A renewed public space mixes equal parts preservation and modernization.
On Wednesday, the City of Calgary officially reopened Century Gardens urban park following a renovation to make the area more open and welcoming to all Calgarians.
The project added two new buildings with a public washroom and the opportunity for a food concession. It also included a wooden amphitheater and a central splash pad. Updates were also made to the heritage waterfalls and public art sculptures. They also built wider park entrances and increased route options to and from the CTrain platform.
Century Gardens was originally built in 1975 to celebrate Calgary’s Centennial and some features exceeded their life expectancy. The City used this as an opportunity to reinvigorate the park.
Historical features within the park were enhanced and protected during the redevelopment to create a space for Calgarians to enjoy year-round – including the unique features of the fountains and water from the original park design that are symbolic of the area’s mountains and rivers.
“Century Gardens has traditionally offered a place to connect and a reprieve from the bustling downtown scene”, said Kyle Ripley, Director for Calgary Parks.
“The park redevelopment will bring that sense of reprieve to life for a new generation of park users while adding vibrancy to the downtown core, which is an important piece of the economic recovery of the area.”
Adding life to a historic park
The full project, which had some supply and construction delays due to COVID-19, cost $16 million over a 12-year period.
“More Calgarians than ever are looking for parks and green space to enjoy,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.
The redevelopment of one of the most important parks downtown Calgary gives people more options when looking for a place to reconnect, reflect or relax, Nenshi said.
An online Park Use Assessment survey was conducted in 2014 to get initial feedback from park users and key stakeholders. That directed the preferred concept for the redevelopment.
“The pandemic has shown how important parks and open space are and I look forward to seeing this park being enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for years to come,” Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley said.
Century Gardens is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. The splash pad is operational from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer.