Calgary Parks worked to redevelop Mills Park, located on the corner of 9 Ave SE and 14 Street SE in the community of Inglewood. The new design of the park will be one of the first City parks to incorporate a natural play space.

Design Inspiration

The inspiration for Mills Park natural play space comes from the concept of the “back 40” at an old Albertan ranch. The design was sparked by the desire to bring urban kids back to nature. The playscape is inspired by the non-linear, self-directed play that often happens on a rural ranch land property. Centering on a miniature ranch property, the designed elements of the park are symbols of the rural southern Alberta landscape, from forested parkland and grassland prairies to rolling foothills and rugged mountain terrain. Ranch-inspired elements include the park entrances (traditional ranch entry gate), main pathway (winding rural driveway or road), playhouses (rural ranch house, barn, silo) a fenced tot-lot for young children (equestrian corral or pen), swinging bench (porch swing), and open space and linear planting beds (farmland and crops).

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. The opportunity for feedback is now closed.

If you have any questions or would like additional information about natural play spaces in City parks, please contact 311 or email parks@calgary.ca.


In May, we held a public engagement session to hear from Inglewood residents and other Calgarians what kind of natural play space they would like to see at Mills Park. Four main themes came out of the feedback we heard and have been incorporated into the Preferred Concept Plan.

Theme 1

Respondents asked for quieter play areas nearest to 14 Street, and for active play areas closer to the new development. In response, the area by 14 Street is a seating area with picnic tables, whereas the slopes, boulders, hill slide, and slack-line posts are focused near the new development. An open space joins the quiet, passive area from the active play area.

Theme 2

Respondents were concerned about the right balance of safety and risk. Sight lines (especially through playhouses) are kept open, the thick coniferous trees will be limbed up, and good soil will ensure no standing water or mud (proper storm water drainage).

Theme 3

Respondents requested natural materials, and so the playscape includes wood, stone, and natural slopes (hills and low areas). Man-made materials are limited.

Theme 4

Respondents noted that they were looking for something different than nearby Nellie Breen Park. A review of nearby parks ensured that Mills Park will be a unique playscape geared towards all ages, and will not duplicate what is already provided at Nellie Breen Park.

What We Heard Report

The What We Heard Report contains more information about what we heard from Inglewood residents and other Calgarians at our engagement session in May.