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Confederation Park


Other Names:
Confederation Golf Course, Canmore Park

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Confederation Park is collectively a 228-acre (92-hectare) park developed upon a creek and coulee in northwest Calgary. The park extends across the communities of Capitol Hill, Mount Pleasant, Collingwood, and Charleswood, from an eastern point at 4A Street NW to a western point at 23 Street NW. The park is bisected by 19th, 14th, and 10th Streets NW, forming four parcels now known as Confederation Park (eastern portion), Confederation Park (western portion), Confederation Park Golf Course and Canmore Park.

Heritage Value
Confederation Park's heritage value stems from its development as one of the City of Calgary's major initiatives to celebrate the Canadian Centennial in 1967. It was dedicated in that year and serves to recall the pride and festivities which defined Canada's centennial year.

In 1965 the Centennial Ravine Park Society was established to advocate the development of the coulee as a park. This organization expanded its membership with individuals, business and service groups in the surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the city, raising support, funds and contributions. This unprecedented populist effort was cited in the Calgary Herald as 'an indication of increasing maturity in Calgary'. Confederation Park recalls the community activism activity associated with the populist movements that were common in North America at the time.

The leader of the Society, Eric Musgreave, became a city alderman and was named Citizen of the Year in 1967 by the Calgary Jaycees as a result of his involvement in influencing the creation of the Park.

Another person of heritage value associated with the park is Harry Boothman, one of the most outstanding and visionary Superintendent of Parks in the history of Calgary. In Boothman's transformative tenure as superintendent (1960-1976) he embraced and applied the values of the environmental movement emerging in the 1960s and those of populist movements, evident with his theme, 'Parks are for People'. His advocacy and political effectiveness significantly added to, and changed the approach to open space, parks and recreation in Calgary. The 1963 Calgary General Plan outlined a growth scheme for parks that included major development in north Calgary. Confederation Park followed from the plan's recommendations.

The design of Confederation Park is also significant. The park was created from what was considered a wasteland with few distinguishing features other than the land form of the coulee, the intermittent stream and some remnants of the native landscape. The park is now considered an outstanding achievement in landscape design as seen in the variably grand and sheltered, verdant spaces formed by spectacular plantings. These spaces and features were intended for unstructured experience and activity. This illustrates a distinct trend away from ornamental parks to general purpose parks with emphasis on leisure and environment. While the park is naturalistic in its theme and in the natural associations of terrain, water and plants, the design concept is from the tradition of the romantic, picturesque landscape style originating in England in the 18th century.

A fundamental design element of the park, common in conservation practice today, but new at the time, is its function as an integral part of the storm water management system. Surface water collected from the surrounding area is piped to outfalls into the park, reaching the creek and lagoon, where the flows are detained, and the water is purified.

Confederation Park comprises other milestone design features in the evolution in park development in Calgary, including a regional pathway system, preservation of natural areas, and a golf course. The meandering paths in the park are early components of the regional path system which was established in the city, beginning in the late 1960s under the leadership of Boothman. The intention to preserve portions of the landscape in natural condition within the developed park represents an environmental consciousness and respect for nature that is common today. The native grassland in the west section of the park, preserved within a developed landscape, is among the first of its kind in Calgary. The public golf course in Confederation Park was included in the park's development in response to popular demand.

Finally, the Park is valued for its highly popular Christmas light display at 14th St., an event which has become a beloved tradition in the community.

Character-Defining Elements
- Naturalistic style and order in the design and layout of the park - that is in the tradition of the romantic, picturesque landscape style; and is illustrated by the organic landforms the informal planting.
- Open spaces - large in scale - formed by defining groups of trees; intended for informal, general recreation.
- The storm water system integral with the naturalized function of the park, and its features: the stream, ponds and associated wetland plants, including the willows and dogwood lining the stream.
- Deciduous trees with winter interest as features in the long vistas including, but not limited to Willow, Amur Cherry, Mountain Ash, and Scotts Pine.
- Picturesque, landmark ornamental trees including, but not limited to Weeping Birch, Flowering Crab Apple, Larch, Bur Oak, and Hawthorn.
- The original landform of the Park, which is the specifically graded form created from the original coulee and designed to accommodate storm water runoff from the neighbouring communities.
- The circulation system including the pathways (that were part of the original vision for Calgary's Regional Pathway system).
- Pathway underpasses at 10th and 14th streets.
- The bridges crossing the stream.
- The Centennial monument including the a sculptural podium bearing the flags of the provinces, a time capsule and a map and Centennial emblem composed of mosaics of stone from the regions of Canada; the Centennial emblem in flowers.
- View from 10th Street to the Centennial Monument and down into the Park.
- View from the westerly section to the mountains, illustrating the natural relationship of the mountains, the foothills and the Prairies.
- Donated elements: bridges, sculptures, gardens, groves and markers recognizing contributors to the park.
- The spring waterfall structure including the piped spring water, the pie shaped sledge stone structure with cascading water and the rectilinear base clad in flag stone.
- The native grassland complemented by maintained landscape in the westerly segment.
- The golf course function in the centre section.
- Continued seasonal light display.


Street Address: 2807 - 10 Street NW
Community: Calgary
Boundaries: Lot R1, Block 7, Plan 7998JK and Block R6, Plan 7999JK
Contributing Resources: Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): multiple

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel


Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.075604 -114.085718 NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2017/01/23

Historical Information

Built: 1967 to 1967
Period of Significance: 1957 to 1982
Historic Function(s): Leisure : Park
Current Function(s):
Builder: City of Calgary Parks & Recreation

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0372
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link: http://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Heritage-planning/Discover-Historic-Calgary-resources.aspx?dhcResourceId=543
Data Source: http://www.calgary.ca/Historic_Resource_Documents/Confederation%20Park%20CG-07-03_-_Final_-_8M2017.pdf
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