Bearspaw / Haskayne Legacy Park
Client The City of Calgary
Location Calgary | Alberta | Canada
A continuous river valley park system is a vision that has long inspired The City of Calgary and its citizens. Fortuitously, the growing City acquired and set aside 186 hectares of prime land on the Bow River in Rocky View County—the area now called Haskayne | Bearspaw Legacy Park. The Park is intended to preserve the important natural features and provide a range of active and passive recreation to residents throughout the Calgary region.
Planning for the Park began in 2008 and will continue through 2011. The process is carefully and thoughtfully defining a vision and identity for these precious lands. Because adjacent City residents are yet to arrive, the plan must anticipate the needs and desires of the future population. Above all, the Park will be a place where nature, culture, and history intersect. The design framework suggests two transects across the landscape. One interprets the site’s natural character—escarpments coulees, grasslands, seeps, and springs. A second transect moves across the cultural landscape of the site reflect the human imprint— the nomadic Blackfoot Nation, Hudson Bay fur traders, pioneering railroad workers, and the legendary cattle ranchers and farmers.
The Park will be designed to protect, provide and delight. The Park’s natural landscape of coulee, grassland, and woodland will protect Calgary’s drinking water and provide important wildlife habitat. Cultural features— trails, interpretive stations, lookouts, land art— will delight visitors with long valley views, and a closeness to nature. Built elements and designed landscapes will be in sync with nature— land art that helps manage stormwater, natural play environments, sustainable materials, and renewable energy. Interpretive trails and stations will offer abundant opportunities for education and stewardship, ensuring the Park’s future as an ecological, cultural, and recreational landscape for generations to come.