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Booking a picnic site

Designated picnic site areas are available to the public at no charge, on a firstcome, first-served basis if not already reserved/booked. However, if you want to ensure you have a site, it is best to book a site ahead of time.

How to book a large picnic site

A designated picnic site in City of Calgary parks can be reserved in advance and permits the exclusive use of the existing facilities that are at the chosen site. This may include one or more of the following in an assigned area:

  • Picnic tables
  • Fire pit
  • Barbeque
  • Shelter
  • Electricity
  • Some picnic sites are designated for alcohol consumption

Reservation signage is posted (where possible) at the site to alert the public of times and dates that the designated sites will not be available for casual use.

Alcohol in parks

Alcohol is permitted at some designated picnic sites, as well as at some neighbourood picnic tables, some open areas within City of Calgary parks and some winter fire pits.

Booking timelines for picnic sites

Picnic sites can be rented from the May long weekend until the Thanksgiving weekend in October.

Date Status
January 8, 2024 Picnic site public day.
May 17, 2024 Picnic sites open for the season.
October 13, 2024 Picnic sites closed for the season.

Step 1. Review rental rates and policies

Review the information on the picnic sites policies page. Picnic sites are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. All picnic sites are booked in 6-hour time slots: from 8:45 am – 2:45 pm and 3:15 pm – 9:15 pm, with a 30-minute buffer in between. If you require a booking that includes these two time slots, both will be required to be booked for your event.

It is your responsibility to bring the issued permit with you to the site in case of conflict. A Facility Rental Permit holder, regardless of circumstances, will always have priority over a non-permit holder, for the specific date, time and location booked. Bylaw can be contacted via 3-1-1 if you are encountering a particularly difficult situation.

  • Picnic site bookings require 5 days' notice to book a site.
  • Picnic site rental rates are based on the number of people attending.
Number of people 6-hour block (prices include GST)

1 - 25


26 - 50


51 - 100


101 - 150


151 - 200


201 - 250


251 - 300


301 - 400


301 - 500


*minimum price for bookable sites with picnic shelters at Bowness Park. 

All prices contain a $10.50 Administration Fee and a $4.75 Risk Management Fee. 

Step 2. Find and book a picnic site

Full payment is required at the time of booking in order to reserve a picnic site

You can book a picnic site online or call 403-268-3800. Email requests will not be responded to.

Things to know before booking a picnic site

  • There is a difference between picnic functions and special event functions at picnic sites.
    • Picnics: Sites can be reserved in advance and permit the use of the existing facilities that are at the chosen site. This may include one or more of the following: picnic tables, fire pit, barbeque, pavilion/shelter or power, in an assigned area. Function is strictly limited to picnic-type activities and does not require additional equipment to be brought on site, other than additional backyard propane-fuelled BBQs.
    • Special events: These are events that have a greater impact on neighbouring communities than casual or intended park use. They will range in size, but generally involve the use of additional equipment (i.e. tents, inflatables, large solid fuelled BBQs, vehicle access, etc). Please check the Before booking a park, pathway or greenspace page to determine the booking process for your event.
  • Dogs are allowed in the park if they are on a leash, or in off-leash areas (min. $250 fine for failing to clean up after your pet).
  • Bowness Park cannot be booked on long weekends due to the high volume of citizens using the Park.
  • Firewood is not included as an amenity. Please plan to provide your own.
  • Barbeques at designated picnic sites are free-standing metal containers for burning firewood or charcoal briquettes. You will need something to light the fire. It is recommended that you bring tin foil if you plan to cook on top of the barbeque, or roasting sticks for cooking inside the barbeque or over a fire pit. You can bring your own camp-style or larger backyard barbeque into the park, provided it is propane-fuelled and does not use charcoal. We ask that you be considerate and place backyard barbeques away from grassy areas, on cement or dirt if at all possible.
  • Washroom facilities are available from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving and are locked in the winter. Washrooms are typically open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during summer months. Washrooms are accessible, with assistance. We strongly recommend you visit to the site to ensure it is suitable for your group’s use.
  • Parking is available on a first come, first served basis, and is not included or guaranteed with a picnic site permit.  Parking at Bowness Park is limited and may not be available.


  • Alcohol is permitted only at select sites which will be clearly signed. Alcohol is strictly prohibited in any other public use area. Park sites are monitored by City of Calgary Parks Staff and/or By-Law Enforcement Officers.
  • Signage or banners cannot be attached to trees, shrubs or other park furniture. Amplified/acoustic noise must align with current Noise Bylaw (311). Please respect plants, trees and wildlife. Balloons are not permitted.
  • Sporting activities such as baseball, soccer or volleyball are not permitted in parks without special event approval. You cannot stake anything into the ground (nets, tents, etc.), tie anything to trees or drive a vehicle on park turf without special event approval.
  • Playgrounds are not included as part of any picnic site rental and must be kept open for all park users to enjoy.
  • You are not permitted to bring a commercial or industrial-sized solid-fuelled barbeque without obtaining a special event permit.
  • Vehicles are not permitted to be driven into a park without special event approval.


Cancellations and amendments require a minimum of 7 calendar days’ notice prior to the rental date. A $10.00 administration fee plus applicable GST will apply for cancellations or changes that result in freeing up a bookable space. Within 7 calendar days of the booking, it is non-refundable.

Cancellation of a picnic booking can be completed online though a self-serve option on Calgary Live and Play. Sign in to view or cancel your booking.

In order to amend a picnic site booking, make changes to the date, time or location, the renter must notify the Recreation Facility Bookings office a minimum of 7 calendar days prior to the rental. 

Inclement weather refunds are not provided. It is the permit holder’s responsibility to check the upcoming weather forecast at least 8 days before the event to decide if you wish to keep or cancel a booking.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Facility Bookings.