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Reader Rock Garden

Reader Rock Garden Historic Park is one of Calgary's most unique cultural landscapes featuring the restored Reader house (that contains Reader's Garden Café), rock pathways, bridges, benches and beautiful flowers. Reader Rock Garden is the perfect location for group functions and events, including weddings, photography sessions and family gatherings. Book Reader Rock Garden for your function.
 

Readers house
Location: 325 25 Ave. S.E.
Area: ​16.5 hectares
Park hours: ​Open sunrise to sunset
Rock pathway at Reader Rock Garden
Rock path

Park features

Garden etiquette

Reader Rock Garden is a designated provincial historic site. When visiting the garden, please respect the uniqueness of the plant collection, wildlife and facility by following these simple rules:

  • It is prohibited to disturb any part of the plant collection including seed collecting, fruit or flower picking or removal of any plants.
  • Stay on designated trails and grassy areas at all times. This helps to protect the plants.
  • Garden users must exercise caution at all times due to the sloped and uneven nature of the trails. Please wear appropriate footwear.
  • Due to the nature of the pathway system, groups must be broken into smaller sizes of 15 people maximum.
  • Animals in the garden are wild, do not disturb or feed them.
  • Be considerate of all other visitors to the garden.
  • Adhering to the rules will ensure the protection of the Garden's valuable plant collection and historical features.

About the park

Reader Rock Garden Historic Park is one of the city's most unique cultural landscapes and the first Legacy Park to open. Its restoration was honoured with a Calgary Heritage Authority Lion Award in Landscape Preservation, earning official designation as a Provincial Historic Resource. Its restoration was completed in 2006 and earned an official designation as a Provincial Historic Resource.

Reader Rock Garden entrance sign

This historic garden is a tribute to one man's passion for plants and beauty. William Roland Reader was the Superintendent for The City of Calgary Parks from 1913 – 1942 who transformed a bare hillside into an internationally-acclaimed garden.

During the turn of the century, it was common for horticulturists to collect alpine plants on their travels and create gardens as living artifacts of their journeys. Reader actively engaged in this practice and for thirty years the Garden trialed over 4000 different plant species, making it one of the few significant gardens in western Canada. Reader used the Garden as a showplace to educate people about the gardening potential of the prairie/foothills region of Alberta, particularly Calgary.

Lovingly rehabilitated according to Reader's original plans, the garden blooms from mid-March to mid-November. The reconstructed Arts and Crafts style house features a café and classroom space for educational programs.