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Public art installation by artist Annie Wong 2022 A park without a name

The City-owned park and parkade located at 115 4 Ave. S.W. were renamed 和園 Harmony Park and Parkade in 2022 as part of The City of Calgary’s anti-racism efforts to become a more inclusive city.

Formerly known as James Short Park and Parkade, renaming this site on the boundary of Chinatown addresses the historic harm caused by racial discrimination against Chinese Calgarians. James Short was a prominent Calgarian in the late 1800s and early 1900s whose anti-Chinese views contributed to this racial injustice.

About the project

A park without a name is a pop-up public art exhibit by artist Annie Wong, on display Oct. 25-28, 2022 in the park at 115 4 Ave. S.W.

The contemporary artwork is a series of seven banners that feature quotes in English and Traditional Chinese. These quotes were heard by the artist while in conversation with members of the Chinatown community.

The art encourages Calgarians to reflect and engage in thoughtful conversations on historical racism against Chinese people in Calgary. The banners invite us to consider whose voices and history are valued when we name places and spaces.

When pursuing racial justice, we need to give people a safe space to tell their stories and listen without judgment. This exhibit gives voice to Chinese people and shows that racism and discrimination remain present in our society.


Artist statement

A park without a name makes transparent how a racist past continues to be felt in the physical, psychological, and social landscape of contemporary Calgary. With one exception, the phrases on the banners are excerpted from conversations and interviews with community members who were part of renaming the park, formerly known as James Short Park.

Each phrase comes from a place of personal reflections about the city-led renaming process, historical truths, and the power of names. The voices represented by the banners speak courageously against the erasure of Chinatown’s history in a collective volume evocative of community power.

A park without a name also includes an essay by 馬鳳齡 Fung Ling Feimo, titled, Reflections on Exclusion and Other Things in the Dark. The essay presents a Chinese context for understanding the history of James Short’s racist actions against the community. The essay was commissioned in response to the first draft of the official  historical document about James Short that was published by the City of Calgary as part of the park’s renaming process. As Feimo points out in the essay, the document was insufficient and insensitive to the Chinese community. A final version of the document has since been published.

A park without a name continues the conversation sparked by Feimo’s essay and reflects on how historical wounds are felt intergenerationally.

About the Artist

Annie Wong (Tkaronto, ON) is a writer and multidisciplinary artist working in performance and installation. Often collaborative, site-specific, and process-oriented, her practice explores the intersection of the poetic and political of everyday. Her recent research explores diasporic hauntologies and embodied knowledge through rituals and soundwork. Wong’s literary practice includes poetry, art writing and non-fiction. 

The banners

Click on the banner images to read artist context for each quotation. 

"The name of one park is not enough to honour all the founding families of Chinatown"

This phrase was uttered by community member and writer, Dale Lee Kwong during a conversation with the artist. During this conversation, Dale asks, what is the impact of renaming a park in addressing systemic racism? 

“James Short was a racist”

This phrase was shared with the artist during a tour of Chinatown led by a community member. 

“Erasing a name in history cannot erase what was done”

This phrase was uttered by community member and writer, Dale Lee Kwong during a conversation with the artist. During this conversation, Dale asks, what is the impact of renaming a park in addressing systemic racism? 

“Time doesn’t heal anything; it just makes a generation forget”  

This phrase was uttered by the artist’s sister, Jennifer Vong, when discussing the emotional toll of this project. 

“James Short was a leader in the anti-Chinese movement”

This is a quote from former Councillor Druh Farrell in a CBC article, titled “Calgary’s James Short Park will be renamed due to Short’s anti-Chinese racism.”

Farrell called a notice of motion for renaming the park, which was passed by City Council.

“Write my Chinese name down so the future generation can find me”  

This phrase was uttered by curator 馬鳳齡 Fung Ling Feimo during a conversation with the artist. Here, Feimo explains the difficulty of finding the names of Chinese leaders in Calgary because they were Anglicized and inaccurately documented in formal records.

This presents a discrepancy between the history of Chinatown as remembered by the community and history documented in the English language.

“I am tired of hearing about James Short. How come this white man is talking so much?”

These phrases were shared in confidence with the artist during one-on-one conversations with participants in community consultation sessions. The quote responds to the 90-minute City-led community consultation session that allowed only 30 minutes for community members to voice their concerns. 


Traditional Chinese subtitles

Simplified Chinese subtitles

Take action

We all have a part to play in opposing racism and making our city more inclusive, safe and welcoming to all. Learning more about racism is a great first step, and can take the form of art, film or books, and by listening to Racialized people share their experiences.

For our part, The City of Calgary is listening, learning and taking action to address racism. We will continue to review policies, programs and services as part of our commitment to ensure equitable access for Indigenous and Racialized people and groups.