Strathcona Ravine is a natural environment park that is completely surrounded by the communities of Strathcona and Christie Park in Calgary's southwest.
Location: 888 Strathcona Dr. S.W.
Area: 23 hectares
Park hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
About the park
Strathcona Ravines Park is completely surrounded by the communities of Strathcona and Christie Park in the southwest part of the city. The 23 hectares of ravines were set aside as an environmental reserve when the communities were developed during the 1970s. The community and the ravines were named after Lord Strathcona.
Experience nature in the city
Ramble through the ravines. Ravines are defined as narrow, steep sided valleys, especially those formed by erosion from running water. If you want to experience a classic ravine in the wilds of Calgary, this is the park to visit. A stream continues to shape the ravine as it flows along the bottom.
The walls of the ravines facing north are wooded and those facing south are primarily grassland with short shrubs. The wooded areas include stands of Balsam Poplar and Trembling Aspen along with thick growths of willows.
The grasslands are composed of a mixture of native and introduced grasses such as Rough Fescue and Awnless Brome.
Black-billed Magpies often build their large nests in the tall willows. These nests are quite obvious during the late fall and winter. At the other end of the size scale these forests are home to the Black-capped Chickadee. The large number of bird feeders in the surrounding houses supports a very dense chickadee population.
The boardwalk at the west end of the ravine crosses a seasonal stream and wetland; an excellent area to look for birds such as flycatchers and waxwings. Birds of prey such as Great Horned and Great Gray Owls have also been spotted in this park. White-tailed Jackrabbits feed here, but as is a common phenomenon in Calgary, they retreat to the surrounding neighbourhoods
Due to the build up of the surrounding communities, the ravines appear isolated—they do not appear to come from anywhere or go anywhere. In fact, they are part of what was a larger network of ravines that drained to the south shore of the Bow River. There are two geographically separate ravines in the park, but they are connected by a public trail.
The preservation of this environmental reserve / park has resulted in a natural gem in the middle of a suburban community.