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Poppy Plaza

All City of Calgary parks | Northwest parks | Contact Parks

This park commemorates citizens who have served to protect our freedom and security, and is part of the second phase of the Landscape of Memory. It marks the first major public gathering space identified in the plan for the redevelopment of Memorial Drive.

Location: 1101 Memorial Dr. N.W.

Size: 86,100 square feet

Park hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Park features

  • Wood decking
  • River overlook
  • Weathering steel walls
  • Benches
  • Bosque of trees
  • Walkways
  • Interpretive elements
  • Historical significance

About the park

Transforming an underused open space around a busy intersection at Memorial Drive and 10th Street N.W. into a dynamic public space was a large undertaking. The 86,100 square foot Poppy Plaza war memorial was designed by the Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative and Stantec Consulting. The Plaza is organized around two surfaces. First, a folded wood deck made of low-maintenance Balau wood honours an existing heritage tree, provides seating and space for native plantings and is sheltered from the summer sun by a new grove of Aspen trees. The second surface is a weathering steel wall that navigates the steep grade along the riverbank, protects the wood deck from winter ice flows and extends the adjacent urban neighbourhood to the river’s edge.

Quotes from world leaders and citizens in Canada and around the world are water jet cut into the steel and are backlit, portraying diverse voices and perspectives relating to honour, hope and sacrifices during war time. An interesting fact about the weathering steel is that it does not need to be treated. Instead, it darkens to a beautiful dark brown colour.

Lighting is used to stir emotion and evoke a sense of respect, awe and introspection tuned to memorialization. Two illuminated sentinels were placed on the south bank of the river, framed by the visitor’s decent through the steel-cut quotes on the north side of the river. On the north riverbank, this decent down the stairway is where the quote narratives are located, and as visitors move through this area reading the inscriptions, and reflecting on the silent voices etched into the past and present, they can look across the river and see the light from the sentinels reflecting on the water. This special experience suggests a sense of longing; the shimmering light representing a space of yearning for loved ones who are far from our embrace. The space evokes a sense of connection with distant places or loved ones, sentiments that are so powerful in war time​