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Thomson Family Park

Thomson Family Park will be officially open on October 14, 2016, with a celebration attended by the Mayor, Councilor, Director of Parks and the Thomson Family. This new inner-city green space will give residents of the Beltline community further outdoor recreation opportunities and a chance to engage with nature right outside their doors.

Rendering of new park 

The redeveloped site will provide a substantial addition to the public green space in the Beltline, and an opportunity to experience the entire space as a contiguous park. It also allows us to celebrate the cultural heritage of this site, one that continues the theme of bringing people together in an outdoor environment and engages our future generation through Public Art’s Street Art Program for Youth. This park will create a stronger sense of community with laughter, adventures, community events, special occasions and enjoying nature.

The site is being redeveloped with the help and generosity of the Thomson family whose contribution will supplement funds for park improvements and for which the park is named in recognition of their gift. The Thomson family share strong personal connections to the community and a vision for a family-oriented urban park space that will serve as a dynamic hub for the neighbourhood.

Construction-related closures

During construction, the park will be closed to the public. Although we are trying to minimize disruption to the area outside the park, we expect the following closures:

  • The 11th Street sidewalk and one lane of traffic have now been re-opened.
  • Approximately 11 of the angle parking spots along 16th Avenue SW and the sidewalk next to those stalls will be closed to allow for construction access to the site.
  • The rest of the 16th Avenue sidewalk will remain accessible to adjacent parking stalls except for temporary closures while the concrete is replaced.
  • The east sidewalk on 12th Street SW will remain open throughout most of the project, except for temporary closures while the concrete is replaced. Site detour signs will be in place.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please check back for future updates on construction status - the excitement grows as we move closer to having a brand new park for the Beltline!

11th Street Sidewalk – Low Impact Development Initiative

LID image
Low Impact Development under construction

As you stroll along the newly installed sidewalk on 11th Street S.W., there is something remarkable underfoot. Installed under the concrete pavement is a series of engineered cells supporting the weight of the sidewalk.

These engineered cells are made of 100% recycled materials, and are filled with a special blend of growing medium that helps retain moisture, filter storm water and provide healthy soil volume for street trees to grow.

The system serves as storm water retention during rain events and as a filter to remove pollutants from storm water before it hits our rivers. Rain water run-off from the roadway is directed through catch basins at the curb and into the soil cell system below the sidewalk, providing passive irrigation for new street trees on 11th Street. The extra soil volume will help the trees grow healthy and strong, providing shade and beautification to the streetscape.

Learn more about other LID projects in the City of Calgary!

February 2015 Open House - Final concept design

After an extensive community engagement and iterative design process based on community and stakeholder input, the final design for the park was revealed at a public open house on February 4, 2015 – view the full presentation materials and 3D video fly-through of the park design. 

Feedback on the final concept design was obtained at the Open House and through an online survey that closed on Wednesday, February 25. Of those who shared their feedback:

  • 57% felt that the design supported previous suggestions from the public
  • 16% were unsure, not having attended previous sessions
  • 9% felt that the design did not support suggestions from the public
  • 71% felt that the design supported their personal vision of the park
  • Only 6% felt that the design did not support their personal vision of the park

Many people shared their compliments of the overall design while a few were concerned about the proportion of green space, overall maintenance and vandalism or inappropriate use. Other comments made a wide variety of suggestions concerning potential amenities in the park including requests for more seating, picnic tables and planting.
Your comments will help refine and improve the final plans for the park as we prepare for construction later in 2015. Public consultation for the project is now complete.

Keep checking this page to stay informed on this project or call 311.

July 2014 Open House - Preliminary park concept and summary of public input

Avision and proposed concept plan for the park was presented at a public open house on July 19, 2014. Both the vision and the proposed concept plan were developed based on input received to date and from the Public Workshop. Feedback was gathered at the public open house that afternoon, and through an online survey, which is now closed.

Generally, the community and other park users are supportive of the overall concept and design elements, including:

  • The provision of flexible green space and engaging foliage.
  • The consideration of the site’s history with the rehabilitation of the bowling green into a large open green space and a park pavilion representing the club house.
  • The revitalization of the playground space.
  • Inclusion of space for seasonal vending.

Building from prior engagement, continued themes and areas of concern from residents remain:

  • The ongoing overall maintenance of the new design.
  • How the design would contribute to reducing anti-social behaviour in the park.
  • The integration and treatment of the back alley.
  • Sufficient lighting in the park.

All of these ideas, suggestions and comments will be used to refine and improve the final design and development plan for the park. The final plan will be presented before moving forward with construction.

​April 2014 Public workshop - visioning and summary of public input

Starting in April 2014, The City of Calgary Parks has been gathering input from the public about the park.Comments gathered have been analyzed and posted on summary boards in the park.

On May 24 2014, a public workshop was held in the park. Participants were asked to prioritize design elements to be considered for the park’s redevelopment by filling out arecipe book. Theresults of this workshop have been tallied and will be posted on summary boards in the park. Thank you for thegreat feedback and participation at the event!

Your input was used to develop an overall vision andproposed concept plan for the park.

Information about aproposed pilot off-leash area at Connaught Park (14 Avenue and 11 Street SW) was also

presented. Additional information and engagement for this project will be undertaken separately and will start later this summer. Look for more information about this new project to come!

Site's Heritage

This site was first recognized as a park in 1929, when space on the site was developed for use as a lawn bowling green. Over the years, the site has been used for a variety of other reasons as well, including a picnic and sitting area, and a play area equipped with a small playground for kids in the community.

The site is listed on Calgary’s Inventory of Historic Resources. While it will no longer service the Calgary Lawn Bowling Club, there are physical elements of the site that can be retained and celebrated within the context of changing the site into a publicly accessible park.

Parks has had many successes with updating and altering cultural landscapes in Calgary while still retaining the heritage value of the sites by following The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

Calgary Lawn Bowling Club

The Calgary Lawn Bowling Club (CLBC) and Parks have been working together since 2009 to find a suitable new home for the club. A new location in the SW community of Spruce Cliff has now been identified and plans are underway.

There’s already an active senior’s group in the community which provided Parks with the opportunity to build a new joint-use facility for the two seniors’ groups to use. The new facility will provide many advantages and synergies for the groups and will become a new community hub for Spruce Cliff.