Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Old Refinery Park

I was at work the other day reading Alberta Oil magazine. Short but interesting articles. In one it is referred to The Old Refinery Park. So I decided to explore it today!
Apparently Imperial Oil built a refinery in Calgary back in early 20s which was operative until the 70s. I have not yet found why it was put out of service after that but it could be due to being old technology and also environmental problems because I read about the neighbourhood's complaint and their lawsuit back in 2003 in CBC website.
The construction of Imperial Oil Refinery in Calgary in early 1920s. The silo like building at the other side of the river is or may be was another Calgry lndmark which I remeber they wanted to tear it down as well, may be a Molson brewing facility or something like that. I am not quite sure but will find out and post. Photo courtesy of Glenbow archives.
The site is located at the east side of Bow River, parallel to Deerfoot Trail and I had not been in that area before but there is absolutely no sign of any equipment after 35 years! I don't know why I thought there should had been something left from the facility but there was nothing but Conocophilips warning signs about the pipeline, a few pipe which have grown out of the ground with locks at their ends and City of Calgary guidance sign about the history of the area.
The park it self is simply a park at the banks of Bow River with benches, trails, picnic benches and that's all. It is less crowded compare to the other parks probably because it is located in a industrial area but there are neighbourhoods close by as well.
If you're heading south, the Bow River Path takes you up a hill and a row of old townhouses appear. That's where it is called Beaverdam Flats. There is a little history about this wooded valley. 
Storage Tanks of Imperial Oil Refinery in Calgary at the banks of Bow River. This photo which goes back to early 1920s is selected from Glenbow archives.
According to the City of Calgary, Natives used to come here, to this little area because they could protect themselves from the strong cold wind of the winter, graze their horse and find hunt as bison was common in this area as well. They found wood for their fire and when the cold winded down, they would follow the herd of bison and move out.
(Photo: Part of the Old Refinery Park. As you see the grass is still brown and many trees just have started going back to green!)

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