Central Memorial Park
Central Memorial Park is a large public space in the heart of downtown Calgary. Redeveloped in the summer of 2010, Central Memorial Park has been rejuvenated by The City of Calgary Parks department. The major concept of this park was to recreate the landscape following the original design that was constructed approximately 100 years ago. One of the biggest elements of the recreation was the intricate pathway system, which allows visitors to access every corner of the site at any angle. The path is made up of City of Calgary trail mix and a discrete heavy aluminum edger, which overall gives the pathway a natural appearance and captures the essence of the original design. Another unique feature of this park is the annual/perennial planting bed designs, which add interest and bring a lot of attention to the seasonal plantings. A majority of the plantings were preserved from the original park and the topsoil mix was recreated to match the original composition.
The space serves as a multi-use area for residents, local workers, and tourists. Being downtown and within walking distance of the LRT, this space is very accessible for everyone in the city. With a proud sense of history, a nice variety of seasonal plantings, large grassed areas, and an overall comfortable atmosphere, this park is now enjoyed all year round by the downtown core.
The original park was built in 1912. The landscape was modelled after a formal Victorian garden featuring geometric pathways, intricate garden beds, and lines of imported and native trees. Erected in 1924, the statue in front of the Memorial Park Library was raised to honour the soldiers who fought in WWI. The equestrian statue was erected in dedication to all Albertans who fought in the Second Boer War.
It has a diverse landscape. This park has many elements that can be enjoyed year round by all of its visitors. Seasonal plantings, large green spaces, comfortable seating areas, walking paths, and water features, just to name a few. Not only is this park used as a greenspace for the everyday public, it is also used frequently for City events and public gatherings. For example, and most importantly, the City holds its Remembrance Day ceremonies annually on November 11. The Memorial Park Library also sits within the park, which provides a great backdrop and adds an even more historical feel to the area. The park also has a cafe called Boxwood Cafe, which is a great amenity for visitors looking to spend the day or pick up a coffee on the way through.
Champions of this project include:
- Owner/Project Managers – City of Calgary Parks Department
- Construction Manager/Main Contractor – Western Construction and Combustion
- Landscape Redevelopment – Alpha Better Landscaping Inc.
- Irrigation Redevelopment – Nucor Systems
- Landscape Maintenance – City of Calgary Parks Department
The history of this park alone make it one of the gems that all of the City of Calgary cherishes. The effort put into the redevelopment of Central Memorial Park is a great indicator that the City and community take great pride in the history of our province and city. Having great greenspaces within the downtown area is very important for the citizens that live in the core and has proven to be a great attraction for tourists from around the world.
The City of Calgary Parks Department headed up this redevelopment project with the aid of landscape architect Len Novak, consultant Donna Balzer and main architectural company Simpson Roberts.
It is very evident that all of the companies and individuals involved in the redevelopment of this area took great pride in attention to detail when it came to the history of the park. The history, combined with the new modern/upgraded look of this space is what makes Central Memorial Park one of Calgary's most attractive places to visit.