Central Memorial Park
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This is Central Memorial Park. It is one of Calgary's oldest parks and as the name suggests, it is known both for its central location and its importance as a memorial for soldiers. The park was provided to the city by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1889. Five years later water was supplied to the park which allowed the city to create a tree nursery. In 1904, a bandshell was built along the western edge and the park began hosting musical performances. Then in 1908, the gardens were laid out in the way you see it today making it one of the last remaining Edwardian gardens in Western Canada. The garden plan was completed by William Reader, the first Superintendent of Parks for Calgary. The first memorial in the park was erected in 1914 and dedicated to soldiers who died in the Boer War. It includes a fine equestrian statue by Louis-Philippe Hébert and was Calgary's first significant piece of public art. The World War One memorial was added in 1928 at which point the park was renamed from Central Park to Central Memorial Park. The dedication was attended by 10,000 people impressive considering the population of the city was only 60,000. Following World War Two, the memorial was rededicated to Calgarians who lost their lives in that war. In 1967, the eternal flame was donated to the park by the Calgary Veterans. True to its name the flame was kept lit during recent renovations. There are a pair of other memorials in the park. One is the World War One statue in front of the Central Library and the other is dedicated to former Prime Minister R.B. Bennett to the south of the library. If you hunt around the park you will also find the geodetic marker which identifies the official altitude of Calgary at 3439.66 feet above sea level. It was set in place in 1928. Having trouble finding it? You can see a picture of it here. Today Central Memorial Park continues to serve as a focal point for services on Remembrance Day held every year on November 11th. It is also home to a new restaurant, an automatic light and sprinkler system, and flower gardens that continue to enchant locals and visitors alike.
aj_03-10, Alison Jackson Photography Collection, Calgary Public Library
Rebecca Williams, Lougheed House, 2020