Reader Rock Garden receives national historic designation

Calgary's Reader Rock Garden has received a national historic designation, along with 11 other historic Canadian sites.

The park was established in 1913

Reader Rock Garden has been designated a National Historic Resource. (davebloggs007/Flickr)

Calgary's Reader Rock Garden has received a national historic designation, along with 11 other historic Canadian sites.

The park, which was established in 1913, was the city's first Legacy Park to open.

Diane Dalkin of the Friends of Reader Rock Garden Society said she was elated when she heard the news.

"People will now know about our little gem here in this little park," she said. "It had a lot to do with the beginnings of Calgary."

The 1.65-hectare park, located on the northern slope of Union Cemetery, was created as a showcase for the horticultural possibilities in Calgary's harsh climate.

Initial grading of the slope for what would become Reader Rock Garden started in 1913. (The Reader Family/calgary.ca)

The garden was named for William Roland Reader, who was the superintendent of the city's parks from 1913 to 1942. 

"He pretty much developed all the parks that are here in Calgary ... he made sure this city was known as a treed city, not just a bald prairie," she said.

The garden was restored in 2006 when it received a provincial historic resource designation.

The cafe in the park is a rebuilt version of Reader's home. The original home was demolished in 1944. 


"This cafe is pretty-much true to the original architecture of his house ... and the cool part is the new manager is introducing high teas there," she said. 

The push to have the site named a historic resource has been in the works for a number of years. 

Dalkin said the park has a Jane's Walk coming up on May 5, and the garden will be open on June 10 with entertainment and a silent auction. 

With files from Diane Yanko