Historic Individuals that Calgary Parks are Named After

This is the third instalment where I look at some of the historic individuals that Calgary landmarks are named after. The first post looked at some of Calgary’s major roads and trails, the second focused on a few of Calgary’s bridges, while this one is dedicated to a number of Calgary’s popular parks and green spaces.

Like most other urban centres, the names of Calgary parks honour the past and those that have come before us. This isn’t new, or unique, and most citizens are aware that this regularly happens, but do you know the people and stories behind those names?

It wasn’t always easy tracking down photographs of the people these parks were named after. For example Elliston Park was named after the Ellis family who, for five generations, have lived in and around the park after moving west from Ontario in 1912. Griffith Woods is named in honour of Wilbur and Betty Griffith who donated some of their estate to The City of Calgary to be set aside as a nature preserve. Baker Park is named after Dr. Albert Henry Baker who was the director of the Baker Centre Tuberculosis Institution that once occupied the same piece of land. Bowmont Park is simply a contraction of the names of the two nearby communities of Bowness and Montgomery. Sue Higgins Park, Barb Scott Park, and the brand new Dale Hodges Park (scheduled to open this summer) are all named in honour of long-serving Calgary aldermen.

What follows is a list of Calgary parks accompanied by photos of the people they were named after. How many did you know before?

The Eau Claire Lumber Mill was founded by Peter Anthony Prince. Today Prince’s Island Park is named after him.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edworthy were early Calgary ranchers and pioneers. Edworthy Park is named after them.
This house belonged to John Lawrey, an early settler in the area and neighbour to the Edworthy family. Lawrey Gardens are named after him.
Princess Tania Obolensky with her husband, Austrian count Leo Von Kunigl, emigrated to Canada in 1931 and lived at the Bow River Ranch south of Calgary. Princess Obolensky Park, located at the northern end of Stanley Park, is dedicated in her memory.
Thomas Laycock was an early pioneer and dairy farmer in the Calgary area. Eventually he became the Director of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. Laycock Park is named after his family.
The name for Tom Campbell’s Hill comes from a large sign that was originally posted at the top advertising Tom Campbell’s Hats.
McHugh Bluff is named after Felix McHugh (second from left, bent over) who homesteaded the same land in the early 1900’s.
Calgary Parks
James Shouldice and his family were early pioneers in the Calgary area. A chunk of land from his massive farm was donated to the city on the condition it be turned into a Calgary park. That land is now Shouldice Park.
Calgary Parks
Riley Park is named after Thomas Riley and his family. The land was originally part of the Cochrane Ranche and was homesteaded by the Riley’s in the early 1900’s. After Thomas’ death the land was left to The City of Calgary.
Calgary Parks
Haultain Park was once the site of both Haultain Schools. The schools and the modern-day park were named after Sir Frederick Haultain who was the President of the Executive Council (Premier) of the North-West Territories Legislative Assembly.
Calgary Parks
N. J. “Nat” Christie was the general manager of Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. Nat Christie Park is named in his honour.
Calgary Parks
Tompkins Park was developed on land that was donated by Henry and Eleanor Tompkins. Henry is in the back row, far right in the above photo.

I have also dedicated two stories to the history of Nose Hill Park and the Weaselhead if you’re interested in reading those. I also did a historical photo post specifically for Nose Hill.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely a small collection where I was able to find matching photographs. I hope you enjoyed this post about the historic names of our city’s beloved green spaces. The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives. Additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on each photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from Alberta. We’d love to know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Tyler Dixon
About Tyler Dixon 99 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.