Top Parks and Gardens in Calgary to Celebrate Canada 150
Admire tulips planted just for Canada 150, visit parks with special programming and free breakfasts, or visit your favourite local park and host your own Canada 150 party.
If you're looking to host your own Canada 150 party, head to Edworthy Park. There are a range of picnic sites with firepits and shelters.
Photograph by Julya Hajnoczky
Just because admission to the National Parks is free as part of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations doesn’t mean you should forgo visiting parks in Calgary. Here in town (and nearby), there are several parks with special events or displays for Canada 150. Sometimes that involves special tulips, sometimes it’s bench artwork, sometimes it’s Canada Day celebrations — all are parks worth visiting this season.
Parks with Canada 150 celebrations
Cost: Free admission for the 2017 season
Dates: Special events are on various dates from May to September
Okay, this isn’t in Calgary, but it’s worth the drive south. The vast ranchland and mountain views alone are worth a trip, but keep its upcoming Canada 150 events on your radar too. Leading up to Canada Day, Bar U Ranch will be hosting Canada 150 events over the May long weekend and on Father’s Day. The Canada 150 celebrations continue after Canada Day, too.
Bar U Ranch, Longview, pc.gc.ca
Cost: Free, donations accepted
Dates: Ongoing; unveiling event on May 27
Last fall, volunteers planted hundreds of tulip bulbs in the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs. Now, one thousand red and white tulips are in bloom in honour of Canada 150. Visit the garden to admire the tulips (they are just beginning to bloom) or attend the official garden unveiling on Saturday, May 27. It’s going to be a big party with music, refreshments, birthday cake, and of course, lots of tulips.
Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs, botanicalgardensofsilversprings.ca
The Calgary Horticultural Society has planted tulips to celebrate Canada 150. Stop by the centre on 50th Avenue S.W. in the next few weeks to admire at least 1,000 red and white tulips planted in the front and back gardens.
208 50 Ave. S.W., 403-287-3469, calhort.org
Dates: July 1
There’s a big Canada Day celebration at Confederation Park. The festivities kick off at 9 a.m. with a free pancake breakfast. Horse-drawn wagon rides, entertainment and music will be running until 1 p.m. A few special extras include a new natural play space for the kids and the opening of a time capsule from 1967.
Confederation Park, 905 30 Ave. N.W., calgary.ca
Dorothy Harvie Gardens, Calgary Zoo
Cost: Adult admission to the Calgary Zoo is $24.95
As well as seeing the various animals at the zoo, be sure to stop at the Dorothy Harvie Gardens and admire the Calgary Zoo’s botanical side. This spring and summer, it’s all about the tulips. For Canada 150, 15,000 bulbs were planted so expect to see thousands of red and white flowers in bloom this season. You’ll see “Canada Eh!” tulips (they’re red and white), “Canadian Celebration” tulips (they’re white with just a dash of red) and “Canadian Liberator” tulips (they’re deep red). Also mixed in are red and white "Parrot" tulips, pink and red “Delight Mix” tulips and an elegant, red “Lasting Love” tulip.
You’ll also see red and white pansies in the shape of a Canadian flag across from the Dorothy Harvie Gardens entrance.
Calgary Zoo, 1300 Zoo Rd. N.E., 403-232-9300, calgaryzoo.com
The City of Calgary and Antyx Community Arts worked together to update the Forest Lawn park at 43rd Street S.E. The space has been turned into a natural park, with naturalized play elements, a boardwalk, a “food forest” and more. Specifically for Canada 150, park benches and picnic tables are being turned into pieces of artwork to reflect Canada’s natural beauty.
43 St. and 10 Ave. S.E., antyx.org
Dates: July 1
Celebrate Canada Day and Canada 150 at Fort Calgary. As well as a free pancake breakfast, family-friendly games and music, the City of Calgary’s “living flag” event will take place on the Fort Calgary green space. Be sure to wear either red or white.
Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1875, fortcalgary.com
Dates: July 15
Creekfest in Fish Creek Provincial Park happens each July. Each year it’s a celebration of Alberta’s natural areas. This year, as well as interactive displays, nature walks through the park and family-friendly activities, there will be specific Canada 150 activities. Expect a singing of the Canadian national anthem by local singer Jennie Harluk, a guided walk all about beavers and more.
Bow Valley Ranche, friendsoffishcreek.org
Dates: July 1
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, a local Muslim organization that promotes community togetherness, hosts a Canaday Day event in this park. The event is a multicultural celebration that begins with a flag hoisting and includes a free barbecue, entertainment and games. There will also be guided tours of the Baitun Nur Mosque, located just south of Prairie Winds Park. It's the largest mosque in Western Canada.
Prairie Winds Park, 223 Castleridge Blvd. N.E., calgary.ca
Calgary has a huge, three-dimensional Canada 150 sign and it's going to be in Prince's Island Park until the end of this year. The sign, located by the Eau Claire Plaza pond, is 11 metres in length and lights up at night. There will be 18 other cities across Canada with the same three-dimensional sign to mark the occasion.
Prince's Island Park, calgary.ca
Calgary parks to host your own Canada 150 party
If you’re hosting a Canada 150 party and inviting lots of families, choose to have a picnic at Big Marlborough Park. You can get everyone involved in sports and activities here — there are tennis courts, soccer fields and baseball diamonds. There are several benches for you to set up your picnic lunch, and, there are two big parking lots so it’s really easy to move all your picnic gear from your car to the picnic table.
6033 Madigan Dr. N.E., calgary.ca
If your Canada 150 party plans involve appreciating the beauty of Canada’s nature — and you’re not planning on inviting a lot of people — head to Carburn Park. You can fish, you can try birdwatching and you can rent a canoe and paddle down the river.
67 Riverview Dr. S.E., calgary.ca
For the Canada 150 barbecue party you’re planning, head to Edworthy Park. You can book a picnic site in advance and there are numerous shelters, firepits and barbecue stands to choose from. And, be sure to take a walk through the historical Lawrey Gardens.
5050 Spruce Dr. S.W., calgary.ca
This nine-hectare green space is ideal for a low-key Canada 150 party that will involve yard games like croquet, bocce ball and cricket. If there’s going to be food at your party, pick something up from the nearby Sunnyside Natural Market.
800 12 St. N.W., calgary.ca
Visit this southwest park if you’re holding a beachy Canada 150 party. As well as great access to the shallow Elbow River, this park has picnic areas and shelters and barbecue stands.
4500 14A St. S.W., calgary.ca