Central Commons Park Inside Scoop
The highly-anticipated Central Commons Park celebrated its Grand Opening on December 4, 2022. The public is now welcome to enjoy the park year round!
To get the inside scoop on Central Commons Park, we sat down with the park’s lead designer, Heath Mizer, to learn more about the design behind the park. He has been working on the project since 2017 and has led the innovative landscape design of the space.
Central Commons Park will be a year-round destination for Calgarians looking to connect with their greater community and friends and family.
What makes Central Commons Park a one-of-a-kind space for Calgarians?
Heath Mizer: There are many reasons why Central Commons Park is unique to the city, but I believe the most important is that it is a year-round destination. We designed the space to be an active community hub 365-days a year and have packed many amenities into the space.
In the summer, Calgarians can enjoy a splash pad, wide open green spaces and picnic areas and BBQ pits. Whether it is a large-scale stage or smaller platform, the park is designed to host an array of exciting entertainment experiences.
Warming up to winter is part of Central Commons Park which includes individual BBQ pits, unique custom designed fire features and a 50-foot long electric fire feature. These will be welcome places for a rest when the custom ice rink is in place.
What does a space like this mean for community building?
Heath Mizer: Central Commons Park is really unique because it’s a space to connect intimately with friends and family and as a larger community. It was built with accessibility in mind, so people of all abilities and ages that live in, work at or visit University District can enjoy.
You can already see the community in action with the busy patios that overlook the park. People enjoying food at restaurants like the Canadian Brewhouse, The Banquet and Borough Bar + Grill have started taking advantage of the architecture.
What was the most unique or challenging part of the park to plan?
Heath Mizer: One of the biggest architectural challenges was designing the lawn where the ice rink will sit in the winter. It was challenging to facilitate a perfectly straight lawn that can support the ice rink that will also properly drain in the summer. Our team had to use a complex soil profile that allows the grass to lay perfectly flat and drain.
Central Commons Park during the construction process.
How does the park cater to different ages and demographics?
Heath Mizer: The two key design principles behind Central Commons Park are accessibility and visual triangulation. Visual triangulation means that you can see every point of the park no matter from where you are standing or sitting in it. This design principle is important because it makes people feel more at ease and relaxed in the space. By focusing on both of these principles, all Calgarians will feel comfortable enjoying the many amenities in the park.
The amenities also cater to many demographics. From strolling gardens, open space to toss around a ball, and a splash pad, all ages will have plenty to explore at Central Commons Park. There are also a number of different rest areas from picnic tables to benches and concrete steps on the land forms where you can take in some people watching.
What inspired the design features of the park?
Heath Mizer: One of the largest inspirations for the park was the Rocky Mountains and the shifting of tectonic plates. By coordinating with the nearby building’s architecture teams, we were able to create a sloping effect that shows a smooth transition between the buildings and park. When people are enjoying the park they will see that the design mimics the slopes of mountain ranges.
Another important design feature we kept in mind was the idea that Central Commons Park is a park in motion. There are many routes of access to the space making it a very accessible and easy to enjoy park experience.
View the latest ariel footage of the park here!
You can enjoy views of the park at one of the U/D patios on Retail Main Street. The Canadian Brewhouse, The Banquet and Borough Bar + Grill all have a front row seat on the action at Central Commons Park.