Calgary, AB,

Bowness Park makeover celebrated with skating party

Bowness Park celebrated its reopening today with a skating party following a much needed make-over to restore the park to its 100 year heritage. Hosted by The City of Calgary and the Bowness Community Association, citizens from across all quadrants of the city were quick to reclaim Calgary’s beloved and most used park.

“We are pleased to celebrate the reopening of Bowness Park with citizens,” says Ward Sutherland, councillor for Ward 1 in which the park lies. “The park has been a jewel in Calgary’s park system for the past 100 years, and is enjoyed by people from all over the city. Since I was child, picnicking and skating at the lagoon has been a family tradition.”

The redevelopment carefully balanced a blend of old and new, ensuring the integrity and significance of Bowness Park was preserved alongside updated and modern amenities. Some of the new features include:

  • Tea house with space for renting skates and boats

  • Centralized square with sitting areas, fire pits and a deck for easy access to the lagoon

  • Water control structures to improve lagoon water management

  • Reconfiguration of road system and centralized parking to improve traffic flow and enhance pedestrian safety

  • Transformation of existing roadways into pedestrian-centred pathways and trails to encourage a pedestrian and cycling-friendly park experience

  • Year-round washrooms and a fully accessible playground

  • Formal trail along the river’s edge

  • Removal and replanting of trees to increase the diversity of the forest and improve its health

  • Boat launch located across the river in Baker Park to protect the river’s edge as people enter and exit the water

  • Flood mitigation features such as armouring of the river bank with boulders and rock berms or “spurs” to reduce scouring from rising water

“All of these improvements allow the park to host the ever-increasing numbers of visitors that come with a growing population, and sustain the park’s environmental health,” says Anne Charlton, Parks director. "The redevelopment work reflects what citizens told us they wanted – to celebrate Bowness Park’s rich history while still creating a functional and enjoyable space that can be used year-round.”

The park’s redevelopment is approximately 75 per cent complete, with work still to be done to restore the mini-train, and the construction of a wading pool where the historic swimming pool was previously located. The train is anticipated to be ready this summer, and the wading pool completed in 2016. The east end of the park, which remains closed due to flood, will partially reopen this fall.

"Bowness Park is an important part of our community and our city," says Duncan Meade, vice president of the Bowness Community Association. "We could not be happier to have it open again for everyone to enjoy with family, neighbours and friends."

The redevelopment project began in March 2012 after extensive public engagement helped form the design plan. Despite delays resulting from the 2013 June flood and 2014 September snowstorm, the park restoration will be fully completed in 2016. Work was originally anticipated to take approximately three years.

Improvements to the park were made possible with funding from the Council-created Community Investment Fund (CIF). CIF was created to help fund tangible and useful community improvements projects. Through CIF, Council gives back to Calgarians by investing in and supporting new community projects and critical lifecycle upgrades throughout the city.

For more information please visit:

Bowness Park redevelopment, please visit

Community Investment Fund, please visit

Created by City Council on July 25, 2011, the community investment fund will invest $252 million from 2012 to 2016 into tangible and useful community improvements on things like libraries, recreation centres, swimming pools, arenas, athletic fields, parks, playgrounds and emergency services.