I have lived in Calgary for a little over three years now. Yet, when I initially moved here to attend university, I was so focused on performing in my chosen degree that I left little room for exploring the city, my new home, and so for a really long time, it didn’t feel like home at all.
In fact, I spent most of my first year counting down the days until I could go back to the hometown I had been so excited to leave. I missed my old friends, my family, and the familiarity of the place I had grown up in. It actually wasn’t until my third year at university that I began to see Calgary as my own. And one of the biggest reasons for that is that I finally found places here to make my own, places that had their own little touch of home.
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.
Griffith Woods Park is probably my favourite place in the city. Whenever I find myself overwhelmed or missing home, I head there.
The 93-hectare park is nestled in the southwest corner of Calgary, along the Elbow River. It houses beautiful white birch forests, water features, bridges, trails, and a number of species of fauna and flora alike. I find that the further you go in the park, the less you feel like you’re in Calgary at all. It’s like taking a trip to the mountains without even leaving the city.
But the wetlands are amazing in their own right too. One of my favourite things to do in the park is to sit at Discovery Ridge Ponds and watch the wildlife. On my most recent trip, I sat in wait as the sunset set the water alight and a pair of playful beavers floated into view. The two put on a show, plunging deep into the water and emerging again just as quickly and noisily as they had gone under. Between these friendly visitors and the beauty of the changing season, I was content to sit for hours.
As a natural environment park, this is just one of the many interactions with wildlife I’ve had at Griffith Woods. The park is an excellent place to enjoy yourself no matter what you’re interested in doing, biking, walking, birding, baseball, basketball, or swimming, it’s a great place to be.
If you do plan on taking a trip down the park however, just remember to keep a safe distance from wildlife and to respect the land there, as well as the boundaries between city land and the Tsuu T’ina Reserve. And maybe you can find a piece of home there too.