At a stones throw away from the Calgary city limits — with views of both the prairie grasslands and Rocky Mountains — the communities of Springbank and Bearspaw offer open air living with easy access to city amenities.
The Canadian Pacific Railway established the Bearspaw Station in 1909. Named for Chief Masgwaahsid or Bear’s Paw, the station west of Calgary has become a sought-after destination for acreage living and commuters.
At the core of the Bearspaw community, the Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre offers up amenities such as banquet halls, meeting rooms and a gymnasium. The centre is home to several programs for all ages including girls group, golden fitness, soccer and softball.
Starting in June, residents of Bearspaw and beyond make the trip to the Bearspaw Lions Farmer’s Market to check out vendors hawking wares from local plants and produce to locally grown meats to arts and crafts. Visitors can make a morning or an afternoon of the market scene with lunch or breakfast provided by Nicks Catering.
To the south of Bearspaw, along the Trans Canada Highway, the community known as Springbank was settled in the late 1880s when brothers James and William Young settled in the area. The Young brothers and their families would open their homes to neighbours for Sunday worship in the area and the community grew from there.
These days, the Springbank Park for All Seasons is the hub of the community while north of the Trans Canada Highway on Township Road 250; the Calgary Springbank airport has operated as a reliever airport to the Calgary International Airport since 1971. Also in the area, the Edge School for Athletes was founded in 1999. The 170,000 sq. ft. sports and school complex serves students in Grades 5-12 with the option to enroll in dance, golf, soccer, figure skating or hockey.
Both communities lie within the boundaries of Rocky View County. With the release of the 2013 operating and capital budget for the county, residents can look forward to more than $37.5 million in capital projects including new and improved roads, water projects and other country infrastructure.
“We’ve worked hard to make this budget as clear as possible to encourage residents to provide us with feedback,” said Kent Robinson, general manager of Corporate Services. “We want people to tell us if we have the priorities right and if we’re meeting their service expectations.”
The County is also preparing a new master plan to guide development and services in the area for the next 10 years replacing the current plan, which is considered out of date. The County kicked off a four-phase process in June 2012 first covering awareness, issues and goals. Phase two took place between September and December 2012 and covered evaluating options and setting directions.
The process is currently in phase three, with a plan being drafted and policies and actions covered before phase four, plan completion and adoption ending with a public hearing scheduled
for June 11.
Historic Bearspaw School
In 1920, a school was built in the Bearspaw area thanks to six farmers who formed a committee to request the building for the education of their children. The land was sold to the Bearspaw Lions Club in 1967 where it remained until 1998 when the Lions considered demolishing the landmark to expand their popular farmer’s market. The building was donated to the Bearspaw Historical Society and moved to it’s present location south of Highway 1A where it serves as archives, office space and a dance studio.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
The newest of Alberta’s parks, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park opened to the public on in 2011. The 1,300-hectare park has breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, downtown Calgary and the Alberta grasslands. In 1909 it was home to the Glenbow stone quarry, which produced Paskapoo sandstone blocks, used in the construction of Alberta’s legislature as well as several buildings in Calgary. The land was purchased by the Harvie family in 1933, and they in turn, wanting to maintain the legacy of the land, sold it to the government in order to create a provincial park.
Canada Olympic Park
Since acting as a showcase for the 1988 Winter Olympics, Canada Olympic Park has remained a year round attraction for locals and visitors to the area alike. As well as being a training grounds for world-class athletes, the park also caters to skiing and snowboarding lessons and is home to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Recently, Olympic champion Hayley Wickenheiser announced the Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival — in partnership with WinSport — will be taking place in Calgary Nov. 21-24, 2013.
Springbank Park For All Seasons
The Springbank Park For All Seasons (SPFAS), attached to Springbank High School, is a buzzing hub for community activities and sports with a membership of over 1,200 families. The facility includes two full size hockey arenas, a six-sheet curling rink as well as baseball, soccer and football fields and is home to the Springbank Figure Skating Club. The park is a non-profit organization that has been operating for the last 40 years.