Calgary Marathon Course Part 6 – Where the Buffalo Roam…

Heading Back downtown – The high point

Running north along Sarcee Road, you are leaving the MRU area and will pass the mid-way point in the marathon as you cross over 33rd Ave entering into the community of Killarney. After a right turn, a slow easy climb along 26th Ave will bring you through Killarney, an area known for its mature park-like landscaping and gentle hills. Featuring a community organic garden, and outdoor skating rink, and a wide variety of Community Association events held year round, Killarney is a great place to raise a family while enjoying the benefits of inner-city living.

After passing over Crowchild Trail, the marathon is all downhill from here! Passing quickly through a few inner city gem communities of Richmond, South Calgary and Bankview, you cross over 14th St into Mount Royal to start your downhill journey north.

With grand, old homes lining the streets, Mount Royal is home to many who built this city into an oil town. Originally known as American Hill for the large number of Americans who settled this neighbourhood, the area was part of a grand development plan when the CPR was pulling the country together by rail. Likely on the recommendation of the CPR chief western surveyor, J. Lonsdale Doupe, seen as somewhat of a visionary, the CPR, who controlled lands embraced a new concept of town planning that was derived from the musings of European architects and town planners. Rather than the unimaginative grids, Doupe decided to take a different approach for this land. Using the contours of the hill, he designed “curvilinear” roads upwards and along the sides.

A further concept that left its stamp on Calgary and Mount Royal was the Garden Suburb, what was coined as a part of the larger City Beautiful movement. Born in the Chicago Exposition of 1896, the City Beautiful was the expression of several trends in the new discipline of city planning where cities were laid out based on aesthetic principles rather than “rational” city planning.

As you run along Prospect Ave through the neighbourhood turning left at 25 km, down 8th St, across Royal Ave and back onto 17th Ave (where the Half Marathoners have continued…) you will surely appreciate the Garden Suburb concept. The rich history of this part of the course was shown to anchor beyond the Garden when in 1968 an extensive butchering site was discovered when upon excavating the foundation of a 17th Ave building at 7th St SW, revealing Buffalo bones and primitive stone implements. Archaeologists believe that it was a popular and well-used area for the bison hunting…

Now you can say you’ve run where the Buffalo roam!