I don’t really remember my first time visiting the park, why I was there, or who I was with. It was a nice day in the middle of Calgary’s very short spring. The most vivid part of this memory was all of the dogs and how happy I was every time one decided to come up to say hello, unabashedly asking for pets.
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.
Not being a Calgary native, it was hard to find a place that I considered a “happy place.” But the off-leash dog park at River Park somehow made its mark on me, and it continues to brighten my days.
Even when the sun has set and the dogs have all but disappeared, the park still features a beautiful view of Calgary’s skyline glittering against the night sky. Sometimes I like to sit on one of the many benches and just listen to the wind and the Elbow River rushing below. On clear nights, I can look up and see a sky full of stars, giving me a chance to empty my thoughts and just live in that moment, at peace and relaxed.
Even if I were to visit the park everyday, it wouldn’t get old because there are always new furry faces exploring the area and looking for new people to lean on and play with.
A lot of times when I visit the park, I get asked where my dog is or people commenting on the fact that I don’t have one. I tell them that, as of right now, my living situation isn’t ideal for owning a dog, and that coming here helps me get my fill of canine affection, which usually elicits a chuckle from them.
Even when I am able to have a dog of my own, I don’t think my visits to River Park will come to a halt. In fact, they will probably increase as I bring my new furry family member out to play, socialize, and enhance my enjoyment of the park even more.