Civitas’ Unveils its Design of Central Commons Park in Calgary; an Every-Season Destination

Press Release

people walking and skating in commons park, calgary

Authentic to the nature and culture of Calgary, the 3-acre park and mixed-use district is embraced by landscape that can be enjoyed during every season

Calgary, Alberta – February 6, 2023 – Civitas has unveiled its design of the four-season oasis, Central Commons Park, which will be open year-round and feature unique seasonal amenities including an ice-skating rink, a staging area for concerts, picnic areas with tables and BBQ stations, fire features, and several patio spaces perfect for outdoor gatherings. The mixed-use community serves the University of Calgary and its West Campus.

Civitas, alongside SMM, designed the park for daily use and community gatherings, enhancing two 80,000 SF retail and office buildings by GGA-Architecture.

“There are many reasons why Central Commons Park is unique to the city, but I believe the most important is that it is a year-round destination packed with amenities and activities,” said Heath Mizer, RLA. “In the summer, Calgarians can enjoy a splash pad, wide open green spaces and picnic areas and in the winter they can enjoy the group warming areas, a custom-designed 50-foot long fire feature and a seasonal refrigerated skating rink that is approximately 17,000 square feet, on top of the central lawn.”

“Winter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” said Jessica Doig, designer at Civitas. “We set out to make Central Commons Park an ‘every season destination’ which is authentic to Calgary’s natural environment and culture. Designing something that encourages people to get out and about during the coldest times of the year was really rewarding. We know how much nature plays a part in health and wellness and we think this park will help amplify that.”

commons park, calagary overhead view

“The new park transformation gives Calgary an accessible and simple, yet elegant, design that will be highly-frequented during all seasons,” added Mizer. “We came up with a design concept that reflects the nature of the tectonic shifts of the nearby Rocky Mountains. By coordinating with the adjacent building’s architecture teams, we were able to integrate landscape and architecture that shows a smooth transition between the buildings and park. When people are enjoying the park they will see that the design is inspired by the geology of mountain ranges. This gave us a vocabulary that we were then able to translate throughout the entire development.”

commons park, calgary landscape design

The landscape design was inspired by the tectonic plates visible in the nearby Rocky Mountains. Image © Civitas

Central Commons Park has quickly taken shape as a highly dynamic, connected, responsible and innovative community amenity, becoming a new destination and landmark in NW Calgary. University District is LEED ND Platinum Certified and is attracting a wide variety of residents thanks to its accessibility, innovative design, convenience and proximity to significant health, higher education and retail facilities in the immediate area.

For additional information, interviews and images please contact Katie Breest at

  • Client

    University of Calgary Properties Group

  • Community

    University District, Calgary, AB

  • Lead Landscape Architect


  • Local Landscape Architect

    Scatliff Miller Murray

  • Building Architect

    GGA Architecture

  • Contractor

    Graham Construction

About Civitas

Founded in 1984 with the core purpose of “creating healthier cities,” Civitas is an idea-based practice of urban designers, architects, and landscape architects engaged in strategic planning for urban change and project design for built works. Curbed has recognized Civitas as one of five practitioners “who are putting the public back in public space.” Fast Company has acknowledged Civitas in its Innovation by Design Awards, the Canadian Institute of Planners “Great Public Space,” and an Excellence on the Waterfront Award from the nonprofit Waterfront Center. A consultancy and a design studio, Civitas advises on a wide range of strategies for re-imagining urban life and places, working in U.S. cities coast to coast and around the world. To learn more visit