MD of Foothills and Town of Okotoks Accept Donation of Champion Park Land

(L to R): Mayor Larry Spilak, Gerald L. Knowlton, Mayor Bill Robertson
(L to R): Mayor Larry Spilak, Gerald L. Knowlton, Mayor Bill Robertson

The Municipal District of Foothills and the Town of Okotoks are pleased to announce the joint acquisition of Champion Park. The park sits on approximately 52 acres in a rural area in the MD of Foothills adjacent to Highway 2.

Champion Park is being gifted by the Knowlton Family. Gerald L. Knowlton built the park as an homage to the CPR and as a family tribute to his mother, Faye, and father, Frederick (Ted) Knowlton – a CPR station agent who served in the town of Standard, Alberta for 42 years. The park was replicated after the train station and surroundings that his father operated.

Mr. Knowlton commented: “My dad was alive for most of the building of this park and he celebrated his 90th birthday at the station. My parents would be pleased to know that it will be in good hands for the education and enjoyment of the citizens of this district for many, many generations to come.”

Mayor Larry Spilak, MD of Foothills, and Mayor Bill Robertson, Town of Okotoks, are pleased to announce the formation of the Friends of Champion Park Society (the “Society”), a non-profit organization designed to share in the maintenance and operation of Champion Park, the site of this historic railway operation. The duties of the Society will be to preserve, maintain and operate Champion Park in perpetuity.

“This park is a beautiful legacy to Mr. Knowlton’s parents and we are thrilled to work with the MD of Foothills to ensure this historic property is properly maintained and opened for the enjoyment and education of the public,” said Mayor Bill Robertson of the Town of Okotoks.

“The MD is honoured to be entrusted along with the Town of Okotoks with the donation of Champion Park Land,” said Mayor Larry Spilak. “It is a unique opportunity to preserve, maintain and operate Champion Park which captures the history of the CPR in small town Alberta. Champion Park is a welcome addition to recreational and tourist activities within our boundaries.”

Founded in 1979, Champion Park includes not only the land, but a lake, a restored CPR railway station from Champion, Alberta, a number of outbuildings, railway tracks, a 1960s era locomotive, a 1948 mail-express car, a 1929 Executive car (“The Saskatchewan”), display and rail cars, rolling stock as well as other period equipment and railway artifacts. The park is located 5 km northeast of Okotoks and 7 km north of Aldersyde on the east side of Highway 2 at the junction of 64 St. East and Township Road 210.

Official transfer of the land from the Knowlton Family to the MD of Foothills and the Town of Okotoks will happen before the end of this year. As the Society is formed more details will be released at a later date.

This joint maintenance agreement is another tremendous opportunity for an inter-municipal, collaborative partnership project between the Town of Okotoks and the MD of Foothills.