I recently took some friends to Reader Rock Garden in Calgary. It’s a hidden gem in the city and too few people know about it. Tucked in a forest of old trees on a hill just south of the Stampede grounds, Reader Rock Garden is a little quiet oasis complete with water falls, secret pathways, and opens up to a beautiful lawn with a gazebo and sun dappled benches tucked away in the greenery. Up on the hill is the Reader Rock Garden cafe which is a restored heritage home that welcomes visitors for tea and a quiet moment of rest. From 1913-1942 William Roland Reader was the Superintendent of Calgary Parks and developed this rock garden as a place to collect plants brought from around the world. Today the park is a tribute to his legacy and is designated as a Provincial Historic Resource. It may be one of the only gardens of its kind in Western Canada.
Reader Rock Garden is one of my favourite places. I love to take our family there and enjoy the seasons of growth. We always discover new plants and enjoy the peace this space provides in the urban jungle of the big city. Slowly over the years I’ve found a few more if these hidden gems in Chestermere, Calgary and surrounding area. We now have our favourite places to hike and explore. A bird sanctuary, fishery, garden centre and provincial park all make our little list.
We all need good places to go and enjoy a few moments together. We need places that cost us little or nothing. We need places that remind us that our expansive back-yard is open for us to explore. We need adventure and we need fresh air.
I am also discovering that the very best places are also worth sharing with others. Some Sunday afternoons in the summer we invite friends along, pack a picnic, and head off to one of our little hidden gems. Within minutes of our home we’ve explored Ralph Klein Park and further out we’ve splashed in the waterfalls at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. In our own city we have extensive walking paths with seven main trails and loops, sandy beaches, canals, and parks. Chestermere is beautiful.
Where are your favourite places? Have you found little gems that are worth sharing with others? When we offer up our secret spots we create opportunity for good things to emerge and for new memories to be made.
This summer invite others to join you as you explore your favourite places together. If you do not know of these little gems, ask around. Many of your neighbours might be more than happy to show you where the good places can be found. We live in a beautiful part of the country and this summer may you discover your home and enjoy it with your friends, family, and neighbours.