Riley Park is an inner-city oasis hosting an elaborate rock garden near downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Calgary's incredible and ever expanding 800+ KMs (500+ miles) of urban pathway and bikeway provide urban hikers many opportunities to relax at an inner city park.
One of many is Riley Park, a small and beautiful urban oasis, with historical significance, in the downtown Community of Hillhurst near Kensington.
Riley Park was originally a 146,000 hectare (360,774 acre) parcel of land known as Cochrane Ranch. The homestead was occupied by Thomas and Georgina Riley and their 10 children between 1888 and 1909, then willed to the city of Calgary by Ezra Riley. Riley Park was donated to the City of Calgary in 1904.
The little park is vibrant in summer and serene in winter as amenities are closed for the winter season. In summer Riley Park hosts a large wading pool, a playground and two cricket fields surrounded by rock gardens and a wide variety of mature trees guarding the privacy of memorial benches and picnic tables scattered about the sprawling property.
The southwest corner of Riley Park hosts a playground, closed in the winter but a center of recreation for children in spring, summer and autumn.
Riley Park's northeast corner, on a hill adjacent to 10th Street NW, hosts the Patrick Burns Memorial Rock Garden sheltered by mature evergreen trees. Senator Patrick Burns (1856 - 1937) is well remembered as a prominent Alberta, rancher, politician and businessman responsible for the founding of Burns Food.
He was one of the Big Four founders responsible for the creation of the Calgary Stampede. The 20,000 pieces of flagstone used in the Senator Patrick Burns Memorial Rock Garden were recovered from the senator's demolished mansion at the corner of 4th Street and 13th Avenue, SW.
The 10th Street, NW sign for entry to the impressive Rock Garden at the Northeast corner of Riley Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Along the north end of the cricket pitches an errant Christmas decoration has made a break for it near the Calgary and District Cricket League (1908) clubhouse.
This February 4, Winter Walk Day in Canada, is chilly but the reflection of sun on expansive fields of snow creates a warm and sunny bright experience.
There are a wide variety of people and animal tracks mingling with evidence of ski tracks. One elderly lady is snowshoeing. The layer of snow is thin but the snowshoe crampons will provide secure traction on the ice beneath.
The following map of Riley Park is available, along with additional information, at the City of Calgary website.
Adjacent to the south and west of Riley Park is the commanding sandstone architecture of the Hillhurst Community School. The structure was constructed in 1912 and remains in active use today.
This picturesque, urban park is easily accessible from downtown Calgary along the north side of the Bow River to its location south of the Alberta College of Art and Design.
Photographs for this Riley Park post were captured on February 8, 2015.