We resume our virtual tour of the River Valley System by taking a look at the Government House Park. Sandwiched between the McKinnon Ravine and Victoria Park, it’s located along the river’s north shore next to Groat Road. Government House is unique in its ties to the city’s political history, as it once was the site of the Lieutenant Governors of Alberta’s residence. The building still stands today next to the former Royal Alberta Museum, just north of the beautiful paved trails connecting this small park with the rest of the system.
Before we explore where these paths could take us this March, let’s take a look at the house from where it earned its name. Government House served as the official residence of the Lieutenant Governors of Alberta from 1913 to 1938, until the Legislative Assembly sold it due to economic reasons. During the Second World War, the residence was used first as a boarding house for pilots before settling as a convalescent home for injured veterans. By 1964, it was bought by the Crown, at which time it was restored and converted into a building used for special events.
Built in the Edwardian Tudor revival style, this building cuts a striking silhouette within Glenora. It also shares grounds with the former Royal Alberta Museum buildings. Though the province’s museum of natural history and anthropology has moved to a new downtown location, the city has plans to preserve the old site in some way.
Exploring these grounds is a great way to get a feel for the historical side of the city this Spring Break before heading into the River Valley System to unearth its natural side. Though Government House on its own is a small park, it’s linked to the MacKinnon and Ramasy Ravines by a series of beautifully paved riverside trails. Before following these paths, you’d do well to enjoy its sloping trails and picnic areas, especially at dawn or dusk as Government House Park offers breathtaking views of the river at these times.
Stick to these manicured paths for a relaxing walk or continue onwards along either ravine trails for a more challenging hike. Take care to look for diversions and city signs, as these areas are struggling with severe bank erosion. (Take a look at our post on Whitemud Park to read more about the effects of erosion). Despite these environmental concerns, these trails are a densely packed with older coniferous trees, as well as recent plantings of deciduous trees to encourage new growth.
As we prepare to turn over another month on the calendar, we’re one step closer to spring, which is the ideal season to encourage growth on your own property with aptly timed pruning and deep-root fertilization. Though we encourage light pruning to remove dead branches at any time of the year to eliminate the dangers these limbs pose to your property, pruning to enhance flowering should be completed at specific times of the year. Meanwhile, deep-root fertilization, an essential delivery system of nutrients, can only be done once the ground thaws.
Now that we only have longer and warmer days on our horizon, there’s no better time to schedule either of these services for the trees around your home. We’ll find a convenient time this spring to look after your property and make sure it’s ready for a beautiful summer season. Let us know what time works best for you by requesting an on-site estimation, and we’ll see you soon. Until then, enjoy the River Valley System as the city blossoms into spring.