Hadya Azeem’s brother and grandfather enjoy a fun day at Prairie Winds Park. PHOTO: HADYA AZEEM

The happiest moments of my childhood were spent with my family — running around with cousins, joking with aunts and uncles, or just sitting with my grandparents. The place that encapsulates most of these memories is Prairie Winds Park, tucked away in northeast Calgary at 223 Castleridge Blvd. N.E. 

This park reminds me of summers in the city, from KFC picnics in the shade to splashing in a pool that definitely wasn’t clean. It’s where I had my last memories with my uncle, and the first place I went after my grandma passed away. 

We all have them. Places in the city that bring us joy, big and small. In an era of chaos, Calgary Journal editors have taken time this fall to reflect on the public spots that bring us happiness and peace.
You can read the whole series here.

When I was a kid, we would go out on a sunny summer afternoon and bring everyone in our family to the park. Gathering on the hill that overlooks the pool and eating a family bucket of chicken evokes such positive emotions, despite the simplicity of it. 

Visits to the park have become more rare these days, but the park’s renovations still allow for  a fun day. An outdoor tandoor oven allows you to cook fresh naan on the spot and the pool areas and playground have been completely redone, but it still feels the same seventeen years later. 

Prairie Winds Park was the first place I took my grandfather after my grandma passed away. As the last of the leaves fell, we walked around the park and reminisced on all the memories we had shared here. We laughed, and we cried, as the park is like a home; the memories may not all be good but they hold a certain nostalgia that brings comfort.

In the good times and bad, this park made me feel safe and secure. Even now, watching all the families and kids playing reminds me of the simpler times and what I am thankful for.

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