Calgary unveils new name for downtown park formerly named after anti-Chinese civic activist

A downtown Calgary park, bordering on the edge of Chinatown, will now be known as Harmony Park, the city announced Wednesday. 

Harmony Park on Fourth Avenue is adjacent to Chinatown

This downtown Calgary park will now be known as Harmony Park. (Google Maps)

A downtown Calgary park on the edge of Chinatown will now be known as Harmony Park, the city announced Wednesday. 

Two years ago, the city said it would rename James Short Park and Parkade because of its namesake's history of anti-Chinese racism. 

The park, at 115 Fourth Avenue S.W., opened in 1991. It was named after James Short (1862-1942), who was a school principal before becoming a prominent Calgary lawyer.

As a lawyer for the Anti-Chinese League, he petitioned city commissioners to prohibit Chinese Canadians from establishing the current location of Chinatown, claiming that Chinese residents would lower the property values.

Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong announced the name change Wednesday. He said it reflects what Calgary is about. 

"Harmony Park reflects … the inclusiveness, the gentle harmony that we celebrate in our community and we want all Calgarians to recognize and celebrate as well," he said. 

Michelle Reid, cultural landscape lead with Calgary Parks, said there will be changes in the park in tandem with the city's Chinatown cultural plan and area redevelopment plan for the historic downtown community.

She added that signage will be developed next year.