Poppy Plaza, on the bank of the Bow River, is the first of several planned sites along Memorial Drive’s Landscape of Memory. The space, commemorating Canada’s war-time efforts, combines an inviting wood surface with striking weathered steel façades to create a 24-hour, year-round public space on the doorstep from downtown Calgary to the trendy Kensington District. The design draws attention through both the dramatic weathering steel structures, and the creative use of light that illuminates both quotes honouring Canada’s military past, and the trees that pay tribute to Calgary’s lost soldiers.
Our landscape architectural group led a multidisciplinary team of Stantec engineers, lighting experts, and geotechnical services, and coordinated the architectural design. We overcame the significant challenges of highly complex construction and fabrications, jurisdictional approvals, and programming requirements to create a unique and engaging memorial.
The plaza offers space for Remembrance Day ceremonies and public events or private reflection amid the narratives water jet cut into the steel, back-lit structures. Steps to the river’s edge offer a chance for visitors to connect with the newly restored river’s edge. The park signifies the transformation of a marginal green space to a signature contribution to the city’s downtown and a striking memorial to Canada’s military heritage.