Not-so-hidden gem

Flora, fauna and family fun abound in Canada’s second-largest urban park

Few realize that the title of second-largest urban park in Canada belongs to Fish Creek Provincial Park. Then again, it’s not just the size that attracts two million visitors a year to this sprawling natural area in south Calgary.

In addition to Sikome Aquatic Facility for swimming, the park is home to a mountain bike skills park and many sites for hiking, biking and bird watching. A number of day-use areas offer prime picnic spots, while those who seek more formal dining can enjoy the on-site Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant.

There’s a visitor centre with theatre and exhibit areas, as well as the Environmental Learning Centre, a nature school that hosts students in science education from Calgary and area schools. The learning centre in particular reflects the values embraced by the park and its users.

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Skies clearing for solar

Solar’s appeal is growing for Calgary homeowners due to falling costs, and rebates

With the cost of solar power generation dropping, and a provincial rebate program launching, it’s a pretty good time to be living in the sunniest city in Canada.

More homeowners are investing in solar as it becomes more economically viable.

In the past, many who embraced it traded the wallet shock for the feel-good vibes of reducing their ecological footprints.

That’s the original reason Michael Betzner added solar to his Bowness home about eight years ago.

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Doing the right thing

Canmore’s Spring Creek uses geothermal to lessen its environmental footprint

As the Alberta government doubles down on solar power alternatives through policy and rebates, some wonder if geothermal will also receive the same kind of attention.

Frank Kernick, developer of Canmore’s multi-million-dollar Spring Creek hopes the provincial government will help offset geothermal installation costs through a rebate program, similar to the Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

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Thinking inside the box

Local company eyes future shipping container developments in Calgary

They travel across the ocean from Asia all the way to Canada and, until recently, these steel shipping containers were considered surplus.

If a local company gets its way, however, these re-purposed shipping containers could provide part of the solution to affordable and special needs housing demands in Calgary.

“We are currently looking at a couple of different projects in Calgary,” said Rhys Kane, director of business development for Ladacor Advanced Modular Systems. “They would be multi-family apartments and seniors’ independent-living projects of six- to eight-storeys.”

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Socialize with trees

Beyond beautification, trees provide a bevy of benefits for urban dwellers

Even before the turn of the century, early civic leaders envisioned Calgary as an urban oasis, with broad tree-lined streets connecting numerous parks. In 1894, the City of Calgary started planting trees along major boulevards in the city, beginning the effort to create an urban forest that continues today.

But aside from beautification, what’s the point of an urban forest?

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