Bow River Pathway & River Walk

The walk along the Bow River Pathway yesterday was so refreshingly invigorating I just have to do it again with baby E. This time, I charged my iPhone to its full capacity and kept it hidden in my fleece jacket to help conserve its battery life.

Baby E and I took the C-train to Downtown-West Kerby, where we alighted and started walking along the Bow River Pathway all the way up till Confluence Way SE, past the Booker’s BBQ Grill and Crab Shack at 316 3rd Street SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Then, we turned back and walked towards the Calgary Tower at 101 9 Avenue SW.

Along the way, the first bridge we saw was the (Hillhurst) Louise Bridge at 10 Street SW that connects the Downtown West End with Memorial Drive and the Kensington area. We jogged under it’s elegant balustrades and as we emerged from the other end, we were immediately greeted by a pack of black-billed magpies, chirping happily and playing in the snow that rimmed the pavement.

Just a little distance ahead, we jogged past the bench in the west end of Eau Claire Park where I stopped and fed baby E yesterday. Further upfront, Prince’s Island Park was just ahead, on the opposite side of the Bow River. There were many picnic areas with tables and benches across the island. For those who forgot their picnic baskets, there is River Cafe! From this end of the Bow River past the Jaipur Bridge, the river was frozen and sectioned for ice-skating and ice hockey. The Jaipur Bridge, named in recognition of Calgary’s sister city, Jaipur, India, is a Footbridge spanning the Bow River linking the Prince’s Island Park and the Eau Claire Market in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

As Prince’s Island Park came to a close, nearer to the Centre Street Bridge, we saw hundreds of the beautiful Canada geese (Branta Canadensis) gathering in areas of open water. Easy to distinguish, these geese have a grey body with a long black neck and head, and the signature white cheek patches on their faces. Throughout our walk-a-jog, we could see and hear flocks of Canada geese honking their way across the sky in “V” formations.

Geese

After we past the Centre Street Bridge, which is also the central point of the quadrant system of the city, the Bow River Pathway transitions to the River Walk. Whenever J drove along the Memorial Drive flyover overlooking the River Walk and its beautifully-lit platforms at night, I have always imagined myself running on it some day. Today was the day! And I was not alone, baby E was there as my companion! God is AWESOME!

Up ahead, we approached the iconic Langevin Bridge, built in 1909, and opened in 1910, spans the Bow River between 4th Avenue South and Memorial Drive, connecting Downtown Calgary with the north-central Calgary communities such as Bridgeland and Crescent Heights. This is one of four Calgary bridges known as “Parker Camelback” bridges, due to the framework of structural steel that looks like a camel’s back in profile. Recognisable today for its LED installation, as part of the effort to revitalise the East Village, my picture below really does not do it justice. I knew and remembered it as a gloriously-lit bridge after dark.

In 2009, the old historic Langevin Bridge was altered: thousands of LED lights were hung from the bridge in an effort to enliven the 100-year-old structure. Since then, the bridge has been lit for holidays and special events; the bridge was aglow with red and gold for Chinese New Year, and purple and pink for Valentine’s Day. Specific colours were even programmed for significant Calgarian moments, like the Flames home opener. The last I saw it was when it was gleaming in splendid red and green for Christmas.

In my picture, you could also see flocks of Canada geese enjoying themselves in the partly frozen Bow River under the bridge.

Langevin Bridge

After this point, we made a u-turn and headed towards the Calgary Tower. It was there where I bought several Canadian souvenirs for the very few close friends of mine. On our way to the Calgary Tower, we left the River Walk via the Macleod Trail SE and passed by the central Calgary Public Library. Took a picture of the +15 Walkway sign because this is how Calgarians call their overhead bridges. It is so named because they are approximately 15 feet above street level. Calgary’s +15 Skywalk is a public pedestrian walkway system that links buildings throughout the Downtown and provides alternative routes for pedestrians to numerous and varied destinations. The public access through private buildings enables pedestrians to travel in weather-protected walkways.

+15 Walkway

Then we came to the Olympic Plaza. Built in 1988 for the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary as the site of the medal presentation ceremonies, it now hosts many special events and festivals throughout the year. It is also a beautiful destination venue for downtown Calgary workers to sit and enjoy their lunch during the lunch hour.

In the winter months, it serves as a wonderful outdoor skating venue and is the only outdoor refrigerated ice surface in Calgary. It is especially beautiful at night when the area is lit up by downtown city lights. I wished I could stay in Calgary longer, to invest in a pair of my very own ice skates that I could bring out in winter for skating on this special rink as well as on the frozen rivers found everywhere in Calgary.

At the Olympic Plaza, baby E woke up and smiled at me. We could see the Calgary Tower in the background a short distance away. We continued walking towards the Centre Street C-train station, where we spent some time appreciating the art project “TransitStory”. The artwork showcases 30 sculptures of figures fabricated from steel, and evokes the ephemeral presence and memory of past travellers. Like objects seen obliquely out of the corner of one’s eye, the art installation will change from every angle – at once present and absent.

The display looks different when observed from various angles and distances. The colours of the steel change and the embedded imagery provide a more intimate experience when viewed close up.

After getting bags of souvenirs from the Calgary Tower, we were ready to head home. We walked to the 4th Street C-train station, where the Courthouse Park is situated. The Park has been landscaped on top of the new Court Parkade and designed to reflect Alberta’s natural regional heritage.

+15 at 4th Street station

There, we took pictures of the public art installation “Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do” by Canadian artist, Joe Fafard. Created to commemorate Quebec City’s 400th anniversary and celebrate the Calgary-Quebec City sister-city relationship, this artwork is the second in a series, the first was presented as a gift to Quebec City in September in 2010, and resides along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The artwork consists of eight galloping cut-steel plate horses with a powder-coat finish. To me, I thought it was symbolically in time for this year’s lunar new year of Horse! 😉

Horse artwork

The train came, took a picture of it with the words “Calgary Transit” and the Canadian Maple Leaf motif on its windows to remind myself of Calgary’s public train system. We hopped onto the C-train, which brought us home to the Westbrook station.

Calgary Transit

Walking back home on the last stretch of road from the Westbrook station, at the cross junction between Spruce Drive SW and Bow Trail SW, we could still see the city of Calgary with its iconic Calgary Tower, where we were at an hour ago. Standing there, I secretly thought to myself, “If it won’t be snowing tomorrow, I shall “accompany” baby E to the city for a good walk again.”

View of the City

We will close this long blogpost with the glorious sunset God signed off for the day.

Sunset on 21 Jan 2014

O’ LORD, thank you so much for the wonderful experience You have given us. May Thy name be glorified. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of Thy wings. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

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