Central Memorial Park





1221 2 Street SW

Municipal Historic Resource


Central Memorial Park is Calgary's oldest surviving Park. In 1889 William Pierce (Superintendent of Mines for the North West Territories) convinced the Dominion government to donate the Land to the Town of Calgary. In 1894, a public works committee was instructed to plough sufficient land on the site to allow for the planting of 500 trees fir later distribution and sale to the public. In 1900, a civic gardener was employed to nurture the crop and care for the newly constructed civic windmill.

Further development of the site was not realized until the construction of the Carnegie Library in 1902. The east end of the Park grounds were laid to compliment the grand library building. In 1909 a larger, more elaborate bandstand was constructed in the central part of the park, beginning a long tradition of music concerts in the park.

Calgary's first Park's Superintendent, J. Buchanan, took office in 1910, and reported no significant work carried out on the site due to the library construction. When he was replaced by Richard Iverson the next year, a proposal was put forth to the city commissioners to plan a "formal garden in the heart of Calgary's finest residential area." This plan called for a South African Soldier's Memorial, by prominent Canadian sculptor Phillip Hebert, flanked by two memorial waterbasins and for construction of a shell-shaped bandstand with open halls on each side, furnished with tables and seats. Flower beds were to be raised as high as five feet to allow proper viewing for passersby. The south end featured a long row of vine covered lattice to schieve the look of summer houses.

The geometric plan of the park was designed to be "in harmony with modern ideas". Plans for the bandstand were borrowed from Golden Gate Park in San Fransisco. In 1914, Reader planter 19,500 annuals, 800 perennials, and 200 trees on the site. The same year, the South African Memorial was installed and Egyptian jardiniers were furnished with large palms.In front of the library the garden layout was enhanced by the inclusion of flower beds and a statue of the Amazons. Work began in April of 1912 under Calgary's most influential Parks superintendent William Reader. Under Reader's jurisdiction (1912-1914) Central Park became a civic showplace. Funds for the construction were created through a civic by-law and was significant enough to allow for an underground irrigation system and the installation of electric lights. 


.to learn more about the statues in the Central Memorial Park, click the red icons in the map below. . to offer comments, corrections, or improvements to this article email:  heritage@beltline.ca