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Rockin’ Around Riverbend: Community Christmas tree going strong six years on

On a paved walkway a few steps away from a skating rink in Carburn Park, a holiday tradition was born.

According to an anonymous Google reviewer, residents of Calgary’s Riverbend community started spontaneously decorating a Christmas tree in the area in 2015.

It has now become a favourite holiday activity for members of the southeast Calgary community and their families.

“People make it into a family thing,” said Olga Maciejewski, the president of the Riverbend Community Association. (RCA)

“With my own kids this year, we got our ornaments and made a special trip to the park to put them on the tree.”

Ornaments on the Carburn Park Christmas Tree. (OMAR SHERIF / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

But how exactly it started remains a mystery.

“I’m not sure how it actually started,” said Maciejewski.

A blog post from 2017 said residents of the community started spontaneously decorating the tree. Back then, that was the third year the annual tradition took place.

Six years after the inaugural decorating, the tradition lives on and it is more popular than ever.

“I think everyone’s happy,” said Maciejewski.

“There’s already a second tree going.”

Both trees are within steps of each other on the same path, and are decorated with ornaments ranging from handmade snowmen, to reindeers and angels, bells, and bobbles.

Pathway users in Carburn Park knew of the tradition, but few knew its origin.

“It’s really nice,” most would say.

Ornaments on the Carburn Park Christmas Tree. (OMAR SHERIF / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

Maciejewski and other volunteers at the RCA have been encouraging residents to bring Christmas ornaments to decorate the tree if they are going to be in the park. It will help keep the holiday spirits high.

After the holiday fun is all said and done, the ornaments are donated to a charitable organization.