The Best Calgary Walking & Running Paths: St. Patrick's Island - East Village
St Patrick's Island is located in Calgary's revitalized community of East Village. Nestled just east of the downtown core along the Bow River, East Village is a cute residential area that perfectly balances urban and nature living. The riverfront community features cute shops, cobblestone streets, historic building and is a great destination and a lovely spot to have a wander. It also home to St Patrick's Island.
St Patrick's Island is similar to its neighbouring Prince's Island Park, offering great city views, paths that cocoon you in nature, little rocky beaches to enjoy the cool river water and wide-open spaces to picnic or to just run and be playful. Calgarians have been enjoying this island since the early 1900's. Having said that, the island received a much needed facelift and reopened in 2015, so if you haven't been in a while - it's time to check it out.
Benn and I started the walk at 9am. We met on the RiverWalk path near the George C. King Bridge and headed over the currents of the Bow river on this wide concrete bridge to get to the island. The bridge itself is a great spot to take in Calgary's city skyline and to watch the early morning sun's rays bouncing off the surface of the water. It's also a very good spot for picture taking when it's early and there aren't a lot of people around.
The first thing you see upon arriving onto the island is a structure that reminds me a little bit of a sputnik. It is actually a 23 metre permanent public art piece called Bloom that provides a focal point and ambient light (https://www.calgarymlc.ca/patricks-island)
After musing how cute everything looked, we noticed the hill. Called the Rise, this is 9 metre high hill that St. Patrick's island is known for. After staring at it for a bit, the next logical thing to do was to unleash our inner kids and tear up the hill, full sprint. Benn got up there first and I'm going to chalk it up to him having the longest legs of anybody that I know - nothing to do with him being a cross fit boss or anything like that (ha). The view from the top is sweet. Through the trees, you can make out some of the Calgary skyline with the Bow winding past. There are also little chairs and tables at the top of the hill that would be really nice to sit at to have a tea with a friend but we were a bit leery of touching the metal chairs and table due to the pandemic so we took pictures before taking the stairs down. The stairs are located at the back of the hill. This spot would be an amazing picnic spot.
St Patrick's Island is a place to slow down and linger for a bit in each spot that you come across. . There are so many cute little areas to enjoy some quiet time and pretty much everywhere on the island gives you a scenic backdrop for hanging out and taking photos.
(more of the post after the photos)
We finished up the walk by heading back over the bridge and stopping in at the Sidewalk Citizen bakery(https://www.sidewalkcitizenbakery.com/new-page-1) which is the cutest bakery located in the historic old Simmons Limited building. Along with their freshly baked offerings, Sidewalk Citizen also sells soups and ready to serve meals.
The red-brick Simmon's building was formerly a mattress factory that now houses the bakery, restaurant Charbar and Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters facing the river. We picked up cookies, bread and True Buch ginger kombucha for me. Check out the Daily Hive article by Jess Fleming for a good quick about the revitalization of the Simmons building and a feature of the businesses within.
While you're here, look out for the East Village's good vibe Share the Love initiative - messages written on hearts to keep the neighbourhood feeling connected during physical distancing. What's that? You don't live in the East Village? Don't worry about it! Share the love in your own 'hood by getting your own printable version here.
Pro Tip: Take a pee before you go because all of the washrooms on the island are closed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
My name is Nicole and I am a Calgary based lifestyle and travel blogger with a focus on alcohol free living. During this period of self-isolation and physical distancing, like many others, I've been more focused on lifestyle than travel. This time has given me the opportunity to slow down and find ways to stay inspired, have fun, stay fit and eat well without travelling too far from home.