Episode 59 – The Smallest Park

Shelley sits on a bench by a sidewalk, surrounded by snow.
Shelley enjoying a small place which is *not* a park. Not by this episode’s definition, anyway…

Shelley Jodoin-Chouinard asks what Edmonton’s smallest park is. This episode continues our series on the history of parks and natural spaces in Edmonton, which kicked off with our live show in September.

Leslie Knope in Pawnee’s smallest park (from the TV show Parks & Recreation). It is supposed to be an impressive 0.00003 square miles large.

We began by looking through the City of Edmonton’s online map of parks and parkland in the city, finding some amusingly tiny patches of green around the city.

A tiny space with a couple benches on a street corner, a fire hydrant, and a tree
Nutter’s Corner on 99 Street, which is named in honour of Carolyn and Butch Nutter’s work saving Mill Creek Ravine from freeway development. This is also not a park, but it is the smallest open space in Edmonton.

We also took a look at a book called Mini-Parks for Edmonton, written by Leslie Bella in 1975 for the Edmonton Social Planning Council. It evaluated Edmonton’s stock of tiny parks, argued that tiny neighbourhood parks improve everyday life, and playtests methods to involve community members in creating mini-parks in their neighbourhood.

Then we spoke with Trent Portigal, an urban planner with the City of Edmonton, who had an answer locked and loaded, and told us about Alberta’s 1963 Planning Act that requires 10% of subdivided land to be provided as reserve land (ie land for a park or a school).

 

An excerpt from p 174 of Alberta’s 1963 Planning Act.

 

Scroll down once you’ve listened to the episode to see the spots Trent told us about.

 

spoilers below

 

Shelley and urban planner Trent Portigal.

Trent took us to Post Office Clock Tower Park, a spot you may have walked through many times, on the corner in front of the Westin Hotel downtown. Its address is 10145 100 Street.

Trevor, Shelley, and Trent standing in Post Office Clock Tower Park.

This park was re-lotted in about 1973. The clock was salvaged from the iconic Downtown Post Office when it was demolished in 1972, and installed on this spot in 1978. The park clocks in at 185 square metres.

The Clock Tower itself.
Zooming by the park on Google Maps.

Other tiny parkland spaces Trent told us about in Edmonton:

A patch of parkland in Beverley Heights.
A patch of parkland in Parkdale.

Shout-outs in this episode to Alberta Blue Cross and connectFirst Credit Union. Thanks to our Patreon supporters, including Ghost Magpie level supporter Raquel Feroe. You can sign up to support the show and get a mug or a sticker too on Patreon.

Further Reading

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