My appreciation for Calgary hit me suddenly while strolling through Eau Claire for the first time four years ago. Raised in a small town, my first solo adventure in the big city was an all-encompassing experience that left me yearning for more.
The hustle and bustle of Eau Claire drew me to the city and ultimately led to my relocation here. I leisurely ventured through the park soaking up the summer sun while people in suits and pencil skirts sped past me for what I can only assume was a welcome reprieve from the isolation of their office cubicles.
We all have them. Places in the city that bring us joy, big and small. In an era of chaos, Calgary Journal editors are taking time this year to reflect on the public spots that bring us happiness and peace.
You can read the whole series here.
Walking through the green field of Eau Claire — where people were studying or running or enjoying picnics — I envisioned my life as if I was one of them and at that moment knew I had to move to Calgary.
Nowadays, I am one of those people milling about Eau Clarie. On cool evenings, I tie up my running shoes and take to the pavement along the Bow River, watching as the sun sets.
When family and friends from out of town visit I am quick to take them to Eau Claire. There is always an event going on in the park or surrounding neighbourhoods. Buskers offer ambiance to our evening strolls while we catch up on current affairs.
On hot summer days, we take up residence on rocks beside the river and dip our toes in, splashing each other with the cool water.
Calgary’s uniqueness can be found wandering around Eau Claire. The vast trail system and amphitheatre-like seating arrangements is the best location for those who dabble in people-watching. The characters perusing the park are unique and colourful, showcasing Calgary’s diverse cast of characters. Their purposeful strides, quirky laughs and striking outfits inspire me to my very core.
The sunset reflecting off the Bow River is best watched from the historic Louise Bridge. Spanning 35.1 meters across the turquoise river, the bridge was named after Louise Cushing, the daughter of former Calgary Mayor William Henry Cushing.
The bridge was built in 1921 and is still standing today, allowing passage for both cars and pedestrians to cross the river from 10th Street, heading into the Kensington neighbourhood.
Crossing this bridge, I make sure to stop and look down at the surfers on the 10th Wave, which is currently undergoing a renovation project by the province-wide non-profit Alberta River Surf. The project goal is to create additional waves of varying sizes and a beach where citizens can enjoy the weather and watch the surfers hang loose. As of April 2021, the project began raising money to sponsor the renovation, in partnership with the City of Calgary.
Strolling through Eau Claire every evening brings me a sense of gratitude for the fascinating city of Calgary. This lively section of the city conjures images of the intangible opportunities available should one be brave enough to reach out for them.