One of the most popular places in Calgary during the (all too few) warm summer months is Prince’s Island Park. The park occupies an island in the Bow River and is situated immediately north of downtown Calgary. It’s open from sunrise to sunset (5 am to 11 pm). Several pedestrian bridges provide park access from downtown.
Prince’s Island Park was named after Peter Prince, who moved from Quebec to Calgary in 1886. Mr. Prince founded the Eau Claire Lumber Mill, and formed the Calgary Water Power Company to provide hydroelectricity to the city. Prince’s Island Park was developed as a community park after the Prince family sold the land to the city in 1947, resulting in the development of a major recreational site for people living near downtown.
The island measures 20 hectares (49 acres). The southern and western parts of the island are landscaped, but the north-eastern end of the island has been rehabilitated into a wild wetland environment, home to beaver, geese and ducks.
A 2.7 km trail loops around the island past all its major attractions. The trail is popular with people jogging, walking their dogs (must be leashed), or simply bird watching. Besides trails, the park has picnic areas, a playground, flower gardens, and a concert stage for major events. The park’s excellent River Café is open much of the year. In the winter cross-country skiing and skating are available in the park.
Prince’s Island Park hosts many large events throughout the year including a popular Canada Day celebration and Calgary Folk Festival.
The island offers some terrific views of the city, including of the Millennium Bridge to the west and of the city’s skyline to the south. Very recommended, especially for people traveling with younger children.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)