Recreation properties offer a scenic and serene home away from home
The dip of a paddle in the lake, the sizzle of a steak on the barbecue, the haunting hoot of a Great-Horned Owl: welcome to recreational living.
In a recreation survey conducted by the Alberta government, the top three favourite leisure activity of respondents was walking, golf and camping. Luckily for Albertans, lake and recreation living is within short drives of all major centres.
In Calgary alone, a one- to two-hour drive takes you to recreation meccas such as Little Bow, Sylvan Lake, Gleniffer Lake, Ghost Lake, Pine Lake, the Old Man Reservoir, Sundre and Gull Lake.
“We have a nine hole golf course, we have two outdoor pools, an outdoor hot tub, indoor pool, indoor hot tub, games room, an exercise room, tennis courts, basketball courts, the lake, the beach” said Gail Donnelly, event co-ordinator Gleniffer Lake Resort and Country Club. “So we do have everything here. You will not see another resort in central Alberta that has what we have to offer.”
In its 2013 Recreational Property Report, Royal LePage said recreational properties are perceived by buyers as a sound investment. That said, few buyers looking to use them as a secondary source of income, instead choosing to use the properties for their own use.
“Our economy has remained stable compared to other parts of the country, and there are a number of people in the market to purchase recreational properties,” Allan Nimmo, broker with Royal LePage Weber said, in the report.
When it comes to recreation properties, respondents to the Alberta recreation survey described benefits that were very important to them such as: “recreation opportunities make it possible for children and youth to take part in a variety of activities, parks and open spaces provide opportunities for the preservation of Alberta’s landscapes and recreation opportunities make it possible for families to spend time together.”
In 2011, the province introduced the Active Alberta policy, an initiative designed to inspire Albertans to become more active every day through sustainable province-wide activities.
“The Active Alberta Policy will give active living, recreation and sport stakeholders a new road map for supporting Albertans in achieving better health, quality of life and personal fulfillment, and will lead to more active communities,” said Judith Down, director of the Alberta Centre for Active Living and member of the Alberta Policy Coalition for Cancer Prevention.
Once known as Snake Lake because of the slithery presence on its beaches, Sylvan Lake was first settled in the late 1800s. Alexandre Loiselle and his son Louis arrived from Michigan in 1899, establishing a sawmill for the thick timber groves that surrounded the body of water. The Loiselles later built the area’s first hotel. By then, several families were making the two- to three-day trip from Red Deer for camping.
The first summer cottages were built in 1904, followed by the railroad in 1912. Today, the town is home to more than 12,000 residents and is a popular summer destination for campers and recreational property owners.
Oldman River Dam
A popular site for fishing, boating and wind surfing, the Oldman Dam Provincial Recreation Area provides plenty of activities year round. Located a two-hour drive southwest of Calgary, the dam was constructed in 1992 to provide water for farmers in the area plagued by droughts.
While the banks of the dam are used for camping and other activities, they are also home of the Canadian Wilderness Recreation Boat Club Society. The society includes property lots, boat launch, playgrounds, hikes and shopping opportunities in nearby Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek.
Created in 1983 following the construction of the Dickson Dam, Gleniffer Lake has become a recreational hot spot. As well as recreational lots, Gleniffer is home to the professionally designed Gleniffer Lake Resort and Country Club golf course.
The development of the Lakeside residential development is in its final phase and the marina has also been expanded to accommodate more boats on the site. Glennifer Lake is also home to The Landing, a Chinese and Western-style restaurant available for parties, business retreats and more.
In the 1920s, the Calgary Power Company asked the Morley Stoney Indians to lease land to construct an electric generating plant. By 1929, transmission lines ran from Ghost Lake to Edmonton, a new power source for the province of Alberta.
Today, the lake also draws people to its beautiful shores for hiking, boating and windsailing in the summer, and ice fishing in the winter. It is said the ghost of Stoney Chief White Eagle can be seen riding a great steed on the banks of the lake named for him, his faithful white dog at his side.