For some, it’s often difficult to find “peace and quiet” while living downtown. I personally don’t mind the continuous car honking and never ending symphony of construction sounds. It has always confused me that peace is never independant from silence. What’s wrong with a little “peace and disturbance?”
Having said that, I do enjoy getting away from the concrete highrises and going to my favorite bench in the city. Whenever I attempt to flee the soundscapes of Calgary’s core to my happy place, I always hop on my bike and head east along the bow river pathway. The pathway itself is a feature of the city I hold near and dear to my heart. With its twists, turns and never ending bridge underpasses, it truly is the best way to travel through the city.
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.
Biking along the path, passing the infamous peace bridge, prince’s island park and then finally east village, I arrive at the wetlands of Pearce Estate park. The park is a 15-hectare wetland area, which is also home to the provincially operated Bow Habitat Station and Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery. The area was donated to the city by William Pearce, a prominent early Calgarian who passed away in 1930. Pearce donated the land to the City of Calgary in 1929, a year before his death.
The wetlands are home to many species of birds, most notable is a species of woodpecker called the northern flicker. So if you are looking for peace and quiet here, you may want to reconsider.
Located just before the habitat station, sitting on the edge of the river, is a bench. With a view of the city’s skyline and the Calgary Zoo, it creates an elevated quality of sitting. In the summer, the bench also gives a great seat to watch the aquatic passer-bys. Whether it’s a flock of ducks or a chaotic family floating down the river, the entertainment possibilities are endless.
Just down the river also lies Harvie passage, a great place to sit and bathe on a warm day. Originally intended to be used by kayakers, the passage is often packed in the summer time with families trying to cool down in the heat of the season.
I’ve spent many afternoons reading and swimming at the bench, using it as a picnic table often, and every time I visit I am always met with open arms. In the winter, it may not be as much of a desirable place, but it gives me a destination at the very least.