Memorial Drive - Landscape of Memory
Memorial Drive is one of Calgary's most cherished corridors in terms of history, location, proximity to the Bow River, and its relationship with both the communities adjacent to the Drive and the larger community of Calgary. The City is leading ongoing projects to help protect Memorial Drive’s legacy as a living memorial to the events and people that have shaped our City’s landscape.
About the Memorial Drive project
The Memorial Drive project has a clear focus to explore new and traditional ideas about memorialization within the context of the urban setting. The lost sons and daughters of our community are commemorated and the sacrifice that our citizens made for our freedom and security are honoured. This project aims to develop a vision for Memorial Drive by focusing on the themes of remembrance, legacy and history and what they mean to Calgarians. The vision will focus on the theme of the "landscape of memory".
Under the direction of The City, the consultant team of Stantec and Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative has brought together internal and external stakeholders to develop a vision for Memorial Drive. The study area runs from the intersection of Parkdale Boulevard and Shaganappi Trail in the west to the intersection of Memorial Drive and St. George's Island (Zoo access) in the east. Collaborative sessions called charettes have been implemented to assist citizens to explore the question of how the landscape can provide opportunities for people to express and identify with this sense of loss. There is also an opportunity to discover how memory can also be about celebration - celebrating community, freedom, discovery, and the future.
The trees along Memorial Drive represent a living legacy. Another goal of the project is to determine means by which this legacy may extend beyond the life of individual trees.
The landscape of the Memorial Drive corridor is also experiential - inviting Calgarians to experience the poetics of the wind on the grass, the movement of water, the dance of city lights. This landscape needs to place war within the context of history, while we need to understand the place of Memorial Drive within the context of the city.
Phase One of the project was completed in fall 2010 and included median and boulevard improvements along Memorial Drive from Centre Street to 14 Street N.W.
Phase Two of the project is the completion of Poppy Plaza, which opens June 8, 2013. Located adjacent to the former Outdoor Resource Centre at 1111 Memorial Dr. N.W. (the old Fire Hall #6) the plaza commemorates Canada's efforts during wartime, while at the same time offers a much needed public gathering space which helps connect people with the river's edge.
The Calgary Soldiers Memorial, located west of the former Outdoor Resource Centre, was unveiled on Saturday April 9, 2011.
Parkdale Plaza, located along the Bow River at the end of 34A St. N.W. in the community of Parkdale, is another important feature of the Memorial Drive Project. The new plaza will feature benches, bicycle racks, a new forest of trees and vegetation and an art sculpture that connects Calgarians to the Bow River. It's scheduled to open to the public fall 2014.
“Landscape of Memory” is a City Council-approved priority. Funding for the project, which comes from the ENMAX Legacy Parks Fund, has also been approved by Council.