Tourism Talk Tuesday with Bower Ponds Recreation

Bower Ponds Recreation

The Bower Ponds area just off the Red Deer River boasts an expansive and mature park setting with ample wildlife. It features a series of interconnecting ponds with gushing fountains and is bordered by nearly 2 km of paved trails. You will also find a fishing dock, playground, pollinator park, patio, outdoor washrooms, and a natural amphitheatre with a covered stage, all adjacent to Red Deer’s historic Cronquist House.

Supporting and enhancing the activities available at the City-owned Bower Ponds area is Bower Ponds Recreation, a locally owned and operated business. Read ahead to see how this Tourism Red Deer member strives to make their experiences fun and memorable for all ages, from walking on water to skating on ice, they have you covered for all seasons.

What makes you different, unique or stand out?

“We are a place for meaningful community connections,” says Jonathan Strome, co-owner/operator of Bower Ponds Recreation.

Bower Ponds has become one of Red Deer’s most beloved and recognized areas of the City by locals and visitors alike. In the early 1980s, the Bower Ponds area was incorporated into Waskasoo Park and has played a role in community activities ever since.

Bower Ponds Recreation is a facilitator for activity and recreation in the park,” says Strome. “Like any park, people are going to use the space for picnicking, going for a walk or throwing the ball around. We wanted to add and facilitate additional options for people while in the park, to enhance and encourage them to come often and stay longer.”

From paddle boating the ponds in the summer to ice skating in the winter, this beautiful park transforms seamlessly with the seasons. As part of the Waskasoo Park trails system, users are connected to various points throughout the City by the over 100 km of trails, making Bower Ponds a great starting point to begin your outdoor adventures.

     

“In non-Covid times, we saw a lot of people visiting from out of town,” says Strome. “First-time skaters and international guests alike were able to experience skating by renting our skates and skate aids to help them learn. Not everyone owns a pair of skates and in some instances may be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Strome adds that by enhancing moments like these for people, they hope to encourage a longer stay and return visits. “When it is safe to do so, we hope to put on events to get people out and welcome the community to gather again,” says Strome. “Our Afterglow boat and skate parties were very popular and helped carried the fun into the evening.”

Why do you do what you do?

Bower Ponds Recreation is family-owned and operated,” says Strome. “My dad, Gary, is likely who you would see down at the pavilion, he is very hands-on. My brother Dawson and his wife Rachel are also owners, and we all share in the responsibilities.”

As a born and raised Red Deerian, Strome speaks about his passion for community and his fascination with the way people connect, why they connect and why it matters. “Our passion for community building is very much an inherited trait,” says Strome. “We have the chance to provide people more opportunities to connect more meaningfully, with their friends, families and as a community.”

What can guests (local or visiting) expect to experience?

“Guest can expect an inclusive community feel for all ages, a warm welcome, with a joyous and relaxing atmosphere,” says Strome. “We want you to start your fun with us and enjoy your time and make memories at Bower Ponds.”

The Bower Ponds Recreation pavilion can be found on the pond banks and at the centre of the action. Its location provides an ideal starting point and houses their essential equipment rentals, public facilities and more.

     

A visit to the Bower Ponds Recreation website provides a full list of their offerings by season, as well as any restriction updates which could affect their operations. It is recommended for patrons to check restrictions before visiting any facility, be prepared and be safe.

Follow this link to find the latest regarding Alberta’s Enhanced Public Health Measures.

What is new or upcoming?

“Work is always being done to improve the park and the facilities,” says Strome. “If you haven’t been to Bower Ponds in the last 5 years or so, you will be blown away by the additions and improvements.”

Renovations to the park and pavilion were completed in time for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Upgrades included new accessible washrooms, patio, artwork installations, flags, and larger-than-life geese statues. “In the winter, there is a group of people that knit scarves and hats for the geese,” laughs Strome. “By the first or second snowfall, they show up on the stone geese, it’s little things like this that make our big city community feel small and connected.”

The Bower Ponds Recreation team invites you to check out the grounds, stay awhile and enjoy the atmosphere. Continue to enjoy these beautiful outdoor spaces, connect with nature, and one day again soon, with our greater community #ExploreRedDeersBackyard.

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