This city hike makes a good sized loop around the CPR’s huge Ogden Shops complex. Along the way it takes in a variety of settings, quiet residential communities, empty streets in a long gone neighbourhood, and gritty, noisy, smelly industrial areas. I suspect we’re the only urban trekkers to like the latter, but we hope at least a few of our readers do as well. If you’re into trains, and who isn’t, there’s a good chance you’ll see one or more on this walk. We counted a half a dozen. There’s a reason to follow in our footsteps!
Start at the Glenmore Inn Complex. It’s private property but if you park in the far empty section near Ogden Road you should be fine. Head north from here. At 78th Avenue (SE), turn east, then intercept 26a Street, turn left, and follow it for a time. Because it’s there. Where it ends, turn left and within a block hit Ogden Road again, then turn right. Pass retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations and pubs. Everything a person needs is right here!
Pass the century old Hotel Ogden now a owned by a religious group and operating as Victory Manor, a halfway house of sorts. Once a rough and tumble dive, a flop house, a real place of ill repute, it’s now a house of God. Funny how things come around. This section of Ogden was once its downtown, but most traffic bypasses it now so it’s sort of a forgotten corner. To the left of Victory Manor is the entrance to those Ogden Shops, also the CPR’s main headquarters. We’ll loop the complex but won’t always see it.
Left on 69th Avenue and an immediate right on Crestwood Road. Pass many 1940s/1950s era homes as you head upwards a bit to the community of Lynnwood. Some of the most petite houses in Calgary can be seen along this next section. In fact, I think one passed holds the title as the absolute smallest. Not even garage sized, it’s no bigger than a bathroom in a typical McMansion.
Crestwood Road trends left and soon on meets up with 19th Street. Turn right here passing more tiny dwellings. They seem so out of place given the “bigger is better” attitude this city is so known for. Hotel sized homes, big multi-story pickups, TVs that looks like drive-in movie screens, and so on. This places bucks the trends.
Be sure to give a nice friendly greeting to anyone you pass on this walk. Why? Why not! Left on 62nd Avenue. There’s a corner store just a block away. These are a dying breed, so try and patronize it, we did, so it’ll continue to be around. Out front is another anachronism, a pay phone. We’ll what’s left of one, only the stand remains.
Continue up 19th Avenue (westbound). At Lynnview Road turn right. Soon on come to notorious Lynnview Ridge. There was a community here up until a decade or so ago, but now the land is empty (save for one strip of houses to your left). Turns out putting down roots where a refinery once stood was a bad idea. Who’d a’ thunk it! To read about the debacle, go here: Lynnview Ridge. It’s a story of greed, stupidity and denial. How the hell anyone let this happen suggests funny business is involved.
Turn right and continue down the closed main road in the neighbourhood. It’s a popular place to take a quiet walk. The land behind those fences was where the homes were. Old street signs and even operating street lights remain behind. It’s all a bit eerie.
Trend right, connect up with Milican Road and turn left. Left again, soon on, at Ogden Road. Pass under an historic train bridge. The structure is over a century old and today is owned by Canadian National Railways, but was built by predecessor company Canadian Northern Railways. The line once went all the way to the edge of downtown Calgary but today is used to access a couple industrial customers a bit to the west of here. It doesn’t see many trains. Not only crossing over Ogden Road, it also spans the CPR’s east/west mainline and further in back, an irrigation canal. You’ll duck under that section on the return trip.
Pass “Refinery Park”, a green space now closed due to, you guesses it, contaminated soil from that same refinery we spoke of earlier that caused the “Lynnview Ridge problem”. At 50th Avenue go up and over the tracks. You can turn right just after and intercept the Western Irrigation District Canal Pathway. Or try this diversion – head up a bit and grab a trucker breakfast at the Road King. We did. I guess “Truck Stop” is a dirty word. So it’s called a “Travel Centre”.
Along the canal now – damn icy this day but hopefully better for you when you visit, head in southerly direction. Follow the waterway and pathway as together they bend around the Ogden Shops. There’s that CNoR bridge again. The through-truss section over the canal is massive! Move on past wrecking yards, truck yards, scrap yards, rail yards, a drywall company (dusty!) and steel pipe making concern – to us all wonderful places. The shops complex also forms a back drop but are sort of lost in the clutter back there and difficult to photograph.
Cross over a train track. Good timing, we catch a short freight here. This line, which serves a nearby industrial park, is mostly used at night. For the train buffs: leading the short cut of cars is an early 1980s built Electromotive Division (then GM owned) model GP38-2, #4451. Very common, there were thousands of them, but this one stands out as it’s the third last example built by the firm. Side note: Canadian production continued for longer but this one’s from the US. It came to the CPR after they absorbed a US subsidiary.
Continue on. The canal dates from a century ago and was originally built by the CPR. Then as now, it provides much need water to dry regions to the east of Calgary. Farming out that way would be a near impossible without it. Where the CPR mainline comes in from the right, cross over the canal on a footbridge. We hung around for a time hoping to catch more trains. No such luck.
At noisy Glenmore Trail turn right, cross the yet canal again and hit the Glenmore Inn Complex where you parked. Notice the new Ogden Road flyover being built…or maybe it’ll be done by the time you walk this route. There you go, over a dozen clicks under the belt and we hope a couple good memories socked away for later. Now go home.
If you wish more information about this trail, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: January, 2017.
Location: Calgary, AB.
Distance: 13km loop.
Height gain maximum: Negligible.
Height gain cumulative: Negligible.
NOTE: all distances and heights are approximate.
Technical bits and notes: The usual urban hazards, barking dogs, attack cats, Death Race 2000 drivers out for blood. And lots of ice if you do it in winter.