CHECK IT OUT
This summer, I spent a lot of time not only enjoying Calgary’s waterfront parks and pathways, but also those in Victoria and Vancouver.
I reflected on the lessons Calgary can learn from other cities regarding how to create a unique river experience for Calgarians and tourists.
One of the first things I noticed about Victoria’s and Vancouver’s waterfront developments is they include numerous restaurants and patios with direct views of the water.
In Calgary, I can’t think of a single restaurant with a good view of either the Bow or the Elbow Rivers, or the pathways for that matter.
While River Cafe has glimpses of the lagoon, that is about it.
Unfortunately, the restaurant developments at Eau Claire Market that were built in the early ’90s — Hard Rock Cafe building, Barley Mill and Prego — are too far removed from the water to provide a true river experience
I hold out hope that the redevelopment of the Simmons Building in East Village will include a rooftop patio with views of the downtown skyline and river valley.
I also think we should look for other opportunities for restaurant/ cafe development along the river’s edge — such as Edworthy Park, Calgary Zoo and the new Harvie Passage, the new $5-million kayaker’s playground of pools and rapids being created at the weir near the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.
While not a proponent of rampant development along the river, I think we could identify key sites suitable for pedestrian-oriented developments.
Restaurants, cafes and concession stands function as places for people to congregate, rather than just walk or cycle by.
I can’t help but wonder if Calgary would be so bold as to build a restaurant right on the river.
Frankfurt, Germany, has several restaurant boats tied up to the shore on a permanent basis, allowing people to sit on the river and enjoy the animation on both the river and the pathways along the river’s edge.
Although Calgary’s rivers have no significant history of navigation, surely we could use our imagination to create something would allow people to experience the river year-round? The City of Calgary Public Art Program is currently gathering input from Calgarians on how to make the most of public art in Calgary, and what the Program can do to best serve its citizens. E-mail your ideas, to publicart@ calgary.ca by Sept. 30, 2011.
More than restaurants
In Vancouver, I encountered numerous recreational activities immediately next to its waterfront pathways — boathouses, spray parks, basketball courts, ball hockey rinks, skateboard parks, beach volleyball courts, massive outdoor swimming pools and children’s playgrounds.
While Calgary has some of these activities near its river pathways, they are often
With summer rafting having become a major element of Calgary’s summer culture, we should encourage this activity by creating numerous spots along the river for putting in and taking out rafts, canoes and kayaks.
Parks along the river should have some sort of
Logs can be used as natural benches for pedestrians.