonderful gift to the community of Hillhurst!

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