Exploring the Rotary-Mattamy Greenway

When Mayor Nenshi proclaimed that the Rotary Mattamy Greenway, “Will be the largest pathway system in the world,” he was onto something big. For anyone who recognizes the signature wayfinding signs identifying over 138 kilometers of pathway (in combination with City of Calgary pathways), they know the paved pathway system is nothing short of amazing. With funding from several sources in the city (namely 13 Rotary Clubs in Calgary and Mattamy Homes), this project has been made possible through some serious team efforts.

The system provides connections from tip to tail of the city and is always expanding to include new communities. The interesting thing about the Rotary Mattamy Greenway is the interface it creates between the outer edges of the city and inner regions of the city. The multi-use pathway connects areas of interest like Ralph Klein Park, Glenmore Reservoir, and Fish Creek Park, and is woven into naturally green spaces secluded from the noise of the area. In a city faced with so much urbanization, the escape to a natural environment is nothing short of therapeutic.

I myself have been an explorer of new areas and am always surprised to find a totem way finding sign letting me know that I am running along the Rotary Mattamy Greenway. Of course, on foot the entirety of the pathway system is quite a feat to travel. However, by bicycle, the pathway is highly travelable; it provides quiet connections that are tucked away from the hustle-bustle of the vehicle dominated highway network. Building active neighbourhoods in new suburban communities is such an important part of creating liveable, walkable, active areas that provide the infrastructure to pull Calgarians off the couch and into the fresh air.

In our active neighbourhoods we talk of destinations but in this case, it’s more of the journey that’s enjoyable. That being said, the pathway provides several destinations along the way including dog parks, water features and playgrounds. Considering Calgary is a winter city and the dreaded minus temperatures are knocking on our door, the maintenance of these pathways ensure 4-season usage. Whether Calgarians are pounding pavement to rack up kilometers or taking their pup for a walk, this pathway is such a wonderful asset to an already wonderful city.

Where I call home in the deep southeast, I have had the opportunity to explore the Southeast Wetland portion of the Rotary Mattamy Greenway and Fish Creek Provincial Park. Over the past six months, I’ve watched the transformation of the Southeast wetlands from a dry, barren landscape thirsty for moisture, to a lush ecosystem heavily populated by flora and fauna. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to observe a coyote pouncing on field mice and a red winged blackbird swaying a top a bulrush in the wind, all while hearing the constant buzz of traffic passing by on Stoney Trail. Perhaps this intersection of human-built infrastructure and the protected nature-scape is a testament to the symbiotic relationship formed between man and nature.

Celia Lee