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Visiting Henderson Lake, Lethbridge, Alberta: a recreational area recalling an enterprising mayor

Updated on March 24, 2015
Provincial flag of Alberta
Provincial flag of Alberta | Source
Henderson Lake, in Henderson Park, Lethbridge, Alberta
Henderson Lake, in Henderson Park, Lethbridge, Alberta | Source
Pike fish underwater
Pike fish underwater | Source

A haven for fishing and boating enthusiasts

Among Lethbridge, Alberta's many visitor attractions is Henderson Lake, within Henderson Lake Park.

The name of the Lake and Park recalls an enterprising Mayor of Lethbridge, William Henderson, who over a century ago served as Mayor and periods as a Councillor. At the Parkside Drive South entrance to Henderson Park, a notice states:

Area purchased parkland April 6, 1910 from the Alberta Railway & Irrigation Company and named in honor of Mayor Henderson 1908-1909.

Ontarian visitors — accustomed to their own province's 250,000 naturally occurring freshwater lakes — may be surprised to learn that Henderson Lake, which extends to 24 hectares, is actually man made. A trail 2.5 kilometres long encompasses the Lake, and there are further trails in Henderson Park which extend to 2.5 kilometres.

Adjacent to Henderson Lake is the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, opened in 1967, itself built around water; the waters of the Japanese Garden are fed from Henderson Lake.

Separately from the Japanese Garden, there is also a Rose Garden in Henderson Park, particularly dedicated to remembering the victims of 9/11.

The Lake is known as the regular venue for Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival. On July 1 Henderson Park hosts Canada Day festivities, culminating with a fireworks display (1).

Pike, perch and whitefish are found in the lake and thus offer fishing opportunities, subject to Provincial regulations. Fishing enthusiasts at Henderson Lake have reported many successes with landing pike (2).

A swimming pool was opened in 1962, after it was found that parts of Henderson Lake with excessive weeds and even leeches made swimming hazardous (3).

Kayaking, canoes and paddle boats are regularly seen on the Lake.

A golf club, which administers an 18-hole course, has Henderson Lake Park as its backdrop; the claim is made by Henderson Lake Golf Club: 'The course gives the golfer a feeling that is rarely found anywhere in North America.'

Such is the attraction of the amenities of Henderson Lake that local realtors report the area to be highly sought after (4).

Now to take stock: some of the quotes and sources used in this description may seem to paint Henderson Lake in a very favourable light. In my humble view, though, these impressions are founded in reality! Sometimes Ontarians moving to Alberta report that it can be a struggle to live and make ends meet in some of Alberta's crowded, fast growing cities. However, the picture offered by Lethbridge is in many ways rather distinct: it may be said that Lethbridge really is a desirable place to live and work!

February 4, 2015


(1) See also: ;

(2) See also: For more information about fishing at Henderson Lake, see also:

(3) Closed for refurbishment, it is due to reopen in 2016.

(4) See, for example: ; . But interestingly, from a real estate perspective, leaving aside the vicinity of Henderson Lake, Lethbridge has not seen the high demands on property resulting from the sort of rapid urban growth seen at some other Albertan cities such as Calgary and Fort McMurray. Ontarians and others — especially from the Toronto area — moving west can find it advantageous to move to the Lethbridge area from the point of view of property prices.

Map location of Lethbridge Census Division, Alberta
Map location of Lethbridge Census Division, Alberta | Source

Also worth seeing

In Lethbridge, notable sights include the Galt Museum; the Japanese Gardens; the record-breaking High Level Bridge, dating from 1909; dining in the Water Tower Restaurant; and many others.

Nanton (distance: 121.4 kilometres); the Air Museum commemorates Canadian aviators of Bomber Command during World War Two; the Museum notably possesses a Lancaster bomber. There are various well appointed antique shops close by.

Waterton (distance: 124.6 kilometres): this outstandingly scenic location - part of Warterton-Glacier International Peace Park - has striking views from the much photographed Prince of Wales Hotel over the often snow-capped Rockies and the Waterton Lakes.

How to get there

Air Canada, flies to Lethbridge Airport, via Calgary, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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