和園 Harmony Park
About the park
Renamed in 2022, the Chinatown community chose 和園 Harmony Park as the park’s new name because it represents a virtue that benefits society. The renaming is part of The City of Calgary’s anti-racism efforts to become a more inclusive city.
Below are some reflections from Chinatown community members on the significance of 和.
The word 和 is a reminder of the need to interact with many different people and views in today’s world. The term also acknowledges the First People to occupy the land on which the park is situated, by recognizing their willingness to harmonize with their environment. And for Chinese people in Calgary, the name 和園 Harmony Park is opposite to the racism that is part of the history of the park and that the renaming addresses. ~ Lloyd 史羅一 and 黃恕寧 Shu-ning Sciban
The Chinese word 和 expresses the concept of peace, togetherness or the absence of conflict. For social interactions in a peaceful and orderly society, the concept of 和 is very much one of the key elements.
Philosophers throughout the centuries have identified mutual respect, tolerance and the right to be different as the fundamental principles that guide a civilized society. Without any one of these three principles, a civilized society, especially a liberal democracy, cannot be sustained, as it will lead to conflicts and hostilities among the individuals.
Chinese culture embraces these three fundamental principles. It attains mutual respect through rituals and customs, it encourages tolerance through generosity of spirit and understanding, and it fosters the right to be different through recognition and acceptance of the fact that everyone is different. But more importantly, the common thread that runs through all three is the concept and presence of 和. ~Malcolm Chow
Bestowal of a name to celebrate the birth of a child, or in this case, the rebirth of a park with a Chinese name is a precious process. It involves exploring many different tonal qualities and nuances for the best sounding, visually appealing, as well as meaningful combination of characters. The goal was to find a blend to express the intention of “unity, together in harmony,” combining these ideas:
A: 公平 As a noun, this means equality and fairness, equity. As an adjective: fair, equitable, just
B: 和平 Noun: peace, harmony, calm. Adjective: peaceful, amicable
C: 融和 or 共融 harmony, unity (blending as in inclusiveness)
D: 和 Adverb: together. Adjective: harmonious
Combining the nuances from A+B+C+D and derived from the above words, 和園 was chosen as the short form, with long form as 平和公園. Harmony Park in both instances. ~ 馬鳳齡 Fung Ling Feimo
Events at Harmony Park
This summer, rediscover downtown Calgary parks by attending one of the many events listed below. Learn more about the pilot project to increase the vibrancy of three downtown Calgary parks this summer by visiting calgary.ca/rediscoverparks.
- Small playground
- Seating areas
- Cupola with clock
Formerly known as James Short Park, 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.
The restored cupola, located in the southeast corner of the park, is from the sandstone Central Public School that opened on this block in 1905. The school was later known as James Short School from 1938 until 1967. The cupola was preserved when the school was demolished in 1969. The clock mechanism in the cupola is from the clock tower of the Burns Block (originally the Hull Block), which stood at 101–8 Avenue SW from 1902 until it was demolished in 1965.
- A park without a name – public art exhibit
- A Bit of Space Between: Chinatown and the former James Short Park and James Short Parkade - by Harry Sanders
- History of James Short Park & Parkade video - English
- 詹姆斯肖特公園和停車場的歷史 (視頻)
- 詹姆斯肖特公园和停车场的历史 (视频)
Visit our Engage page to learn more about the renaming of James Short Park to 和園 Harmony Park.
There are numerous community and public parks in Calgary to explore.
Need additional information on our parks and activities? Want to request maintenance?