on park access in Calgary: “Green-Space”


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1.5 million pounds of soil raised

to the 4th floor of Calgary’s CORE

shopping complex supports an inner-

city oasis. The Devonian Gardens

are open publically during mall hours.

Oil executives employed nearby

visit the green-space on lunchbreaks,

eluding the paupers of Stephen Ave.

in +15s returning to work.


As children we attended summer camp

at Lindsay Park Sports Centre,

belayed each other up its rock walls

shouted chicken on the high dive.

Kids today learn to play water polo

in a pool named by Talisman Energy.

Since 2002 the City of Calgary has

sold naming rights to the company,

20 years for 10 million dollars.


Fish Creek Provincial Park is the largest

urban park in Canada, abutting the

Tsuu T’ina reserve in the southwest.

Roughly 12% of the city is stewarded

by Parks Calgary, the highest ratio of

green-space per capita in Canada.

Rumors of a horse found dead

in Sikome Lake are merely rumors,

but a person did drown in its weeds.


Within the cemented waterways of

Century Gardens a man offers me

beans from an unlabeled can. He was

bitten on the leg by an unleashed dog

and chased into the park by police.

Concealed behind a bench and a

juniper bush, each donated by the

Devonian Group, we leave him sitting

in darkness atop the Brutalist landscape.


Later that year a decentralized dance-

party develops in Century Gardens,

culminating down the road under the

spotlights of Millennium Skate Park.

Despite the armed chaperones, shouts

emanate from a parking lot around

the corner at Mewatta Armoury. I try

to tell a girl she doesn’t have to go with

the guy gripping her by the shoulders.


Public gardens in Calgary are closed

from 11 pm until 5 in the morning.

When cops caught us hallucinating

after midnight in South Glenmore Park

(you in my driver’s seat, our drugs

on the passenger floor), they left

us with grins and a warning.

We were two blocks from where

I taught you how to drive a stick-shift.


After ditching my red Ford Ranger in

the grafittied enclosure for road debris,

we climb the dam on Elbow River. A

glassy reservoir reflects streetlamps

to the West as the artificial cliffs arc

down in the East. The capacity of these

sloping concrete channels have been

exceeded but twice, causing damage

to the riverfront properties.


All the black squirrels in Prince’s Island Park

will follow you along a path at dawn.

It must be a cold summer’s day

before cyclists and yoga seminars

arrive to claim the green-space.

Watch deer and geese retreat downriver

from a window of the Route 3 bus,

I’ll greet you soon in Votier’s Flats

with a cold 6-pack of beer.


these words by Kyle Flemmer were inspired by the art of Allison Gildersleeve 

Published by

Word and Colour

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