The History of Central Memorial Park, Calgary's Oldest Park
Central Memorial Park is Calgary’s oldest park. Located in the heart of Calgary’s Beltline, the Park occupies an entire city block between 12th and 13th Avenues SW, and by 2nd and 4th Streets, totalling two hectares of land. The Federal Government donated the land for the park in 1899. The land was developed into a formal Victorian garden with abundant garden beds separated by geometric pathways lined by imported and native trees. It opened the public in 1912, and was considered a civic showcase ‒ a place to see and be seen strolling with your family on a Sunday afternoon.
In addition to gardens, trees and pathways, the park features several memorials, including a Boer War Memorial equestrian statue unveiled in 1914, a World War I soldier statue erected in 1924 by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, a WWI cenotaph dedicated in 1928, and a memorial honouring the Right Honourable Richard Bedford Bennett, Canada’s 11th prime minister.
Remembrance Day civic wreath laying ceremonies are held here annually on November 11. Three thousand crosses are erected in the park to commemorate the southern Alberta soliders who died in action. The ceremonies draw thousands of visitors each year.
The Park is also home to the Boxwood Café, and Memorial Public Library, originally Calgary’s Central Library. First opened in 1911, the Central Library was the first public library in Alberta. It was renamed in 1960 when a new downtown central library was built to replace it.
Central Memorial Park was redeveloped in 2009 to restore some historical aspects of the park, and at the same time make it more useful for modern times, in celebration of its 100-year anniversary. It re-opened in 2010, and is now considered a must-see for visitors and residents alike.
Central Memorial Park
1221 2 St SW
Park hours: 5 am to 11 pm