Closer to Home: Belgravia Arts Park

Editor’s note: once a week for the next bit here at Transforming Edmonton we’re sharing some of our favourite places in the city. The pandemic has shortened the travel horizon for many. And that’s okay, because there are plenty of gems in different parts of our city that are worth a visit. Each week a different City of Edmonton team member gives you a story about a fave spot closer to home. This is Glenn Kubish’s view.

The first time walking the labyrinth at the Belgravia Arts Park last Saturday took me two minutes and 12 seconds. The second time, concentrating on my breathing—in through my nose, out in a controlled stream through my mouth—the journey took me two minutes and 22 seconds.

The third time, I tried to be more aware of feeling my feet on the grass: two minutes and 34 seconds.

There is a sign near the labyrinth that explains what it is, and isn’t:

“The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds its way into the centre. The person walking it uses the same path to return from the centre and the entrance then becomes the exit. The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.”

Violets at the centre of the labyrinth, Belgravia Arts Park

The sign also explains who the labyrinth is for:

“Some people come with questions, others just to slow own and take time out from a busy life.”

That is my experience in the seven-circuit labyrinth. I slow down and concentrate on my infrastructure: my lungs, my legs, my eyes.

View of the Belgravia Arts Park from the park’s labyrinth, July 18, 2020

The labyrinth is not the only thing to contemplate in the park.

There are six sculptures positioned along a gravel walking path, each of which is introduced by a label from the Edmonton Arts Council. My favourite depends on the day I’m there and the mood I’m in. On my last visit, I was drawn to Still Life (1999) by Andrew French. Is that the stem of a wine goblet? ?

Still Life (1999)

The park features stone benches etched with some of the flora that like the climate here. This is the wolf willow bench.

There is a native plant planting bed that is brilliant at this time of year.

And an entryway structure that always makes me feel like I am about to spend some time in a lively, vibrant, peaceful, secret kind of place.

The Belgravia Arts Park is located at 115 Street and 74 Avenue. It’s a 500 metre, six-minute, non-labyrinthine walk from the McKernan/Belgravia LRT station.