Canada Olympic Park is an easily accessible historic and recreation site in Calgary, Alberta.
Prior to the mid 1980s, the site was a modest ski hill called, 'Paskapoo'. That all changed when Calgary was selected to host the 1988 Winter Olympic Games which would be partially established along the TransCanada Highway at what would become Canada Olympic Park sprawled along Paskapoo Ridge.
This walking tour of the Canada Olympic Park Complex attempts to provide a perspective for the complexity and contribution of this once world-class athletic facility.
The car is parked in the massive parking area at the front of the Frank King Olympic Visitor Centre at the bottom of Paskapoo Ridge. Inside there is a large equipment rental and maintenance operation, the Slopestyle Retail Shop and a large cafeteria.
The east end hosts the main entrance and houses the Calgary Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum. The Olympic Flame Cauldron, extinguished at the end of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, is adjacent to the Museum near Flag Court.
West of the Frank King Olympic Visitor Centre is the base of the Bobsleigh and Luge Track with the finish line near the Bob Niven Training Centre.
Canada Olympic Park is a sophisticated training facility for world-class athletes as well as an impressive, recreational complex.
The road beside the Bobsled Run, to the top of Paskapoo Ridge, twists and turns its way up the hill much the same way the Bobsleigh and Luge Track curls its way down. There are way houses along the road that mark start points on the course for bobsled and luge events by team count and gender.
On the trek up, the road passes an interesting mini-golf course and the large Calgary Gymnastics Centre. The ski jumps are across the top of the ridge at the east end of Calgary Olympic Park.
Back across the top of the hill towards the west end passes the Naturbahn Teahouse which hosts Sunday brunch in the off-season.
Nearby is the upper terminus of the Bobsleigh and Luge Track as well as magnificent views of the Bow River Valley, the bottom of Canada Olympic Park and new construction of a huge Athletic and Ice Complex west and adjacent to the core site.
In the huge construction area, there is a very large red structure at an angle uneven to the ground. Another day will be set aside to inquire about this curious structure.
In a subsequent visit after construction is completed the curious building is the new and very impressive home of the Olympic Sports Hall of Fame.
There are no established hiking trails within Canada Olympic Park but there are several mountain biking trails and instructional courses for all ages. There are many hiking trails on Paskapoo Slopes adjacent to the east border of Canada Olympic Park with wonderful views over the Bow Valley and the city of Calgary.
Paskapoo Ridge is an ancient rift used by Native Indians as a buffalo hunting grounds similar to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump near Fort McLeod in Southern Alberta.
There is an active movement to preserve the four kilometer long Paskapoo Ridge as a protected natural area. There are a number of archaeological digs on the ridge and the area has significant historical value.
Perhaps more than enough development has already consumed this special ridge and its natural ambiance seems valuable as a visible landmark within an urban area.
A couple of days later, a nice sunset is forming over Canada Olympic Park which results in the photo that may provide better layout perspective.