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Experience the Heartbeat of Calgary in Prince’s Island Park

Prince’s Island Park could well be classified as Calgary’s premier urban park.  As the name implies, this 20-hectare gem is located on an island in the Bow River on the north border of Downtown.  The park was built on land donated to the City in 1947 by the Prince family, founders of Eau Claire Lumber Mill.

Prince’s Island Park and the Peace Bridge

The park can be accessed by any of three foot bridges on it’s south shore linking it to Eau Claire and the Downtown area.  A single pedestrian suspension bridge links the northern shore of the park to Memorial Drive.  A nearby access on the western border via the iconic Peace Bridge is also a popular approach route to the park from the neighbourhood of Kensington.

Prince’s Island Park access via the pedestrian bridge from Memorial Drive
Winter in Prince’s Island Park, showing the bridge access from Eau Claire and the natural public skating rink that is maintained by the city

In the summer the park is abuzz with visitors, busking events, festivals, expos and outdoor theatre.  It is a frequent lunchtime escape destination for Downtown employees or for exercise fanatics who use its extensive lawns and paved pathway system that forms part of the extended Bow River pathway system.  Pet-owners living in the nearby neighbourhoods make the Park their go-to destination year-round. Those brave enough to paddle down the Bow River (“float the Bow”) may choose to conveniently terminate their adventure here. 

Spring in the Park
Shakespeare by the Bow
Paddlers floating the Bow often choose to conveniently exit the river at the Park
Summertime in the Park
Keep an eye out for elusive beavers who are constantly trawling the waters of the Bow around the Park

In the winter seasonal lights transform the area into a wonderland.  The southern arm of the river becomes a family-friendly public skating pond that is maintained by the City.  A sought-after elite restaurant, The River Café located in the park, takes reservations and is open year-round.

The wetland on the eastern arm of the park is home to indigenous plants and bird life and has lovely views of the majestic Centre Street Bridge.

Flocks of Canada geese and Mallard ducks still make the Park’s wetland home throughout the frigid winter months

The park features on our recommendations of where you should visit if you have only two hours or a half-day to explore downtown Calgary.

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