The land known as River Park, Sandy Beach and the Britannia Slopes was originally donated in 1956 by Eric Harvie to the citizens of Calgary in perpetuity for the purpose of rest and relaxation. He envisioned a park in a natural setting (grass, trees, shrubs at appropriate locations, railings, steps and footbridges where required plus a system of bridle paths. Mr Harvie also wanted to include development of a system of foot paths and bicycle paths connecting informal play areas, picnic and lounging areas and lookouts, etc. He distinctly expressed there should be no ornamental flower beds or manicured lawns, no commercial concessions, no billboards nor advertising and absolutely no vehicular traffic.
Many park visitors are familiar with Eric Harvie’s monument (the large rock with a plaque) that is located near the south end of the park.