Obviously I think Riley Park is spectacular! I virtually grew up in that park in my Calgary neighbourhood of Hillhurst, visiting it daily. Our principal, Mr. Dibble at Hillhurst Elementary School would tell us “not to cut through the park” to get home, but rather take a circuitous route around the park throughout the streets in the neighbourhood. I really was a good little girl but ’round about grade three I disregarded what Mr. Dibble had to say, snuck through the giant black wrought iron gate and cut straight through the park every day to and from school. Cutting through the park meant stopping at the playground and playing on the swings and the slide for awhile with my friends and/or my brothers. Cutting through the park meant taking off our socks and shoes and wading through the pool after it opened May long weekend. Cutting through the park meant a shorter (and much more fun) way home.
I found a teeny tiny photo online of the wading pool in Riley Park, circa 1956.
This is how it looks now.
City Parks and Recreation have modernized and updated the pool over the years, taking out some cement barricades, etc. that were hazardous. My savasana quilt hangs on the fence surrounding the pool. This quilt pattern was published in Quilter’s Connection magazine. I’ve always been fond of the batiks and the colours of this quilt and the embroidered symbols for savasana.
Rachel Elliott’s quilt, Weight of Love hangs on the fence bordering the other side of the wading pool and looks great as a canvas for the picnic table.
The playground now is likely lead-free and woodenless. Back in the day, I got some pretty rough slivers on the seats of the old wooden swings.
A brand new condominium is being built on the edges of the playground at Riley Park. Living there will mean the playground is your backyard. Given the increase in inner-city traffic and all the pedestrians now, I still think it would be an amazing place to live. Kid noise would be so abundant; it would be wonderful.
Walking from the park to the rock garden adjacent to Tenth Street N.W. brings back so many memories. My Mom absolutely loved this garden and she would haul us all to the park on a regular basis so she could point and sniff and “oooh” and “ahhh” at all the flowers. Yelling as she did, “stay on the path” would make me nuts. All we wanted to do was play tag and keeping to the paths was impossible.
Even now in September, the rock garden (now called Senator Patrick Burns Rock Garden) is still full of colour and beauty.
I would love to have my own bench someday in this park.
A huge piece of my heart still lives in Hillhurst and Riley Park….amazing to think of such a thing after all these years have passed by. I felt so overwhelmingly sad and joyful at the same time, watching all the kids spill out of Hillhurst Elementary School on their way home for the day. Kids and moms holding hands, not hesitating to “cut through the park!”