Closer to Home: Paul Kane Park

Editor’s note: Once a week here at Transforming Edmonton we’ve been 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.

You can be a block away in any direction from Paul Kane Park and not know how close you are to hills, water, bulrushes and, on some good days, an ice cream truck.

Paul Kane Park—nestled between 102 Avenue and 103 Avenue and 121 Street and 122 Street—is a park that works as a kind of outdoor living room for the small village of Edmontonians who live within a short walk of it.

Or a guest room for those who visit.

On the day we pedalled by, the park seemed more painting than park.

On the hills, people sat on blankets and talked and laughed. A young child pulled his mom to watch a chattering squirrel in a spruce tree. A dog ambled along the walkway. A dude was taking pics of the cattails in the pond. Geese circled. The sun dipped.

There’s a unique feature in the park. A food exchange station. A handwritten note lays out the rules: LoveGood Food Exchange. Take what you need, leave what you can for others. The cabinet contained chickpeas, jam, vermicelli noodles, muffins, chocolate and hygiene products. The cabinet also contained another kind of non-perishable, I suppose: kindness. Because there is need out there.

The central feature of the park is a pond that, this time of year, shimmers with the green and gold of the fall trees. There are benches to take it all in from, and reflect.

The day we stopped by we got lucky. An ice cream truck was there. As I watched people stand in line and smile as they paid and carried their cones away I had the feeling I get when I visit other cities and experience cool urban scenes and think it would be great if Edmonton had those kinds of places. Which we do.

Like Paul Kane Park.

People stand in for ice cream at Paul Kane Park, September 17, 2020.

Paul Kane Park is close to bus stops on 104 Avenue and on 124 St, and near the protected bike lanes on 102 Avenue.