Calgary’s Best Urban Hikes Series: Inglewood, Harvie Passage, The Bird Sanctuary and The Blackfoot Diner
The Blackfoot Diner milkshake is
“Like sucking cake through a straw”
I am having a lot of fun researching my new book, a brand new version of my book Calgary’s Best Hikes and Walks. On Mother’s Day, my family joined me to test a new route for the book in the Inglewood, SE area. We started at 15 St, SE and followed the Bow River Pathway to Pearce Estate Park and the new Harvie Passage Whitewater Park on the Bow River. Harvie Passage water park replaces the deadly weir, the drowning machine as it used to be known.
The Harvie Passage website explains the benefits that will come out of the new weir project.
“Countless benefits will flow from this project – for people, fish, birds and wildlife, and the environment itself. This new park will provide a central connection node for numerous public amenities in the area, including the Calgary Zoo, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland, Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery, East Village and the future site of the Calgary Science Centre. A reconfiguration of the river-bed will result in an aesthetically attractive passage through the centre of the city, while respecting fisheries and the aquatic ecosystem. Naturalization of the area will improve local habitat, movement corridors and riparian functions, allowing all kinds of wildlife to pass freely up and down the river. Perhaps most importantly, the hydraulic roller known as the “drowning machine” will be eliminated, giving safe and unrestricted access to emergency safety patrols, recreational paddlers and fish.”
Harvie Passage is across from Pearce Estate Park and the Livingston Fish Hatchery. The park is home to many trails for walkers, abundant bird life that flock to the wetlands, picnic tables, the Fish Hatchery, and the Bow Habitat Station, where kids can learn to fish in stocked bonds. YOu can also get a tour of the Fish Hatchery.
Continuing east along the Bow River Pathway, we passed wetlands full of the sounds of red-winged blackbirds and we saw an impressive beaver house with significant square footage! We continued past new and beautifully renovated older homes in a hidden neighbourhood along the Bow River; a neighourhood tucked away behind the industrial area off Blackfoot and 17 Ave., SE .
We arrived at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and the start of the train yards. My son loves trains so we did did a photo shoot beside a parked rail car before strolling the pathways of the bird Sanctuary. My son reminded me of the time he and his friends got “kicked out” of the Bird Sanctuary for some enthusiastic owl discoveries that they had at a friends birthday party. Too loud, too much running. Enthusiastic boys in nature, lets put a stop to that says the naturalist.
The kids were set on a burger for lunch, and it was lunchtime so we started the search. Within minutes we arrived at the infamous Blackfoot Diner Truck Stop. I had heard of it but had never eaten there.
It’s legit. It’s a truck stop and it was the perfect stop for our Mother’s Day lunch.
The kids ordered the burgers and a milkshake (and people wonder how we get them to walk so far…) My daughter summed up the milkshake experience in a way that I never had, “it’s like sucking cake through a straw”. And it was! They were chocolatey, creamy and sweet. Yum. The bugers were tasty too, topped with “crappy cheese” (when my daughter was little she thought that Kraft slices were called “crap” slices and hence the name crappy cheese). She likes the cheese slices. They are just another “treat” that she can’t get at home.
We continued west on 9 Avenue past some industial areas but soon were back into the newly developed part of 9 Avenue. A turn north on 15 St and we were back in the neighbourhood, soaking up the smells of poplar buds and enjoying the sights of flowering fruit trees. Inglewood is the hot spot in Calgary, and not just because it is a micro climate of warmth. Gardens are fuller and pear trees live strong. Inglewood is one of the most interesting neighbourhoods to walk in Calgary. You never know what might be around the next corner and that is what makes for a fantastic urban hike.