Steeped in history, Battalion Park at Signal Hill is a hike for Calgary stair climbers.
Battalion Park is located at the top of the Signal Hill in southwest Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The historically significant park honors participants of World War One. Convenient parking is available adjacent to Staples at the back of the Signal Hill Shopping Complex. The first objective is to climb the wooden stairway to level trail about half way up the hill. It is wise to be prepared for a breeze.
Following a brief wheezing session, it is expedient to hike west on paved path to the monument with the magnificent Rocky Mountain backdrop. The history lesson begins here with informative plaques and brass plaque dedications. Some of the information is simultaneously sobering and uplifting.
At the large stone monument, there is an option to climb another bank of stairs or continue west a little further. A flat trail is chosen which travels further west to grand views across Calgary to the front range of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.
Warm sun tempers the chilling, fresh breeze. The scope of the view to the mountains, and across the city, is impressive.
Back at the main monument, the next set of stairs passes through several sets of fascinating, interpretive plaques which discuss the circumstances and living conditions of the first World War. It would be a bit too much for most young children but potentially informative and humbling for adults.
As elevation is gained, the views just keep getting better. Near the top. the white boulders which display the numbers 137, 113, 151 and 51, honor the battalion regiment numbers. The huge number displays are best viewed from significant distance. Close proximity make them unintelligible because of their immense size.
At the top of the second set of cascading, wooden stairways is the entrance from the community of Signal Hill.
Entering Battalion Park from the top should perhaps be reserved for residents. People who are not Signal Hillians have entered the community by vehicle and never been seen again due to the complexity of the street layout. And, parking appears to be very limited.
The view from the top is spectacular. On the descent, the vistas over the local shopping complex and the city are outstanding. There are many interpretive plaques along the stairway route with fascinating information about the circumstances and hardships of the period.
Back at the bottom of the upper tier of stairs, there is the opportunity to walk east past the initial stair climb. The paved path curls north above Sarcee Trail. There are informative posts at trail intersections where different parts of the Signal Hill community can access the paved path.
The City of Calgary is just completing new trail complex lower and closer to Sarcee Trail. Overall, there is more than 800 KMs (500 miles) of pedestrian and cycle pathway in Calgary. It is a huge opportunity worthy of investigation.
There are grand discoveries to be realized.
Battalion Park becomes more obvious when viewed from above. The following aerial photograph illustrates the battalion numbers, and the layout of this small but significant park, as seen from the air.
Battalion Park is a 93 hectare recreation area set aside to recognize the contribution and sacrifice of participating battalions in World War 1. The little park opened in November of 1991. Originally, it was known as Camp Sarcee in 1915.
More information is available on the City of Calgary Parks website. It is a good walking opportunity with a chance of learning about an important time in Calgary's history.
Photographs for this post on Battalion Park were taken on March 31, 2015.