Baker Park - Calgary - Hiking Alberta

 

Baker Park occupies the north shore across from Bowness Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

The Bow River runs from west to east through the center of CalgaryBowness Park is in the north-west quadrant of Calgary on the south side of the Bow River

On the north side of the Bow River, directly across from Bowness Park, is Baker Park which has been a source of enjoyment for many years.  Bowness Park is family oriented and caters to children: Baker Park is more adult oriented and offers less for youngsters. 

From Canada Olympic Park a short bicycle ride into Bowness Park guarantees an extraordinary leisure day expereince.

 

Bowness Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bowness Pond is open year round - In winter the floating fountain is removed to create Calgary's largest outdoor skating rink

 

Bowness Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Ducks and geese abound in Bowness Pond and the surrounding lagoons and water channels for canoes and paddle boats

 

Bowness Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bowness Pond - Bowness Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Bowness Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Canoe and paddle boat rentals are popular and reasonably priced in Bowness Park

 

Bowness Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bowness Pond - Bowness Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Bowness Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The Bearspaw Pumping Station resides near the west end of Bowness Park near the Stoney Trail Bridge

 

Crossing the suspension bridge beneath the Stoney Trail Bridge crosses from Bowness Park on the south side of the Bow River to Baker Park on the north side.

 

Bowness Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The suspension bridge beneath the Stoney Trail Bridge carries pedestrian traffic across the Bow River

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The suspension bridge below the Stoney Trail Bridge from the north side of the Bow River

 

Baker Park is just east of the Bearspaw Water Treatment Pumping Station on excellent paved paths suitable for walking, cycling and rollerblading.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wild flowers proliferate along the shore of the Bow River.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Baker Park is the most frequently requested park for outdoor weddings.  The park has features which support spectacular wedding photography opportunities.  They are:

  • The Sun Bowl
  • Wildflower Mount, and
  • Eight Pillar Archway

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The Sun Bowl looking south across the Bow River to Bowness Park from Baker Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The Sun Bowl looking north - most popular setting for a wedding - reservations required

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bear Statues bookend the Sun Bowl in Baker Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada A view across the Sun Bowl along the Bow River towards the Stoney Trail Bridge

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wildflower Mount in Baker Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wildflower Mount in Baker Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The public bathrooms in Baker Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Eight Pillar Archway in the east side of Baker Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

One of the most intriguing features is the north-west quadrant west of the Circular Commons Area near the public washroom.  The pathways show ample evidence of old roads with sidewalks adjacent, or even more curiously, perpendicular sidewalks which go nowhere or alternatively track through thickets of trees to end abruptly in fields of well manicured grass.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The new pathways parallel old roads with concrete sidewalks from a previous era.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Old sidewalks disappear into thickets of overgrown shrubbery with an empty field of grass beyond

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Or the sidewalks go nowhere and point to large grass fields

 

For years, wandering these areas created the assumption these mystery fragments of ancient infrastructure were the remains of old neighborhoods razed for the creation of Baker Park and the enjoyment of the public.  Research for this post reveals otherwise in a way substantially beyond original assumption.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada The area of ghostly infrastructure is expansive - Open areas are ideal for games of touch football or Frisbee golf.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada This circular concrete path with towering trees was likely a tidy garden decades ago?

 

Baker Park began it's life in 1920 as the Baker Memorial Sanitorium for treatment of tuberculosis.  The substantial structures formed a complex and self-contained medical facility isolated near Calgary city limits at that time. 

By 1960, gradual eradication of the disease began to leave some beds unoccupied and by 1979, the facility was essentially empty of patients.  For a well written and informative article entitled, 'Records of Tuberculosis in Calgary' authored by Janice P. Dickin McGinnis, please search via Google.  The story is interesting.

This fascinating PDF article also contains a number of historical photographs which show today's Baker Park as it originally existed.  Liberty has been taken to include one of the photographs from the article by Janice McGinnis to illustrate how the isolated area appeared in the 1940's.  The Bow River and the water tower provide scale and the mystery of the sidewalk circle is solved.

 

Central Alberta Sanatorium - c 1940's Arial View of the Central Alberta Sanatorium - Calgary c 1940's - Photographer unknown - Glenbow Archives NA - 2910 - 9

 

  The east end of Baker Park merges into Bowmont Natural Environment Park which is a wilderness area with quiet areas for walking on secluded trails.  The connecting path is bordered by cotton from poplar trees.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada It is not snow. It is the annual spring eruption of fluff from poplar trees.

 

The trail leads to the railroad bridge over the Bow River.  Rafting, canoeing and kayaking are popular along the Bow River.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Much of the Bowmont Natural Environment Park is cordoned off temporarily for the construction of a new area containing more trails and filtering ponds to protect the Bow River.  Great effort and expense is allocated to this well justified objective.

 

Baker Park - Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bowness Natural Environment Park east of Baker Park on the north shore of the Bow River

 

The bicycle ride home travels beneath the Stoney Trail Bridge, through Bowness Park and into the community adjacent and north of Canada Olympic Park.

 

 

 

Categories: 

Tags: 

Comments

I was searching for information about Baker Memorial Sanitorium and came across your site. I spent three months nursing there back in 1956 November to January..on a mandatory assignment..as a nursing student. The choice was Baker..for TB nursing or Panoka..for mental health nursing. I especially appreciate the photo since I have now learned it's been demolished. Thank you!

Thank you for sharing your story, Randy. I appreciate your comment. There are some interesting articles posted on the internet. I am surprised more of the areas history has not been preserved at the site but perhaps this will be addressed in future development.

I liked reading your article and seeing your pictures, I actually stumbled across accidently looking for past news about the BMS, as this is my 50th year anniversary of spending 3 months there as a 4 year old. A little scary for a young kid but funny enough I remember the circle road and imagined how the old concrete wound throught the complex. I didn't have the TB as bad as most, lost a brother with it and my Mom and other brother had it much worse but we're all still here today and glad to see a bit of our history is still preserved somewhat. Thank-you, Randy

You are welcome. I wish you the best on your geocache hunt day and I am glad my pleasant afternoon cycling at Bowness and Baker Park may be of some assistance. Thank you for your comment, Shannon.

Wow, your timing for this post is perfect ! On the same day you posted this I first heard of the suspension bridge you mentioned while attending a geocaching event in Three Hills. I go searching for info to figure out which park it's in and here you are with photos and everything ! So I hope to come for a hike this Saturday with camera and GPS in hand for a photo walk and geocaching hunt day :). Thanks so much for sharing your photos!

Add new comment