The Current Normal – William Hawrelak Park

Headed into Edmonton for a morning appointment, we opted to fit in a short walk in William Hawrelak Park, tucked into a sweeping bend of the North Saskatchewan River. The location would provide views of the river, while offering better chances for physical distancing on both trails and roads.

The area was initially going to be developed as a 500 lot subdivision, but, when the Strathcona Land Syndicate forfeited their taxes, the city obtained the land in 1922. It sat unused until 1954, when then mayor William Hawrelak proposed a 350 acre riverfront park in the area.

Digging of the manmade lakes began in 1959 and was completed in 1964, but the area still had few facilities. Mayfair Park officially opened on Dominion Day (now Canada Day), July 1, 1967 (Canada’s centennial year). It was renamed Hawrelak Park in 1982, after mayor William Hawrelak, who died in 1975, while serving as mayor of Edmonton.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The park has long held a special place in our hearts, as my first date with Patty happened at my office Christmas party at nearby Mayfair Golf and Country Club in December 1975. Since that time, we have walked here many times, brought our kids here for walks and attended many Edmonton Heritage Day festivals, which have been running here every August long weekend since 1976. Due to Covid-19, it did not run this year.

We were a bit anxious about what condition the trails would be in, due to the incessant rain, so dressed appropriately with waterproof footwear and rain jackets. We managed a short 50 minute stroll before heading off to our appointment. The park was pretty deserted on this rainy day, except for a few runners and seniors walking.

Here are the photos from that day (July 8, 2020).

very wet muddy river bank below the former mansion home of Peter Pocklington, who used to own the NHL, Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey team
brush and other debris piled up against the pedestrian bridge pilings near shore
my Birds of Alberta books says this is a Ruddy Duck
trying to catch the drips falling from this bridge scupper proved difficult
wet vegetation and a swollen river, looking West from Hawrelak Park
no absence of moisture here
we tramped along the riverside, until this muddy downhill section suggested it could be a slippery slope from here
One last look
the make up of the river banks leads to many land slips and mud slides during wet weather
a field of clover
looking for a four leaf clover to change our luck
still a few Alberta wild roses about
all the rain makes for e very green scene
the river was about 2.5 m (8 feet) above normal this day
no paddle boats out on the man made lake this day
Hawrelak Park is a great place for young families to play on a rainy day
rain spotted puddle
not the reflections, we were hoping for

4 thoughts on “The Current Normal – William Hawrelak Park

  1. Looks like a lovely place to go on your first date, Allan. I always loved exploring parks and green spaces when we used to live in Dublin. It was very beneficial for my health and wellness. Thanks for sharing and have a good day. The sun is shining in Sligo, and we are just back from swimming; the ocean was a little bit choppy, but we were brave enough to go for a dip. Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even though we live 30 minutes away, we still stop back for the walks and memories. Our parks here are limited, so Edmonton makes us feel less shut in. Glad the sun is shining for you and you managed a swim. We drove into Edmonton today for a walk and the weather was sunny and mild, but there was a cool edge to the breeze. Hotter for the next few days. Thanks for reading and stay well, Aiva. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

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