It’s time to ignite your senses and kick off the best summer fun at Heritage Park Historical Village! Heritage Park opens for the season on May 20, 2023, and they’re offering Calgary families more to experience, more to explore, and more to discover. For everyone from new visitors to those who always purchase an annual membership, this year is guaranteed to wow you like never before.
Heritage Park Historical Village is a living history museum with something for everyone and one of Calgary’s top attractions. They are open daily during the summer, from Victoria Day Weekend until Labour Day Weekend, and then open weekends until Thanksgiving. It is the Park’s mission to preserve the history of the early West and to educate and entertain guests of all ages, so there’s always something to discover at Heritage Park, whether you want to pack your day or just relax.
Getting excited for the 2023 season? Us, too! Check out all the ways you can experience history at Heritage Park this summer.
- More to do: Heritage Park offers a wide range of activities and experiences that visitors can enjoy. Start your visit with a ride to the Park gates on the historic streetcar. Take a ride on the authentic steam train or hit the open water on the S.S. Moyie – Calgary’s only steam-driven paddle wheeler. Stop by the antique midway for a ride, play games throughout the park, and visit the First Nations Encampment. Peek into the history of how Western settlers lived on the prairies, from a tiny sod dwelling to the Burnside Ranch House filled with the smell of delicious cooking to the luxurious Prince House. Grab a drink at Drew’s Saloon, go for a ride in the horse-drawn wagon, and watch the blacksmith at work.
- More to see: The Park features over 180 exhibits and attractions that showcase the history and culture of Western Canada, including historic buildings, vintage vehicles, and artifacts. Visit the agricultural area, with 42 animals, this year. Step aside as vintage vehicles trundle past, catch ‘The Telegraph of Time’ street theatre production, or rest your feet in the Canmore Opera House and watch a magical vaudeville act.
- More to touch: Visitors can interact with the exhibits and activities, getting a real sense of what life was like in the past. Play an Indigenous game, mail a letter, or churn butter. Gently pat the horse’s nose, do your sums on a slate, or pan for gold. This is living history!
- More to smell: The park’s authentic historical village and demonstrations engage all the senses, including the smells that will carry you back in time. The sharp smell of printer ink at the Strathmore Standard and the wood smoke from the blacksmith’s shop transport you to everyday work and the freshly baked bread from the bakery and the delicious aroma of traditional foods cooking over an open flame or cookstove will delight you.
- More to taste: Heritage Park is filled with treats we love, including ice cream and milkshakes at Harvey’s for a sweet treat in Heritage Square. Plus, your taste buds will love the new food items being introduced for the 2023 season! Try the Cotton and Candy drink, mini Oreo churros, Xangos (deep-fried caramel, banana cheesecake), or the Orient Bistro Banh Mi Sandwich (satay chicken, pickled veg, and cilantro served on a French baguette). Yum!
History may have presented mobility challenges, but Heritage Park has made improvements to increase accessibility within the Historic Village. You will be able to take the streetcar from the back parking lots to the gate, too. There are pathway improvements along Prospect Ridge and improved directional signage will make it easier to get around the Park and see what is next. As you explore the park, use the Driftscape Map (download the app) to get directions and learn more about exhibits in real time! Watch out for scavenger hunts and tour routes as they pop up on the app.
Curious as to what’s new for 2023? Check out just some of the highlights:
- Wagon rides – they are back! There will be one horse-drawn wagon on weekends and two tractor-drawn wagons daily.
- Indigenous programming: Take part in the special programming for National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) and National Truth and Reconciliation Day (Sept 30).
- Honeybee workshops: ABC Bees will be offering honey bee tours and workshops through July and August.
- Veterinary practice expansion: A staff member will be in the exhibit on a daily basis all summer, and a portion of the exhibit will be re-vamped to talk about diseases that would have been treated by vets at the turn of the century.
- Wing Chong Laundry interpretation: For the first time an interpreter will be at Wing Chong Laundry telling the story of both the businesses and their place in the early history of the Chinese experience on the prairies.
- Expanded Innovation Crossing: Through a partnership with Energyphile, Heritage Park is creating a new exhibition in Innovation Crossing that explores how both indigenous and settlers historically kept themselves warm in the water and cool in the summer. Innovation Crossing will open at the end of June.
- Prospect Ridge enhancements: Try your hand at striking it rich! Learn about the history of gold panning and then try it for yourself.
- More exhibits open in 2023: Weedon School, St Martin’s Church, Thorpe House, Berry Creek Barracks
Heritage Park is a registered charity and offers family fun for all ages, all year long. But when the Historical Village opens, it’s a celebration of summer family fun, no matter the era. Everything to discover is included in the ticket price, so you can explore the nooks and crannies of history together. This Victoria Day weekend, with new exhibits, new food items, and the return of beloved attractions, it’s time to throw open the doors to another must-visit season at Heritage Park Historical Village!
We’ll see you there!
Heritage Park Historical Village Opening Weekend:
When: May 20 – 22, 2023
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Heritage Park
Address: 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary AB