As we leave the Stampede Grounds heading north up Olympic Way, we pass through historic Victoria Park. Established in 1914 and named in honour of Queen Victoria, it is one of Calgary’s oldest communities with a modern flare. Part of the Rivers District, a core area of our course which includes Victoria Park, Downtown East Village, the Stampede Grounds, the Calgary Zoo and Fort Calgary, it is a hotbed for potential new and rejuvenated development. Soon to add to the charm of this neighbourhood will be East Victoria Park, a neighbourhood park for Calgarians who live and work in the community. In addition, a number of residential and office projects are planned as well as the Stampede’s expansion, proposed extension of Olympic Way into East Village, and the redevelopment of CPR lands.
We’ll literally get back to Victoria Park shortly but as we pass the 1 km mark of the race we quickly pass under one of Calgary’s new infrastructure projects, the 4th Street underpass. This direct connection between East Village / Inglewood area and the Beltline dramatically improves walkability (and run-ability) for Calgary’s Rivers District.
The wide sidewalks and dedicated bicycle lanes with state-of-the-art LED lighting in the walls and handrails make the space brighter and more appealing. Its canopy is also a unique kinetic artwork installation. Within a galvanized metal armature, hundreds of aluminum fans are fastened to pivots that allow each fin to move with the motion of the wind or a passing train. The installation also allows light to penetrate the space below.
After you emerge from this underpass, you will turn right onto 9th Ave SE, or as it was historically known, Atlantic Avenue. Almost immediately, to your left, you will pass by historic Fort Calgary, the birthplace of our fine city. At the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers this is the original location of the North West Mounted Police fort built in 1875. Over the years, Fort Calgary was a police administration centre, a community symbol of law, order and prosperity, a hospital, a refuge, a social centre, and a focal point for settlers, ranchers and business.
For most of the first half of the last century, Calgary’s origins were hidden under a railway yard and storage area. In 1974, thanks largely to the efforts of Alderman John Ayer, The City of Calgary bought the site and returned the city’s birthplace to the public domain. Work started on an Interpretive Centre in 1975, the site was cleaned up and regained its position as a centre for Calgarians to celebrate our past and plan for the future.
Over the Elbow River and into Inglewood! Atlantic Avenue (9th Ave SE) was Calgary’s original downtown thoroughfare, fortunately retaining much of its original feel with numerous historical building. You will literally be running through Calgary’s history at this point. Although Inglewood has experience a few down years, the neighbourhood is one of Calgary’s hottest right now! During the day you have a selection of great shops and restaurants and that carries over to the evening where you can dine or even dance with one of Calgary’s best live music venues, the Ironwood Stage and Grill. If you are looking for great dinner option, Rouge is a past winner of the Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant award. Rouge will be waving as you leave the south shores of the Bow heading over to the Zoo Island. More to come…