Five hundred ducks — and some little humans, too — defied the wind, cool temperature and a bit of rain to take the first official swim down Discovery Canyon on Friday morning.
The official reopening of the inner tube wading attraction was held to mark the major $2-million upgrade to it. At the end of ceremonies, the City of Red Deer released the yellow rubber quackers much to the delight of the several dozen children wading and waiting at the bottom on the run, oblivious to the cooler temperature of 12 C.
The upgraded facility was the city’s Canada 150 legacy project, and, after being closed for a year while construction and upgrades took place, has been very popular this summer with almost every day, except Friday, hot and sunny for the past several weeks.
The stream bed has been replaced, walkways upgraded, a new mechanical system for the underground water system installed and the beach area enhanced, said city Recreation superintendent Barb McKee.
Safety and accessibility have been improved and parking has been expanded, she said.
This fall, a new natural-themed playground will be completed, designed for both summer and winter activities. New interpretive signage focusing on outdoor education has also been installed.
Mayor Tara Veer, who had the help of two children to unveil a plaque, said since it opened in June, Discovery Canyon has become a destination for not only city residents but also for other Albertans.
The park is full of families enjoying the water feature and natural beach, taking in the “crown jewel” of the city’s park system, River Bend Golf and Recreation Area, she said.
The city received federal funding toward the project through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure program. It’s a lasting legacy to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary, Veer said.
It’s the first upgrade for Discovery canyon since it was constructed in the 80s. A new water area for young children has been added where they can sit and splash around.
Access to Discovery Canyon, located in the northeast corner of the city beside River Bend Golf Course, is free.
Float tubes can be rented at the concession for $5 or purchased for $20. People can bring their own float tube.
Discovery Canyon operates from June until the September long weekend, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.