Inspiration for this fine inner-city hike comes from the book Calgary’s Best Walks by Lori Beattie. Here we’ll be following Route #12, roughly, taking in a series of parks and hitting the pavement in number of older established neighbourhoods. The going is super easy. You don’t have to follow our route to the letter either, mix it up, we insist upon it. I think the author of the book would agree – make it yours. This one has a lot of zigs and zags.
Our start was at the Confederation Park parking lot, off 30th Ave NW. Enter this long green space some eight to ten blocks long. It’s located in a shallow coulee set below the surrounding neighbourhoods. There’s lots of trees and lots of nice open grassy areas. It was established in 1967 and named after Canada’s union which took place exactly one hundred years prior. That stylized maple leaf was the symbol of our country’s 100th.
Head west on a paved path, ambling along next to a stream. What, in the big city? Lots of people out enjoying the nice weather this day. Dog walkers, joggers, picnickers, and daredevil kids hitting up the many toboggan runs in the park. Fun was had by all.
Dip under 10th Street using a tunnel. Take in the park, soak up the sun, a gentle breeze blows, large trees tower overhead. Bliss. Another underpass. Just beyond 14th Street take the path heading behind Confederation Golf Course, which in winter is used for X-County Skiing. Lots of people out doing it this day.
To the left…Boler! Wait…it’s just a look-alike, a near carbon copy called a Lil’ Bigfoot. I don’t know the story of the Bigfoot firm, but we think they made Bolers under contract in the 1980s and perhaps “borrowed” the design for their own trailer. It’s easy to confuse one with the other, especially from a distance. One sure fire way – that hitch shroud tells us it’s an impostor.
Enter Canmore Park, head up to street level and enter the Banff Trail Neighbourhood on Canmore Road. Lots of Brady style houses here dating from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Rather in love with the kitschy designs of that era.
Turn left on 28th Avenue and left again on Cochrane Road. Right on 27th Avenue then left on Morley Trail. Hitting 19th Street – Boler! And our first of the year. Turn right, cross over at the lights and head east on 24th Avenue. You’re now in the community of Capitol Hill which dates form the 1940s (mostly)
We’ve been passing all kinds of cool old vehicles along the way and would see more later. Most looked road-worthy, even if they were a bit beat up and worn out looking. We call junker pickups “Mike’s Trucks” after the old man who had a thing old beaters to use in his construction business. Got many of his from “Farmer Jones”.
Right on 18th Street, left on 22nd Avenue, right on 16th Street, then right again on 20th Avenue. There’s a corner store along here – not a chain 7-11 or Mac’s but an independent Mom & Pop type place. And when we pass an old-school “confectionery” such as this we always buy a couple lotto tickets. If one is to win, we feel it’ll be here. Truth be told, they were duds and we walked away with jack. Had we won, we would have shared it with all you readers. Of course we would.
On hitting 19th Street again, turn left and on arriving at busy 16th Avenue, turn right and enter Tipperary’s Pub. This stop is mandatory! A Guinness, dark as night, and some bacon and eggs await. A beer with breakie? It works! Technically it was breakfast for lunch.
A couple pints later, all happy and rocking a low grade buzz, we hit the road again. Head in behind the Home Depot on 17th Avenue, after crossing 19th Street. On 17th Street head left, on 19th Avenue head right – and old Olds and Jurassic Jeep in quick succession – then left on 16th Street and finally right on 20th Avenue. We’ll stay on this one for a time after bouncing around like a pinball earlier.
Wander past many tiny homes, mostly, along with the occasional business (that post tells us one was a former Loaf & Jug). Come to King George School, a large imposing structure made of sandstone. It’s not the only one like it in Calgary. We’re now in the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant. It dates from the 1910s. Lots of small bungalows here interspersed with giant McMansion infills of more recent vintage. Quite a contrast in size! And style.
Head north on 10th Street then right on 23rd Avenue. More old houses. Left on 7th Street, right on 24th Avenue, and one last left on 6th Street. Another old truck – the old man would love it. Come to Confederation Park and drop down to your car. You’re done!
Full expect we’ll being doing more of Lori Beattie’s Walks. There’s times where wilderness hiking in winter is not possible for us – long story – and these help fill a void. She did a great job making these city-treks interesting and fun and we recommend them. Stay tuned.
Another inspired by the book.
Calgary’s Best Walks #10 .
If you wish more information about this trail, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: January, 2018.
Location: Calgary, AB.
Distance: 10km loop.
Height gain maximum: 80m-ish.
Height gain cumulative: 120m-ish.
NOTE: all distances and heights are approximate.