In 1967 the Federal Government challenged all towns and cities to build something to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday.
Calgary chose to build a massive park in the middle of the thriving city – as a tribute to our ancestors and those hard-working people who give us the opportunity to enjoy a life-style where the sky’s the limit.
At Heritage Park you slip back in time before conveniences. With wooden planked streets in the downtown area – visit the apothecary, bakery, livery-stable, North West mounted police station and many other shops. The highlight to me is the Wainwright hotel where you can dine in old-fashioned splendor or visit the saloon with swinging doors and a long bar. Everyone who works at Heritage Park dresses in authentic clothing.
Or wander outside the village to visit a ranch-house, Native tepees or the animals. There is even a sod-home where it is nearly impossible to imagine anyone living especially with the large families our ancestors had. I would have convinced my parents to live in a tepee over a sod hut. I am terrified of bugs. I can close my eyes and imagine them crawling all over.
All modes of transportation are old-fashioned from horse, wagon and the puffing train. At Christmas there are crafts and a hay-ride reminiscent of my childhood with jingling sleigh bells and crisp, sparkling snow.
I visited Heritage Park continually first as a young adult longing for the vast isolation of childhood, then with my children who found it wonderful to have such a place in the middle of a huge city and then just recently I took my grandson when we visited Calgary.
The highlight of my visit is always taking the old steamship around Glenmore dam. Heritage Park has often helped me regain that ‘feeling’ of going back in time to understand the life in my historical stories.
In my story One Dance with a Stranger, which is a contemporary romance, Wade and Emily visit Heritage Park.