Baker Park occupies the north shore across the Bow River from Bowness Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The Bow River runs from west to east through the center of downtown Calgary. Bowness 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.
A bicycle ride into Bowness Park guarantees an extraordinary leisure day experience.
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.
Baker Park is just east of the Bearspaw Water Treatment Pumping Station on excellent paved paths suitable for walking, cycling and rollerblading.
Wild flowers proliferate along the shores of the Bow River.
Baker Park is Calgary's most frequently requested park for outdoor weddings. The park has features which support spectacular wedding photography opportunities.
- The Sun Bowl
- Wildflower Mount, and
- Eight Pillar Archway
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.
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 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 circular sidewalk is solved.
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.
The trail leads to the railroad bridge over the Bow River. Rafting, canoeing and kayaking are popular along the Bow River.
Much of the Bowmont Natural Environment Park is cordoned off temporarily to guard a new area containing more trails and filtering ponds which protect runoff into the Bow River. Great effort and expense is allocated to this well justified objective.
The bicycle ride home travels beneath the Stoney Trail Bridge, through Bowness Park and home.