In the early 1900s, five Albertan women set out to change the shape of politics in Canada. In 1918, Canadian women attained the right to vote. But under the British North American Act, women were not considered “persons” under the law, and therefore, could not be appointed to the Senate. The five women, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Emily Murphy, and Irene Parlby began a 13 year journey that would take them to the Supreme Court of Canada and eventually the Privy Council in London. On October 18, 1929, the judgement finally came down that yes, Canadian women were “persons” under the law.
The City of Edmonton has honoured the determination and perseverance of these five women by naming river valley parks after them. Learn more about these women while exploring tranquil and scenic trails and park space.
Nellie McClung Park
Nellie McClung Park is located off Scona Road on the south side of the river. This park contains a combination of dirt and paved trails. Narrow trails and varying elevation make it a more challenging park, perfect for older kids and bikers.
Louise McKinney Riverfront Park
Located off of Grierson Hill, Louise McKinney Waterfront Park is not far from downtown Edmonton. It boasts beautiful views of the North Saskatchewan River, a boardwalk to stroll along, and the Chinese Garden Pavilion. You can also take a leisurely stroll along the paved paths that lead to the Frederick G Todd Lookout and 100 Street Funicular.
Henrietta Muir Edwards Park
Henrietta Muir Edwards Park is located on 98 Ave, on the south side of the river, across from Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. Although parts of this park is closed due to LRT construction, there are some trails to explore around Rafter’s Landing and the Edmonton Riverboat.
Emily Murphy Park
Located between Saskatchewan Drive and Groat Road on Emily Murphy Park Road, this park has many picnic sites, firepits and washroom facilities. There’s a paved trail along the river and a small playground and green space for kids to play.
Irene Parlby Park
Located just south of 98 Avenue in the Rossdale neighbourhood, Irene Parlby Park has a paved path along the river. Here you can learn about the history of Edmonton coal mines and take in great views of the Fairmont Hotel McDonald.
Visiting the Famous Five Parks is a great way to learn about Canadian history while taking in the views of Edmonton. You can locate all five parks in this Google Map link and you can learn more about the Famous Five women with the Famou5 Foundation or with this publication from the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.