Park #5: Bowmont Park

Date visited: July 14, 2021

Location: NW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: This looks like a good year-round park.

This park wasn’t selected randomly. We were in the area, so we decided to check out this park. I think this park was near the outskirts of the city. We had to go pretty far out to get there. Additionally, we heard the Snowbirds were going to fly over Calgary. For those of you who don’t know, the Snowbirds are the air stunt team for the Royal Canadian Air Force. You can read more about them here. At first, I thought it was for the Calgary Stampede. I found out later that it was to honour healthcare workers, so the flight path went over certain hospitals. Did we see them? Read on to find out.

Park Features and Highlights:

Bowmont Park is yet another park that is next to the Bow River. I love the number of bridges around, especially when a train went over one of them. There’s another park across the river called Bowness Park. It’s one of the gems of Calgary, which I hope to see before the summer is over. We also managed to see traces of beaver life nearby. There was a tree that was clearly chewed by a beaver and we saw evidence of a new beaver dam, but no beavers this time! I still haven’t seen one yet, but that’s okay. Some of the trails allow dogs off the leash, which is pretty cool. The trails have a lot of shade from trees and you can find spaces overlooking the river. It’s a great place to cycle at too.

We arrived at the park at the start of the hour where the Snowbirds were expected to fly over. We heard helicopters flying over and thought there were checking the airspace. Later, we found out it was to monitor the air quality. You know how when you’re anticipating something and you keep your eyes and ears peeled and wonder about whether you’re going to miss it? We had that because we thought we should have made an effort to be near the Stampede safely that day, so we had more chance of seeing the Snowbirds.

And Then…

We stayed near the river as long as we could and then decided to carry on walking. We figured we might not see the Snowbirds, but I still kept my ears peeled. Suddenly, I heard the roar of an airplane that was not a passenger jet! We looked towards the river and we saw the Snowbirds in the distance! We waited to see if they would turn around. They did and flew directly over the trail we were on! It was too fast for me to catch a photo. But also, I wanted to enjoy the moment without worrying about a good photo. The Snowbirds were in a maple leaf formation, and the angle was such that we couldn’t see all the planes. I saluted as they flew over!

Other people on the trail were just as excited as we were to see them. I loved feeling this calm Canadian pride and patriotism that I have noticed is common here. I have had the pleasure of seeing other Air Force stunt teams like the Red Arrows during London 2012 and the Blue Angels flying into San Francisco for an airshow. But none of those experiences compared to seeing the Snowbirds fly over where I was standing! I admit I do have some qualms about militaries in general, but I have to admit the stunt teams are cool! Third Culture Kid, Third Culture views of Air Force stunt teams! Anyway, back to the park.

Some Challenges:

I found that sometimes the trails separate from the main trail were a little confusing. Plus, there were A LOT of biting insects! I recommend insect repellant for this park. Also, it was kind of weird trying to enter the park. There was a bridge over the river, but for a while, we weren’t sure whether we were supposed to cross it. Plus, there was only one way to walk across the bridge, and we had to find a way to get to that path. Eventually, we got there, but it was super weird. When we got to one end of the park, it was clear there was some sewage treatment going on and it wasn’t pleasant.

If you see this, you’re in the sewage treatment area

I have been taking a little break from going to parks because of the amount of smoke that’s been in Calgary. There’s nothing like wildfire smoke to ruin a park experience, and it’s rather unpleasant to be out anyway. Whenever it clears, I will go to a new park.

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!

Park #4: South Glenmore Park

Date visited: July 12, 2021

Location: SW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Summer is beautiful, but I am interested to see what it’s like at other times of the year.

Before you ask, yes there is a North Glenmore Park. It’s on my list for another day because 1. It would have been a super long walk and 2. I don’t have my bike. This park wasn’t selected randomly because we were trying to focus on getting to a park that was away from the Stampede area. Another thing I wanted to mention is I’ll likely be a little late in posting about my parks. I’m trying to keep up with other posts as well as the challenge. That’s why I’m about two weeks late on this one. Additionally, Calgary has been getting a lot of smoke lately, so I will probably be late on Park #6. I find it’s better to stay home when there’s smoke and go out on the times when the smoke situation is better or cleared up.

South Glenmore Park is located in the south part of the Glenmore Reservoir. It goes into the Elbow River and supplies drinking water to Calgary. Therefore, like other reservoirs, there are rules about what you can do on or near the Glenmore Reservoir. I have visited reservoirs in California, like Hetch Hetchy, but this is in a league of its own.

Park Features and Highlights:

This park has great paths for cycling. I heard that you can do cross-country skiing here, but I didn’t find any indications of that, but then again, it is summer. I miss my bike! If you ask me where it is, I’ll just burst into the song I Left My Bike in San Franciso…

At one end of the park, you could see the landing area for boats. Apparently, you can rent boats there, but I didn’t try it this time. There were so many sailboats on the reservoir. I would love to learn how to sail someday, and I think I just might have found the place to learn! The park also has a tennis court and polo field. The polo field wasn’t so obvious at first. One cool feature is a musical playground with all these things where you can make music! I also noticed there is a water area for the kids to play and they were having lots of fun there! It warmed my heart to see that at another park too.

Challenges:

First of all, if you’re going to come by public transportation, it can be hard to find the entrance. We had to walk around a bit to make sure we were nearby. Even then, the entrance isn’t exactly friendly to pedestrians. It’s better to go where the cars were parked and figure out where to go from there.

Second of all, don’t wear sandals on the trails. It’s not very kind to your feet, or mobility issues. My feet were battered from seeing a few parks altogether, so I had to cut our visit short. Foot problems are synonymous with life in Calgary, either summer or winter, so taking care of my feet happens on a daily basis! If it doesn’t, I get problems like this.

I have a little surprise with my next park. What is it? Wait and see!

I did a guest post with Tall Blonde Tails about my Parks Challenge. You can read my post here.

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!

Park #3: Sandy Beach Park

Date visited: July 10, 2021

Location: SW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Summer is the best time hands down! There are areas where you can raft, wade and/or swim in the river. I think it would be nice to see in the winter when the river freezes.

I had selected this park randomly before, but it got pushed forward. Plus, I’m currently focusing on parks in the western part of Calgary because I don’t have to go through the area where the Stampede is to get there. If what I have heard on Reddit is true about the Stampede, I would rather avoid the area. I managed to see three parks during Stampede time, but those are for separate posts. Additionally, for the next couple of months, I am going to prioritize parks that have gardens or are better for summer activities.

Entering and Exiting the Park:

We entered the park via Brittania Way after getting the bus to Elbow Drive. It was super scenic, but that wasn’t the best choice for my Mum. There was a long, gravel path down to the river where the park was, and there were lots of holes where she could have fallen. She has mobility issues and she had to hold the railing all the way down. Plus, I was always on standby to make sure she didn’t fall. I don’t recommend that entrance for people with mobility issues.

We left by Riverdale Ave SW, which was much better. It was a long walk, but it was a lovely neighbourhood! It was a higher-income area, but I had never seen so many trees and greenery in that type of neighbourhood! It’s like every person’s house was its own mini-park. Normally, I find areas like that to be rather sterile in terms of greenery. For instance, I have never seen trees line the streets and dull, manicured lawns. I used to see those areas and be like, “Keep your boring houses!” I was stunned to see how beautiful Riverdale Ave is! Plus, I appreciated the cooling effect from the tree-lined street. I have a thing for tree-lined streets. There’s something relaxing and pleasant about them. Anyway, back to the park!

Park Features and Highlights:

I could see from where we entered that there were a lot of families wading, rafting, swimming and doing other water activities in the Elbow River. We crossed the bridge, and as we walked along the path, we saw there were areas with picnic tables that allowed barbecuing. Apparently, you can rent them for parties or events. I also noticed a play area for the kids. There were some trails peeling off from the main trail, but clearly, you don’t go to this park for the trails. There were areas where dogs are allowed to be unleashed too. Of course, they want to splash around.

The Best Part:

Mum and I went wading in the water. Let me tell you, it was the best river I have ever immersed myself in. It was clear and had this mountain freshness. You could tell it came from Rocky Mountain snowmelt. The temperature was absolutely PERFECT!!! It was a hot day and I didn’t want to leave the water. The current isn’t too strong, and it’s not too deep. I waded about halfway out before I realized I might fall over if I’m not careful. There are times where I know I am living the dream and love doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel about my beautiful new city!

The best part: it was incredible to see all these families and kids having fun. I have felt sorry for kids during this pandemic because they have all this energy and need to play and do kiddie things. Additionally, I wasn’t worried about COVID-19 there because honestly, I feel safer around families than I would at the Calgary Stampede at this time. At the end of the day, I was pleasantly tired. Getting out more has made my well-being level go UP!!

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! 70 parks left!

Park #2: Shouldice Athletic Park and River Walk

Date visited: July 8, 2021

Location: NW Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Year-round.

Best Time of Day: The early afternoon can get quite busy, so I would say mornings are a better time. Keep in mind that you’re sharing the river walk with cyclists. Therefore, please stick to the markers for pedestrians.

This park wasn’t selected randomly either. We were in the same area as this park so we decided to stop by since it was on the list and the closest. We went past 7-10 days between this one and the last one thanks to flood and tornado warnings in Calgary. I’m not going to be too hard on myself if we go longer than the time frame.

Additionally, something fortuitous happened. I noticed that during the Calgary Stampede, Calgary Transit offers a day pass for $8 each. I think I’m going to take the opportunity to see more of Calgary during the Stampede thanks to Calgary Transit!

Shouldice Park Map
My Only Picture of Shouldice Park

Back to the Park and River Walk:

To be honest, the walk by the river far outdid the park. The park isn’t something you would normally go out of your way to see. Hence why we just stopped by. There are two other parks nearby: Bowmont Park and Edworthy Park. After walking along the river for a while, we decided to wait to go see the other parks.

It was a beautiful day to go and see the river! The water looked so clear and there were a lot of people rafting down the river. Plus a lot of people were out cycling. There are areas for pedestrians and cyclists on the riverwalk and people are respectful of it.

I had walked along that part of the river earlier in the year and saw a bird of prey in the isle in the river! People walking by said it might have been an eagle! I couldn’t get as good a photo as I had hoped, but I think an eagle is a good guess.

Shouldice Athletic Park itself is nothing to write home about unless you’re practicing the sports there. If you walk or cycle by the river though, it’s so worth it!

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!

Park #1: Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Date visited: June 26, 2021

Location: SE Calgary

Best Time of Year To Visit: Definitely spring or summer when the migratory birds have returned and are nesting. Plus, in the summer, you can see the birds fledging.

Best Time of Day: Early enough in the morning or late enough in the evening when bird enthusiasts are around. Plus, the fewer people around, the more birds you get to see. More people come around noon, so it’s not as peaceful then.

Welcome to my first park in my Calgary Parks Challenge starting with the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary! Okay, this first park wasn’t selected randomly. We have been wanting to visit since moving to Calgary last October. However, the birds were migrating then, so we felt it was best to wait until the birds were nesting or the baby birds were fledging. That was the best decision!

They said the park hours were from sunrise to sunset. At this time of year, we’re talking 5:00-23:00 or thereabouts. I will make a point of posting the park map too on my challenges.

Map of Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

We arrived around 9 am and saw some prairie dogs near the entrance. We thought we saw our first-ever moose, but as we got closer it turned out to be a mule deer. So close!

Mule Deer

I wish I didn’t have to say this but keep in mind where there’s deer, there are ticks. This park is one of those places where you have to take preventive measures for ticks. Some of the benches have grasses growing through the cracks, so be aware of that if you’re wearing something that exposes your legs.

A Bit of Sanctuary History:

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary was bought by Colonel James Walker, a commissioned officer of the North West Mounted Police in 1883. His son Selby created the bird sanctuary. It then passed to Ed Jeffries before the City of Calgary purchased the sanctuary in the 1970s. You can read more about Colonel Walker here. There is a school near the bird sanctuary that’s named after him. You can read more about the history of Inglewood Bird Sanctuary here.

Additionally, Colonel Walker House is on the bank of the tributary. We didn’t go in because we doubted it was open. Heck, even the Nature Centre wasn’t open because of COVID-19.

Back to the Birds:

The first part of the bird sanctuary took us to a tributary off of the Bow River. There are ducks and other waterfowl in that area.

A goosander in the tributary

We continued walking to the Bow River and saw some geese there. We were keeping our eyes peeled for eagles and ospreys, but no such luck. Even so, it was great to see swallows flying around. I saw a tiger swallowtail, but couldn’t get a good photo of it. It was getting hot pretty quickly so it was best to see the river earlier (it was the start of this record-breaking heatwave in Canada). Once we got back to an area with more trees, it felt cooler. It was nice to be able to go between the river and a more forested area. I think if we hadn’t had the forested part, we wouldn’t have lasted long!

Pet Peeves and Conclusion:

Normally, I don’t mind seeing people with dogs in parks. However, I am glad that dogs are banned in this park. It’s a sanctuary and it should stay that way. It doesn’t mean there aren’t people who don’t follow the rules though. We did see one person who was walking their dog in the sanctuary. That and the fact that the sanctuary is over the flight path to YYC were my pet peeves for the day.

This was a great park to start my challenge! I would love to see what this park is like in the evening near closing time. I’m sure it’s a quieter time like the morning and there might be owls around. Would I come here in the winter? I don’t know. A lot of the birds would have migrated. I am interested in visiting in the autumn when the leaves change and some birds are still there though. I’m definitely going to come back here again! It made me remember the times I went to the London Wetlands Centre.

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!