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Hawkwood welcomes public to outdoor recreation facility

The Hawkwood Community Association has officially opened the doors, or lack thereof, to the city’s newest outdoor recreation facility.

The opening was well attended, drawing hundreds of local residents along with dignitaries from the community association, and municipal, provincial, and federal politicians.

The facility has a skating rink and skating pond, tennis and pickleball courts, a zip line, parkour course, free play areas, among many other amenities for residents.

“It’s so rewarding to see. You’ve got this vision in your head, and you work with everybody to make sure it works for everyone. Then you see people actually using it the way we’d hoped they would, and so that’s pretty awesome,” said Heather Kovach, programs coordinator for the Hawkwood Community Association.

And although Saturday’s temperatures soared to +12 Celsius, making it hard to use the skating pond, many children decided to splash about instead. This fit perfectly into one of the original goals of the facility design, which was to encourage free play.

Many others waited in line to try the zip line. Some wanted a go at one of the city’s only outdoor parkour courses.

The facility can be accessed from Hawkstone Drive NW, and by Hawkhill Road NW.

For more on how the facility came to be, see LiveWire Calgary’s previous coverage of the construction of the outdoor recreation facility.

Councillor hopes more recreation facilities open

Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness said that it was wonderful that the grand opening was bringing the community together.

“The community’s hard work has paid off really well, and I think I look forward to all the events here,” she said.

Wyness said that she would be advocating for more recreation spaces like the Hawkwood facility to be opened in Calgary.

“I want to just keep doing this over and over again—take their success and use it elsewhere,” she said.

Calgary Rocky Ridge Member of Parliament Pat Kelly echoed Coun. Wyness’ statements, sayin how great it was to see a big community turnout.

“This has been a long time coming, and just a tremendous volunteer effort from the Hawkwood Community Association and a real credit to them, and the determination of the volunteers to make this day possible,” he said.

Outdoor space important to well being

Kelsi Hurlbut and Julian Warring, principal landscape architects with The Tula Project, were involved in designing the facility.

Hurlbut said that one of the association’s goals was to create a community hub for all ages and backgrounds.

“It’s really exciting to see it come to life,” she said.

“I think speaks to the fact that we, together in collaboration with the community, nailed the elements and the design, and looks like everyone’s having a lot of fun.”

Warring said that having quality outdoor spaces is important to people’s well being. It’s key to their ability to connect with others.

“The more people you have attracted to come to a space, the more vibrant and community feel you get,” said Hurlbut, expanding on Warring’s comments.

Warring said he was excited to see people using the space in new ways they didn’t expect when designing it.

“Some of these elements that were intended for the kids, some of the people are using them instead for agility for their dogs, which is not something that necessarily we we’re really thinking about,” he said.

“That part, I love.”

Patrick Schmeikal, right, a parkour enthusiast and local Calgary stuntman, used the new parkour course on Saturday, January 22, 2022. After 16 years of work by the Hawkwood Community Association, the recreation facility was opened to residents and the wider Calgary community. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Parkour course a big hit, and part of summer programming plans

Kovach said that she was happy to see the new parkour course being used extensively on the grand opening.

The community association invited Breathe Parkour to the grand opening to talk about the sport with visitors. They also showed off how the course might be used.

“Once we built our thing we wanted to bring people in that know what they’re doing,” said Kovach.

She said that Breathe Parkour would be running classes and camps at the Hawkwood outdoor recreation facility in the summertime.

The benefits said Kelly DeWitt, the homeschool coach with Breathe Parkour, would be giving people access to a sport that is not only good for them physically but also would allow them to express themselves through motion.

“I guess a good way to akin it is if you think of gymnastics is to ballet, breakdancing is to parkour,” he said.

“It’s really like expressing yourself through your body through your movement, and telling your story through that.”

Details on the programming will be available through the Hawkwood Community Association and Breathe Parkour in the coming months.

‘Crokicurl’ rink open, when it gets cold out

One of the additional winter features that Kovach, and the association, were proud to show off during the grand opening was the new crokicurl rink.

The game combines the sport of curling with crokinole, and was invented in Winnipeg.

The rink was constructed using the same type of beams as the parkour course. And although it was too warm for use on Saturday, Kovach said that it would be available for use once the temperatures dipped below zero. Additional lights have been installed to allow play at night.

“The idea is to open it up after school, and then everyone can play,” she said.

The City of Calgary had lent the association some full-sized curling rocks for the grand opening. They also provided small ones for the kids.

She said that local Scouts would be creating some permanent ‘rocks’ out of milk jugs.

“What’s really fun about this—and the whole facility—is the number of opportunities it opens up and in order for us to do community events,” said Kovach.

“Just endless, and so that’s pretty exciting.”