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.