A Public Park

Picnic on the Island at Glenbow, 1925. Courtesy Pat Wearmouth.

Last August marked the tenth anniversary of the official opening of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. Over the past decade Glenbow Ranch has welcomed many visitors, but did you know that it is not the first public park to exist here?

During the peak of Glenbow’s settlement in 1911, there was a place at Glenbow where people gathered for sports events and community celebrations: “Island park.” It was described as “one of the beauty spots on the Bow [R]iver, … fitted in every respect for park purposes, being covered with high trees, and … surrounded by the swift flowing Bow [R]iver.” 

The island officially belonged to Chester de la Vergne, owner of Glenbow ranch, and in 1911 he apparently offered it as a permanent park to the “town” of Glenbow. Bridges at the east and west entrances to the island were considered, but it is unknown if they were ever built.

The island was used as a location for family outings, and featured a children’s playground, which included swings and games. Picnics were held there, and the area continued to be used by local residents after the Glenbow townsite had been largely abandoned.

The suitability of Glenbow for a public park has been known for more than a century. You can help preserve the rich history and vital ecology of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park by participating in the Steward an Acre program.

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