Calgary's Rotary/Mattamy Greenway nearing completion
The 138 kilometre pathway system has been in the works for 10 years
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Calgary’s Rotary/Mattamy Greenway has less than seven kilometres to go until it can claim to be the longest urban pathway and park system in the world.
The Parks Foundation of Calgary’s signature project links 55 communities, or roughly 400,000 people, to a pedestrian pathway network that encircles the city and has taken more than a decade to complete.
“We’re really excited to be at the finish line of this project,” said Parks Foundation Calgary Executive Director Sheila Taylor.
She said they expect to to start constructing the remaining 6.7 km of pathway that will join the northeast and northwest quadrants of the city together in a matter of weeks.
The Greenway features off-leash dog parks, family fitness parks, wetland interpretive areas, playgrounds and even a self-serve bike repair station in addition to 138-km of walking and cycling paths.
“We want to give Calgarians opportunities to get outdoors, to be active and explore all the city has to offer,” Taylor said. “People want amenities, not just houses, in their communities.”
The Park Foundation’s board of governors initially called the idea the Calgary Greenway when planning began in 2008, according to Taylor.
The first phase of the massive project began construction in October 2009 and connected McKnight Blvd NE to 16th Avenue NE.
That 13 km stretch was officially opened in July 2011, but an important feature, the Arc Resources Interpretive Wetlands in Monterey Park, had opened a year earlier.
Taylor said the second phase, which took two years to complete and connected southeast communities, started to take shape in May 2013.
Later that year, 15 Rotary Clubs from Calgary and the surrounding area and Mattamy Homes pledged $5 million each to the project, so it was renamed the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway.
The final phase of the network began construction in September 2015 and has connected the remaining sections of pathway from Deerfoot Trail in the northeast to Fish Creek Park in the Southwest.
Two other popular features, the Jim Davidson Bark and Play Off-Leash Park in Auburn Bay and Progress Energy Memorial Garden in Signal Hill, opened in September 2016.
Taylor likened the Greenway to a wheel, connected by spokes of already-forged urban pathways, that keeps Calgarians moving.
“It all joins together in a network that’s over 1,000 kilometres of pathway,” Taylor told Metro.
“It encircles the city, but also brings us together.”
In June, plans were announced for a park in memory of Calgary-Greenway MLA Manmeet Singh Bhullar, who died in 2015. That space in Taradale is expected to be completed in 2018.
A tournament-grade, 18-hole disc golf course is also being constructed in Royal Vista and should be open by October.
Rob “Frisbee Rob” McLeod, a disc-golf ambassador and motivational speaker, said the new infrastructure is highly anticipated by Calgary’s large frisbee-loving community.
“It’s huge,” McLeod told Metro. “Typically a course is designed in an existing park, and that’s what’s different about this course – instead of looking at what’s there was like, ‘here’s the land we have, what can we do with it.’”
Aside from those features, the pathways of the project – which cost $50 million in total – will be officially complete by the end of 2017, but Taylor said that doesn’t mean their work is done.
“We have continued upgrades and enhancements planned as well,” Taylor said, adding the foundation will maintain the pathways with the City of Calgary.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what 10 years from now looks like,” she said.
The Parks Foundation Calgary’s recommended access points are: ARC Resources Interpretive Wetlands, 64th Ave. Dog Park and Pathway, Chinook Rotary Nature Park, Interpretive Wetlands SE, Progress Energy Poppy Memorial and Bowmont Park .