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Bowness Park Redevelopment Project

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

Bownesss Park partially reopened on November 10, 2014 after being closed since 2012 for re-development to enhance park visitors’ experience and the park’s environmental health.

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 the fall of 2015.

Construction of a new concession, which will include a tea house/cafe, rental shop and public washrooms, has also been completed. Parks is now looking for an operator for the new facility, and hopes to have one selected by mid-November.

Skating on the lagoon will be open this winter season! We are currently working with the Bowness Community Association to plan a skating party early next year. More details will be made available at calgary.ca/parks and through the Bowness Community Association.

Impact of the 2013 flood

It’s been a challenge for Parks to get the Bowness redevelopment back on track since the flood. At the time of the flood, about 40 to 50 per cent of the redevelopment had been done. The flood washed up to five feet of water into the park and completely destroyed the new parking lot. Other structures such as the Parks depot and washrooms were damaged, while silt and large debris covered the entire park.

However, some redevelopment work done prior to the flood helped minimize damages to the river bank. Boulders, known as ‘armour’ were placed along the river’s edge near the Stoney Trail Bridge and helped protect the land from erosion. Rock berms or ‘spurs’ also helped reduce scouring along the river bank by breaking up rising overland waters.
Parks would like to thank Calgarians for their patience as work continues in Bowness and other flood-damaged parks.

Impact of the 2014 September snow storm

City of Calgary crews worked closely with the wildland firefighters from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to ensure the park was cleaned up and cleared of debris from the September snow storm. Overhead pruning of trees using aerial trucks and extensive ground cleanup was completed over a one week period to ensure the park is safe for Calgarians and visitors.

More news about the project

**Project updates are also posted on signage in the park.

Other Redevelopment Highlights

  • Restoration of the river edge to stabilize the eroding bank and provide safe access to the river during low water levels.
  • Reallocated parking to one central location at the centre of the park. This new design will improve traffic flow and encourage a pedestrian/cycling-friendly park experience.
  • New water control structures at the lagoon will control water flow and level for more efficient water management.
  • Construction of a new parking lot at the west end of Baker Park. The objective in constructing this new lot is to encourage rafters to use the existing boat launch infrastructure at Baker Park, which will substantially reduce environmental damage from launching water crafts directly from the riverbank at Bowness Park.
  • New park entrance bridge; the current bridge is nearing the end of its life-cycle. The new bridge will be raised to better manage the lagoon’s water level.
  • Interpretative signage and historic elements 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.

Redevelopment began in March 2012 and is brought to you by the community investment fund. Created by City Council on July 25, 2011, the fund is investing $252 million into tangible and useful community improvements on things like libraries, recreation centres, swimming pools, arenas, athletic fields, playgrounds, emergency services and parks.​