The area of Louise McKinney Riverfront Park is 14.5 ha, and the area of Henrietta Edwards Park is 12 ha. Both of these parks are named after Famous Five women (see Walk 8). The Edmonton Horticultural Society has planted a charming garden and provided benches in Henrietta Edwards Park just before the footbridge.
The park, officially opened in 2008, was sponsored by the City of Edmonton, the Alberta Lottery Fund, Capital Health (Edmonton Area) and the River Valley Alliance. This park is designed for riverfront activities in summer and cross country skiing in winter. Future plans for the Riverfront Plaza may include street vendors and a funicular railway. A floating public dock will be accessible to everyone.
Lines of poetry celebrating the significance of the river are wound around the light poles. This poetry is by E.D. Blodgett, Edmonton’s Poet Laureate at the time the park was opened.
The eastern section of Louise McKinney Riverfront Park, designated as the Canadian Chinese Community Garden, was opened in 2007. The entrance to the garden is guarded by a lion on each side, one male and one female. The male has a ball under his foot representing world dominance, and the female has a baby under her front foot showing the care and nurturing of the people. In the garden, 12 small animal statues represent the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Other permanent structures include a small bridge over a dry riverbed and a pavilion.
Just west of the Chinese garden is the Shumka Stage built by the Ukrainian community for music and dance performances.
Joe Fafard’s see-through sculpture of a bison at the south entrance to the Edmonton Conference Centre commemorates the fact that bison were once very numerous in this area and were the major source of food, clothing and shelter for aboriginal people.