I have never appreciated going outside as much as I have since the pandemic began. Calgarians have always embraced the outdoors and thrived on outdoor activities and with all the chaos and confusion in this weird new world, this is more true than ever. We’ve been able to stay active, entertain ourselves, and safely visit with friends. Many people took up new hobbies, such as gardening, and the sale of any type of leisure equipment has exploded this year. From biking to backpacking, and pickleball to paddleboarding, we know how to stay active and fill our days!

One of our daily activities during the spring COVID lockdown was simply going out every day for a family walk – or a forced march, as my kids called it. We found many paths and trails around our own community that we had never before discovered. Here at Family Fun Calgary, we’ve also been hearing about some new parks and outdoor spaces that have been developed in Calgary.

Eat & Seek

New for the summer of 2021, Eat & Seek, is an inventive outdoor space that will be open to the public starting June until Fall 2021, at Southcentre Mall located by the North Entrance near Starbucks. Explore vibrant designs and wordplay that will inspire you to hunt for hidden messages in a larger-than-life word search, attempt an unconventional hopscotch, and explore puddles of magnetic colour amidst a vast, mysterious grid.

Eat & Seek has been curated in partnership with PARK and features work from two Alberta artists. The collaborative concept and original artwork were conceived by Calgary-based muralist Nicole Wolf and Edmonton creative, Chris Provins. The unique outdoor dining space will feature an interactive landscape of typography and shape that will encourage play and exploration for visitors of all ages.

Parklets

Take a look at these “parklets” in Kensington and Beltline that are being installed in the summer of 2021! They’re made from shipping containers to help increase the amount of public, street-level seating space in warmer summer months, with the parklets being re-located to parks that need additional seating in the winter.

Park Park

Instead of the barren landscape of an urban parking lot, Park Park is a colourful parking lot park, designed to ignite imagination and provide visual urban interest. This park, designed by Public City Architecture, is a re-imagined parking lot at the Calgary Parking Authority’s Lot 43, across from The Hose and the Hound Neighbourhood Pub in Inglewood.

Park Park is planned to be in place for the next two years, and “provides a colourful, vibrant collision of activities that takes on new meaning and provokes new conversations about the role of parking lots in urban neighbourhoods.” Perfect for picture backdrops and interesting Instagram posts, the park is lined with scaffolding that frames symbolic icons of park use. There is a life-sized symbol of a tree, a child playing hockey, and a picnic table. It’s a park for parking, sitting, playing, gathering, or riding. Let Park Park challenge your ideas about what urban spaces can be.

Park Park (Family Fun Calgary)

Park Park; Credit: Public City Architecture

High Park

High Park is Calgary’s newest park and you’ll find it downtown, six storeys above Beltline. Also designed by Public City Architecture, High Park sits on top of the City Centre Parkade at 340 – 10 Ave. SW and is a temporary installation open until mid-2021. With sweeping views, the park covers 90,000 square feet and includes a 200-metre boardwalk, colourful picnic tables, lights, and sections of green AstroTurf.

The multi-use park is a place to get outside, meet with friends, and relax above the hustle and bustle of the downtown. It has drawn attention as a venue for outdoor music or fitness events, as well. Along the boardwalk, you’ll find colour-themed parklets, each framed by a sign panel with a positive or provocative phrase, designed to be shared.

If you’d like to offer feedback on High Park, you can find a survey on the Beltline Neighbours Association website.

High Park (Family Fun Calgary)

Photo Credit: Gavin Young/Postmedia

Sunnyside Art Walk

Some beautiful murals and artwork are popping up in Sunnyside, making it a lovely place to get outside and see something new. Find out more about the Sunnyside Art Walk here.

Bowmont Park

Okay, so Bowmont Park isn’t new, but have you heard about the mysterious plaques that have popped up in the summer of 2020? These cheeky plaques were installed on benches in Bowmont Park and removed by the city due to the policy around commemorative plaques and graffiti. But people loved them so much that the city, acknowledging they may have been too cautious in removing them, has reinstalled them! Head to Bowmont and see if you can find all six plaques.

Bowmont Park Plaques (Family Fun Calgary)

Credit: City of Calgary

Toon Tunnel

With splashes of colour and joy, Toon Tunnel is located at the north end of Egerts Park, under 14th Street, going into Nose Hill Park. It was created in the summer and fall of 2020 by Andrea Baillargeon, a local artist who wanted to bring some smiles to families this year. Filled with favourite cartoon characters, this is a wonderful destination to help keep the kids entertained and engaged.

Toon Tunnel (Family Fun Calgary)

Credit: Colin Baillargeon

For more places to play outside, check out our Must Visit Playgrounds or our Beyond the Playground articles.