Located just west of the Calgary city limits and nestled in prairie grasslands with Rocky Mountain vistas, the communities of Bearspaw and Springbank offer open air country living with easy access to big city amenities.
The Canadian Pacific Railway established the Bearspaw Station in 1909. Named for Chief Masgwaahsid or Bear’s Paw, the station west o Calgary has grown to be a sought after destination for acreages and commuters.
Artist Janet Armstrong has lived in Bearspaw with her family for the last 19 years.
“We were at a stage in our lives, with three small kids and wanting to get out of the hectic city,” she said. “We looked for a home for about a year and finally found the perfect acreage for our family (and) no looking back. We have loved our 4.5 acre acreage and all the wild animals that visit our forest and pond every day.”
Armstrong explained the community has two types of residents.
“First type, for those that look for a big sense of community then Bearspaw has it,” she said. “There is so much it offers: family activities and sports, classes, a Farmer’s Market, dance classes, nursery school, Christmas markets and other special events. For newcomers to Bearspaw it is a great place to raise a family.
“The second type, those that are looking for solitude in a beautiful country environment and would rather not be involved in community activities.”
For families with children there’s several schools in the area including the Bearspaw Christian School, Bearspaw Preschool and Bearspaw School. Also new to the community is the housing development Watermark at Bearspaw, currently in phase one of construction with lots available from a quarter to over an acre in size.
In 1886, brothers James and William Young settled just west of Calgary. The brothers and their families would open their homes to neighbours for Sunday worship in the area that would come to be known as Springbank.
Today Springbank is a thriving community with many family oriented amenities including the Springbank Park for all seasons with a membership of over 1,200 families and many activity centered offerings including ice and curling rinks and baseball and football fields.
“If you like quiet and peaceful surroundings, Springbank is an oasis where one can escape from the noise, light and humdrum of Calgary,” Rocky View County Division 2 councilor Kim Magnuson told the CREB® Real Estate News last fall.
In the fall, there’s plenty to do in the community including the Springbank Ladies Time Out, the Old Tyme Fall Fair and Babes on Blades ladies hockey. Located just off the Trans Canada Highway, another popular spot in the area is the Wild Wild West Event Centre. The centre offers up a meeting venue for 700, in-house entertainment, a rodeo and wild west show, team building and an antique and coffee emporium to name a few.
Now that September has arrived, students have headed back to school at either Springbank Community High School, Springbank Middle School, Ecole Elbow Valley Elementary, Springbank Playschool or the Edge School for Athletes.
Founded in 1999, Edge is a 170,000 sq. ft. school and sports facility for Grades 5 to 12. The school offers programs in dance, figure skating, golf, hockey and soccer and is based on a school philosophy that a passion for sport drives a passion for learning and leading.
For the last 30 years, Calaway Park — Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park — has been offering family fun and entertainment a stone’s throw away from Calgary. As well as games, food and a haunted mansion, Calaway Park includes rides such as Baja Buggies, The Berry Go Round and the Shoot the Chutes log ride. The park includes and RV Park and Campground for thrill seekers and for the fall season is open Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays until Oct. 8.
In the late 1960s Transport Canada was looking for a solution to growing congestion at the Calgary International Airport. The McLaurin Farm west of town was the answer and the Springbank Airport was opened in 1971. The airport is not only an airstrip but is home to various flight businesses and tourist operations. The airport’s website states in 1997, the Calgary Airport Authority officially assumed control of the facility from the federal government under a 60-year least agreement that is still in effect.
Bearspaw Lions Farmer’s Market
The volunteer run Bearspaw Lions Farmer’s Market has been a staple along Highway 1A since 1993. The market includes over 100 vendors — mostly outdoors with a few inside the Lions clubhouse — selling anything and everything from locally grown meats, fruits and vegetables and arts and crafts. The market includes breakfast and lunch offerings from Nicks Catering and is open from the first Sunday in June until the first Sunday in October.
Bearspaw Lifestyle Center
The Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre is conveniently located off Highway 1A at Bearspaw Road. The community- based centre includes a banquet hall, gymnasium, dance studio and meeting room with classes available in everything from soccer to summer camps. The centre is in the midst of an expansion that will see a new multi-use sports facility including a concrete surface that can be iced for an NHL-sized hockey rink and converted to turf for other sports such as soccer and lacrosse.