Just in time to soak up the last days and rays of summer and take in the emerging fall colours, one of Calgary’s most anticipated parks has reopened to the public.
After an extensive revitalization project by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), St. Patrick’ s Island re-opened on July 31 and will celebrate the official grand opening on September 15.
As you probably know (well, if you live in Calgary, anyway), the 31-acre park has been under construction since 2010. But the final product has definitely been worth the wait.
For those in the dark, the park is located on the East Side of downtown Calgary, near the East Village. The revitalization of this park coincides with the development/revitalization of the East Village in DT Calgary.
As one of the least used parks in Calgary, the park as we used to know it wasn’t being maintained and – frankly – was in need of a major facelift. So, the CMLC turned to the public for a little input.
And they got all they could handle.
When it came to the once forgotten park, people wanted more programs, entertainment, and opportunities for engagement. Among the park’s upgrades are a large public plaza to host events, an amphitheatre, a playground, newly renovated public washrooms, picnic and BBQ pits, and large-scale board games.
In response to the public request for “natural pathways” and opportunities to interact with nature, the revitalized park features 2.3 kilometres of soft and paved pathways for running, riding, and strolling. There is also an elevated boardwalk that provides no-impact access to the Lowland Channel, a true riparian wetland at the heart of the island, as well as an entryway to the old-growth Gallery Forest that covers the south-eastern third of the island.
So yeah, you could easily spend an entire day exploring the revamped land.
One of our favourite features – especially if you have kids in tow – is the Seasonal Breach. It’s a restored channel where you can wade in the water and venture to a gravel bar. Furthermore, visitors can now fish, kayak, or wade at the Cove, located on the river’s edge.
If you’re a fan of public art (and really, who isn’t?), you’ll also get your fill of it at the park. Earlier this summer, Michel de Broin’s Bloom – the third permanent installation in CMLC’s Art in the Public Realm program – was installed on St. Patrick’s Island.
The whole project came with a well-spent $20-million dollar price tag.
The design and execution of this revitalization was completed by CMLC, alongside partners and architectural firms “W Architecture” (based in New York) and “Civitas” (based in Denver).
Don’t just take our word for it, though – grab a blanket, book, and friends (or not) and hit the park for yourself.
Better yet, hit the grand opening event on September 15 from 12pm-3pm. The first 300 people will get a free picnic lunch and there will be no shortage of activities and games.
This will be the best ‘walk in the park’ you’ve had in a very long time…