Mar 292016
 
Banzai Water Slide

Calgary is perhaps not the best place for an outdoor water park, what with all the strange and unpredictable weather and rather brief summer season. None the less, one such business operated in the southern half of the city for a time. Presenting: the the Banzai (or Bonzai) Water Park, or rather what little is left if it. In operation for only a few short years in the 1980s and 1990s, the land where it once stood, as soon as the economy recovers of course, due to be the site of a new condo tower or two.

In the meantime the land is pretty much empty, Only a few chunks of concrete, some broken pathways, scattered trees, along with the remains of metal poles used to support the runs, remind us there was anything here. The place is but a footnote in Calgary history.

The few people that we could track down associated with the venue paint a picture of gross mismanagement and poorly conceived plans. Former patrons, we spoke with about a dozen, almost collectively, described it as “lame” – big complaint: the runs were too short and not terribly exciting. Everyone recalled either having been or knowing of someone who was injured while there, becoming ill after using it (yucky water is mentioned), being bullied by other customers, belligerent employees and numerous other unpleasantries. I guess it was not just the short seasons that killed it off. Note: our study case was small, so the results might be a bit skewed towards “thumbs down”.

A mini-golf course used to be located next to the slide runs. There was one other water park in the Calgary area, back when, just east of town, and it didn’t last long in business either.

Banzai (or Banzai!): Japanese origin, often used as a war-cry. Not to be confused with Bonsai, a small sculpted tree. Many people we’ve heard from say the place was called Bonzai Water Park and in fact an old commercial showing it has surfaced on Youtube confirming just that. Still, it seems the “incorrect” name was used more often, the company itself at times even doing it. We found an old flyer from them and it says Banzai. Banzai? Bonzai? Does it matter?

A closed go-cart track in Calgary, now gone…
Kart Garden or Kart World?

Short Subjects: reports that for any number of reasons are brief in nature. They might be updates to older articles, previews of posts planned or not yet published, brief snippets of things that don’t fit in anywhere else or subjects that are so obscure that information on them can’t be found.

If you need any more information on what we talked about here, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: March, 2016.
Location: Calgary, AB.

BIGDoer.com was on site with permission.

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Banzai Water Slide

All that remains of the Banzai Water Park Calgary.

Banzai Water Slide Park

It was in operation for only a few short years.

Banzai Water Slide Calgary

All that’s left: some trees, chunks of concrete…

Banzai Water Park Calgary

…And these metal posts that once supported the runs.

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22 Comments on "Banzai Water Slide Park"

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bill kaufmann
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bill kaufmann

Where exactly was this water park?

Dan McIntyre
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Dan McIntyre

Twenty-some years on, and I still miss that Par 57 mini-golf course next door. Too bad I can only remember 12 of the holes clearly.

Tony Whalen
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Tony Whalen

I don’t remember it being THAT bad. Granted, it’s been a few years. I remember the main building was kinda dingy … the slides were fun, although too short compared to other similar facilities in BC and such.

Jenn
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Jenn

Cool, I must have a bad memory, I was a kid/teen in the 80’s/90’s and do not remember this place!
Have you ever taken photos of the abandoned waterslides by Chestermere? I always wanted too!

Rudy Roberts
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Rudy Roberts

(via Facebook)
The last couple years it was open I remember it was overrun with grasshoppers. I had a big grasshopper leap into my mouth as I was sliding down, and was gagging on it the entire way down the slide.

Nora Bryan
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Nora Bryan

One or the other of them. One of the slides had uneven sections and the overlap stuck up against the direction of slide and just about ripped the skin off my back sliding down it. Still, a fun day with friends.

Dave Cubed
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Dave Cubed

(via Facebook)
Saw my first pair of boobs there. Thanks random guy arguing with his lady and pulling her top off!

Adele Warner
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Adele Warner

I remember it – and mini golf there too I think.

Jennie
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Jennie

I worked there for a summer back in the early 90s in the concession stand. The owners were older, but they and the other staff were very friendly and it was a great summer job for a teenager. I didn’t pay attention to much else about the place. Everyone always seemed to be having a good time, though. And weather was definitely an issue as I remember it raining quite a bit that summer so it wasn’t open as much as I would have liked.

Matt
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Matt

I was the DJ at Flipside and Boomerang teen nightclub which operated beside Bonsai for a few years.

Haley Jones
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Haley Jones

It was called Bonzai!

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