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Calgary’s Reader Rock Garden receives federal designation

Calgary's Reader Rock Garden has been given an historic designation from the federal government. Friends of Reader Rock Garden Society / Provided

A Calgary park that traces its roots back to the early 20th century is being highlighted by the federal government.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced this past week that Reader Rock Garden will receive a national historic designation.

The government “designates persons, places, and events that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians connect with their past,” according to a media release.

“It’s something that I think all Calgarians have to be proud that we have such a special site here in our city,” said Diane Dalkin, president of the Friends of the Reader Rock Garden Society.

READ MORE: Calgary seeks public input on big changes to inner-city green spaces

The park is named after William Roland Reader, who served as the superintendent for Calgary Parks from 1913 to 1942. Reader lived in a cottage at the site and transformed the space into a rock garden, according to Dalkin.

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“Most of the plants that [we] probably have in our gardens are as a result of his introduction here into Calgary,” Dalkin said.

“He did lots of trials — he had well over four thousand plants that he tested to see what would grow here.”

The garden joins roughly 970 other sites across Canada that have the same designation.

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There are no formal plans to celebrate the designation yet, according to Dalkin, but she believes the honour will help “broaden the base of people hearing about [the garden].

“I think people should come out and see what kind of a treasure we have here in Calgary.”

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