Project Update - April 2024

Following the Phase 2 engagement in November 2023, some of the big moves you wanted us to make to our parks and open spaces can now be found in the Calgary Plan, The City’s Municipal Development Plan. This is The City’s highest level planning document which guides how we build and move through our city.

Learn more about how to provide feedback on building the future of Calgary by clicking on the following link:

This approach allows even greater support across all the services we offer to Calgarians to increase and enhance our natural areas, urban forests, and to ensure we are building well connected, year-round, multi-use parks that meet people’s needs.

We are currently working towards a draft Parks Plan that incorporates feedback we heard from Calgarians in Fall 2024, which provides details on how we will action what we heard is important to Calgarians as we look to better manage and build our parks system for the next 20 years. 

The Project

By early 2025, The City of Calgary will develop and present the Connect: Calgary’s Parks Plan to Council for approval. This Plan will replace the original Open Space Plan approved by Council in 2002 and will determine how Calgary’s parks are managed, developed, and redeveloped over the next 20 years. The process of creating this Plan includes three phases of engagement.

Phase 1 engagement took place from April 17 - May 19, 2023. Phase 2 engagement took place October 13 - November 12, 2023. A draft plan is anticipated for Fall 2024.


Connect: Calgary's Parks Plan

We’re writing the next 20-year plan on how we develop, redevelop, and manage parks in Calgary. Our goal is to better connect Calgarians with the environment, wellness and each other, through our shared park spaces.

Your voice matters! We want to hear from you to create a Parks Plan that works for our city, our environment, our communities and our future.

Why now?

It’s been 20 years since we updated our Parks Plan, and during this time, the needs of Calgarians and our city have changed. This new plan will allow us to deliver inclusive, accessible, sustainable parks for all Calgarians - now and in the future.

Why you?

Parks are free public spaces with huge environmental, social and economic benefits. They are an essential component of a healthy, vibrant and resilient city. We are eager to hear from Calgarians on how we can create a new Parks Plan that works for our city, our environment, our communities, and our future.


What it includes

This plan will provide policy on how decisions are made for Calgary’s municipal parks. It will help us determine how, where and what types of parks to build and how we manage and maintain parks.

What it doesn't include

Provincial parks (e.g. Fish Creek Park) and lands governed by other municipal authorities fall outside of the scope for the Parks Plan. Legislation and rules made by the province of Alberta can also not be changed through Calgary’s Parks Plan. Examples include:

  • How much land a municipality receives through the development process.
  • Development of waterbodies.
  • Weed management.
  • Protection of historical and archaeological sites.


Parks terms

Biodiversity refers to the diversity among living organism including animals, plants, their habitats and their genes. This includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.

Climate Resiliency: The capacity of communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure to withstand and recover from the impacts of climate change. It involves strategies and measures to reduce vulnerability and prepare for changing climatic conditions.

Conservation refers to the preservation and protection of habitats and species to retain and/or sustain the area’s natural significance.

Cultural landscapes represent the combined works of nature and of man and are illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time, under the influence of the physical constraints and/or opportunities presented by their natural environment and of successive social, economic, and cultural forces, both external and internal.

Ecosystem refers to a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to sustain life.

Ecological Network Planning incorporates the protection, maintenance and restoration of connected natural areas into urban planning. Natural connections provide habitat, support biodiversity and ecological processes, and enhance access to nature for all Calgarians.

Environmentally significant areas contain key natural components recognized by the City of Calgary that provide essential ecosystem functions and services within urban or adjacent landscapes and fall under one or more pillars:

1. Water Quality and Quantity.

2. Rare, Intact, or Biologically Diverse.

3. Habitat for Native Species of Interest.

5A Network: The 5A (always available for all ages and abilities) Network will be a city-wide mobility network consisting of off-street pathways and on-street bikeways.

Invasive Species: Invasive species are non-native plants or animals that harm the local environment by negatively affecting nature, the economy, and health.

Linear parks: Parks that provide access to larger park space or provide connectivity to citizens or wildlife. Usually contain a smaller profile of assets.

Naturalized: Naturalized areas are places where species have been allowed to grow freely with limited human intervention to return to a more ‘natural’ state. Naturalization refers to restoring a habitat that has been lost or repairing a habitat that has been damaged.

Natural Environment Parks: These are parks that preserve and showcase natural landscapes with minimal human impact or design. Natural area refers to a City-owned park where the primary role is the protection of an undisturbed or relatively undisturbed parcel or parcels of land with characteristics of a natural/native plant community.

Placemaking: A community-driven approach to urban planning and design that focuses on transforming public spaces into vibrant, inclusive, and culturally meaningful places to make public spaces accessible for everyone.

Recreational Parks: These are parks designed for leisure and outdoor activities such as sports, picnicking, hiking, and relaxation.

Sustainability: Using current resources wisely so that future generations have enough to meet their own needs. It involves responsible and balanced practices to ensure long-term well-being for both people and the planet.

Tree Canopy: The leafy part at the top of trees in forest and urban areas. It is important as it provides shade, homes for animals, and helps address the urban heat island effect.

Xeriscaping: An approach to landscaping that involves designing gardens and yards to save water by using drought-resistant plants and efficient watering methods to make landscapes look nice

Wildlife Corridors: Paths that connect nature areas and allow animal to move around the city safely.

Social terms

Accessibility refers to the ease of access and egress to any location by walking, wheeling, transit and private vehicles.

Complete Community refers to a community that is fully developed and meets the needs of local residents through an entire lifetime. Complete communities include a full range of housing, commerce, recreational, institutional and public spaces. A complete community provides a physical and social environment where residents and visitors can live, learn, work and play.

Culture: Within parks, culture is a way to connect artists to the community through art, music, markets and other performances and festivals.

Equality is based on an understanding that human beings should have equal rights / quality of life. It means everyone gets the same thing.

Equity means everyone gets what they need

Seven Generations Ahead Principle: An Indigenous concept emphasizing the responsibility of present generations to make decisions that consider the well-being and sustainability of not only the current generation but also the seven generations to come.

Social Disorder: This refers to a breakdown in social norms and increase in activities that cause individuals to feel unsafe (i.e., drug use, crime, etc.)

Unhoused / Houseless: These are relatively new terms used by advocates to refer to people who don't have a permanent place to live, like those who are homeless

User Conflict: Disputes or tensions that arise between different groups or individuals who use the same public or shared spaces, such as cyclists, pedestrians and pet owners in parks

Vulnerable Populations: Groups of people who are at a higher risk of experiencing adverse social, economic, or health outcomes due to various factors such as poverty, discrimination, limited access to resources, or underlying health conditions. They need special help and support.

PHASE 2 ENGAGEMENT ARCHIVE (Oct. 13 - Nov.12, 2023)



The following is a summary on the first phase of engagement that ran in Spring 2023. You can find the full What We Heard Report in the Documents Library in the right-hand column of this page.

The Goal

The goal of phase 1 engagement was to explore three key areas of Parks’ core service delivery and what will be the foundational pillars of the updated plan. The three areas were Connecting You to Nature, Connecting You to Wellness, and Connecting You to Culture. This phase of engagement aimed to understand participants’ perspectives on the benefits, concerns, and opportunities for improvement in the core service areas. In addition, questions were asked about economic sustainability, equity within parks, and a set of draft guiding principles.


Feedback from the three key areas gave the project team a clearer understanding of respondents’ expectations regarding how parks should be managed now and into the future. This information will help to guide the policy direction, ultimately resulting in a 20-year plan that reflects the values and visions of Calgarians.


Phase 1 Engagement included: three unique online surveys tailored for Calgarians, businesses, agencies and organizations, and youth. The portal page received over 13,712 views, 8,944 visitors and 835 contributions. Two virtual information sessions were held; four open houses; 12 pop-up events in parks, libraries, and recreation centers; a Connect event series with six public events with over 300 attendees; five online workshops; consultation with nine advisory committees; 150 paper questionnaires completed; and partnerships with community organizations. Over 800 promotional postcards were distributed.


The following themes consistently emerged from what we heard in this phase of engagement.

Preservation, conservation and sustainability. This includes but is not limited to the creation of more parks and green spaces, growing Calgary’s tree canopy, and prioritizing conservation and supporting biodiversity for both flora and fauna.

Safety and security. This includes but is not limited to addressing safety and security concerns, as well as the management of user conflict between dogs, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Amenities and infrastructure. This includes but is not limited to the improved maintenance to keep parks beautiful, clean, and functional, as well as the addition and improvement of amenities and infrastructure to increase user experiences.

Placemaking/Gathering spaces. This includes but is not limited to the creation of multi-use intergenerational, accessible and diverse spaces for people to use. Respondents want to use parks to build community and instill social unity.

Education and enforcement. This includes but is not limited to increased learning surrounding the environmental, cultural and historical landscapes of Calgary parks. As well as education about appropriate use of parks such as littering, staying on designated pathways and the protection of flora and fauna.

Accessibility and connectivity. This includes but is not limited to increasing equitable access to parks through park distribution and public transportation, as well as year-round access to parks and pathways to consider both mental and physical accessibility.


April 17 - May 19, 2023

Calgarians are invited to provide input on the Connect: Calgary's Parks Plan via this engage portal page.

Hear about the Connect: Calgary's Parks Plan first hand from the project team and ask them your questions.

Virtual Information Session #1

  • Tuesday, April 25, from 12-1:30 pm

Virtual Information Session #2

  • Tuesday, April 25, from 6- 7:30 pm
  • ASL translator will no longer be joining information sessions
  • Language translation and captions available in both sessions for English, Chinese (Simplified), Filipino/Tagalog, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, Vietnamese

NW- Varsity Community Association

Monday, April 24, from 4 - 7 pm

NE- Genesis Centre

Wednesday, April 26, from 4 - 7 pm

SW- Cardel Rec South

Wednesday, May 3, from 4 - 7 pm

SE- Southview Community Association

Wednesday, May 10, from 4 - 7 pm

Click here for more information and to register for an open house.

There is something for everyone in this exciting event series! Join us for a fun experience and share your ideas about the future of Calgary's parks.

Connect to nature: A barrier-free interpretive walk at Weaselhead Flats

Date/time: Saturday, April 22, from 1-4 pm

Location: Weaselhead Flats

Registration is required. Click here for event details and to register.

Connect with cultural landscapes: An interpretive walk at Nosehill Park

Date/time: Saturday, April 29, from 1-4 pm

Location: Nosehill Park

Registration is required. Click here for event details and to register.

Connect to engineering, art and insects: Family fun at Ralph Klein Park

Date/time: Sunday, April 30, from 12-3pm

Location: Ralph Klein Park*

*Free shuttle available from City Hall.

Registration is only required for the shuttle service. Click here for event details and to register.

Connect with the future: Parks planning for young adults (ages 16-24)

Date/time: Thursday, May 4, from 5-8 pm

Location: City Hall, Virnetta Anderson Hall

Registration is required. Click here for event details and to register.

Connect through play: Inclusive playground playdate for families

Date/time: Friday, May 5, from 2-5 pm

Location: Variety Park, South Glenmore Park

Registration is required. Click here for event details and to register.

Connect with birds: Migratory Bird Day and IndigiTRAIL launch

Date/time: Saturday, May 13, from 10-2 pm

Location: Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Registration is NOT required. Click here for more more event details.

A member of the project team and Engage will be onsite to gather your feedback and answer your questions.

Prairie Winds Park NE

Sunday, April 23, from 10-12 pm

Big Marlborough Park NE

Sunday, April 23, from 1-3 pm

Village Square Leisure Centre NE

Monday, May 1, 2023, from 11-1 pm

Judith Umbach Library

Tuesday, May 2, 2023, from 4:30-6:30 pm

Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton

Tuesday, May 2, 2023, from 4:00-6:00 pm

River Walk/ Peace Park Area - UPDATED

Saturday, May 6, from 11 am - 2 pm

Riley Park

Sunday, May 7, from 10-12 pm

Stanley Park

Sunday, May 7, from 1-3 pm

Crowfoot Library

Monday, May 8, 2023, from 11-1 pm

Bowness Park - UPDATED

Sunday, May 14, from 11 am - 2 pm


Sunday, May 14, from 1-3 pm

Fish Creek Library

Tuesday, May 16, 2023, from 11-1 pm

Central Library

Wednesday, May 17, from 3-6 pm


What matters to you about Calgary's parks? 

We are inviting Calgarians, businesses, and youth to share perspectives and ideas about the future of Calgary's parks. Select the survey that describes you.


This section is under construction with more outreach and engagement photos to follow!