Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre is a downtown urban paradise along the Bow River in Calgary.
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre is located adjacent to the Bow River at the end of 9th Avenue, SE in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The unusual decision to rest the bike and drive the car to ample, well-signed parking creates a bonus ride along 9th Avenue, SE over the Elbow River via the Inglewood Bridge and leading through a community beginning to gather the characteristics of a modern and trendy, upscale village. The final section of driving is past massive curbside trees looming over century-old homes and more modern replicas.
The end of the road is the location of clearly-signed and ample parking for the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre meticulously maintained by The City Of Calgary Parks and Recreation. The location is also accessible by paved path for foot and bicycle traffic.
Entrance is achieved through the front doors of the staffed and red-metal roofed Nature Centre or via a gate through fence to the right. The Visitor Centre has specific hours while sanctuary trails are accessible from sunrise to sunset.
Past the colorful, circular patio and metal bird sculpture, winding paved trail leads through meadow, forest and memorial benches to gravel trail at the 'T' junction near a picturesque canal subsidiary of the nearby Bow River. This entire area was decimated by the major flood of June, 2013 just over three years prior and while the recovery is nothing less than amazing, there remains substantial off-trail evidence of flood devastation.
In spite of that, the 'you are here' map signs at major trail junctions provide clear information about alternatives along excellent quality, reconstructed trail. The colors of surrounding terrain are vivid and energizing. The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a very beautiful place.
Trail heading right soon arrives at the elaborate brick home constructed in 1910 on the land settled by Colonel James Walker in 1883. The Colonel Walker House, named 'Inglewood', is used by Calgary Parks and Recreation staff and volunteers for classroom and office space.
The City of Calgary acquired the property in 1970 and the Nature Centre was added in 1996. New development plans are pending.
A pair of bridges cross canal waterways for access to the large loop which accesses the shoreline for the major 'Bend in the Bow'. Deer roam comfortably at trail-side and graze on areas of grass surrounded by shrubbery beneath older growth forest. Views across the canal feature a different perspective of the 'Inglewood'. Continuing past the return bridge arrives at a new trail fork which allows continuance around the circuit to trail sections along the Bow River.
Dead fall and debris lay testament to the massive flooding events three years prior. Views across the Bow River include audible traffic din from the Deerfoot Trail and participants enjoying the pristine amenities of the Inglewood Golf and Curling Club.
Repeating part of the larger loop adjacent to the canal allows taking the alternate trail junction near the Bow River where unique trail-side features lead to beautiful features where flood impact must have been overwhelming.
One of the most striking features is the delicate and ornate grass lands surrounding 'Jeffries Pond' created from 1950s gravel pits when James Edward 'Ed' Jeffries owned and operated the riverside property as an important Calgary gravel and concrete operation. The beauty of this conserved land beside the Bow River is now a feeding and nesting refuge for wildlife where low and moist meadows in pristine grassland provide habitat for a wide variety of birds and animals.
The Bow River hosts evidence of revised shoreline and new features create rocky coves which attract hundreds of gulls hovering above the glitter of sun on shallow, rippling water. Adjacent forest provides shade and shelter for deer as the trail continues into forest for return along the canal to the Nature Centre at the entrance to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is an ideal place to wile away a quiet, early morning and the initiative provides the possibility of continuing the adventure by leaving the car parked and walking around the railroad cars on the spur line to investigate the features in Inglewood Wildlands within very short walking distance on the other side of Sanctuary Road, SE.
Inglewood Wildlands provide an even better opportunity to stretch out the legs and explore fascinating features from early Calgary development.
Photographs for this leisurely stroll at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre were captured on Sunday, July 24, 2016.