Share this page Print

Bowness Park Redevelopment Project

Artist rendering of the new tea house in Bowness Park
Bowness Park Tea House - Artist Rendering

Bowness Park partially reopened on November 10, 2014 after being closed for redevelopment in 2012, and then severely impacted by the 2013 flood.

The entire west side of the park including the parking lot, picnic areas, and new Central Square has reopened to the public. The east end of the park will remain closed until summer 2016. Improvements include a new wading pool with change rooms, and the installation of a sound system in the middle of the lagoon, reminiscent of the park’s orthophonic sound system in use in the early 1900s.

The engine and one passenger car of the restored Bowness Park miniature train will be returned to the park in March. The remaining two cars will be delivered to the park later this spring. The train will be tested, and then placed in storage until it resumes normal service to the public this summer. The train cannot resume operations until the wading pool is completed due to space restrictions and construction requirements.

Plans are underway to have an event celebrating the train’s return. Details will be shared when they are available.

The tea house restaurant, Seasons of Bowness Park is also scheduled to open spring 2016, featuring both a full service restaurant (lunch, dinner & weekend brunch) plus a grab ‘n’ go market offering visitors healthy food choices that can be enjoyed picnic-style throughout the park. View their Facebook page for updates.

Winter skate rentals and summer boat rentals are offered in park by the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre. Rentals are available at the new Teahouse building and Boat House, respectively. View the Bowness Park page for Boat House hours.

Redevelopment Highlights

The goal of the redevelopment was to enhance park visitors’ experience and boost the park’s environmental health.

  • The new central square is now complete. It is a wonderful public gathering space featuring a new teahouse (with a full service restaurant and grab n’ go market), new benches, lighting, fire pits, and a deck that allows visitors to easily access the lagoon water. This new design provides park visitors with a better connection to the water.
  • A new wading pool, including new washrooms and change rooms, is currently under construction at the east end of the park and is expectedto be complete by summer 2016., The wading pool will be located at the same spot as the historic swimming pool, where many Calgarians enjoyed cooling off on a hot day.
  • The river edge was restored to stabilize the bank and provide safe access to the river during low water levels.
  • New centralized parking lots were built to improve traffic flow and encourage a pedestrian/bicycle-friendly park experience.
  • A new parking lot was built at the west end of nearby Baker Park to encourage rafters to use the existing boat launch. This will substantially reduce environmental damage from launching water crafts directly from the riverbank at Bowness Park.
  • The park entrance bridge was replaced, and the new bridge is raised to better manage the lagoon’s water level.
  • Interpretative signage and historic elements are being installed in a phased approach to celebrate the rich history of this 100 year old park.

About the project

Since 2012, Bowness Park has undergone changes to support an increased number of park visitors over the years, enhance park visitors’ experience, boost the park’s environmental health and complete much needed life-cycle upgrades/replacements.

The new park design is based on public and stakeholder input, and was approved by council in 2009. View the design development plan or overview information sheet on the project.

Improvements to the park were made possible with funding from the Council-created Community Investment Fund (CIF). In 2011, CIF was created to help fund tangible and useful community improvements projects. Through CIF, Council gives back to Calgarians by investing in and supporting new community projects and critical lifecycle upgrades throughout the city.​