It was a blue-sky Calgary day, and we needed to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. Calgary’s summer is short, once August rolls around, we never know when to expect the first snowfall.
Spoiler alert: I’ve been to Heritage Park Historical Village many times before, usually with kids. But it keeps changing, so we thought it was worth another visit.
Heritage Park advertises that it’s “How the West was Once”. In the States, you might expect reenactments of gun fights in the streets, with a gallows and hangman’s noose thrown in to boot. But Canadian history is a bit more laid back – the most exciting experiences come from antique rides in the midway.
In the great scheme of things, the settlement of modern Calgary by big-whiskered (mostly) European folk happened pretty recently. The North-West Mounted Police – looking to rain on the parade of illegal whiskey traders – set up Fort Calgary in 1875. Law and order, Canuck style. Heritage Park’s exhibits cover the early 1860s to the 1950s.
Spread over 127 acres, there’s a lot of ground to cover. But vintage transportation is a big part of the experience, and the price of admission covers all antique midway, train, boat and wagon rides. So, with a little planning, you can tour the Park and keep blisters to a minimum.
There’s a lot to see in the Park, here’s a complete list of attractions. I had the most fun wandering up and down main street, checking out the shops and having lunch at the Wainwright Hotel. I’ve always enjoyed checking out the blacksmith’s shop – watching buddy banging on a piece of red-hot metal, sparks flying everywhere, into the shape of a horseshoe is always entertaining.
Not as thrilling maybe as watching bandits fighting a gun battle in the dusty streets, but, what the heck. I made do with a kinder, gentler “Mild West” experience.
- Heritage Park Historical Village website
- Best suited to families with older (5+) kids — younger kids might find it hard to appreciate the exhibits
- Lots of places to eat and drink, but a picnic can be fun