Sharing nine Edmonton green spaces sure to surprise

What do an embalmer, the author of a dictionary and a women’s basketball team all have in common? They all have Edmonton public parks named after them. Don't believe us? We're showing you.

From A to Z: Anne Anderson to Zoie Gardner, sharing Edmonton parks and the women they're named after

The view overlooking the North Saskatchewan River from Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Many Edmontonians are looking for staycations in secret hideaways this summer and CBC Edmonton is going to help you. So, how about discovering one of the Edmonton Public Parks named after athletes, ambassadors and authors who all happened to be women?

Isabelle Connelly Park (9835 148th Street)

Isabelle Connelly was the first woman in Alberta to work as a licensed embalmer. She moved to Edmonton from Ontario in 1901. Six years later, she married J. William Connelly, and a year after that they founded the first funeral home in our province, a company still in business today. 

You can see more of Edmonton's perfect parks on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at noon on CBC TV and CBC GEM.

Famous Five Parks (Edmonton's River Valley)

Fittingly, the Alberta suffragettes who mobilized to change the status of women in our country, the Famous Five, have five Edmonton River Valley Parks not far from one another.

Municipal parks named after Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Nellie McClung can be found lining some of the most picturesque spots along the North Saskatchewan River.

The Famous Five were the petitioners in the groundbreaking Persons Case in the 1920s that established the right of women to be appointed to the Senate.

Anne Anderson circa 1978 was an nurse, educator a leader in Cree language and culture. (City of Edmonton Archives (CEA EA-742-1))

Dr. Anne Anderson Park (10515 162nd Street)

Dr. Anne Anderson was a nurse, teacher and author of more than 90 books on Métis history, culture and the Cree language including the Cree Dictionary. Anderson was one of 10 children who grew up on her family's farm near St. Albert. She was honoured with many distinctions and awards including a Doctorate of Laws from the University of Alberta and the Order of Canada. 

Edmonton Grads Park (10952 121st Street)

The Edmonton Grads basketball dynasty tipped off in 1915 when a group of graduating high school students convinced their coach, J. Percy Page, to keep training them so they could compete against other teams across the province, North America and beyond. 

For the next 25 years, these grads dominated the court, losing only 20 games while winning 502 for a win-loss average of 96 per cent, including exhibition play at four Olympic Games before women's basketball was recognized as an official sport. 

Our Edmonton host Adrienne Lamb shows us around Zoie Gardener Park, Edmonton Grads Park and the five parks named after the famous five. 2:08

Zoie Gardner Park (12710 70th Street)

Violet 'Zoie' Gardner was a local dressmaker, opera lover and foster mother.

Starting in the mid 1960s, she cared for hundreds of children mostly at her own expense in a 13-room house in the Calder neighbourhood.

At one point, Gardner had 24 children under her roof. Some stayed for only a few days while others remained with her for more than 20 years.

"She has cared for Edmonton's mentally and physically disabled youth for half a century. Many of the children she has nurtured in her own home have been strengthened by her care and compassion," according to Governor General Roméo LeBlanc. 

Gardner was honoured with the Order of Canada just a few months before she died in 1998. 

About the Author

Adrienne Lamb is an award-winning journalist based in Edmonton. She's the host and producer of Our Edmonton featured weekly on CBC TV. Adrienne has spent the last couple of decades telling stories across Canada.