Heritage Park Historical Village is a historical park located in Calgary, Alberta. The park is located on 127 acres (0.51 km2) of parkland on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir, along the city's southwestern edge. As Canada's largest living history museum by number of exhibits, it is one of the city's most visited tourist attractions. The park is branded as a living history museum since it features a village that was recreated to appear as it might have in late 19th and early 20th century Alberta. Many of the buildings are historical and were transported to the park to be placed on display. Others are re-creations of actual buildings. Most of the structures are furnished and decorated with genuine artifacts. Staff dress in historic costume, and antique automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles service the site. Calgary Transit provides regular shuttle service from Heritage C-Train station. The park opened in July 1964 at a cost of $300,000.
The park is divided into four distinct areas reflecting different time periods in Western Canadian history: the Hudson's Bay Company Fur Trading Fort (although no Hudson's Bay Company fort ever existed in Calgary), circa 1864; the Pre-Railway Settlement Village, circa 1880; the Railway Prairie Town, circa 1910; and the newly-opened (2009) Heritage Town Square, depicting the 1930s to 1950s.
Prairie Town at Heritage Park
Heritage Park Historical Village has over 100 exhibits including:
- A working steam locomotive and train that takes passengers around the park
- A streetcar from Calgary's former streetcar system that shuttles passengers to and from the parking lot. This was taken out of service in 2006 in preparation for the park's expansion, and returned to service in May 2010, taking passengers from the parking lot to the newly-built CPR replica station and front gate.
- A re-creation of a paddle steamer, S.S. Moyie, that traverses the Glenmore Reservoir
- An antique midway that features working historical amusement park rides
- An aboriginal encampment representing the First Peoples in southern Alberta in the 19th century
- A working smithy, bakery, hotel, and several shops and restaurants
- Horse-drawn wagons
- A Hudson's Bay Company trading fort
- The 1913 Little Synagogue on the Prairie
- The Town Square, located in front of the park gates, contains Haskayne Mercantile Block, Selkirk Grille and Big Rock Interpretive Brewery flanked by the Bissett Wetlands. It was opened in 2009 and admission is free in this area of the park.
In March 2009, Heritage Park opened a major new expansion, the Heritage Town Square. The addition features several new buildings depicting a larger 1930s and 1940s western Canadian town. Heritage Town Square will be open year-round, unlike the rest of the park, which is seasonal.
Some of the new attractions include:
- a new Gasoline Alley Museum showcasing the park's extensive antique car and memorabilia collection (previously housed in the Burns Barn in the main park)
- an orientation/visitor's centre (within a replica railway station)
- a 1930s town square (which includes shops, an antique photo parlour, and food services)
- a re-creation of a CPR railway station restaurant