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Park of the week Reader Rock Garden

Calgary is filled with amazing parks. More than 8,000 hectares of parkland and natural areas are maintained by The City.

Things to keep in mind while enjoying the outdoors

  • Maintain physical distancing: minimum 2 metres​ or 6 feet  (the length of a bicycle) away from fellow explorers.
  • Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.
  • Only venture outside if you're feeling healthy and not exhibiting any symptoms

Reader Rock Garden is a secret garden hidden among the hustle and bustle of city life in the South East of Calgary, right next to the Erlton LRT Station. It is a very unique City of Calgary park, that offers a most interesting walk through a garden that differs from anything else in Calgary. The park has been designated as a provincial historic site, and with that comes a few rules that must be followed while visiting, such as, staying on the designated trails, not disturbing any of the plant life, do not feed any animals, etc.

Historic Value

Reader Rock Garden is named after William Roland Reader, who was the City of Calgary’s third Parks Superintendent. The house onsite was commonly used as the residence for the Parks Superintendent as they were also responsible for looking after the cemeteries at the time. With the proximity to Union cemetery, it made sense for the Superintendent to live there. Reader collected plants and seeds while traveling throughout the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, testing each plant to see if it could thrive in Calgary’s climate.

Reader passed away in 1943, and a year later, the gardens that he spent so much time cultivating were named after him, and were opened to the public as a City park. In 2018 the garden was designated as an official national historic site.

Be on the Lookout

Throughout Reader Rock Garden there are many species of birds, and with so many different types of trees present, you have the chance to see something you might not see anywhere else in the city. The House Finch is a fairly small bird, a little bigger than a Chickadee, with red plumage on its head and breast (male). They tend to build their nests in the thick branches of the Blue Spruce trees that are located at Reader Rock Garden.

Some House Finches migrate, while others will set up residence year-round, depending on the abundance of available food in the area. They are very fast, and quite elusive, so you may have to take a seat on a bench and wait for them to show themselves.

Did you know?

Reader Rock Garden is another location in Calgary that is home to very large, very old Blue Spruce trees. Also known as the Colorado Blue Spruce, the climate in Calgary is perfect for this coniferous tree, making it a great place for the species to thrive here. They are a fairly slow-growing tree, and it can take upwards of 50 years for them to grow to 50 feet tall. So look up when walking through Reader Rock Garden and think how old the Blue Spruce that you see are.