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The role of community advocacy in the conservation of cultural landscapes in Calgary

Michelle Reid
Conservation Landscape Architect
Department of Parks, City of Calgary

Calgary Parks has had great success within the last 10 years with the conservation of the City’s cultural landscapes. It has established a cultural landscape strategic plan, has invested over $25M in conservation and redevelopment work, and has partnered with many local organizations. These successes would not have been possible without the actions of community support and advocacy. This presentation explores the impact of community advocacy on the redevelopment of six of Calgary’s cultural landscapes:

  • Central Memorial Park (1912) – a park inspired by Victorian carpet bed designs.

  • Reader Rock Garden (1913) – an Edwardian rockery.

  • Bowness Park (1912) – a “trolley park” so loved by the community that any redevelopment was viewed skeptically.

  • Bridgeland-Riverside Vacant Lots Garden (1920) – a community garden jointly managed by Calgary Parks and the community, ensuring the continuing conservation of the site.

  • Century Gardens (1976) – an Expressionist/Brutalist park that was under threat of demolition because of preconceived opinions on modernist landscapes.

  • Paskapoo Slopes (4000-7000 BCE) – a once privately owned buffalo pound site, recently transferred into the Calgary Parks inventory after a long development struggle.