Established Area Growth and Change Strategy Riley Area Improvements

Formerly called Kensington Area Projects.

We will be making streetscape and public realm improvements in Sunnyside, Hillhurst, West Hillhurst and Kensington Village as part of the Established Area Growth and Change Strategy.

Project Update – December 2023

Kensington Plaza

We’re happy to share the Kensington Plaza improvements are now complete. These upgrades include unique sculptured benches, new healthy trees, additional bike racks, and updated surfacing. Enhanced lighting, utility upgrades, and dedicated spaces for temporary features like fire pits and movable furniture, offer flexibility for a range of activities and a welcomed upgrade for hosting community events and gatherings.

Thank you for your patience during the construction period. We hope all Calgarians, and visitors can enjoy these improvements for years to come.


Grasshopper Hill Off-leash Park

We’re excited to share that Grasshopper Hill Off-leash Park has officially re-opened. We have removed the equipment and the site fencing at the cul-de-sacs. These entrances with the new sidewalk connections are now open for use. Selective fencing around the native seed planting will remain in place until seed is established. There are regular openings along the fence to maintain connections to all trails and ensure dogs can freely access the centre of the park.

We’ll continue refinement work over the next couple of weeks and in spring of 2024, as required. These final touches include installing new park signs, replacing the bench plaque, planting, and weeding.

We appreciate your cooperation in protecting these areas while we work to balance access to the park with improving native vegetation. We hope these enhancements will improve the quality of the park ecosystem and biodiversity for years to come.

Other completed enhancements include new timber stairs to improve accessibility, new benches for comfort, extensive weeding of invasive species, native seed planting, individual wildflower planting, and a natural stone seating area at the lookout.  

Thank you for your patience during the construction period to complete these enhancements.


The City has seen across-the-board cost estimate increases for both materials and labour on projects. We are currently reviewing the designs for 19 Street N.W., 2 Avenue N.W. and 3 Avenue N.W.

Grasshopper Hill off-leash Park Enhancements

Project Background

The Natural Area and Off-Leash Park adjacent to 19 St. N.W. in West Hillhurst provides a beautiful place for a short walk with views of the Calgary skyline. The park currently struggles with erosion, habitat degradation, and lacks formalized trails. This park also features a spot where citizens have provided their own seating. The project scope includes trail enhancements, dog park signage, seating, and revegetation. 

Project Benefits

Project benefits include:  

  • improving trail accessibility including timber steps.
  • seating area at lookout and formalizing community-initiated placemaking elements.  
  • establishing missing pedestrian connections. 
  • creating new sidewalks with a curb cut at the 9 Ave. and 10 Ave. N.W. entrances.
  • addressing ongoing erosion.
  • aiming to maintain and improve upon the natural feel of the site.

FAQ - Frequently asked questions

Will there still be fencing in the park after mid-November once there is no more construction?

We understand that this is a very popular space and wanted to re-open the greater park area as quickly as possible. To complete native revegetation, we are balancing park access with the ecological requirements of re-establishing this vegetation. After construction, fencing will be strategically placed to help protect key areas and encourage the new native vegetation to establish. There will be regular openings along the fence to maintain connections to all trails and ensure dogs can access the centre of the park. This fencing will remain in place until the native seed is established. We appreciate your cooperation in protecting these areas. These enhancements will improve the quality of the park ecosystem and biodiversity in the long term.

Can we toboggan on this hill?

This hill is not considered an official tobogganing site in the city. For safety reasons, the Parks and Pathways Bylaw prohibits tobogganing or sledding downhill in any City-maintained park except the ones listed on tobogganing and sledding.

Tobogganing is an activity that you do at your own risk. The City is not responsible for any personal injury or damage to personal items.

There seem to be more coyotes in the area, what can we do?

We are aware of coyote sightings in the area and have asked our contractor and crews on-site to continue to report any wildlife sightings. We encourage you to report sightings by contacting 311 as this is the best way to ensure we are aware of where our wildlife population are, if there are sudden increases. More information specific to urban coyotes can be found on our website: Coyotes (calgary.ca)

Why are we planting in the fall?

Native seed require drastic fluctuations in temperature and moisture to induce germination. Ideal seeding time maximizes these fluctuations and as such, early spring after ground thaw and late fall prior to ground freeze are the best times to seed to optimize germination rate and establishment. When seeding is done during the mid-summer months, there is a chance of germination, but the root will not be developed enough to withstand dry, warm conditions. This leads to die-off and often causes project failure when vegetation cover is absent allowing weed species to colonize the site.

Refer to Natural parks and wetlands (calgary.ca) for more information.

What are the accessibility improvements for people with different levels of mobility?

The two trails that run east and west across the top and bottom of the slope will be improved with gravel surfacing. The trail along the top of the slope will be realigned to reduce steep grades.  Low-impact, shallow steps are being built at the northeast access from 19 Street and will be placed at suitable locations, with the least overall disturbance, between the top and bottom trails on the east side of the park. 

What is planned for the memorial plaque dedicated to Edd Rooney?

Edd Rooney’s memorial plaque will be reinstalled in approximately the same location. Prior to starting any work on-site, Edd Rooney’s family was contacted through the Parks Foundation about the proposed changes.

How is the natural ecosystem at Grasshopper Hill being protected?

Grasshopper Hill is a Natural Environment Park and we have worked with City Parks Ecologists throughout the design process, including to develop the Habitat Restoration Plan. A Preliminary Natural Site Assessment, Biophysical Impact Assessment, and Tree Protection Plan were also completed as part of this project.

During engagement, citizens expressed wanting to minimize impact to the natural landscape while supporting improvements to accessibility and gathering spaces. This feedback was incorporated into the design in several ways, including the use of natural materials such as aggregate (pathways), stone and wood, low-profile steps, and preservation of several well-travelled dirt trails. The proposed interventions follow existing degraded areas to the extent possible while improving the accessibility of the north trail and are proactively designed to mitigate disruption from erosion. These include delineating trail alignment to protect sensitive root zones that are prone to compaction (especially the large willow tree), adding natural erosion blankets, and completing revegetation work in key areas. While there will be disruption during construction, these interventions are aimed to support the ecological health of the site long-term. 

Was there an opportunity for community Engagement?

We received public feedback over three phases of engagement. From April to May of 2021, citizen input was sought to let help identify potential improvement spaces in the Kensington/Riley area. Grasshopper Hill Off-leash Park was identified as one of these spaces. Later in November to December of 2021, citizens were asked for input on different design options illustrating potential park improvements with the goals of improving park accessibility and community gathering amenities. This feedback was used along with technical analysis and cost considerations to select the projects that would be carried forward for implementation.

In April to May of 2022, during the third and final phase of engagement, we revealed the prioritized projects and the accompanying design illustrations. We asked for public feedback to help inform project design and identify any gaps. Visit Kensington Area Improvements to view engagement results.

In addition to online engagement, the project team participated in a neighbourhood walk in November 2021 and attended the Local Area Plan Open House in January 2023 to share project plans and gather in-person feedback.

How can I get future updates about this project?

To receive updates on the Riley Area Improvements projects, including Grasshopper Hill Off-leash Park Enhancements, sign up for email updates.


Kensington Plaza

Project Background

The plaza was consistently recognized as an important landmark in the Kensington business district with the potential to be an enhanced and formalized gathering space. The design for the plaza includes many features that were prioritized through public engagement. The goal for this project is to improve the plaza as a destination, a gathering point, and a flexible community space in the neighbourhood’s vibrant business district.

Project Benefits

Project benefits include:  

  • Enhancing shade by replacing dead trees
  • Improving, seating, sidewalks, paving and gathering areas
  • Adding bike parking 
  • Improving the flexibility and usability of the site for various programming through additional lighting, utility connections, and a dedicated space for temporary items such as fire pits and movable furniture

Riley Park Fitness

Project was paused due to funding constraints. Phase 2 funding is now available and will be used for this project. Detailed design is complete. Project will be tendered to market in 2023 and construction is anticipated in 2024

(This project is highly dependent on equipment availability and timelines)


3 Avenue N.W.

We have resumed the work on the design of 3 Avenue N.W.


19 Street N.W.

The design for 19 Street N.W. encourages slower vehicle speeds and is appropriate for all ages and abilities that want to cycle or wheel through the area.

Key elements of the design:

  • On-street wheeling lanes located between the sidewalk and parking lane on both sides of the street.
  • A buffer between parked vehicles and the wheeling lane to reduce the risk of an active mode coming into conflict with a vehicle door swing, and for snow storage.
  • Narrower vehicle lanes to encourage slower vehicle speeds and to provide space for the wheeling lanes.
  • Intersection improvements to visually narrow the road and reduce the crossing distances for pedestrians.
  • Road widening on the east side of the street to incorporate these enhancements.

2 Avenue N.W.

Changes to 2 Avenue N.W. will be between 9A Street and 5A Street N.W. The design discourages short-cutting and encourages slower vehicle speeds by physically and visually narrowing the corridor. The design is also intended to be appropriate for all ages and abilities that want to cycle or wheel through the area.

Key elements of the design:

  • On-street wheeling lanes between the sidewalk and parking lane on both sides of the street.
  • A buffer between parked vehicles and the wheeling lane to reduce the risk of an active mode coming into conflict with a vehicle door swing, and for snow storage.
  • Narrower vehicle lanes to encourage slower vehicle speeds and to provide space for the wheeling lanes.
  • Intersection improvements to visually narrow the road and reduce the crossing distances for pedestrians.

Timelines

  • Phase 3 engagement: Complete
  • Design and Construction: 
    Spring 2022 – Fall 2024

Construction activities are dependent on several factors. Timelines may change due to inclement weather, complexity, supply chain, and/or other unexpected circumstances.

Stay connected

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Budget

  • $6.75 million

Contact us

Have questions or want to learn more about the projects? Contact the project team at: Rileyareaprojects@calgary.ca


Related links


This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​

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