Getting outside and experiencing a heritage village is way more fun than reading about history in a textbook, am I right? Heritage Park in Calgary is a step back in time in Canada’s largest living history museum.
Experience the joy of discovering how people lived way back when as you explore 1860 all the way to 1950. Unlike other museums where you walk through an exhibit and look at objects behind glass, Heritage Park is interactive, with costumed interpreters, historic buildings to peak into and wander around in, and working antiques to touch, smell, taste, hear and see.
The Park is set-up in four main areas:
- Heritage Town Square: This is located before the admission gates, which means it is free to enjoy. There are a few restaurants and cafes, little shops with all kinds of fun things to check out and a 2-acre nature park to enjoy. You can also step inside to Gasoline Alley Museum, home to one of the world’s largest public collections of antique trucks, cars and gas pumps from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s.
- The 1900s Living Historical Village: This main area is open between May and October. The village is home to many of the exhibits including an antique midway with lots of rides, steam train, a working printing press and blacksmith shop, ice cream parlour, a very popular bakery, and costumed interpreters.
- The 1880s Pre-Railway Settlement: Also open May to October, experience the homes, businesses, and lifestyles of the first new settlers to Canada’s West.
- 1860s Fur Trading Fort and First Nations Encampment: Also open May to October. First Nations, Métis, explorers, settlers, and traders, as well as others who travelled through Western Canada, are represented in this area of the park.
Can’t Miss Attractions at Heritage Park, Calgary
- Steam Ship
The S.S. Moyie was used on Kootenay Lake, B.C. to ferry passengers between small settlements and towns between 1898 to 1957 making it North America’s oldest sternwheeler still in service. When it was retired, it was made into a museum and placed in Kaslo, B.C. I’ve been to Kaslo and had the pleasure of taking a look at the original ship in person. THIS steamship is actually a diesel-running half-size replica of the original S.S. Moyie.
- Authentic Steam Train
You can ride on a steam train and imagine yourself riding on one between 1882 and 1949. Take the train between different stops in Heritage Park to save your energy as there is a lot of walking involved here! If you have a stroller or wheelchair, you will unfortunately not be able to bring them on the train.
- Old-timey Amusement Park Rides
Included with admission is access to many popular antique midway rides, like a Ferris wheel (one for children only), carousel, swings, bumper cars, and others.
Find Joy Wandering in these Heritage Buildings
There are plenty of historic buildings to wander into, which will allow you to use your imagination to picture yourself living your life there. For instance, stand in line at the bakery while you wait to order delicious bread and pastries. A visit to the bakery is always a highlight of a visit to Heritage Park.
The Wainwright Hotel is also one of my favourite places to stop in. I like pretending that I am visiting the village and staying in one of the little rooms upstairs. There are also houses, a school, a post office, and other buildings to either look into or be able to walk around in. So much scope for the imagination!
Frequently Asked Questions:
1900 Heritage Dr. S.W.
Located about a 20-minute drive from downtown Calgary, there is plenty of parking onsite. If you are using public transportation, a shuttle bus is available from the Heritage LRT Station. Please visit Calgary Transit to view the shuttle schedule.
The Heritage Park Society is a charitable organization, with direction provided by a volunteer board of directors.
Gasoline Alley Museum and Heritage Town Square are fully accessible by wheelchairs. The main Historical Village isn’t very wheelchair friendly, but there are certain buildings (marked with a wheelchair symbol on the outside) that can be accessed.
Please refer to the official website’s hours of operation for the most up-to-date information.
I think you’ll agree that a day spent at Heritage Park, Calgary is a great way to spend time for the whole family. You can bring your own food and have a picnic, enjoy ice cream and baked items from the shops, or eat at the many cafes and restaurants located in Heritage Town Square.