Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 03/28/2016

Photo taken on March 27, 2016

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Anne Elliott
seating area
Pearce Estate
27 March 2016
art installation
early spring
paving stones
River Passage Park

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River Passage Park, Pearce Estate

River Passage Park, Pearce Estate
After missing birding walks with friends the previous two weeks, I finally got myself out to the walk yesterday afternoon. It was held at a location that I have only been to a handful of times before - Pearce Estate, near the community of Inglewood - and I never like the last part of the drive there. Yesterday, I got caught at the railway tracks and had to wait forever for the long, slow freight train to come to an end. At the next road intersection, there were roadworks and a sign saying that my lane was closed ahead, with a large arrow pointing in the opposite direction. It all looked fine to me, and I was easily able to go where I wanted. On the way home, though, there was a 'no left turn' sign, so I had to find another way out of there. Never something I enjoy!

"The Pearce Estate Wetland lies in a curve of the Bow River as it flows through the southeast part of the city. The 15-hectare wetland area, when combined with the adjacent provincially operated Bow Habitat Station, results in a 21-hectare park. The area was donated to the city by William Pearce, a prominent early Calgarian who died in 1930. The current wetland area and interpretive trail were redeveloped and opened to the public in 2004."

"In 1904 the Bow River Weir was constructed close to Calgary's downtown core in order to divert water into the Western Irrigation District. Since its construction a side effect of the weir had been that it created a circulating wave, with a lethal and powerful undertow, immediately downstream of it. Because rafting, canoeing, and kayaking down the Bow River are such popular summer activities, there had been many fatalities. Furthermore, because fish were not able to pass through the structure, they too became trapped in the circulating wave and a dense, unnatural concentration of pelicans congregated immediately following the weir.

In order to combat the circulating wave and undertow, in August 2007 the Province of Alberta through the Alberta Lottery fund, in conjunction with the Calgary Foundation and the City of Calgary, began construction of the Bow River Weir paddle around, named the Harvie Passage. The passage allowed for the wave to be dispersed over a set of several smaller rapids while still supplying water to its irrigation district. Altogether, the paddle around cost 18 million dollars and was completed in the spring of 2012.

In June of 2013, just a year after the project was completed, Calgary was hit with an epic 100 year flood and all of the Harvie Passage work was destroyed."

Since then, more changes have been made, including the construction of River Passage Park which opened in October 2014. It includes this sculpture, designed by Lorna Jordan, a Seattle-based artist. Though people have mixed feelings about this, I thought the area was quite interesting and the 'pile of scattered planks" certainly made me think of the devastation of the power of water, especially in the time of flooding. There is some quite intricate stone work in the walls, too.

During our walk almost as far as Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, we were delighted to see a Great Horned Owl twice, the second time, it was being harassed by several Magpies. Though the river at this location is safer now, we still miss seeing the dozens or even hundreds of American White Pelicans that used to congregate at the old Weir. I'll add a previously posted shot of some of these Pelicans in a comment box below.

After our walk, we decided to call in at the nearby Blackfoot Truckstop (Diner) for an early supper. Being Easter Sunday, it was fairly empty and quiet and we all enjoyed the good food that this place is well known for. For me, this was a Western Omelette (with green peppers, ham, mushrooms and cheese) and hashbrowns. Perhaps not exactly what one thinks of as Easter dinner, but it was so very enjoyable being there with good friends. Thanks so much, Bernie and Stephen, for leading this walk!