CALGARY — The City of Calgary has named a northwest Calgary park after a homeless man who used to frequent the area before his passing.
Paul “Smokey” Wilkinson was a member of the Hillhurst community and spent much of his days, and nights, around the park located on the northwest corner of 14 Street and Memorial Drive N.W.
Following a nomination period, the city has officially named the green area Paul (Smokey) Wilkinson Park.
Wilkinson was known as a man who consistently showed random acts of kindness in the community.
Lead Minister at Hillhurst United Church, John Pentland, says he also brought dignity to others who were fighting homelessness.
“When you look at Smokey and he looked you in the eye, he’d say ‘thanks for seeing me’,” Pentland said. “It was a great reminder that those who live in the streets want to be seen and heard as human beings.”
Pentland also said Wilkinson was a highly respected man in the community.
“Here’s a guy who lived in the street who had generosity and gratitude and a sense of humour about life that he infected everybody with.”
The love from the community could be seen during his funeral when hundreds turned out to remember him following a drug overdose in 2017.