What is in a name? Well, here in YYC, it’s a combination of positive contributions and utmost respect. After much consideration and several submissions from the public, the city announced during a routine council meeting that they have finally named 6 previously unidentifiable Calgary parks and whew, there’s a good chance that you’re about to feel something. Settle in for some heartwarming stories, folks!
Here are the incredible people that the city chose to celebrate with our greenspaces!
Louis Szabo is a Calgary legend, responsible for co-opening the city’s very first gay bar, Club Carousel in the ’70s. Her story continues to inspire and uplift members of the LGBTQIAS+ community today and for years to come. Fun fact: Club Carousel existed in the spot below Home & Away on 1st Street SW, where YYC Shuffle Club now is!
Where: Lois Szabo Commons – Location here
PAUL (SMOKEY) WILKINSON
Despite not having a roof of his own, Paul Wilkinson – a homeless resident of Calgary – was still a devoted member of the Hillhurst community. Remembered for being compassionate and kind, hundreds of people attended his funeral after he sadly passed away in 2017.
Where: Paul (Smokey) Wilkinson Park – 14th Street and Memorial Drive NW, Calgary
A WWII radar technician, social worker, Confederation Medal recipient, and city councilor, Craig Reid contributed to the community in more ways than we can count. His most notable? Playing a part in establishing the international convention for repatriation of prisoners while president of the International Prisoners’ Aid Society.
Where: Craig Reid Park – 46th Avenue and 17th Street SW, Calgary
MARY AND CATHERINE BARCLAY
Responsible for founding the Canadian Youth Hostels Association and for opening Bragg Creek’s very first youth hostel (which was run out of a tent), sisters and friends Mary and Catherine Barclay were teachers, lovers of nature, and creators of various opportunities where younger Canadians could travel, learn and grow.
Where: Mary and Catherine Barclay – See location here
DR. VERNA REID
As the very first female instructor to be hired at SAIT, Dr. Verna Reid is a trailblazer. In addition to her 18-year contribution to the communication arts department, she’s also sat on various boards across the city, all of which championed creativity.
Where: Verna Reid Park – 600 block of Acton Avenue SW, Calgary
DR. LESLIE ALLAN
Last but definitely no less significant, Dr. Leslie Allan served as the city’s Medical Officer of Health for 13 years. Not only was he a devoted Calgarian he was a leader who actually developed Calgary’s polio vaccine program.
Where: Dr. Leslie Allan Park – See location here
Wowza, not only does Calgary have incredible parks, we also have some incredible people. Congrats to all of these incredible people and their families. You are all incredibly deserving.