Dale Hodges Park Wins CSLA Award of Excellence

John Hill
16. April 2021
Aerial view of Dale Hodges Park with Downtown Calgary in the distance. (Photo courtesy of CSLA)

As part of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects' (CSLA) 2021 Awards of Excellence, the transformation of a former quarry along the Bow River in Calgary into Dale Hodges Park has been awarded the Jury's Award of Excellence.

Designed by O2 Planning & Design and Source 2 Source Inc. with Sans façon for Watershed+ and AECOM, Dale Hodges Park is a 40-hectare (99-acre) park that is also a stormwater treatment facility and is considered one of the largest public artworks in North America. The project came about after the City of Calgary acquired the former Klippert gravel pit, with the aim of restoring the area's ecological integrity and enhancing the recreational and educational value of Bowmont Park, of which it expands. The park is named for Calgary Alderman Dale Hodges, who served that role for 30 years and was particularly active in creating and protecting green spaces in Calgary.

Dale Hodges Park collects stormwater from upland residential communities into a large Nautilus Pond, from where it travels into marshes, meadows, riparian habitats, and streams before being discharged, fully treated, into the Bow River. The collaborative design expresses, per O2 Planning & Design, "the integration of water engineering, public art, landscape architecture and ecological design." The firm also contends that the landscape forms, inspired by anabranches, or river scrolls, "enhance filtration, create diverse habitats, and provide more depth to store water when necessary."

The Jury's Award of Excellence was selected from the fourteen winners of the National Awards, which are listed below, interspersed with photos of Dale Hodges Park and with links to the projects on the CSLA website. A total of 72 projects were submitted for this year's awards, with the jury* looking at a deep understanding of the craft of landscape architecture, innovation, promotion of the discipline, and the demonstration of exemplary environmental awareness, among other factors. Jury chair Bernard St-Denis said, "the award-winning projects highlight new approaches and illustrate the levels of expertise to be mobilized to address current social, cultural and environmental challenges."

Aerial view of the Nautilus Pond at the northern end of Dale Hodges Park (Photo courtesy of CSLA)
2021 National Award Recipients (Landscapes):

Aerial view of the marshes and meadows at Dale Hodges Park (Photo courtesy of CSLA)
2021 National Award Recipients (Planning and Analysis):

Boardwalks traverse the marshes and meadows at Dale Hodges Park (Photo courtesy of CSLA)
2021 National Award Recipients (Research and Communication):

The discharge at the southern end of Dale Hodges Park (Photo courtesy of CSLA)
*The 2021 Awards of Excellence Jury:

  • Alex Bozikovic, architecture critic at The Globe and Mail
  • Bernard St-Denis, landscape architect and professor at the School of Landscape Architecture at the Université de Montréal
  • Elaine vanTol Smit, landscape architect with the City of Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Hans Pfeil, President of APALA and Director of Public Works, Development and By-Law Enforcement in the Municipality of Argyle in Tusket, Nova Scotia
  • Sung Ae Sim, landscape architect, educator and arborist at the City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division

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