I have traveled around the world, and when people find out I am from Calgary,…
I remember going to Heritage Park as a kid. My family would make a day of it. I loved the Caterpillar ride and the boat swings, I would eat so many root beer candies from the candy store, and my family toured around the Glenmore reservoir in style on the S.S. Moyie. Going to Heritage park is like traveling back in time. With all the lovely memories I have of the place, you can imagine my total delight when my friend Natasha invited me to spend her birthday with her at Heritage Park!
We began at Gasoline Alley and checked out the cars, the airplane, and all the gasoline pumps from back in the day. Everything looks so beautiful under lights in the display building. We learned about the gas pumps and some of the original companies in Alberta. We wandered around admiring how shiny everything is, and in such good condition, including my obvious favourite, the 1909 McIntyre, Model M, believed to be the only restored example of its type in existence!
The path led us to the Famous Five Centre of Canadian Women, to the Jewish Synagogue, and the Prince House. The buildings are all rebuilt, refurbished, and designed inside to appear the way they would have 100 years ago. The furniture, the wallpaper, the light fixtures, and even the little accessories and toys on dressers and tables are all pieces from the turn of the century. We listened to a bit of the very inspiring speech one of the employees was giving about the Famous Five and the impact their work would have on the lives of women in Canada forever. We had the chance to look into the reimaginings of the bedrooms in the Prince House, and listen to a history lesson of the Jewish Synagogue.
Next stop was the Games of Amusement in the antique midway. Much to my dismay, I discovered that as an adult, I am not permitted to go on what was my favourite ride as a kid— the boat swings. I stood for a moment and enviously watched the six year olds squealing and laughing with joy, before making my way over to the ferris wheel. That wheel spins way faster than I imagined. The wind whipped our hair, the breeze freshened our faces, and at the top of the spin, we could see the whole reservoir. It was a stunning view.
After the ferris wheel, we stopped into the hotel for lunch and delicious root beer, and then made our way down to the water for our boat cruise! The S.S. Moyie in which Heritage Park ferries its passengers is a half-size replica of the original ship built in 1898. From the boat we saw some deer on the shore, lots of birds, and were able to wave to people sitting on the water’s edge. It was also on the boat where we sang the birthday song to Natasha.
We walked through the main street and to the farm area. I stopped for a quick swing in the playground, and overheard a little boy say to his mom, ”Heritage park is now my favourite.” I smiled. It began to rain as we went into the saloon, so we waited out the downpour inside. A few beers, a few rounds of cards, dominos, and Yahtzee, and the rain stopped.
We ran after the train to take us back to the candy store— probably the most important stop of the day. I bought a root beer candy stick, like I always did as a kid. I remember thinking they were so expensive when my only income was my weekly allowance. Even with the rain, Heritage Park was the perfect destination for our Saturday. The ticket price for an adult is $26.25, and once inside the park, the boat, the rides, and the train are all free. A lot of bang for your buck, and way less expensive than what I assume time traveling would cost. Thanks for the rad blast from the past, Calgary!