Date visited: September 5, 2021

Location: SE Calgary (at least this one is clear!)

Best Time of Year To Visit: Any time there is greenery out, otherwise you just get rocks, bare deciduous trees, snow and ice. I don’t recommend going when the Calgary Stampede is on though. You won’t get any peace and quiet if you do.

What does Reader Rock Garden have to do with the Calgary Stampede? It’s right across the street from Stampede Park.

Reader Rock Garden

History:

This garden has an interesting history. If you can’t read the photo below, here’s a synopsis of it. William Reader was an English professional gardener and landscaper who turned Calgary into a green space. He experimented with 4000 different plant and flower species and designed gardens for important clients, such as the Prince of Wales. He also founded the Calgary Horticultural Society and the Calgary Vacant Lots Garden Club. The garden was left to deteriorate after his death, but then it was restored. All I can say is I’m sure glad it was restored!

Reader Rock Garden History

We didn’t go into William Reader’s house. We figured with COVID-19 it was safer not to do so. Plus, there was an event going on. Still, we got some lovely photos of the garden outside his house. I would love to see this garden when it’s blooming in the spring, but early autumn is still a lovely time to see this garden.

More From the Rock Garden:

This is where things get steep and slippery. There are advisories to wear proper footwear and go in small groups. Dogs are not permitted either. Trust me, that’s good for everyone. Even though things had been pretty dry for a while, it was still good to be attentive where I stepped. I was impressed my Mum was able to manage with her cane, but I’m glad we did this park early enough in our challenge so she could see it too.

Who else likes rock gardens that have little waterfalls and rock pools? Me too!

  • Little Waterfall
  • Rock Pool

I don’t know why I love seeing flowers growing among rocks. There’s something beautiful and special about it. Maybe it’s because rocks tend not to be associated with green living things. Then, when I do see green, living things next to rocks, it’s special!

  • Reader Rock Garden
  • Reader Rock Garden
  • Reader Rock Garden
  • Reader Rock Garden
  • Reader Rock Garden
  • Reader Rock Garden

It was a lovely, cool walk with great shade from the trees. Even though Reader Rock Garden is at the intersection of two main roads, you don’t hear the traffic too much. I still wouldn’t go visit it when the Calgary Stampede is on. I went near Stampede Park when the Stampede was on last year and there is a lot of noise! Garbage is a problem during the Stampede too. I don’t want to know if Reader Rock Garden gets trashed then.

Stampede Park:

I got some great views of Stampede Park from Reader Rock Garden. It’s a great way to view some of Calgary’s other iconic features as well.

There’s a reason why I got so many pictures of the Saddledome. It’s going to be torn down someday! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I find it shocking because it’s a major part of Calgary’s iconic skyline. Any city can have skyscrapers or towers, even if they have a different look. When my Dad visited, he called Calgary Tower the Space Needle. I haven’t seen the Space Needle, but my point about towers still stands. Not all cities have a stadium that looks like a horse’s saddle! I hope the new stadium has a similar look, but right now, I don’t know if it will.

Usually, I am all for city skylines changing. Soon after I arrived in London, the Gherkin was born. The Shard and its hype happened before I left. Both of those were cool additions to the London skyline, even if some other feelings were going on.

I feel particularly hurt that the Saddledome is going to be gone someday. Sometimes, I feel that way when I’m new to a city and something iconic disappears. I feel like saying, “I just got here! Let me enjoy it!”

Anyway, sorry for going off on a tangent about unique city skylines.

One Last Feature:

The Union Cemetery is right next to Reader Rock Garden. A diverse group of people are buried there: Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Chinese. I have gone past the Chinese section, but haven’t walked around it. The cemetery includes war veterans from the two World Wars and the Boer War. I think that one needs a special invitation to go to that part. I noticed they do a ceremony on Remembrance Day as well. This is the one hill in Calgary I haven’t seen people go sledding on in the winter, but that’s okay. There are plenty of other good sledding spaces.

Challenges:

It’s not the most accessible park there is. It’s all on a hill. Make sure you also go on a dry day or the rocks get slippery. At least the garden in front of Reader’s house is pretty flat.

If you miss any of my future posts on my challenge or want to reread my past posts, you can go to my page Calgary Parks Challenge. You can also find more photos from the parks on my Instagram page here.

See you at the next park in my challenge!

About Author

I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦/πŸ‡―πŸ‡²πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.

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11 Comments

  1. The rock garden is lovely. Losing the Saddledome will be tough, it is a unique building that adds character to the city. As Allan said the low and odd shaped roof doesn’t allow revenue generating concerts. It also flooded in the big 2013 flood so it can’t remain where it is.I think the new arena will be more of a standard design which is too bad. You’re really getting around the city! Maggie

  2. Glad to hear that the garden has been restored. This looks like a lovely spot to visit on a nice day. That’s too bad to hear about the Saddledome. Hopefully it won’t be replaced by condos or a parking lot.

    1. It’s so peaceful. As I said though, I wouldn’t go when the Stampede is going on. I think they are replacing the Saddledome with a more upgraded stadium, but I’m not positive about that. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  3. Loved the images and nice to learn some history behind the Garden. I’m glad they restored it and maintain it now because it would have been sad to lose such a place.

  4. Good synopsis of how horticulture developed on the bald prairie. Glad they have kept this place for the people. As to the Saddledome, it is an iconic look, but the roof structure is not rated to accept the lighting and sound equipment used by many of the current concert performers. That is why so many visit Edmonton and not Calgary. Also, the Saddledome and a lot of Stampede Park are built in a river flood plane. Hard to believe they would also build a new rink there, but I think that was the plan. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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