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Step into a spring mural and folk art walk for a colorful journey of expression

Public art is always a welcome surprise, a splash of color or a texture that catches our eye and then draws us in. There is always a story behind the art that teaches us about the people who call Calgary home. Murals bring walls alive and public art adds visual interest to a street corner, front yard, or office tower, making the walker feel more connected to Calgary and to the people who live here. Let’s connect Calgary one step and mural at a time!

Downtown, East Village, St Patrick’s Island, Inglewood & The Beltline SE-SW

Starting point: The Calgary Central Library

Starting at the glassy, swirling, sloping masterpiece that is the Calgary Central Library, walk back in time into Calgary’s historic heart along Stephen Avenue (8 Avenue). 

Walk north on Centre Street, past Wonderland, the 3.5m high wire-frame sculpture of a giant girl’s head that stands guard on the outdoor plaza at The Bow building. Continue into Chinatown and just before the Centre Street bridge, watch for the mural depicting the revered 12th century Chinese cultural icon, Along the River During the Qingming Festival. The ancient Chinese dialect found on the original scroll has also been updated to use modern Chinese writing, including such phrases as “Bow River,” and “ginger beef.” 

Walk east along the Bow River Pathway to the East Village and soak up some colorful murals along the way before crossing the bridge to St. Patrick’s Island, where you walk past Bloom, a sculpture measuring 23m tall. Stop at the playground to play, and then continue to the 12 Street Bridge before looping back west along 8 Avenue. Watch for Kamâmak, a mural on the Alexandra Centre building that is based on the Seven Sacred Cree Teachings. Across from this mural, check out the colorful hubcap art garden and little library at the Calgary Reads location. 

Cross the Elbow River, follow the River Walk past Fort Calgary, and then navigate into East Village, past Device to Root Out Evil, the upside-down church on 5 Street between 6 and 7 Avenue. Continue south on 5 Street and take the back alley just before 9 Avenue to see more murals bringing life to walls just before the National Music Centre. 

Continue to my favorite Calgary mural on 4 Street, the Corridor of Connection. Taking seven weeks to complete and 70 gallons of paint, the artist Michelle Hoogveld drew inspiration from the idea of connection and how it relates to Calgary’s connecting rivers as a place where people come together. With colorful images of flowing water, lips, rainbow checkers, nature and animals, this mural will make you smile. 

Return to the library on 4 Street to 8 Avenue and take a quick right into the tiny back alley just before the library to find the floating balloons mural. Alternatively, continue into the Beltline and walk west to 14 Street, anywhere between 10 Avenue and 17 Avenue, peeking down back alleys and looking up for murals on many buildings. See for a comprehensive Beltline mural map so you can plan your walk.

Loop back through downtown or navigate to 10 Avenue and continue west of 14 Street, past the Sunalta C-Train station, then cross the train tracks and return eastbound on the Bow River Pathway.

Hounsfield Heights, West Hillhurst and Kensington, NW

Starting point: Lions Park C-Train Station or Louise Riley Library

Start your walk from the Lions Park C-Train Station and walk south along 7 Street, into Hounsfield Heights, an awe-inspiring neighborhood perched on the bluffs. As you head downhill on 7 Street, just south of 12 Avenue, turn into the back alley that skirts a pocket park. Check out the gorgeous landscaping of the home along the alley, and then cut across the pocket park on single-track trails to 10 Avenue. 

Make your way downhill and zig zag to 16 Street and follow it to Kensington Road to see the mural that speaks my mantra in life, Be Curious Not Judgemental. Continue east along Kensington Road, soaking up the energy of this vibrant area. Grab a coffee, lunch, or some charcuterie for a picnic in Riley Park before continuing into Sunnyside, where quirkiness and color are a constant. Pick any street between 10 and 3 Street and meander, keeping watch down back alleys for garage art. Check out my Instagram @lorifitfrog for a map of the garage and public art in Sunnyside! 

Make your way back to 3 Avenue to see tiny, colorful homes, gargoyles in the treetops, and a bike on the roof. Continue westerly to 4 Avenue, and just before the C-Train tracks, watch for the art car and its ever changing art installation. Walk through Riley Park, have a picnic and playground stop, and then make your way back uphill through Hounsfield Heights.


Lori Beattie is the author of best-selling guidebook Calgary’s Best Walks: 45 urban jaunts and nature strolls and Calgary’s Best Bike Rides: 50 urban cycle tours and pathway pedals. She is the owner of Fit Frog Adventures where she leads walks and hikes and writes about connecting Calgary & beyond on foot and by bike. Connect with her, see upcoming events, and get signed copies of her books on Instagram @lorifitfrog and at and at bookstores and cool shops throughout Calgary.


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